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bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/17/14 1:40 p.m.

We got a new to us XJ a few months ago, after 4+ months of searching, and chasing down dead ends, stupid sellers, and junkers. Craigslist dolts make me want to do bad things, after countless dead ends due to: unmotivated sellers (seriously I have money, you have an XJ you claim to want to sell, what's the hold up?), literally clueless sellers (Uhhh, it's a Jeep Cherokee, I think it's red, uhhh...), ads not representative of the Jeeps actual condition, and our(my) very particular criteria of required options/condition, it took a while to find the "right one." I actually had to go to St. Louis to get it, about a 12 hour round trip. My step mom is awesome, and was my copilot and codriver for the trip.

Due to the illusive nature of the Cherokee we were in search of, the long journey, trials and tribulations involved with finding and acquiring it, and the fact that it is white, when I called SWMBO after making the purchase to inform her, "Ahab & Ishmael finally landed the elusive white whale," she of course, started calling the XJ, "Moby." Additionally Moby is HER Jeep.

- 2001 XJ.
- Limited, leather in phenomenal shape, two minor rips in drivers seat bottom bolster from getting in and out.
- 4X4, NP231 instead of the NP242 I wanted, I already possess the NP242J to remedy this.
- Antilock Brakes!!! This was the biggest hang up, I actually wanted ABS, not many came with it.
- White.
- Not quite 1/4 million miles on it.
- Came with a folder full of maintenance records.
- Driven by a non-smoker, teenage-early 20's female since 2004. We're the 3rd owners.
- Not a single modification. Bone stock, another requirement that took a while to find.
- Runs great, a lot of power, no smoke.
- Documented "tune-up" about a year ago.
- Were I so inclined (I'm not) I could sell the Limited/Classic Icon wheels, get a set of Sport wheels and be at or below Challenge budget.
- Calculated 21.85 MPG on the drive home, color me impressed!

Needs some TLC:
- Owner said A/C won't stay charged, alleged previous dye test said evaporator was leaking, not looking forward to that job; I added a can of R134a with stop leak (band-aid I know) and it started blowing cold, was still blowing cold when I got it home, but about 6 weeks later it had all leaked out.
- Valve cover gasket is leaking, came with a replacement.
- The 4.0l has the dreaded 0331 head, but it's got evidence of professional maintenance, not abused, and with the amount of miles on it, the head should have cracked already if it was going to.
- Headliner fabric is falling down, I'm going to try and convince SWMBO to go with a gray tartan plaid fabric to replace it.
- The shock absorbers, are toast.
- Steering needs some attention, enough bump steer to cause a heart palpitation or two if not paying attention.
- Has been in two minor fender benders, front bumper cover is mashed a little in front right, small crack in the grill on the same corner, and a wrinkle in the front right fender.
- Typical paint nicks/chips of a 13 year old car.
- It's what a person from Ohio would call "rust free," but being from Arkansas, it ain't; small spot on roof will need some attention, couple spots on the driver side drip rail, and some minor spots underneath in the rear; the rear bumper too, but I think it's going to get replaced with a bumper with integrated hitch, so I'm not concerned with it.
- Brakes are a little mushy, and I believe one of the rear drums is sticking a bit.
- Has the infinity sound system, blown speaker in the P/S front door.
- I don't think the seat warmers work, D/S anyway, haven't tried P/S.
- Rear wiper is in-op, switch on dash is physically broken as well.
- Tires have adequate tread, but are old, hard as nails, and you can see the tread seam.
- The wiper blades SUCK!

Looking out the previous owner's garage door the day I purchased it:

There were several waves of heavy storms on the drive home, hence the "wipers suck" comment above. There were more white knuckle experiences than I care to recall. This was taken during a fuel/potty brake during a lull in the storm on the trip home, somewhere in BFE SEMO.

cdowd HalfDork
9/17/14 2:29 p.m.

looks great. I have owned a couple of these and always liked them.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/17/14 3:35 p.m.

The (tentative) Plan...

