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1983 Jeep Cherokee Chief - Mud Monsters Of Florida

Posted in Project Vehicles on April 1, 2002
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Kaylene Woo's Cherokee Chief
Built From The Ground Up To Pull Double Duty
Soccer moms often drive very unremarkable minivans, but not Kaylene Woo of Gainesville, Florida. She drives this way cool (and rare) '83 Jeep Cherokee Chief, which was purchased in pieces, and completely restored to perfection under the direction of her husband Ray, who just happens to serve as president of the Ocala Jeep Club. The Cherokee now pulls double-duty as a daily grocery-getter as well as a pack mule for family four-wheeling throughout Florida.

The crew at Central Automotive & Marine in Tavares, Florida, completely rebuilt the original AMC 360ci engine, and enhanced it with Federal-Mogul pistons, an Edelbrock double-roller timing chain, and an Edelbrock camshaft. The engine is topped with an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, Edelbrock 750-cfm carburetor, K&N air filter, and Mopar air cleaner. It blows exhaust gases through ceramic-coated Hedman headers, 2 1/4-inch dual exhaust, and Flowmaster 50-Series Delta Flow mufflers. Other engine mods include an ignition upgrade to an HEI unit, and the addition of an Optima Yellow Top battery with heavy-duty battery cables. Dyno testing shows that the engine creates 300 hp at 4,000 rpm, and 360 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. To handle this increase in power, the stock Torqueflite 727 transmission was rebuilt, and a shift kit added to enhance performance. A B&M Supercooler keeps the unit cool, and a Dodge truck shifter-cable and kick-down linkage replaced the stock parts.

Underneath the Jeep, an NP208 transfer case distributes power to the front Dana 44 axle (with ARB Air Locker, Spicer axleshafts, and Superwinch manual hubs) and the rear AMC 20 differential (with Detroit SoftLocker). The suspension lift comes from a Rusty's Off Road 4-inch kit, and Daystar polyurethane bushings are incorporated into all applicable areas. Rancho shock absorbers and a Pro Comp steering stabilizer keep the truck riding smoothly, and Rubicon Express anti-rollbar disconnects give the front axle the freedom to articulate. The stock steering assembly was chucked and replaced with the steering assembly from a Jeep J-10 pickup. Finally, the truck was provided with a set of Goodyear MT/R 35x12.50-15 tires mounted on Eagle Outlaw II wheels.

To make the interior as soundproof as possible, Kaylene fully Herculined the body tub before installing a sound-absorbing Dynamat. The interior also features Wrangler seats, a Tuffy console, Edelbrock, B&M, and Sunpro gauges, and a huge stereo system.

The body of the Jeep was given a 2-inch Performance Accessories body lift before being painted 2000 Jeep Silverstone Metallic with flat-black accents by Johnny Bullion of Ocala, Florida. Then a slew of exterior components were bolted on, including a True Radius Bending brushguard, custom Big E bumpers (with air chucks for powering air tools from the Extreme Air continuous-duty air compressor and 10-gallon onboard air tank), custom David Allen Racing nerf bars, custom Big E rear bumper, Draw Tite trailer hitch, Warn 10,000-pound winch, and exterior lighting from KC and PIAA.

The inside of the body tub was completely coated with Herculiner, and generous quantities of Dynamat (a sound deadening material) were installed before the interior was outfitted with new vinyl flooring, front seats from a Jeep YJ, a Tuffy center console, Edelbrock, B&M, and Sunpro gauges, and enough Sony, Infinity, and Eclipse stereo equipment to rattle the fillings from Kaylene's teeth.

The truck is an ongoing project with more mods being added after each trail ride. Well, we all know how that goes. Getting the truck to its current state was possible with the help of Lee Myers, Beth and Ernie Prevedel, Troy McCall, Jeff Priest, Dale Gibson, and Brian and Scott Allen.


Owner Kaylene Woo, Gainesville, Florida
Vehicle model 1983 Jeep Cherokee Chief
Estimated value $20,000
Type AMC OHV V-8
Displacement (ci) 360
Aspiration Edelbrock 750cfm carburetor, Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, Hedman headers, 2 1/4-inch dual exhaust, Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission Torqueflite 727
Transfer case NP208
Front Rusty's Off Road 4-inch lift leaf springs, Rancho RS9118 shocks, Rubicon Express sway bar disconnects
Rear Rusty's Off Road 4-inch lift leaf springs, Rancho RS9118 shocks
Front Dana 44, Superwinch hubs, ARB Air Locker
Rear AMC 20, Detroit SofLocker
Ring-and-pinion 3.73:1
Wheels (in.) 15x10 aluminum Eagle Outlaw IIs
Tires 35x12.50-15 Goodyear MT/Rs

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