Monday, July 11, 2011

Jeep Cherokee: Part 1

Jeep Article: Part 1
If you read automotive magazines, you’re bound to read articles that start out promising budget builds. That’s cool. Everybody loves to save money and customize a car that has awesome power and killer looks. The only downside is that there will always be the extra agenda of selling new parts from different specialty places. There’s nothing wrong with pushing parts from places that are probably giving a kickback to the magazine; these types of things help keep the magazines going and keep our subscriptions low. I’ve gotten a few months’ worth of magazines that boast multiple budget builds from both the magazine’s people and car’s regular people have built and are being featured. The latter seem to fit the bill well, but it’s easy to pull them apart for reasons like they have too much money or found a deal on a car shell that is WAY too unrealistic for other people to replicate. The magazine funded cars have tendencies of pushing parts that would be just as good as a slightly modified junkyard-sourced parts that would be a fraction of the cost.
Recently, I bought a ’96 Jeep Cherokee Country 4-door with a high output 4.0L with an automatic trans and a 231 “SelecTrac” transfer case. I know a few people who have or have had Cherokees and a U-Pull-It junkyard somewhat near my house with an insanely huge amount of Cherokees from which I could find parts. I thought it would be fun to do a REAL blue-collar man’s budget build using legitimate budget parts from junkyards, friends, eBay, craigslist, and more. Although some parts will need to be bought new, I will try to find the cheapest place to get them. I can assure this point because I am a college student with a very low income, and everyone seems to want a part of it.
For starters, I’ll just say the overall aim for what I want to do. I’d like to build up a Jeep that is comfortable for passengers; can haul if need be; is agile and able off road; dependable; and fairly economical since it is my daily driver. I’m thinking, for starters, a 2” spacer/shackle lift kit with extended shocks, 30” tires with cool rims, ZJ leather seat upgrade and stereo inside, full skid plating, towing upgrades, off-road gear (steel bumpers, winch, lighting, etc.), and maybe a stroker kit, if I get a whole bunch of money. I am using this as a daily driver, so it will need to be drivable during the build, and I will need to be able to sustain the vehicle which needs to be economic for that to work; or at least until I get another car…
Granted, I am a student who has a fixed, limited income that everyone wants a piece of, so this may take a while to get done. I will try to put this up in installments, with pictures of progress, parts, and installs, but I will keep you all updated on how it’s coming and how much it cost to do and how I got the parts.
But first, the down low on the Jeep as I bought it. I got a ’96 Cherokee (XJ) Country, as stated before, with 139,xxx miles on it with rebuilt steering, ZJ shocks on the front, and an added leaf in the rear springs, and slightly oversized tires on aftermarket Enkei Baja-style rims. It’s a great running car that rides great and is stiff and solid in the suspension department. The only thing I’ve found on it that doesn’t work right now is the A/C compressor (soon to be fixed). I got the Jeep for $2,250, and it’ll only go up from there.
That’s all for now. We’ll be in touch…