As stated Moby is SWMBO's Jeep, as such it will not be a rock crawler, it will not be a mud truck, and it will not get seriously abused. Moby won't see much more off road than gravel, the occasional cattle pasture, and if I play my cards right, the occasional NFS road/camp ground, and fingers crossed, eventually a boat ramp or two. However, Moby will see inclement weather duty, and as such will receive some, primarily for function and some aesthetic modifications. SWMBO has already made requests.

Moby's other function will to be to serve as SWMBO's "antiquing" and "estate selling" vehicle, so she can drag home more and larger "projects" for me, I mean us.

There's the list of stuff that needs attention in the first post, I've already bought a lot of maintenance stuff, fluids, filters, belts, hoses, etc. I own a Jeep TJ (Muffin) too, and have been doing some upgrades to it, some of its old parts will find their way onto Moby. The TJ's old sound bar speakers will replace Moby's blown front door speaker(s). I've got a few cans of Eastwood's and VHT's rust encapsulating/evaporating/converting/invigorating/set-it-and-forget-it/shamwow/oxy spray to see if they can automagically fix the few rust spots. I'll source at least a new front right fender, and probably grill too. I'll likely be having O'Reilly's mix up some color matched Nason single stage paint for some touch up too.

As far as modifications and upgrades, here's the current plan of attack.

Transfer Case:

The current NP231J part time, transfer case will be swapped in favor of a NP242J transfer case. The NP242 will give Moby selectable full time (AWD) capability regardless of driven surface, and still provide the part time high and low function that the NP231 provides. The NP242 was an option on XJs, I looked long and hard for a '97+ XJ with ABS and NP242, but had zero luck. When I found Moby I had already decided that if I came across a good example for the right price with an NP231, I'd just swap the transfer case. I picked up an NP242J from a low mileage, '98, ZJ last weekend for a very generous price, and already have the appropriate XJ NP242 shift indicator bezel. Tom Wood's $$$ NP242 slip yoke eliminator and CV drive shaft is, hesitantly, being considered as well, if, and only if, other modifications require it, fingers crossed they won't.


SWMBO wants a lift kit, nothing giant, and the current suspension is pretty well worn. I'm sure most or all of the bushing are original, so it all needs replaced anyway. Currently at the top of my list is a full replacement rear leaf version of Rubicon Express' 3.5" Super Ride lift kit. I'll add an adjustable track bar, and adjustable front upper control arms as well. I intend use stock JK shocks, sourced cheap/free from JK fanboys installing lifts on their Wranglers.


Steering needs some attention too, several options are being considered, including upgraded with OE ZJ parts and/or the various aftermarket "crossover" steering options, most are not really crossover though, they just ditch the Jeep Y link steering for a GM style inverted T link.


Since Moby needs tires, and the RE 3.5" lift is good for 31-32" tires, Moby will get a set of 265/75/16 ATs, top contenders at the moment are Kumho Road Veture ATs and Cooper Discoverer AT3s.


SWMBO has requested a winch, "yes, dear." I'm still debating front bumper options, build vs. buy, and winch. I don't foresee it actually getting used much, so a used Warn or Ramsey, possibly (not likely) one of Warn's new cheaper VR winches, more likely if new will be one of Smittybilt's options. Winch bumpers are stupid expensive, so this will likely wind up DIY.

I've advocated for a rear swing out tire carrier, but apparently, "they're ugly." I tried to reason with the fact that the current placement of the spare tire in the cargo area is eating up precious room and will be in the way of larger antiques SWMBO wants to haul back there. I don't think I'm wining this argument, her response to me was that she'd just take the spare tire out and that I, "better have my cell phone on me in case she has a flat." The rear bumper will get replaced with a hitch-bumper. The JCR Offroad, DIY rear bumper is a serious contender at the moment.


Moby is an '01 so it's got a low pinion front Dana 30 with the common 3.55 gear ratio. Unlike the '98 and older (some '99s too, apparently), that got high pinion front axles. With no more lift than Moby will have, the limited amount of "flex" it will ever use, and the addition of adjustable upper control arms, I don't anticipate any issues keeping the front LP D30. The front axle will get some form of traction aiding device, either selectable locking, or limited slip. I've pretty much made up my mind on a Detroit/Eaton Truetrac.

