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1999 Jeep Cherokee - Disposable Hero: Part 6

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 6, 2015
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been six months since we first started our ’99 Jeep Cherokee project build. In half a year, we’ve swapped out the stock axles for a set of JK-specific G2 Axle & Gear Core 44 axles, rebuilt most of the suspension, and outfit the Jeep with an assortment of upgrades to make it a better wheeler. Last month, we got the majority of our major to-do items wrapped up. This has allowed us to begin the fine tuning and teething process that every fresh build goes through.

While the XJ has been moveable for a few months, it hasn’t been road-worthy until recently. It’s spent most of it days getting pulled in and out of Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina, who has kindly worked tirelessly and stored our project for months. We never intended for the project to be a daily driver, but we wanted to make sure it could survive a highway jaunt. Once we had the XJ aligned, we took it out for a spin.

With the exception of a Banks Power Revolver exhaust manifold, the 4.0L engine and the AW4 transmission are basically stock. We knew the 37s and added weight of the armor and axles would rob some of the power, but the 5.13 differential gears helped tremendously. It’s no powerhouse but is very livable. The JK axle brakes are light-years better than original, and other than being a little sluggish-feeling at times, the PSC Motorsports hydro-assist kit has been a great addition.

Before we can take the XJ in the dirt, we had to completely wipe out those last small items on our list. Hopefully we will somehow manage to keep it in one piece for its maiden voyage, but either way, you’ll be able to read all about it in the final rendition of our Disposable Hero saga next month.

