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Old 03-18-2017, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default If you could do it ALL over again. (XJ Edition)

If you got a fresh canvas, and were not on a time constraint, and had all the knowledge you have gained over the years (of the goods and bads)...

What would you do to a stock XJ before you modded it? Or as you modded it? Not a mod setup question, just a preventative maintenance/prolonging life question. I know I have learned a lot over the last 13 or so years with what to do and what not to do, curious what other people would do as well.

I am considering swapping parts from my black XJ to the best possible base I can buy (low mileage 98-99), and I am willing to take my time, spend money, and make this thing last forever...if I do it.

Or maybe I will just buy a WK2
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:12 PM   #2
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Do you want my excel spreadsheet(s) on this lol!!!

Basically for a stock unmolested Xj I would:

Cooling system:
Hoses, t-stat, water pump and full flush and refill. Radiator if necessary.

Engine:
Replace header( if it hasn't already been replaced)
99+ intake( since you have it off for the header)
Neon injectors.

Electrical:
Durango or Zj ( don't remember which)higher amp alternator
Bad ass battery (odyssey, etc.)
Headlight harness upgrade

Steering:
Wj pump
Durango box
Wj knuckles

Axles: 30/8.25 29spl.
Gears Of your choice(and locker if you want)
Wj akebono brakes up front
Liberty rear disks.

Transmission: aw4
Full flush and new filter
Toyota truck pan(deeper and more fluid)

Transfer case:241j if possible or 231 with full rebuild including: sue ye
6pinion planetary
Wide chain

Frame:
Full frame stiffener before I lift it or take it off road(not totally necessary if you're doing easy stuff)

Then add your choice of suspension. I can go into that if you want...



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Old 03-18-2017, 01:16 PM   #3
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Hmmmm let's see. I haven't had many mechanical issues with my XJs so I would basically just find one that the body is in good shape. However, when I was looking it was for a 99 and down. Preferably 91-95 HO so it wouldn't have to deal with emissions and all that extra electrical nonsense they put on the newer ones. Though I prefer the old body style
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:21 PM   #4
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I guess what I am really getting at is, cutting problems off at the pass. Keeping it as OEM as possible with mechanicals but replacing problem sensors in advance, anti-seizing stuff, bracing certain points, that sort of thing.
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Old 03-18-2017, 03:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by HeavyMetal View Post
I guess what I am really getting at is, cutting problems off at the pass. Keeping it as OEM as possible with mechanicals but replacing problem sensors in advance, anti-seizing stuff, bracing certain points, that sort of thing.


So in that case, I suggest doing the cooling system, engine, and transmission maintenance I mentioned above and replace sensors as necessary.

IMO, Don't replace sensors until they go bad but if you wanted to id replace the oxygen sensor(s) and temp sensor( why not while you you're doing the cooling system).

The neutral safety switch can be by-passed by starting in neutral so you can at least keep going while on the trail and replace later.

I think if you did those things you should have a very reliable rig to DD or to wheel.


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Old 03-19-2017, 02:14 AM   #6
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Honestly....id do my exact build with the only exception being a 5 lug front swap and much more streetable tires...

5 lug swap is definitely coming sooner than later... after 9 different jeep builds, i did exactly what this thread is about
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:05 AM   #7
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I was unfortunately just able to do this.

I rolled my 98 beloved xj and we'll just like any other broken part, I wasn't going to let all my hard work go to waste. Soo I swapped a new shell.

This was a lot of work but at the same time I did things this time the way I wish I did the first time. Any of the work I wasn't so proud of is now replaced by what I learned I should have done in the first place.

So I guess my response is that I feel an xj on 35s geard with long arms is the ideal setup for an xj. I think from a performance point of view it's phenominal (for the fact that its a full body xj) and I still don't mind daily driving a rig built like that or even extended drives to the cape or pa don't bug me.

So here is what I would do.