The rear axle is a Dana 35... gasps in horror. Yep, no Chrysler 8.25 here, all ABS equipped XJs got the Dana 35, and I can't confirm it but my research shows that if an XJ got ABS, they didn't get a factory tow package, except maybe a few dealer level hitch add ons. I had my fingers crossed that Moby's Dana 35 had the factory Trac-Lok limited slip, but after a couple email request to Jeep customer service I finally got Moby's build sheet, and alas, no Trac-Lok. This leaves me with a few options.

Being in the Jeep world as long as I have, it's hard for me to justify doing anything with a D35, I have a real "turd polish" stigma about D35 "upgrades," but with Moby's intended use, and smaller tire size, there will likely never be an axle related issue. I've beat on the D35 in my TJ with 31-32" tires and a Lockright in it for over a decade with no problems, but my TJ's little 2.5l doesn't make near the power as Moby's 4.0l. Current LSD contenders for the D35 are, Detroit/Eaton Truetrac, finding a used/Pick-n-Pull D35 Trac-Lok, or ditching the D35 axle entirely for something else.

I already possess a Ford Exploder 8.8 rear that had been in another XJ for a while, spring perches already where they need to be, tubes already welded to the pumpkin, disc brakes, 4.10 gears, currently has a mini-spool in it. You can allegedly trick the XJ's ABS to work with the 8.8, but the 8.8 uses a tone(reluctor) ring on the ring gear, and a single ABS sensor on the pumpkin wile the ABS D35 has 2 reluctor rings on each axle behind the mounting flanges, and a pair of ABS sensors, one at each end.

The other option, the one I'd prefer, is to find a late 80's XJ rear Dana 44, direct swap, and with a little machining, and mix and match of XJ and ZJ parts I can get Jeep style ABS, reluctors and sensors at each axle end, and disc brakes. I've got a few feelers out in the local Jeep community for an XJ D44, but am not holding my breath.

So that's the plan, the goal is to get most of this done before the first bad weather, so between now and Thanksgiving-ish.

I know there are several other XJ owners on here, I welcome any and all feed back, thoughts, and criticisms.

  • Lee
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/18/14 9:57 a.m.

So the first repair tackled was the blown right front speaker, I was kind of in "car audio mode" having just replaced all the speakers in the TJ. I was simply going to replace the front door speakers with the 6.5" Phoenix Gold mids I had removed from the TJ. The XJ's original front speakers are 5.25", but most claim that 6.5" speakers fit the hole, sometimes a little massaging or a spacer is needed.

Door panel removed, there's afflicting speaker, cant tell there's anything wrong through that dust cover.

Sure enough, the surround is torn, no wonder it sounds terrible.

Moby has the Infinity "premium" sound system, Mopar's fancier CD/Tape deck with some manual EQ adjustments, and the little joy stick fade/balance control. The factory front stage are 5.25" mids in the door, and tweeters on the front door window frames. Since it was just the mid that was damaged, that's all I replaced, keeping the stock tweeters.

I've had these Phoenix Gold components for over a decade, I believe they're Tantrums, may predate that line though. I never thought to actually read the back of them while they were out. I used an adapter ring that's about 3/8" thick that came with a pair of Alpines that I put in the TJ, these rings provided just enough space to fit the hole in the door. Otherwise the basket was too wide to allow the speaker to mount flush in the opening, and I really didn't feel like trimming any sheet metal.

So that's it right? Speakers replaced, SWMBO will be happy, took all of 30 minutes maybe, easy peasy, done. Yeah, no... Nothing I ever do is that easy. I've had the audio faded to the rear speakers only since I test drove the thing, I didn't want to hear the horrible noises coming from the blown speaker. So I adjust the balance and fade to all speakers, my newly installed front right sounds amazing, but I have zero noise from the front left. Great.

I've read enough horror stories about the factory Infinity amplifier under the rear seat that I expected the worst. I started diagnosing at the source though. Thankfully Mopar, Infinity, or someone was kind enough to put a sticker of the wiring pin-out on the radio, so it was easy to tell which wire was which. I quickly determined that the radio wasn't the culprit.

