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97 Jeep cherokee
What to do...
February 28, 2022
5:05 pm
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Mike G
Newcastle, CA
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Well it's been so long since I've been out I've been itching to get out and this beauty just came my way and I couldn't pass up the deal so I think I'm going to run with it a bit. Still need to get it home but it's mine!

February 28, 2022
5:08 pm
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Mike G
Newcastle, CA
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March 1, 2022
1:44 pm
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Jamie (K6NUB)
Fiddletown
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Awesome! Love seeing them on the trail!

K6NUB

March 1, 2022
10:47 pm
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Specialsoundman
Sacramento, CA
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Congratulations !!

If I can't build it, then it's something that should be bought.

March 5, 2022
5:13 pm
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Mike G
Newcastle, CA
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Got her home today and now to start cleaning her out lots of tools and junk in it, got to love buying stolen recovery vehicles from tow yards just need to watch for needles. First thing I'm going to look into are the unibody frame stiffeners.

Anyone else have any ideas of what one of these bad boys needs to make it more reliable? I think Brad has mentioned having one before anyone else been down this road?

March 5, 2022
6:17 pm
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Josh
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Congrats Mike. Have fun building it!

Semper Fi

March 6, 2022
12:36 pm
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BKGM Jeepers
Folsom
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Mike G said
Got her home today and now to start cleaning her out lots of tools and junk in it, got to love buying stolen recovery vehicles from tow yards just need to watch for needles. First thing I'm going to look into are the unibody frame stiffeners.

Anyone else have any ideas of what one of these bad boys needs to make it more reliable? I think Brad has mentioned having one before anyone else been down this road?

  

97 has the 4.0 so you got the correct motor.  I believe they don't have the D44 rear, so that may be an upgrade to consider.  

Frame stiffeners are a good first upgrade.  Your whole front end is a TJ.  But your rear is leaf springs. so search for used/cheap upgrade parts across both platforms where your XJ is compatible.  Fun!

March 6, 2022
1:40 pm
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Mike G
Newcastle, CA
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BKGM Jeepers said

Mike G said

Got her home today and now to start cleaning her out lots of tools and junk in it, got to love buying stolen recovery vehicles from tow yards just need to watch for needles. First thing I'm going to look into are the unibody frame stiffeners.

Anyone else have any ideas of what one of these bad boys needs to make it more reliable? I think Brad has mentioned having one before anyone else been down this road?

  

97 has the 4.0 so you got the correct motor.  I believe they don't have the D44 rear, so that may be an upgrade to consider.  

Frame stiffeners are a good first upgrade.  Your whole front end is a TJ.  But your rear is leaf springs. so search for used/cheap upgrade parts across both platforms where your XJ is compatible.  Fun!

  

Does that mean if I could find a cheap TJ Rubicon 44 front axles it's a simple swap or is there still lots of stuff needed to do that swap?

March 7, 2022
7:27 am
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BKGM Jeepers
Folsom
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Mike G said

BKGM Jeepers said

Mike G said

Got her home today and now to start cleaning her out lots of tools and junk in it, got to love buying stolen recovery vehicles from tow yards just need to watch for needles. First thing I'm going to look into are the unibody frame stiffeners.

Anyone else have any ideas of what one of these bad boys needs to make it more reliable? I think Brad has mentioned having one before anyone else been down this road?

  

97 has the 4.0 so you got the correct motor.  I believe they don't have the D44 rear, so that may be an upgrade to consider.  

Frame stiffeners are a good first upgrade.  Your whole front end is a TJ.  But your rear is leaf springs. so search for used/cheap upgrade parts across both platforms where your XJ is compatible.  Fun!

  

Does that mean if I could find a cheap TJ Rubicon 44 front axles it's a simple swap or is there still lots of stuff needed to do that swap?

  

It bolts right in.

March 7, 2022
12:20 pm
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kris_olof
El Dorado
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I've personally owned 2 XJs and in college another 4 went through our house by way of roommates. Bolts right in but I would take a HP 30 over the LP 44.  Yes the LP44 is stronger and comes with a locker, but the 30 will live on 33s locked or 35s open, give better ground clearance, and doesn't suffer from quite the same inflated value currently.  Additionally, everything outside of the diff is identical and ring gears aren't known as the weak point on those HP30s.  To fit anything more than 33s you are getting into needing long arms.  Your rear axle is the 29spline 8.25 which is good for 35s.  Just add some diff covers.

I would grab a front CV shaft from a junk yard as these are usually a bolt in when you use a standard SYE kit.

Springs are cheap so just buy some new coils online in the lift amount you want.  Anything more than 3.5" gets super rough without long arms.  

Rear springs aren't too expensive but there are some "bastard pack" recipes online using parts from stock and junk yard S10 and Dakota springs if you are on a budget.  

My XJ parts pile is mostly gone by now but I think I have some TJ 3" front coils (but are super stiff without a heavy winch and bumper) and should net about 2".  You are welcome to try them if interested. May also have some coil spacers lying around but I would have to hunt.

Whatever you do, don't cheap out on steering and front track bar. Get the Currie or Synergy steering if you plan on daily driving or the roughstuff 1ton kit if its just a trail rig.  Teraflex bar will work for up to 3-4" but anything more and look at the MetalCloak or Clayton double shear bars.  Not a fan of any single sheer track bars nor any that use a heim up front, they fail too damn quick.

March 13, 2022
1:50 pm
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Mike G
Newcastle, CA
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kris_olof said
I've personally owned 2 XJs and in college another 4 went through our house by way of roommates. Bolts right in but I would take a HP 30 over the LP 44.  Yes the LP44 is stronger and comes with a locker, but the 30 will live on 33s locked or 35s open, give better ground clearance, and doesn't suffer from quite the same inflated value currently.  Additionally, everything outside of the diff is identical and ring gears aren't known as the weak point on those HP30s.  To fit anything more than 33s you are getting into needing long arms.  Your rear axle is the 29spline 8.25 which is good for 35s.  Just add some diff covers.

I would grab a front CV shaft from a junk yard as these are usually a bolt in when you use a standard SYE kit.

Springs are cheap so just buy some new coils online in the lift amount you want.  Anything more than 3.5" gets super rough without long arms.  

Rear springs aren't too expensive but there are some "bastard pack" recipes online using parts from stock and junk yard S10 and Dakota springs if you are on a budget.  

My XJ parts pile is mostly gone by now but I think I have some TJ 3" front coils (but are super stiff without a heavy winch and bumper) and should net about 2".  You are welcome to try them if interested. May also have some coil spacers lying around but I would have to hunt.

Whatever you do, don't cheap out on steering and front track bar. Get the Currie or Synergy steering if you plan on daily driving or the roughstuff 1ton kit if its just a trail rig.  Teraflex bar will work for up to 3-4" but anything more and look at the MetalCloak or Clayton double shear bars.  Not a fan of any single sheer track bars nor any that use a heim up front, they fail too damn quick.

  

Thanks for the info makes me second guess looking for the Rubicon axles, it's already got a lift on it not sure how big but it's at least a 4.5" I think so I don't need anymore lift as of yet. Frame stiffeners, bumpers and seatbelts cause the theif cut them all out of this rig is the first things I need/want 

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