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Have you anytime pulled an all-nighter afore a big chase or off-road event? Well, I haven’t, but it looks like I’m headed bottomward that path, as my old $600 Craigslist Jeep Cherokee still needs bags of assignment afore it can exhausted Moab.

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I bought this 1995 Jeep aftermost abatement with the ambition of sprucing it up to booty it to Moab’s 50th Easter Jeep Safari, a huge off-roading Jeep anniversary in Utah and one of the better four-wheeling contest in the country.

Reality hit me adamantine the added day; I’ve got to drive my old Cherokee 1,600 afar from Michigan to Utah, exhausted the applesauce out of it on some of the world’s best betraying terrain, and again drive it back.

Now, active a decayed $600 car 25 hours is already a alpine order. But to drive it 25 hours, accident it up on some rocks and again drive it addition 25 hours? Pshh. Ambiguous impossible.

But I’m all for blame boundaries, so I’m added aflame than I am intimidated.

That ability change in a few weeks, because I’m behind. Oh boy am I behind. I plan to leave ancient about the 18th of March, acceptation I’ve got about bristles weeks to go. That apparently sounds like affluence of time, but I’ve still got bags of assignment to do, and I’ll be freezing my Arsch off in an unheated barn actuality in southeast Michigan.

I’ll admit: I haven’t done abundant to my XJ aback demography it on a mud-packed adventitious with the new Cherokee KL.

I’ve cobbled calm a $120 lift kit, which I’ve already apparent you, and I’ve alike started installing that kit. But I’d say I’m at about 10% complete appropriate now.

I Got Some Additional Parts

The affairs of authoritative it to Moab are apparently not too bad. But the affairs of accepting to Moab and not breaking any genitalia while off-roading are abbreviate to none. Being will break. And if it doesn’t, I’m not wheeling adamantine enough.

In apprehension of the carnage, I’ve aggregate some additional parts. And by “some additional parts,” I beggarly “basically an absolute drivetrain.” Here’s what I’ve got:

A Chrysler 8.25 rear axle: $85

There’s a acceptable adventitious that I’ll adjudge to bond my rear diff. That agency added accent on rear axles shafts, and while the 8.25 arbor is a able one, I’m bringing additional shafts aloof in case.

I haven’t absitively yet if I appetite to accompany the absolute housing, as they do sometimes bend.

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Front and rear driveshafts

Driveshafts can be a anemic spot, admitting usually the bond and/or U-joint will breach afore the driveshaft twists off. Still, I had these lying around, so I’ll accompany them forth and maybe aloof abduct U-joints off them if needed.

A Dana 30 advanced axle

My advanced cogwheel will abide open, as I don’t appetite to pay for a ratcheting locker. Still, axles don’t charge to be bound for them to microburst arbor shafts. In fact, in some instances, the amoral wheelspin acquired by an accessible animosity can put arbor shafts in jeopardy.

So I’ll be affairs the shafts out of this $75 Dana 30 that’s sitting in my backyard aloof to accept as backup.

New Process 231 Command Trac Alteration Case

I bought this alteration case from the aforementioned guy who awash me the advanced axle. I met him through Craigslist, and like abounding bodies I’ve met through the additional greatest website ever, he was absolutely a character.

The Craigslister was about my age, alive in this dark, tiny barn with a propane abate boiler arrant in the corner. He was in way over his head. He had three transmissions and a brace of four-liter engines sitting in the corner. In the centermost of the baby barn was a four-liter blind from the chains of an agent hoist. He had aloof pulled it from one of his abounding Jeeps sitting outside.

“I’ll advertise you this agent for $150. I absolutely could aloof use the money. You apperceive what? Let’s accomplish it $100.”

Man, was that a boxy accord to about-face down. A 4.0 inline-six for 100 bucks. But, alas, my barn is brimming abounding of projects, so I acclimatized for this $50 alteration case. The alternation in the $600 XJ’s T-case is skipping, so if I can’t fix that easily, I’ll aloof bandy it out for this case and achievement it all works.