Then I moved on to the amplifier which I had suspected all along. This took a bit, my Haynes manual wiring diagram's wire color call outs didn't exactly match the amplifier's wiring harness. Hanes got about 75% of it right the rest took time sorting, testing, and labeling to figure out what went where. Hanes is sure to title every wiring diagram with the caveat, "typical," so I guess they know they're not going to get it right every time. However, I eventually determined there was nothing wrong with the amplifier.

I had signal at the radio, at the amplifier, and out of the amplifier, the only thing left was somewhere between the amplifier and speaker, so the hunt continued. I pulled the speaker from the door, and tried to get a good look at the wiring harness, which was impossible of course. I wound up disconnecting everything in the drivers door and snaking the entire door harness out where I could see what was going on. I pulled the loom back, and sure enough, there's the culprit. The wire had come loose at the split for the tweeter and mid. Where's the other end? Still hidden way back up in the door pass through boot, and impossible to get to of course.

I had to pull the kick panel, and snake the entire door harness into the cabin to access the other end of the wire. I cut the inner harness' loom and tape back, and found the illusive little devil.

Similar to Dr. Farnsworth's, "drawer of various lengths of wire" I have my own box of various lengths of wire, from which I sourced a piece of appropriate size and color. Soldered, and heat shrunk, the front left speakers work again!

So I had signal to all the speakers again, but you know how I said nothing is simple with me? Well I did something I've never done in all of my years of messing with car audio stuff, I managed to jab a screw driver through one of the Phoenix Gold speakers, through the rubber surround, and into the spider, ruined it. I was so disgusted with myself. I've had those speakers forever, and they were a "free" upgrade/repair for the XJ, but I ruined one. I made a, doomed to fail, attempt at repairing the impaled speaker with some flexible glue, which of course didn't work. The speaker needs rebuilt, if there's even a parts source for them, at least the spider and surround replaced. I looked around, and found a similar pair, of a slightly newer model for $80, but couldn't bring myself to pay that.

I liked the Alpine 6.5" SPS610 coaxials I put in the TJ so much, that I found a pair of the 6.5" mids from the SPS610C (component version of the coaxials) for cheap on eBay and ordered them. So much for a "free" repair. Maybe I can keep from ruining the new-new speakers when I install them.

Harvey Reader
9/18/14 10:39 a.m.

That's rough man, after all that work to poke the speaker. I hate when I do things like that.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/18/14 9:48 p.m.

In reply to Harvey:

Sadly I've experienced similar incidents more than I'd care to admit.

Headway was made tonight, no actual work on Moby, but we spent some money.

Moby REALLY needs tires, I don't want to buy tires twice, if I'm going to get 265/75/16 tires under it, it needs an altitude adjustment.

I ordered Rubicon Express' RE6025 3.5" lift, RE adjustable track bar, longer front brake lines (rear come with the lift kit), steering dampener, some new bushings, and some Core 4x4 adjustable front upper control arms.

I'm fully confident with everything but the Core 4x4 arms, they're an eBay vendor, but have overwhelmingly positive feedback, and decent reviews on the less hardcore Jeep forums, we'll see, we came to an agreeable "best offer" price, and the arms are almost $100 cheaper than most of the "name brand" stuff on the market.

I still need to track down some shocks, I've got an in at a dealer (know a guy, that knows a guy) that said a couple months ago he'd hook me up with some new Rubicon JK take offs, but I didn't pursue it at the time due to scheduling conflicts. Fingers crossed I can still make that work.

I think SWMBO has decided on the Coopers over the Kumhos after weighing the pros/cons of each. She worked in a tire store some during college, she's not your average chick, she's pretty awesome, and knows a thing or two. She is Dr. SWMBO PhD after all.

SWMBO has been very much involved with all of the decision making, she relies on my advice and input, but I generally give her the options and she picks what she wants. I actually rather enjoy her involvement, and her at least feigning interest when I geek out on Jeep stuff.

More to come.

