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1986 Jeep Cherokee XJ - Sunny Side Up

Posted in Project Vehicles on August 1, 2007
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From the sleek front bumper hiding a 12,000-pound MileMarker winch to the tie-rod skid, it was all built in the Reeves family garage. In addition to the Dana 60 axle, the Antirock sway bar adds stability to the vehicle. Steering the 40-inch MTRs is a high-steer setup boosted by AGR hydraulic assist, and kept in place by a homemade track bar. The fender work on the Cherokee was extensive to say the least. A delicate balance of sheetmetal and tube bending resulted in the one-off flares.

The solar yellow paint had barely dried on Randy Reeves' '86 Jeep Cherokee when we caught up with him on the Behind the Rocks trail in Moab. After four years of work Randy was finallyready to test out his recently completed rig at the Easter Jeep Safari. The idea to build the Jeep came after Randy attended the event in Moab a few years prior where he saw firsthand the importance of having a low and stable vehicle. Wanting to run 40-inch tires and still keep the unibodied Jeep low was one of the biggest challenges when tackling the build. Countless hours of fine-tuning his custom coilover suspension and reworking the fenders resulted in a clean low machine that really shines on those hair-raising off-camber situations.

The stock 2.8L was a far cry from what he considered a real powerplant, so Randy tossed in a few dozen more horses with a 502ci Chevy big-block to satisfy his power needs. One of the most unique features on the Jeep are the fender flares. A combination of sheetmetal and tubing are fused into smooth flowing shapes that keep the full-width setup from peeking too far outside of the body. With plenty of help from his family, Randy was able to build a serious trail machine that is beefy enough for the trails, yet clean enough to still cruise down the highway without grabbing too much unwanted attention. That's a feature we all can enjoy.

Engine: 8.2L 502ci Chevy, Edelbrock MFI
Transmission: Three-speed Turbo 475, B&M shifter
Transfer Case: 4.3 Atlas II
Front Axle: Dana 60, 4.10 gears, ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: 14-bolt, 4.10 gears, Detroit Locker, cutting brakes
Suspension: Custom three-link front, four-link rear, 17-inch Bilstein coilovers
Steering: AGR Rock Ram, Hi-Steer knuckle
Tires & Wheels: 40-inch Goodyear MTRs on 17-inch Trail Ready bead locks

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