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2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The Everyday Wheeler

Posted in Project Vehicles on June 1, 2012
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Heated leather seats, dual climate control, woodgrain dash, solid axles, coil suspension, four doors, and navigation. At first glance you would think that we were describing a new JK, but we’re not. When Kyle O’Brien set out to build a new luxury wheeler he wanted a vehicle with all of these comforts plus the power and reliability of a factory V-8 engine. The choice was clear. Kyle picked up a new-to-him ’04 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland.

Though such tires are too big for most Grand Cherokees, Kyle’s Jeep makes room for the 35-inch BFG KM2s by using fiberglass fenders up front and extensive trimming in the rear. Certain items under the hood, such as the windshield washer fluid reservoir, were also relocated to make room for the large tires to stuff at full flex.

In stock form the Grand Cherokee was a step up from the ZR-1 S10 that Kyle traded in, but he knew it could be better. Almost immediately Kyle installed a 4-inch lift kit, 33-inch tires, and a set of rock sliders. After the first trip out with this combination Kyle was hooked on the off-road performance of his new Jeep and knew it was a keeper.

The modifications came quickly after that first trip. Soon the 4-inch lift kit was upgraded to a 61⁄2-inch kit, then a spacer was added to the front to achieve clearance to fit new 35-inch tires, netting him 81⁄2 inches of lift in front. This may sound like a lot but it left the Grand looking very well proportioned and quite mean.

The Grand’s lift is accomplished by use of an Iron Rock Off-Road 61⁄2-inch long arm kit. The front end also has a 2-inch spacer, giving it a total of 81⁄2 inches of lift. Keeping all of this under control is a set of Fox Racing 2.0 Pro Series adjustable shocks.

In the end Kyle is left with a Jeep nice enough on the inside to keep the wife happy and with enough goodies underneath to tackle the hardest trail, and it looks so good you would think it left the factory that way.

Tech Specs
2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Engine: 4.7L High-Output V-8
Transmission: 545RFE 5-speed automatic
Transfer case: NV242
Front Axle: Dana 30, Sleeved & Gusseted, 4.56 gears, Vari-Lock limited-slip
Rear Axle: Aluminum Dana 44, 4.56 gears, Vari-Lock limited-slip Suspension
Springs & Such: 61⁄2-inch Iron Rock Off-Road Long Arm, 2-inch front coil spacers, Fox 2.0 adjustable remote-reservoir shocks front and rear, Fox 2.0 steering stabilizer
Tires & Wheels: BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 315/75/16 (35x121⁄2 inches); MB Wheels, Classic Design
Other Stuff: Lone Star Racing front bumper, Warn 9.5ti winch, Iron Rock Off-Road rock sliders, Warn W400 HID lights on custom Yakima roof rack, LED taillights, custom high-clearance exhaust, HID converted IPF 55 foglights, DVD player

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