  • Lee
Autolex Dork
9/19/14 9:32 a.m.
bigdaddylee82 wrote: She worked in a tire store some during college, she's not your average chick, she's pretty awesome, and knows a thing or two. She is Dr. SWMBO PhD after all.

She have any female, non-attached siblings?

bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/20/14 9:25 p.m.

In reply to Autolex:

She's a middle child of 3, but the only female, sorry.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/20/14 9:43 p.m.

Minor victory this evening. I spent most of the day traveling and helping a buddy load up a parts Jeep MJ, I scored some parts myself even!

When I got home from the day's activities I had an unexpected package waiting on the front porch. Surprise! Moby's new speakers showed up 3 days early.

These are the 6.5" midrange/woofers from an Alpine SPS610C component set. I have no idea how/why they were separated from the tweeters and the rest of the hardware they are sold with, but I'm not complaining. I only needed mids, these were sold as "new," I believe it too, they're pristine, and the price was right.

I was tired of taking the door panels off, don't want any reason to do it again, so I broke out the soldering iron, and made some pig tails from some 12 Ga. speaker wire and the OEM female plugs I scavenged from the original speakers I removed. Loose connection should never be a concern now.

Pleasant surprise number 2, no need to use the spacer/adapter ring on the Alpines. Plus, a pair of the slots on the new speakers line up perfectly with the original mounting holes.

I'm pleased, sounds great, and SWMBO is happy. I'll give them a week or two, to break in, before I turn the bass up, and crank it to 11.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/23/14 5:20 p.m.

Got a call from the shippers of the lift kit, apparently it was shipped freight, strapped to a pallet. I wasn't aware of how it was being shipped. Truck driver, understandably, doesn't want to drive his 18 wheeler into our subdivision. The package is only 140ish lbs. I could manhandle the package out of the back of the trailer and to the ground, but it's also shipped signature on delivery, and there's no way I can be sure I'll be home during the window it might be delivered. It's always something...

The good news is, I got them to change their route and deliver it to the warehouse at work, there's a dock, fork lift and everything over there. My office is about 1/8th the distance they'd travel from their terminal if they were taking it to my house. They were happy to not have to go so far and save on fuel, so no charge for changing shipping destination.

Anyone know if a "standard pallet" will fit in the back of an '01 XJ? I guess Moby is coming to work with me tomorrow.

I made a trip to the Pick-n-Pull with the most XJs listed in their inventory this past Sunday. They take pictures of most of what's on the lot now and post them online, though they aren't the best resolution and are only from one angle, the best angle. I set out after a right front fender and grille surround, they showed two white late model XJs online. Turns out while one was slightly better than what I've got, it wasn't good enough (still bent, just not as much) and the other was a random RHD Postal XJ with extra side markers in the fender, so I passed on it too. The Postal XJ's grille surround was destroyed, and the other white one's was about as good as what we currently have. The only other late model XJ was gray, but didn't have a straight body panel on it, and someone already took it's grille surround. I did score some seat warmer switches for the XJ, and HVAC knobs for my 850 while I was there though.

I'm having an internal debate over going back, that Postal XJ, not only has an ABS D35 rear axle, it also has the factory Trac-Lok rear limited slip. I don't want to spend money on the D35 in ours, but I know I'm not going to find an XJ D44 anytime soon. Pick-n-Pull wants ~$65 for a carrier assembly, I would have brought it home with me when I was there Sunday if I had a 12 point 1/4" box end with me. I was bested by the cross pin retainer bolt, couldn't get the C clips out with it still in. Trac-Lok would be a quick/easy/cheap way to get LSD in the rear of the current axle, not as good as a Torsen style I eventually want, but that will be for a different rear axle all together. Decisions, decisions...

I probably won't be able to go there again until next Sunday, with my luck someone will have snatched it already.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/23/14 7:55 p.m.

If you can't get the JK shock takeoffs, Rancho has their "Shocktober" sale going on now. Think it's buy 3, get one.

Order each shock from Advance individually. Should be able to get the rs5000s for cheap, rs9000s are what I run and I love them. I think I paid $76 a pop from Advance with discount code a124 or trt30.

