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A Trail-Prepped Cherokee

Posted in Project Vehicles on May 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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A Trail-Prepped Cherokee
Photographers: John Cappa
Todd Hoffman's '88 Jeep Cherokee. Todd Hoffman's '88 Jeep Cherokee.
Todd started to toy with this XJ in the early ’90s before there was much of an aftermarket following for the Cherokee, so many parts were homemade or adapted to fit from CJ and YJ parts. Todd started to toy with this XJ in the early ’90s before there was much of an aftermarket following for the Cherokee, so many parts were homemade or adapted to fit from CJ and YJ parts.
Two Cibie lights and a MileMarker 9000-pound winch call the custom front bumper home. Two Cibie lights and a MileMarker 9000-pound winch call the custom front bumper home.
Dynatrac also helped out the rear of the XJ with a Dana 60 sporting a Detroit Locker. The rear axle is held in place by National Springs and Rancho 9000 shocks. Dynatrac also helped out the rear of the XJ with a Dana 60 sporting a Detroit Locker. The rear axle is held in place by National Springs and Rancho 9000 shocks.
The XJ’s lift is a combination of Rubicon Express and Rancho parts, fender trimming, and Grand Cherokee front coils, which add a bit more lift to clear the 35-inch BFGs on American Racing rims. The XJ’s lift is a combination of Rubicon Express and Rancho parts, fender trimming, and Grand Cherokee front coils, which add a bit more lift to clear the 35-inch BFGs on American Racing rims.
The factory T-case’s hardware was upgraded with TeraLow gears, a JB Conversions shortshaft kit and 2WD low. A plethora of undercarriage protection was also home-fabbed to protect the rockers, the motor, T-case, transmission, and gas tank. The factory T-case’s hardware was upgraded with TeraLow gears, a JB Conversions shortshaft kit and 2WD low. A plethora of undercarriage protection was also home-fabbed to protect the rockers, the motor, T-case, transmission, and gas tank.
A custom-built Dana 44 from Dynatrac turns the front tires with the help of an ARB Air Locker and 4.56:1 gears, while an AGR Super Pump helps Todd turn the XJ towards any line he wants. A custom-built Dana 44 from Dynatrac turns the front tires with the help of an ARB Air Locker and 4.56:1 gears, while an AGR Super Pump helps Todd turn the XJ towards any line he wants.
Two air compressors and a whole lot of tools are mounted in the back of the Cherokee to make trailside repairs quick and easy. Two air compressors and a whole lot of tools are mounted in the back of the Cherokee to make trailside repairs quick and easy.
The factory T-case’s hardware was upgraded with TeraLow gears, a JB Conversions shortshaft kit and 2WD low. A plethora of undercarriage protection was also home-fabbed to protect the rockers, the motor, T-case, transmission, and gas tank. The factory T-case’s hardware was upgraded with TeraLow gears, a JB Conversions shortshaft kit and 2WD low. A plethora of undercarriage protection was also home-fabbed to protect the rockers, the motor, T-case, transmission, and gas tank.
The interior of the Cherokee was kept fairly stock, although Todd modified the tunes with the help of an Alpine deck and CD player. The interior of the Cherokee was kept fairly stock, although Todd modified the tunes with the help of an Alpine deck and CD player.

Sunday drives were not like this when we were kids. We usually jumped in to our ’76 Dodge Dart to tool around the countryside. The closest we came to four-wheelin’ was a muddy gravel road, which may have caused the Dart a few problems, but nothing the 318 and two-wheel drive couldn’t handle.

As for Todd Hoffman’s kids they get to see a bit more wheelin’ from the back seat of his metallic-grey ’88 XJ Cherokee. This Cherokee is not your average grocery getter/soccer practice vehicle, but an extremely solid well-built sleeper of a trail rig. We caught up with Todd on Axle Alley at last year’s Arizona Jamboree near his home town of Flagstaff, and were fairly impressed with its ability to follow CJs, flatties, and TJs up difficult trails. A combination of solid drivetrain, fender trimming, and a little backyard fabrication helped this XJ find its present form even before there were many aftermarket parts available for Cherokees.

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