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1999 Jeep Cherokee - Disposable Hero: Part 4

Bump, Steer & Track

Ali MansourPhotographer, Writer

As we’re writing this, the first freeze of the year is hitting the Carolina coast. By the time this hits the newsstands, it will be winter. If you live in a place that gets walloped with frigid conditions, you’ve probably learned to make the chilly season project-catch-up time. Over the course of each winter, we’ve spent countless cold nights in the garage with nothing but a small space heater and grand ambitions to keep us wrenching through the evening hours.

One of our more common winter-time installs would be to swap in a new-to-us (technically used most of the time) axle set. It’s with this memory of axle swapping in our pre-editor days that we can’t help but laugh at the fact that, over a decade later, we are at it again. This time, we’re in a much larger and nicer garage at Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Last month, we went through our new G2 Axle & Gear Core 44 rear axle, and placed it under our ’99 Jeep Cherokee XJ. This month, we are hanging the matching JK-specific G2 Core 44 axlehousing up front. While two spring perches and a set of shock tabs made for an easy install out back, we knew there would be more fabrication involved to get the axle properly secured up front. For you Interweb aficionados, you may have researched a similar XJ-to-JK axle conversion.

If you believe everything you read on the web (why wouldn’t you?), you may have read that the JK axle is a simple “bolt-in” conversion. This isn’t entirely correct. Since we were aware of the challenges of installing a stock JK housing into an XJ, we had our G2 front axle sent the same as our rear, sans mounting brackets. This made it much easier for us to get everything placed exactly where it needed to be.

We still have a little ways to go, but we are making great strides towards the finish line. Be sure to check back next month as we give our steering a little assist and make appropriations for our 37-inch-tall Maxxis tires.