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1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
06-21-2016, 07:08 AM
Post: #1
1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
In November of last year (2015), I found myself in a situation where I needed a new jeep quick. Someone hit my last Cherokee on 33s on the side and rolled it over, crushing the roof. Insurance didn't give me anything so I didn't have a whole lot to spend. After searching craigslist in the general area for days, I came across this in the Rutland, Vermont list
[Image: mms95img1687639728_zpsjv1drtun.jpg]
Completely clean underneath, no rust. Bought from west Virginia originally, so federal emissions Big Grin only 108,000 miles, still has window sticker and all original paperwork. Its a limited, so its fully loaded with all the fancy options, but on the window sticker they deleted the v8 and fulltime transfer case option so it is a 4.0 and np242 t case. Even better for me, those fulltime cases are trouble and I've got a room full of 4.0 parts at home. For 800$, the jeep was mine. It just had bad front brakes, which I changed right in her parking lot before driving to Syracuse, and bad tires.

And here is where I start working on it....
Clearly the thing was bone stock when I bought it, and that was gonna change quick. My plan for this jeep was for it to be my comfortable daily driver/road trip/main vehicle, but to also be able to wheel it and take it out on extended camping/wilderness trips where I can live out of it. I love going down to the Catskills and ADKS. So pretty much, a mild, in between build with nothing crazy. I wanted to keep it low COG after my last Cherokee flipped two times. Front and rear pads and rotors, a fresh oil change and a working sway link started me off. From there, I swapped over my Durango v8 136 amp alternator from my last jeep, put on a magnaflow muffler and tailpipe to replace the crappy stock muffler, and gave it a tune up (screaming demon coil, accel cap rotor wires, plugs). Scored a set of the four hole mustang injectors from the junkyard.. Rebuilt them with new o rings and pintle's and threw those in too. And from that point, I scored a set of SWEET old xj turbine/wagon wheels with caps for helping a buddy lift his his xj, and got a set of 31"s for it.
[Image: 20151209_115504_zps96gczic9.jpg]
Here it is at this point in time, stock height with 31s. Those rims were plastidipped black, so I spent a week taking that crap off and repainted them graphite/gunmetal dark silver. Well 31s fit on a stock zj, but rub bad, so I put on a spacer lift that I had kicking around. Didn't realize it at the time, but the rear is 3" lift and front is 2". Four Rusty's shocks and it was all in, and looking MUCH better. Time to get ready for wheeling....
I got my free trailer hitch from the dealer for the recall on these, (can't beat a free hitch/recovery point), changed all 4 speakers inside, changed out the gear oil and replaced both diff covers, and installed a cb and a magnetic antenna for now. Finally got my hatch working, a new handle, new glass shocks, new hatch shocks and it all works. Ordered a set of Rusty's tow hooks and brackets just in time to test it out up at Gary's for the pancake breakfast run. It held its own pretty well, although the transfer case kept losing 4-low and I was having trouble getting up some hills cause of that. When my girlfriend held the lever all the way back it seemed to do fine... Something I'll look into eventually haha.
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06-21-2016, 07:40 AM
Post: #2
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
cant wait to see its progress
looks clean for VT
my son is buying my moms 98ZJ off her, making payments
so if I can get him on here we'll have another

ExpeditionNorth.com Its not about the destination, its the journey.
2004 GMC Yukon & 1966 Stevens M416 trailer
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06-21-2016, 07:50 AM
Post: #3
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
I apologize for lengthiness of this all, for anyone who's still reading. I figured I might as well document how it got to where it is now.
New Westin bull bar, I trimmed up my front bumper cover with a hacksaw, scored a surco roof rack from a kid that came to my work, got an ATP header from summit racing, an equal length runner intake manifold, put a TJ intake tube and k&n filter on it all the way up at the passenger side of the engine bay, changed both o2 sensors, and axle u joints. Probably a lot more that I'm forgetting. I keep up on this thing quite a bit and treat it very well. I've already driven it 16000 miles since November!!
Here's how it looks about now
[Image: 20160530_185620_zpsrmyedhmi.jpg]
Kayaking at Seneca river near howlands island
[Image: 20160327_183632_zpsuyvgyzm0.jpg]
After some wheelin and with the TJ in the background
[Image: 20160221_130315_zpsnlfvsjki.jpg]
Pancake wheelin. Took the bumper cover off for that run.
So far I'm pretty happy with this jeep. Not a huge ZJ fan but this thing is growing on me. I installed a TJ fuel filler bezel and trashed the stock fuel door on it as well. I also got a set of 4.10 ring pinion and carriers for the d30 and 35 that I'll install when I have the money to pay a professional haha. My plans at this point in time for it are, belly and skid plates to make it safely through blues and maybe a black or two at rausch creek, maybe a locker when I get the 4.10s put in, replacing my worn out all terrains, changing over to the v8 tie rod set up, and possibly doing a front to rear coil swap lift. I'm undecided on whether I will leave it at 2.5 inches of lift or go a little bigger. I will definitely be adding another 1" spacer to level the front and rear. Keep in mind, I drive this thing 40 miles a day minimum to work and back, 5 days a week aha. I have a cheap Cherokee I just bought that I plan on building up strictly for wheelin.

