1999 Jeep Cherokee - Disposable Hero: Part 6

    Hitting the Ramp and Road

    Ali MansourPhotographer, Writer

    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.

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