RS5000S are $60 each through advance, $50 off the set using trt30. $190 for all four, get the price of one back on a gift card through Monroe Shocktober. About $145 all in.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/23/14 8:49 p.m.

In reply to Swank Force One:

Thanks for the tip, I've looked at both the RS7000 and RS9000, but I've had a set of RS5000s on my TJ since I put the budget boost on it a decade+ ago, they might be slightly better on the highway than had I just cut a stick of 2x4 lumber the appropriate length and stuck it in their place. Bilstein 5100s were on my radar too, but they have the same problem the RS9000 does, great googly moogly, they're proud of them.

I ordered a Monroe "Magnum" steering dampener/stabilizer when I ordered the rest of the suspension stuff. I went with a Doetsch dampener for the TJ (haven't installed it yet) and was considering their shocks for both the XJ and TJ, but I was really not happy with their customer service, lengthy shipping time, and the overall price for no more than what I got, so I went with good 'ole Monroe for the XJ.

I'm supposed to meet the fella with the JK shock hook up after work tomorrow. After talking with him, discussing the fact that SWMBO's XJ is going to be predominantly a pavement pounder, and she's going to want smooth as possible ride for a budget conscious, solid axle, 4x4, box on wheels, I'm going with Sport/Sahara JK shocks instead of Rubicons.

Bigdaddylee82 said: Anyone know if a "standard pallet" will fit in the back of an '01 XJ?

Yes, if you remove the spare tire, it fits! Just tried it this evening with an old pallet that came with the house when we moved in.

  • Lee
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
9/23/14 9:52 p.m.

In reply to bigdaddylee82:

Nice ride, and I love your plan..If you don't mind a question.. how do you tell if the rear has a trac-loc? Code somewhere? certain years? I have a 1994 Cherokee 2WD and would love to get one before winter



bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/23/14 10:11 p.m.

In reply to Billy_Bottle_Caps:


Decipher the ID tag on the diff if it's still there. The easy one is a sticker inside the glove box warning that the vehicle has got a "locking" diff and needs special fluid additive. Otherwise, jack the axle up off the ground and spin the tires by hand, if you spin one and the other goes the same way there's some kind of locker/LSD in the diff, if the other tire spins the opposite direction it's an open diff. That's not a sure fire check though, because a worn out Trac-Lok will act like an open differential.

Generally if it's a Police or Postal XJ it got the Trac-Lok and ABS too. The rest of the trim levels seem to be a crap shoot. You'd think ours being the "loaded" Limited trim would have it from the factory, but it doesn't. I've seen Sport and Classic models with it from the factory. Who knows? I guess someone spun the Wheel O' Options at the factory each day to decide what Jeeps got it.

  • Lee
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
9/24/14 9:46 a.m.

Thanks Lee. Following your build closely

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/24/14 12:58 p.m.

Spent a few minutes looking at Core's Ebay store...

Pretty cool stuff!

Might grab their rear shackles as the stock shackles (new replacements) aren't super happy with the new lift in the back. Rides kinda crashy and the leaf angle isn't great. Wouldn't mind a 0.5" to 1" rake, either.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
9/24/14 2:25 p.m.

In reply to Swank Force One:

Core 4x4 shipped the upper arms yesterday morning (Tue.), I ordered them Thur. afternoon of last week. Amazon has spoiled me with their same day shipping. I hope it's a decent product, fingers crossed that the welds are acceptable, since that's really the only thing you could screw up on something like that.

Rusty's spring shackles are currently on the "if needed" list. This RE lift is supposed to allow for 31" tires, 265/75/16 is about 31.6", some folks claim they fit 32" tires with aftermarket wheels and this lift, others say 33" with wheels and minor fender trimming. The stock Icon wheels don't have a very aggressive back spacing. If I were going with an aftermarket wheel I don't think I'd have any issues, but I'm expecting to need something like the JKS ACOS, or maybe a 1" spacer puck in the front, and maybe those .75" rear shackles from Rusty's.

I'm generally against shackle lifts, and lift blocks too, but <1" isn't going to be an issue, and having adjustable upper arms will give me a little more adjustability in the front if I do need a spacer. I may get lucky and not need any.

