1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 3K, 3Day WJ

    Wrench Revival For A High-Mileage Grand Cherokee

    Ali MansourPhotographer, Writer

    If you’ve been an avid Jp reader for some time, you are likely familiar with our 3K, 3Day build series. The premise is simple. Take a more-or-less stock Jeep, a three-day weekend, and modify it as much as possible with a max budget of $3,000. To make the budget go further, we choose our home garage as our base for operations. Anytime you have to add installation to the ticket, prices will surely go up.

    For this installment, we are working on a ’99 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ. Our V-8 project Jeep has over 200,000 miles on the clock and was picked up for a great deal. As is the case with many bargains, the Jeep needed a little work here and there. Spanning from ’99 to ’04, the WJ is the last Grand Cherokee fit with a solid front axle. The aftermarket support for these Unitbody SUVs has grown tremendously over the years, and as such, more affordable part options are available.

    We knew the suspension on the Grand was in bad shape, but we didn’t realize the full extent of it until we crawled under the rig. Our original plan of an extremely budget-friendly 4-inch short-arm lift quickly began to fall apart after we realized the front upper control-arm mounts were cracked and the stock rear wishbone suspension member was literally coming apart at the axle end. After looking at available suspension upgrades, spending money to repair the factory parts just didn’t seem like a sound investment.

    Having to rearrange our budget to accommodate a better suspension made us remove a few wants but still allowed us to spend in an area that was tremendously needed. So, what did $3,000 end up getting us in the end? Plenty! In fact, despite spending nearly half on the Rough Country 4-inch long-arm, we still had enough to purchase a new tire set from Discount Tire Direct, a winch, winch mount, wheel spacers, and enough drill bits and sweet tea to keep the Labor Day weekend project on schedule. Here is how it all came together.

    Dirt Notes
    We learned a few things along the way with this kit that we figured we would pass along. For starters, Rough Country states that this kit does not work with all-wheel-drive models. Well, our V-8 is in fact an “all-wheel-drive” model and everything bolted up without a hitch. However, despite not having a Rezeppa-style driveshaft, we are experiencing a subtle vibration from the rear driveshaft. We will most likely need a longer driveline that’s equipped with a constant-velocity joint before long. Overall, we are pleased with how well the Jeep rides and drives. We did have to trim a little from the front bumper and around the wheelwell to run the 265/75R16 tires, but there wasn’t any major hacking involved.

    Price Breakdown
    Rough Country 4-inch long-arm $1,499.95
    Rough Country RC9500 winch $299.95
    Rough Country winch mount $229.95
    Rough Country wheel spacers ($59.95 x 2) $119.90
    Cooper Discoverer ATP tires ($136 x 4) $544.00
    Daystar winch isolator $29.95
    Shipping, drill bits, brake line $251.68
    Total $2,975.38

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