Neat New & Basic
Jeep Cherokees (XJs) are great 4x4s and daily drivers, but over time the unibody construction will start to sag and the doors will not open as well as they used to. This is especially true if the vehicle sees heavy-duty use. T&J Performance Center has come up with a solution to the unibody stressing problem and now makes chassis stiffeners to not only keep your unibody from bending, but also to stiffen it up, providing for better handling and better usage of the suspension. As force is pushed through the tires and onto the suspension, the unibody of Cherokees tends to absorb some of the shock, therefore not letting the suspension do all the work it should. This might sound like it would give a softer ride, but it actually lets a sort of oscillation rip through the unibody, making for a rougher ride.
While we were at T&J Performance Center, we also decided to try some brand-new, never-before-tried rock sliders that are welded to the chassis stiffeners and unibody undercarriage rails. The total package added about 20 pounds to our XJ Cherokee.
How Did They Work?The chassis stiffeners made a huge difference in the driveability of the Cherokee. It handled better on the road, with less lateral movement in a turn and more precise control through uneven dirt-road sections. They kept the unibody from taking the brunt of the blows and made the suspension work instead. We were a bit leery about how much difference these stiffeners would make, but by the time we had gone 5 miles on the road, we were convinced that these were a must-have for any Cherokee.
We then proceeded to give the Cherokee the beating of its life, and we are happy to report that all doors are still opening the way they used to, and the suspension feels better through dirt-road washes than we ever thought possible.
With the stiffeners and rock sliders in place, we only lost 31/416 inch of ground clearance, but gained an item we could rest the entire weight of the vehicle on.