I remember when you did the Rancho lift on yours, SFO, did you do a SYE too? That's a whole other can of worms since I'm putting the NP242 in ours.

  • Lee
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
9/24/14 7:52 p.m.

Moby doing Moby things.

Since we were taking Moby to work to pick up the lift, SWMBO says, "my old boss wants to give me an 'antique' headboard, can we get it in Moby too?" I think, "headboard, don't know what we need that for but I guess." Sure, what the heck. Well this "headboard" turned out to be a full size 4 post wooden bed frame, rails, headboard, footboard, and 4x 7' tall posts. Still not clear on what she plans to do with it, we only have 2 bedrooms, neither have a full size bed.

Lift kit.

JK Sahara/Sport shocks. Removed from a new JK for a dealer installed lift kit.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/24/14 9:13 p.m.

I didnt do anything with the tcase. Just threw on the lift and rolled.

Havent seen or felt any issues at all.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
11/17/14 9:40 p.m.

Moby has gotten some attention since the last post, but has mostly done a great job of taking up an entire bay in the garage for the last couple of weeks.

Back in September we picked up another XJ for SWMBO's brother, it turned out to be even more of a basket case than I originally thought, it'll basically have about the same amount of money in parts as the original purchase price. We decided to donate what was still good of Moby's suspension, rear leaf springs, coil springs, and control arms, etc. to SWMBO's brother's XJ.

What free, and garage time I've had has been spent working on the other XJ, but Moby has gotten some love too.

SWMBO's brother was a huge help with the front suspension on Moby, it decided to fight us the whole way. I've got the front suspension mostly done, If I ever have to do front upper control arm bushings on a D30 again it'll be too soon. I need to set the track bar length, RE directions are kind of vague but it's not rocket surgery so I should be able to get it close enough with a tape measure and some time.

I've not done a thing to the rear suspension yet, so Moby is riding kind of high in the front at the moment.

I also discovered a small rust hole in the front right inner fender under the battery tray that I picked at until it was a much large hole, I went at it with a knotted wire cup brush on the angle grinder until I mostly couldn't see rust anymore, then sprayed some of Rust Oleum's Rust Reformer on it. I'll address this more appropriately, with some of my finest bird poop welds and a patch panel.

I browse Craigslist often as I know most of us here do too, I'm also on a couple genre/area specific parts swap and online yard sale groups on Facebook. One morning last week I came across a guy with a steal of a deal on brand new Detroit Trutrac and install kit on the FB Jeep Swap group. We finally got together tonight and now I've got more Moby parts.

Brand new never installed Dana 30 Trutrac, has already had the bearings pressed on even.

If you're familiar with Trutracs and Jeep differentials/gears you'll notice that the part number on the Trutrac I got is for a 3.73 or lower (numerically higher) gearing. Moby like most XJs has 3.55 gears. So the new Trutrac won't work with current gearing. I had considered the likelihood of needing lower gears when putting the larger tires on, so this will be the extra motivation I need. With 265/75/16 tires, and upgrading to 4.10 gears it'll be just almost the same as stock, ~80 RPM more at 70 mph than stock.

Unfortunately the search for an XJ/MJ Dana 44 hasn't been fruitful, I know they're rarer than hen's teeth, but usually I can find hard to find stuff. So far, I've failed, several dead ends, and a dozen or so idiots that don't have a clue what they have, even salvage yards advertising D44s on car-part have turned out to be non existent or D35s.

So I'm strongly considering plan B. I picked up an Exploder 8.8 rear axle earlier in the Summer, with intentions of using it in Muffin (My '97 TJ). The 8.8 came from a guy who had swapped it into his XJ, so it's already got spring perches in the right spots, has had the tubes welded to the pumpkin, has disc brakes with parking brakes still intact, has a mini spool (I'll be replacing with an LSD, or lunch box locker), and best of all it's already got 4.10 gears in it.

