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Wee Wagon Wheeling

Posted in Project Vehicles on November 10, 2012 Comment (0)
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When the XJ Cherokee came out back in 1983 as an ’84 model, it was a turd. With an optional 2.8L V-6 barely putting out 10 more horsepower than the base 2.5L four-cylinder there really wasn’t a great engine to talk about. It was the first Jeep without a real frame and it had goofy square headlights. The fact that it had no removable top wouldn’t have been an issue if the windows were big enough to let any air in. Fortunately, it had those vent windows that made it really easy to break into.


Looking back on it though, the XJ was manufactured for 18 years, and with over 2,800,000 of them built, they are easy to find and cheap to buy. The 101-inch wheelbase means it has a great ride and is the envy of many short-wheelbase Jeep owners. The front coil/rear leaf suspension architecture works very well and provides great platform to build from.

They make good platforms for both prerunners and rockcrawlers and there really isn’t any one right way to build them. However, we’ve accumulated a lot of information on builds that work. Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way.

We didn’t mention the bumpers because you can beat on and mangle the factory bumpers for a long time before they fall off. However, you can’t beat your factory rockers and/or doors for too long before you can’t get in and out of the Jeep. Look for rockers with tubes that will help protect your doors. Whether they weld on like this DIY kit from GenRight Off Road, or bolt on to the pinch seam such as kits from Rusty’s Off-Road, Rocky Road Outfitters, or T&T Customs, you will want something to protect this long expanse of real estate.
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ARB 4x4 Products
Renton, WA 98057
GenRight Off-Road
Simi Valley, CA 93063
Rubicon Express
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
T&T Customs
Cheyenne, WY 82007
Deaver Suspension
Santa Ana, CA 92701
T And J Performance
JCR Off Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 353-1184
Iceland Offroad
Rocky Road Outfitters
Heber City, UT 84032
Rusty's Off Road
Alcan Spring
Roc Dog Fab
Ruff Stuff Specialties


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