How many "hail Mary"s will it take...

City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#1
I no longer own a Scrambler, much less any CJ at all.

I do, however, own a '93 XJ 2-door project that I'll be building with my 10-year-old daughter (thanks to BOBCAT), and it'll be her vehicle when she gets her driver's permit/license. I subsequently bought 3 XJ parts vehicles for dirt cheap (all ran/drove).

I'll be matching Mira dollar-for-dollar on the cost to build the XJ, and she'll be doing much of the work, including learning how to weld. She already helped me do some tack welding on a trailer, and wants to do some welding on her very own Jeep.

Forgive me, CJ brothers, for I have sinned. :rotfl:

I added a pic of Mira's Jeep when I was test-fitting some 31" BFG KM2s on it. At this point, the interior has been stripped out, and the front clip removed (have clean, dent-free body panels to replace the tweaked ones).

Craig

Net Project Investment: $549.75 (12/10/2011)

Mira's Jeep courtesy of BOBCAT (again, I can't thank you enough, Don!)


Parts rig #1 ('96 XJ 4.0/AW4 auto):


Parts rig #2 ('94 XJ 4.0/AW4 auto):


Parts rig #3 ('92 XJ 4.0/AX-15 manual):



Here are the specs so far on Mira's Jeep:

  • 1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2-Door
  • '99 XJ interior swap, including all wiring/gauges/dash
  • '99 4.0L HO engine with 94K miles...runs very well
  • '99 AW4 auto
  • '99 NP-231 transfer case
  • '05 LJ Dana 30 front/trussed Dana 44 rear axles (3.73 gearing with limited-slip in the rear) from my Jeep (low-mileage...only 53K)
  • 4-wheel disc brakes
  • 2" TeraFlex BB spacers (front) OR 4" TJ springs (which should net 3" lift on the XJ)...unsure at this point.
  • TeraFlex front lower control arms
  • '05 LJ OEM Jeep Ravine wheels
  • 31" x 10.5" BF Goodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain tires
  • H.D. Offroad Engineering Shackle Relocation Kit (rear)
  • JCR Offroad DIY front bumper, Rear Bumper TBD
  • JCR Offroad Transfer Case skid plate
  • (planned) Iceland Offroad high-clearance flares (no suspension lift planned for vehicle)
  • (planned) Rock sliders (probably custom-built by RockSolid Performance)
  • (hopefully) Custom-built RockSolid Performance interior or hybrid roll cage
  • (planned) Synergy Green exterior paint (OEM color on the new Camaros)




EDIT: As the project has progressed, we have gotten some sponsors that Mira & I would like to recognize.


Company Sponsors :d::


Mira & I would like to thank BJ at RockSolid Performance here in Cedar Springs, Michigan for the pro bono custom machine work on her rear Dana 44 truss, some new Dana 44 U-bolts and the braided stainless rear soft brake line kit. Much appreciated, guys! :thumb:




Thanks for the caliper paint, seam sealer, internal frame coating, PRE cleaner, and cleaning discs, Matt. Much appreciated.



Thanks for the sweet Ballistic kid-sized skull t-shirt, Dave!



Thanks for the new TeraFlex adjustable lower control arms, Sterling!



Individual Sponsors:
  • BOBCAT (Don): The whole project is a reality because our friend Don hooked us up with a fairly clean, '93 XJ 2-dr. "carcass". Thank you so much, Don!
  • Brewmenn (Bruce): Thank you for hooking us up with a clean set of FREE doors. Much appreciated. :thumb:
  • mrclean (Travis): Transport of parts, and donation of some Hummer D-rings/mounts.
  • JeepMann (Steve): A set of Dana 30 knuckles. Thanks Steve! :gotsand:
  • big_ol_bronco78 (Dave): Free parts transfer/delivery. Thanks man!
  • Shane Rugg: SCREAMIN'-good deal on a low-mileage 1999 XJ parts vehicle. Thanks again, Shane. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
  • Ron Peterson (cj8ron): NEW late-model XJ header panel for a "facelift" front clip swap (WOOT!), fan shroud, and several other XJ parts we can use. Thank you so much, Ron. :thumb:
  • Aaron Smuda (Porscheguy): Adjustable lower control arms & some TJ 4" lift springs. Thanks for your generosity, Aaron. We hope to return the favor someday!
  • TJontherox (Ryan): New XJ grill insert. Thanks Ryan!
  • alix4d (Alix): FREE transport of donated parts.

Project Coverage
  • Check out this Eastwood Blog covering Mira's Jeep project.
  • Featured on Page 56 of the January 2012 edition of "Jp Magazine". Thanks guys!
 
Last edited:

rustycrawler

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Reston
State
VA
#2
Seven Our Fathers and Six Hail Mary's.