Xj -4 door - standard trans. Reason for the standard. I think you get a slightly lower gear ratio over the auto when you have factory axles and just gears and locked also farrr less issues from a preventative maintenance point of view. Chassis needs to be stiffened front to rear again protect your investment. I prefer iron rock offroad stiffeners

1997 or 1998 motor. Imo best years because it's non renix but prior to the coil pack. So your still dealing with a distributor. In my rebuild I did oil pan gasket valve cover gasket, Rear main seal, spark plugs. Brand new water pump thermostat. Those are all parts I would replace if I was starting with a. Fresh rid. Eliminate leaks and any easy issues right off he bat

Suspension I would definitly choose a clayton 3 link. I run their 4.5" coils and leafs even tho their 3 link kit says you need 6.5" of lift. The three link is alot easier to adjust and I feel like it performs much better than my old radius arms. I would raise my front and rear upper shock mounts. Rear would be hoops in the truck bent to 90 degrees so everything can be sealed back up once holes are cut hoops welded and shocks installed. I would also raise my front upper mounts into the engine compartment. Both of these mods because I run 12" fox 2.0 shocks. Great performance and the longer shock gives me "allll da flecks" --- haveing the right parts and setup can prevent unibody issues or driveline issues down the road .

Axles would have to be geared 4.88 I would eliminate rear shock mounts and mount them off the leaf spring plate. Front axle would get high clearance lower control arm mounts. Truss c gussets and one ton steering. Raised read shock mounts will protect your shocks. Gears and lockers insure that you can crawl things and don't have to mash the skinny pedal to concour obsticles.

T case just a 231 with an aa sye. No need to spend bucoo bucks on a 241 or Tera low. But I have a Novak shofter and it was the best tcase mod that could be done!

Armor is simple t case gas tank and engine skid front and rear bumpers. All overlooked usually but vital to keeping your parts safe!

It was a lot of work completely digging through an xj but also so rewarding. So many new points to my jeep that I can't wait to show off compared to before when I was hoping people wouldn't notice things. Also having the knowlege of what I had to do made the job a lot more "fun" the second time around. Having done a lot of the wear and tear items on the xj and a lot of preventative maintenance is comforting
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:05 AM   #8
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I would never run a 3 link.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:08 AM   #9
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Honestly....id do my exact build with the only exception being a 5 lug front swap and much more streetable tires...

5 lug swap is definitely coming sooner than later... after 9 different jeep builds, i did exactly what this thread is about
Streetable tires??!?!??! YOU PURPOSELY BOUGHT SHITBOX INTERCO TIRES! YOU DID ALL OF THIS TO YOURSELF
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:15 AM   #10
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Or maybe I will just buy a WK2
Still not buying a tow rig? IMO seems like a more sensible idea, something to put all your camera gear in and be able to two your jeep when you want to go wheeling out of state. Maybe a newer 2500 Suburban, or Excursion. Or Quigly Van because that would be awesome
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:36 AM   #11
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Still not buying a tow rig? IMO seems like a more sensible idea, something to put all your camera gear in and be able to two your jeep when you want to go wheeling out of state. Maybe a newer 2500 Suburban, or Excursion. Or Quigly Van because that would be awesome
A tow rig is the exact opposite of what I am trying to accomplish lol. A tow rig for Heavy would make sense, but for a mild streetable exploration Jeep it defeats the entire purpose for me. By the nature of what it is, it sees road/trail time over long distance even if it was towed to the area where it was going. Plus where does the camera equipment go when I go out with the Jeep? In the Jeep...so.......
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:37 AM   #12
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I dont really need specific off road setup advice, I already have every part and the whole build dialed in 100% on an existing Jeep, was just curious what problem areas that result in breakdowns/usability issues people had thought of/experienced that can be addressed in advance. I have had an overwhelming experience in that
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:18 PM   #13
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Having done a lot of the wear and tear items on the xj and a lot of preventative maintenance is comforting
I think these are the things he's looking for, not how you'd build your jeep....

My thoughts? Find a low mileage 98-99 XJ that's clean and leave everything alone except your suspension.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:34 AM   #14
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I would never run a 3 link.
Why? I wouldn't consider anything else. Unless you can jump to a triangulated front which just isn't really possible on a jeep chassis.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:14 AM   #15
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I would never run a 3 link.
My bad I corrected it.

Suspension I would definitly choose a Rough country short arm lift. I run their 1.5" coils and add a leafs. The short arms are alot easier to adjust and I feel like it performs much betterer. I would raise my front and rear upper shock mounts. Rear would be hoops in the truck bent to 90 degrees so everything can be sealed back up once holes are cut hoops welded and shocks installed. I would also raise my front upper mounts into the engine compartment. Both of these mods because I run 12" procomp shocks. Great performance and the longer shock gives me "allll da flecks" --- haveing the right parts and setup can prevent unibody issues or driveline issues down the road .
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