The trick will be machining the 8.8 axle shafts to accept the D35 ABS tone rings, and mounting the ABS sensors between the dust shield and brakes. The 8.8 doesn't offer near the room to work with that the D44 does. The ABS conversion has been done on the XJ D44, it's documented a few times, so I wouldn't be reinventing the wheel there, but I've never seen it done on an 8.8. I've read a few anecdotal accounts of folks claiming they did it, but I've never seen any proof. I've seen a few ZJ guys do a hack job, in my opinion, of wiring the single ABS sensor on the 8.8's diff into both channels of the Jeep's ABS, with varied levels of success, I won't be doing that.

I'll be pushing it to get everything done by my self imposed Thanksgiving deadline. I shouldn't have any issue getting the lift finished and at least a set of tires on it by then though.

Stay tuned.

chiodos New Reader
11/18/14 6:54 a.m.

Its been a few year's since ive owned an xj but I believe the trutrack you have where it states 3.73 and up refers to the bigger carrier, if you have smaller gears than that stock you have the smaller carrier so it may not be usable with your rear end..either way good looking jeep I miss my last one

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
11/18/14 8:54 a.m.

The upper bushing on a D30 is AWFUL.

The solution is the big ball joint service kit from HF and an impact turned to 11.

Also: What's wrong with the 8.25" rear? Plenty strong, tons of aftermarket, and cheapass rear disc conversions. Both of my XJs have the 8.25. I'm not swapping them out anytime soon.

bigdaddylee82 Dork
11/18/14 9:38 a.m.
chiodos wrote: Its been a few year's since ive owned an xj but I believe the trutrack you have where it states 3.73 and up refers to the bigger carrier, if you have smaller gears than that stock you have the smaller carrier so it may not be usable with your rear end..either way good looking jeep I miss my last one

This Trutrac is for the front axle, and it replaces the entire carrier, so having the small carrier with 3.55 gears won't matter. I won't be able to use the 3.55 gears on the Trutrac though, hence me looking for a LP D30 4.10 ring & pinion. Thanks, we looked for a long time for a white Classic/Limited in our price range, and so far we've been pretty pleased with it.

Swank Force One said said: The upper bushing on a D30 is AWFUL. The solution is the big ball joint service kit from HF and an impact turned to 11. Also: What's wrong with the 8.25" rear? Plenty strong, tons of aftermarket, and cheapass rear disc conversions. Both of my XJs have the 8.25. I'm not swapping them out anytime soon.

I used a hole saw to cut the centers out, then a sawzall to cut a slit through the outer sleeve, and proceeded to beat it with a hammer and pry bar to fold the outer sleeve into itself and then beat it's remains out of the axle.

Removal was the easy part. I keep a pair of 3/4" pipe flanges, a 8" long fully threaded 3/8" bolt, and a stack of various size washers for pressing bushings. I had never used this for Clevite bushings though, I've always been pressing in poly bushings with my homebrew pipe flange press, and never had an issue. Not the case on these bushings though. I kept the bushings in the deep freezer for 4-5 hours before I installed them, I cleaned the bushing races in the axle up with my wheel cylinder hone, and lubed the snot out of the bushings with white lithium. We destroyed the threads on 3 of the bolts before we finally got the bushing over the pumpkin fully seated.

The Chrysler 8.25 is no doubt an upgrade from a D35, but I figured if I was going to swap an axle I'd get the one I want, which is the XJ D44, I'd settle for an MJ D44, but that's not panning out so far. I already have an 8.8, which is stronger than either the 8.25 or D44, plus it's basically ready to bolt in, short of needing the flange to yoke adapter, and the mini-spool replaced with something streetable.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
11/18/14 9:45 a.m.

Ah ok, that makes more sense.

Yeah to get the bushing back in i had to use the balljoint press as well. I keep some Grade 8 allthread and washers/nuts to use as a bushing puller/press, and same thing: I annihilated two "sets."

MrChaos Reader
11/18/14 11:52 a.m.

just go with the 8.8 as they are significantly cheaper than the xj/mj d44 and people think they are worth their weight in gold. And since you already have it and it is already set up for an XJ sans ABS you should go ahead and just put it in. could you not adapt the rear abs set up from an Exploder ti get abs working properly in the truck?

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