You might still be able to sell all thoses XJ parts and buy a nice CJ-8 worthy of your time and effort.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#3
Kate and I have talked at different times about Laura's first vehicle and an XJ constantly comes up :thumbsup:

What about moving this to the non-scrambler builds and having it be her build thread :D Let me know.
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#4
Kate and I have talked at different times about Laura's first vehicle and an XJ constantly comes up :thumbsup:

What about moving this to the non-scrambler builds and having it be her build thread :D Let me know.
That would be great, Eric. Here's Mira's first "build thread" post from the GL4x4 forum (just for entertainment value...you've gotta love the kid!):

This is my jeep cherokee - thanks to our friend Don Briney-aka-BOBCAT. Were still trying to figure out what its going to look like when its done... :rotfl: I'm going to work on it a lot with my dad,.....but you never know...dads a talker-he might do more explaining than doing... :ZZZ:

-Mira :rock:
Plans for Mira's XJ will include:
  • 4.0L engine
  • Either AW4 auto or AX-15 manual transmission (still not sure)
  • NP-231 or NP-242 t-case (both are options)
  • D30 front axle, D44 rear (most likely with 3.73 gearing)
  • 31" BFG KM2 tires
  • Custom bumpers front & rear
  • BBQ black paint
  • Gray interior
  • (Maybe) On-Board Air

We'll have a lot of fun with this XJ, I'm sure. We'll probably get some help from her little sis', Maeve, too (although Maeve wants a VW Bug for her project eventually).

Craig
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#5
Moved with a redirect from the main forum... can't wait!! Now off to find the GL thread.

:popcorn:
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#8
We're good with XJ's...right?:D

I'm enjoying the heck out of mine, it's about the 5th one in our family. My daughter's first driver was an XJ...she beat the heck out of it for 7 years before selling it...and I still see it on the road today.
 

rustycrawler

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Reston
State
VA
#9
If I had to limit myself to only one car, it would be an XJ. Great all around everything car.
 

breckwrecking

Narrow Tracker
City
Kittery
State
ME
#10
This looks like fun!! Thats a great idea to get her started early and let her have the overall say in it. Can't wait to see this build progress, i'm a big fan of xj's.
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#12
Lots of big news with Mira's project...

First, I picked up one of these this weekend.


I own several Jeep Haynes Manuals, but didn't have an XJ one around.


On the parts front, my buddy Travis (mrclean on my local Jeep board) rounded up some great parts for us on the east side of the state (Metro Detroit), and even delivered them to me last week...I owe him big-time! Among these were:

  • A straight, rust-free set of doors
  • A set of Jeep Ravine wheels
  • Some Hummer D-ring shackles that Travis donated to the cause.

The Ravine wheels don't pop up for sale that often, and 3 of the 5 have some salt damage/corrosion under the clearcoat. BUT, the price was pretty reasonable, so I picked them up. Because of the corrosion damage, I'm thinking we'll have them sandblasted & powdercoated satin black (just a little less sheen than these). Once we do, my plan is to give Mira the 31" BFG KM2s that are on my '05 LJ, and step up to a 33" version of the same tire on my Jeep. I'll see how things shake out with my tax return in the spring.




So, with these parts, and some other buying/trading, we have a rust-free, dent-free front clip, and replacement doors. The only real bodywork we'll have to have done is having some minor dents on the quarter panels fixed, and one big dent on the roof.


I do want to get some driveline input from y'all, though.

The '92 2-dr. parts vehicle has a good-running 4.0L and AX-15 manual transmission with 157K on the ticker. Mira's Jeep will definitely get the motor, after the routine parts replacements (belts, hoses, gaskets & rear main seal). The 5-speed trans shifts through all the gears nicely, and I'm considering using it for Mira's Jeep for a few reasons:

  • Incremental gain in fuel economy over using an automatic
  • The AX-15 trans works well...I drove the vehicle home.
  • I feel that everyone should know how to drive a stick, yet there are a TON of people who don't have a clue how to do so. My personal opinion is that you have to be more "engaged" as a driver, which means there is less temptation do do junk like texting, etc. (she'll lose priveleges to her Jeep if I ever find out she'll doing stuff like that).
  • (Minor detail) Her '93 XJ was originally a 4.0L/AX-15, so this driveline would align to the original equipment set-up.

The AX-15 transmission works well, but I'd still probably consider replacing the (internal) slave cylinder, and possibly the syncros before installing it in Mira's Jeep. Supposedly, it has a newer clutch, but I'd inspect that at the same time. I have never done a syncros replacement before, so any input as to how easy/difficult this is would be appreciated. I just don't want to have to pull the stinkin' thing after it's in the vehicle for good.