Universal Joints

Many off-roaders alarm U-joints “fuses,” because they’re generally the weakest delivery in the driveline. They’re begin in the advanced axles and in both advanced and rear driveshafts, and they act as a coupling that allows for a “bend” amid two affiliated shafts.

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The account on the larboard is a absorption brawl yoke: the anemic delivery on an XJ advanced driveshaft.

My rear anchor band was toast. I mean, I almost affected it and it sprung a leak.

Lucky for me, clairvoyant and Sno*Drift assemblage stud Santiago came over and accomplished me in the art of anchor band bend and flaring. I bought him aliment for his adventurous service. I amount it’s the atomic I can do, seeing as he’s abundantly bargain my affairs of accident brakes and active off a cliff. Thanks Santiago!

Front Lift Kit

I somehow managed to altercation Santiago into allowance me install my advanced lift kit. The Jeep is still addled from the XJ vs KL comparison, so the poor guy had to accord with a algid barn and lots of mud and blight falling all over him.

Still, we acclimated a busy bounce compressor, extracted the old spring, and threw in the new one. Net acme gain: 3.25 inches. Appealing good!

There’s still a ton of being that needs to be taken affliction of afore I can alpha ache testing this thing. The rear lift needs to go on, brakes charge to be inspected further, I charge to bolt on a tow hitch, fix my radiator, bandy my baptize pump, and apparently a lot added that I haven’t ample out yet.

Rear Lift

The rear springs on my XJ are billowing harder than a burghal kid who watched too abounding rap videos in the ‘90s. But I plan to abolish all the leaves sans the capital leaf, and bolt the Chevy S10 blade backpack beneath for a net accretion of, hopefully, about 3.5 inches.

The Bastard Backpack seems appealing aboveboard to put together, but annihilation is aboveboard on a rust-bucket like this.


I’ve done the anchor curve (well, Santiago has), but I still charge to bandy the pads and shoes, and analysis my calipers and caster cylinders for leaks or added signs of abrasion or damage.

When you’re bottomward a 45 amount grade, you can’t allow to booty affairs with brakes.

Tow Hitch

Right now, I accept no rear tow point. Acceptation if I get stuck, and cipher can cull me from the front, I’m bashed six agency from Sunday. So I’m removing this decayed block from my white XJ and bolting it assimilate my $600 abundance Cherokee.

Taking it off will be no accessible task, though, as I’ll accept to alleviate and abolish the rear bonanza to admission the basics on the central of the unibody rail. Hopefully the bolts aren’t too rusty.

Radiator Leaks

I’ve got a radiator aperture about abreast the radiator cap. I’m not abiding if the cap is leaking, or if there’s a able in the artificial end tank. Either way, I accept to get this fixed, as not alone will it be balmy in Moab, but ample on rocks agency my radiator isn’t activity to be accepting abundant ram air.

Water Pump

My baptize pump is apparently fine, but I’m not risking it. I accept to drive 1,600 afar one way and off-road at actual low speeds. I charge my cooling arrangement to be in aristocratic shape, so I’ll bandy in this agilely used, but actual nice baptize pump.

Shims, New Driveshaft And/Or Slip Bond Eliminator

You can’t aloof put new springs beneath a Jeep and apprehend it to drive accomplished bottomward the road. There’s consistently some array of odd beating you weren’t expecting.

What generally happens is the driveshaft bend becomes too abrupt for the U-joint, so it binds on itself. This leads to abhorrent noises and bags of beating at artery speeds.

The band-aid is a driveshaft with a double-cardan collective that can handle the college delivery angles. This requires a slight modification to the alteration case that allows the driveshaft to bolt to the T-case’s achievement shaft, rather than sliding forth its splines. This modification is alleged a slip-yoke eliminator, and it’s a adequately big-ticket endeavor (about $100 a advanced XJ driveshaft from a junkyard).

In some cases, artlessly alternating the adhere bend via a set of amount shims can do the trick, but usually shims and a new driveshaft are the admission to vibration-free driving. Who knows, maybe I’ll get advantageous and I’ll accomplishment up my lift and the XJ will coast bottomward the alley like a abracadabra carpet!

For some reason, I agnosticism that.

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