The XJ’s original rear bumpstops were completely rotted away. We picked up these XJ-specific extended rear replacement bumpstops from Daystar. Each Daystar bumpstop is designed to bolt into the stock bump mounting location and is comprised of a more durable polyurethane. The XJ’s original rear bumpstops were completely rotted away. We picked up these XJ-specific extended rear replacement bumpstops from Daystar. Each Daystar bumpstop is designed to bolt into the stock bump mounting location and is comprised of a more durable polyurethane.
Since the 37-inch Maxxis Trepadors can’t cycle fully in the wheelwell of the XJ, we needed to regulate the up-travel on the rear of the Jeep. Using 2-inch, 0.250-wall DOM tubing, we crafted a taller bumpstop perch on the axle. Since the 37-inch Maxxis Trepadors can’t cycle fully in the wheelwell of the XJ, we needed to regulate the up-travel on the rear of the Jeep. Using 2-inch, 0.250-wall DOM tubing, we crafted a taller bumpstop perch on the axle.
To give the bumpstop a smooth and wide spot to contact, we cut these plates from 1⁄4-inch steel. With the plates welded to the top of the perches, we had plenty of the contact patch for the bumpstop to hit. The end result is a simple, but strong, bumpstop mount that gives the XJ around 3 inches of total up-travel. This isn’t a tremendous amount, but for the wheeling we have in store, should be plenty. To give the bumpstop a smooth and wide spot to contact, we cut these plates from 1⁄4-inch steel. With the plates welded to the top of the perches, we had plenty of the contact patch for the bumpstop to hit. The end result is a simple, but strong, bumpstop mount that gives the XJ around 3 inches of total up-travel. This isn’t a tremendous amount, but for the wheeling we have in store, should be plenty.
To give the bumpstop a smooth and wide spot to contact, we cut these plates from 1⁄4-inch steel. With the plates welded to the top of the perches, we had plenty of the contact patch for the bumpstop to hit. The end result is a simple, but strong, bumpstop mount that gives the XJ around 3 inches of total up-travel. This isn’t a tremendous amount, but for the wheeling we have in store, should be plenty. To give the bumpstop a smooth and wide spot to contact, we cut these plates from 1⁄4-inch steel. With the plates welded to the top of the perches, we had plenty of the contact patch for the bumpstop to hit. The end result is a simple, but strong, bumpstop mount that gives the XJ around 3 inches of total up-travel. This isn’t a tremendous amount, but for the wheeling we have in store, should be plenty.
Our XJ’s previous owner had outfit the Cherokee with ARB Air Lockers, and fortunately for us, left the switches and compressor in the Jeep. The switches to engage the compressor and axles were mounted on the console, so we took it apart to make sure everything was working as it should. While we don’t love the air compressor’s specific location in the engine bay, it will work fine for now. Our XJ’s previous owner had outfit the Cherokee with ARB Air Lockers, and fortunately for us, left the switches and compressor in the Jeep. The switches to engage the compressor and axles were mounted on the console, so we took it apart to make sure everything was working as it should. While we don’t love the air compressor’s specific location in the engine bay, it will work fine for now.
Despite our lack of spare-tire carrier, we thought it wise to have a fifth tire and wheel. We’re running ATX Camber Pro II wheels, which are cast-aluminum beadlocks. The outer clamping ring uses countersunk Allen-head bolts, which thread into these steel inserts. The advantage of having steel inserts in the aluminum wheel is to prevent damage to more delicate aluminum threads. Despite our lack of spare-tire carrier, we thought it wise to have a fifth tire and wheel. We’re running ATX Camber Pro II wheels, which are cast-aluminum beadlocks. The outer clamping ring uses countersunk Allen-head bolts, which thread into these steel inserts. The advantage of having steel inserts in the aluminum wheel is to prevent damage to more delicate aluminum threads.
We strongly suggest the use of anti-seize for all of the clamping ring hardware. Also, despite the fact that the wheel does have durable steel inserts, we never use air tools to assemble the wheel. We strongly suggest the use of anti-seize for all of the clamping ring hardware. Also, despite the fact that the wheel does have durable steel inserts, we never use air tools to assemble the wheel.
Not all tires have the same bead bundle thickness, which can be an issue with some beadlock wheels. Thankfully, the Trepadors fully seated in the allotted wheel groove, which allowed the 3⁄4-inch T-6 aluminum ring to sit flush against the wheel. A gap could lead to problems, as the tire bead can put added pressure on the bolts, causing them to fail. After the locking ring was flush, we used a torque wrench to make sure everything was secure and even. Not all tires have the same bead bundle thickness, which can be an issue with some beadlock wheels. Thankfully, the Trepadors fully seated in the allotted wheel groove, which allowed the 3⁄4-inch T-6 aluminum ring to sit flush against the wheel. A gap could lead to problems, as the tire bead can put added pressure on the bolts, causing them to fail. After the locking ring was flush, we used a torque wrench to make sure everything was secure and even.
Not all tires have the same bead bundle thickness, which can be an issue with some beadlock wheels. Thankfully, the Trepadors fully seated in the allotted wheel groove, which allowed the 3⁄4-inch T-6 aluminum ring to sit flush against the wheel. A gap could lead to problems, as the tire bead can put added pressure on the bolts, causing them to fail. After the locking ring was flush, we used a torque wrench to make sure everything was secure and even. Not all tires have the same bead bundle thickness, which can be an issue with some beadlock wheels. Thankfully, the Trepadors fully seated in the allotted wheel groove, which allowed the 3⁄4-inch T-6 aluminum ring to sit flush against the wheel. A gap could lead to problems, as the tire bead can put added pressure on the bolts, causing them to fail. After the locking ring was flush, we used a torque wrench to make sure everything was secure and even.
With the bumpstops all sorted, we hit the RTI ramp to make sure everything cycles without issue. We found we needed to trim a tad more inside the front inner fenders, but everything else appeared to be in the clear. Ramp champ, this Jeep is not, but its low and wide stance (along with front and rear lockers) should easily make up for its lack of wheel travel. With the bumpstops all sorted, we hit the RTI ramp to make sure everything cycles without issue. We found we needed to trim a tad more inside the front inner fenders, but everything else appeared to be in the clear. Ramp champ, this Jeep is not, but its low and wide stance (along with front and rear lockers) should easily make up for its lack of wheel travel.
On-road, the Jeep rides and handles surprisingly well. We still haven’t re-installed the front sway bar, which will help remove some of the body roll. Overall, we could easily drive the Jeep cross-country, but we’d probably be in the poor house with the seemingly dismal fuel economy we are getting so far. On-road, the Jeep rides and handles surprisingly well. We still haven’t re-installed the front sway bar, which will help remove some of the body roll. Overall, we could easily drive the Jeep cross-country, but we’d probably be in the poor house with the seemingly dismal fuel economy we are getting so far.

Sources

Banks Power
Azusa, CA 91702
866-738-5915
http://www.bankspower.com
Daystar
Phoenix, AZ 85043
800-595-7659
www.daystarweb.com
Maxxis
Suwanee, GA 30024
800-462-9947
http://www.maxxis.com
Low Range 4x4
Wilimington, NC 28412
910-392-3204
www.lowrange4x4.com
G2 Axle & Gear
Compton, CA 90220
310-900-2687
www.g2axle.com
ATX Series Wheels
www.atxwheels.com
ARB
866-293-9078
www.arbusa.com

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