The other option is using an AW-4 automatic, for which I also have a good-working unit from a '96 XJ.


For now, the first order of business is addressing some patches in the front floorpans. Mira got workin' with the Dremel tool this weekend, cutting out one of the small sections of the floor that'll need replacing. She did well, and only let out one squeal when the Dremel cutting disc shattered unexpectedly :rotfl: (I explained that it has happened to me a few times, too). Some of the dented body panels from the parts vehicles will be repurposed as floor panel patches, where needed.

Craig




Afterward, we enjoyed a little Halloween craziness. Here's Mira's "Death by Zombie" pose. :D

 

Polarfire

Jeep Aficionado
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Columbia
State
MO
#13
Awesome pics! I completely agree on the AX-15. Everyone should know how to drive a stick. My first truck was a stick and I'm glad I learned how to drive one at an early age.
 

cchambers

Legacy Registered User
City
Sioux Falls
State
SD
#17
IF MORE PARENTS WOULD INVOLVE THERE CHILDREN IN PROJECTS LIKE THIS THE BETTER OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES WOULD BE.

THIS IS A GREAT BUILD.:thumbsup:
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#18
IF MORE PARENTS WOULD INVOLVE THERE CHILDREN IN PROJECTS LIKE THIS THE BETTER OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES WOULD BE.

THIS IS A GREAT BUILD.:thumbsup:
Thank you, cchambers.


Lots of project updates...

As an early Christmas present, I took advantage of a Black Friday sale, and got a JCR Offroad rear bumper at a great price. They're a local company based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan (yea, Michigan business!!!). Here's what it looks like painted/installed. Mira was very happy to hear that she had hardcore bumper on the way :cool: (she has yet to see it, though).




I also picked up these Blair spot weld cutter kit and Rotabroach kits to help cut out the spot welds on the portions of the floorpans that we'll have to replace. Apparently, they're a Flint-based (Michigan) company - more Michigan business! They're pretty slick...more to come on these.




I also picked up a set of like-new Rubicon front coil springs (and misc. other parts) on craigslist. They have been listed for several months, but were grossly overpriced. After several price drops, they became a very good deal, and I got them. There were several other OEM Rubicon suspension parts included (sway bar links, etc.), along with a TJ bottle jack/handle, which we'll also use for Mira's XJ.

I'm hoping the Rubicon springs give us an additional 1/2" or so of lift in the front (combined with 2" Teraflex BB spacers). I have heard varying things about TJ springs not lifting XJs, but we'll see.



We spent time cutting apart the '94 XJ 2-dr. parts rig with the sawzall
(JC would be proud). We then loaded the "carcass" up in my military trailer, for a pending trip to the steel recycler. We got a whopping $84.40 back, and helped the planet in the process. :rotfl:



 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#19
Behold, the king of scrap! :rotfl: Yes, that's an entire XJ carcass in the trailer.




I got to work this weekend with my new Blair spot weld cutter & Rotobroach kits. These things work well, and make pretty short business of separating the spot-welded sheet metal. I got the driver front foot area cut out, and will work tomorrow on cutting/grinding some sheet metal from an old hood to fit. I radiused most of the corners, with the thought that there will be less chance of stress cracking down the road after welding in the new sheet metal (this may or may not be over-planning, but...). Before the new sheet metal is laid in place, the tops of the frame rails will get a treatment of Naval Jelly to neutralize any residual rust, and then some 3-M Weld-Thru Primer.



...and here's the makeshift replacment floorpan piece that was made from part of the old hood. It'll be plug welded to the frame rails (to replace the OEM spot welds), and butt-welded around the perimeter. I didn't want to lap-weld a piece over top of the existing floorpan, as it's just another place for rust to start.




I also spent about an hour with a grinder/flapwheel, and a orbital sander cleaning up the corners on Mira's new JCR rear bumper. The bumper's a nice piece, but the finish grinding was a little sloppy/rough. I got it test-fit on the Jeep, and am very happy with the way it looks. I just need to get it in a coat of primer until we're ready to topcoat it.

The way they recess the hitch into the bumper is really slick, and gives a streamlined look to the bumper...nice work, JCR. :cool: I did slide a ball mount into the hitch, and it's a little looser/sloppier than I expected. We can always use a silent hitch pin to tighten things up for towing, if needed.

 

Bad Karma

Captain Sarcasm
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Garden Hill, Ontario, Cana
State
da
#20
this is awesome... PLanning on doing the same thing with my little guy when he is old enough (he's 3 right now.)

He already "helps" me with my Jeeps. I had to change the shocks when we were camping in the summer. he was under the Jeep with a wrench fixing my exhaust. (tapping the wrench on the muffler).

I wont commit blasphemy though, he'll have a CJ. ;)
 
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