(06-21-2016 07:40 AM)AA1PR Wrote:  cant wait to see its progress
looks clean for VT
my son is buying my moms 98ZJ off her, making payments
so if I can get him on here we'll have another

Thanks! It spent most its life in WV and only a winter in VT. it sat for most its life, hence the low miles. My last 1998 zj had 226000 when I bought it haha. But they are great rigs for up north. The fulltime option on the transfer case rocks in the snow, and they are built pretty tough. Hopefully that jeep treats your son well!! The only thing you really gotta watch for on these are the transmissions, other than that its basic jeep stuff.
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06-21-2016, 07:47 PM
Post: #4
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
That's going to be at the next RC trip right Cool

Mike
2000 XJ Cherokee - 3.5'' lift / 32'' Tirerecapper Pizza Cutters / Front Locker
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06-22-2016, 07:56 AM
Post: #5
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
(06-21-2016 07:47 PM)Miller88 Wrote:  That's going to be at the next RC trip right Cool

Yes it will!! Just have to juggle my money between skid plates and better tires and it will be ready to hit some blues and maybe a black!
Unless your talking about my cheep Cherokee? Idk how long it will take that to be ready.. And I might want to trailer it there and back
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06-24-2016, 06:23 PM
Post: #6
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
I've been tinkering with my jeep this week, trying to get some things taken care, nothing major yet, I'm trying to save my money for a new set of tires, some skid plates, and for someone to install my 4.10 gears. But I did get myself a set of hella 500s from work to put on my bull bar...
[Image: 20160624_190324_zps8emcjyzi.jpg]
And I changed my plugs. I tried something different last time and ran autolite platinums. Very disappointed with their performance, so I put in a set of trusty champion coppers, gapped at .45 (I run a screaming demon coil which says I can run up to .65 but that's crazy), and put in a 180 degree thermostat. Painted the thermostat housing and took some under hood pics..
[Image: 20160624_190414_zpss4j6wsnc.jpg]
I like running my intake all the way up there because the factory intake is so down low it sucks water right in.
[Image: 20160624_190441_zpsmcy4kvj7.jpg]
And here's the t stat housing.. I'm actually posting this while this is drying haha. I am a big fan of the VHT paint.
[Image: 20160624_190638_zps5htir3bl.jpg]
Just trying to get everything ready for the anniversary run. Basically the only thing I need at this point are better tires. My all terrains are whooped, and I'm hoping I can get my funds together enough to buy a new set of mud terrains. If not, I have a set of BFG AT 30"s in great shape I could run for it.
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06-24-2016, 08:32 PM
Post: #7
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
Good location for the intake. That should keep you out of trouble in most scenarios (unless you slip off into the pond at Gary's, then not so much!).
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06-24-2016, 08:36 PM
Post: #8
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
nice work
rig looks sweet

ExpeditionNorth.com Its not about the destination, its the journey.
2004 GMC Yukon & 1966 Stevens M416 trailer
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06-26-2016, 09:54 PM
Post: #9
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
I gotta put that tj intake I have on at some point ... want to do a cone filter in the same way.

Mike
2000 XJ Cherokee - 3.5'' lift / 32'' Tirerecapper Pizza Cutters / Front Locker
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06-27-2016, 10:21 AM
Post: #10
RE: 1998 grand Cherokee, expedition/daily driver rig
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the support!
Its tempting to just lift this thing big, but it defeats the purpose. I drive the jeep 50 miles every day to work and back, and take it on a lot of road trips, especially far out expeditions into the Adirondacks and Catskills. So I wanted something comfortable, yet capable. And yeah that is a tj tube from the parts jeep I bought last summer. What I did was cut the tube before the bend so I could put a cone on it. I was thinking about putting the complete tj intake on with the box, and moving the battery to the other side of the engine bay. I know someone who did that to his zj. But it kinda defeats the purpose, my idea was to keep the intake as high and dry as possible. Then the only thing I have to worry about is keeping an extra cap and rotor in the jeep haha!
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