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Thread: Exploration XJ Build Thread - Clean New Jeep!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3

    Smile Exploration XJ Build Thread - Clean New Jeep!

    Greetings! This is my first time writing on a forum (or making a build post in general, but wish me luck and here goes nothing...) but I'm super excited! So, hello and good morning to all of you here. Thank you in advance for any feedback or suggestions that will help to make my Jeep a fine travel vehicle.

    Now that we are over the formalities, onto the discovery and purchase of my XJ; a 1997 Jeep Cherokee Country, stock baby.

    My boyfriend and I were on the hunt for another Jeep after my 97' Sport blew up in the woods. It was a trail-rig to the fullest extent with a 6.5" RC lift, 35s and a hock-pock Monstaliner paint job but she was a beast. The transmission went and the motor was on its way out after my last wheeling trip where she caught tremendous fire, so I knew it was the end of Logan, as I had so proudly called it. Nonetheless, that Jeep lives on in my new (and much cleaner) XJ, as they share that same original gunmetal pearlcoat shine. My old jeep is also pictured in my profile picture – despite being my first real XJ and a real clunker, that Jeep was strong, hardy and surprisingly easy to maintain and it was these repairs and the faith I had in the brand that brought my 3 best friends and I to Maine/New Hampshire for some mountain climbing and highway hopping, all while camping in the vehicle. Despite the limited space, we had an absolute blast.

    Okay, back on topic. So we were scouring Craigslist and Cargurus and little car lots here and there and found nothing that caught our eye. We checked out a chili-red XJ and some other rigs, but I wasn’t looking for just another trail hog. I was patiently looking for a clean 97-01 Cherokee with power options and a tan/beige interior with as minimal rust and rot as possible, because this beast was going to become something much more epic and patriotic than my dearest Logan. My goals included adventuring state to state in something reliable, something with a great aftermarket and community around it. My every hope and dream came true when I saw a CL post featuring a blue 97’ XJ with these nostalgic looking factory running boards and I pleaded with my boyfriend to check it out with me – soon after, I became the owner of a beautiful barn find that I’ve yet to name.

    It was sitting in a garage about 50 minutes away from my home city. The Jeep’s paint is impeccable – it was the first thing that screamed at me because of how flawless and well taken care of it was. It had a cloth grey inteior that needed some deep spot-cleaning (I’m not even fussing) and a motor with 90K put into it by it’s 65 year old owner after he hit 180K but oh boy, you could never tell. Tow hitch, roof rails, NO RUST AND ROT (save for a little quarter sized surface fuzz on the front wheel-well) and it drove smoothly on our test drive. I took it home that day. There was no way I could walk away. The only thing it didn’t have was an aftermarket radio and a freakin’ rear view mirror – we didn’t notice that until we got halfway home.

    Now it sits in my driveway, untouched until a warmer New England day comes around so I can begin detailing it. I want to buff the paint and take out the dent it has on it’s lip, and honestly I just want to restore some of it’s beauty inside. I can’t wait. Got a new bumper the same color for free in case this one gives me a hard time - just looks like it's a tad dented. Here’s some of my ideas (but not the whole 3 page list)…

    3.5” suspension lift
    31 all terrains
    Keyless entry
    Round Lights uptop
    HIDs and a small lightbar for the front
    LOCKERS
    CB Radio/Nav. setup
    WJ seat swap
    Mountaineer Rack
    9500lbs Winch
    Re-gear
    And so much more…

    Follow along, I’ll need advice and input on the way. And for anyone worrying about the how my old Jeep’s mistreatment might lead this to this one heading down the same road – don’t worry. I know a good thing when I have it. I will not cut it, rip anything out that I won’t hold onto or modify it in a way that attacks it’s classic beauty. You know, in case I ever decide to sell it.


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    Every little thing, is gonna be alright.
    Last edited by Marques0346; 02-14-2018 at 05:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    525
    Why not find an already modified XJ, instead of violating a nice stock example, that happen to be worth more than cut up ones.

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    85 4Runner 3rz
    77 FJ55
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    1967 M109 Deuce

    Just say NO to Bushwhacker Flares

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3
    I mentioned in the post I wouldn't "violate" the Jeep. I wanted a stock one so I bought a stock one. Don't worry, be happy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Minneapolis SW Metro Minnesota USA
    Posts
    152
    Welcome,
    Excellent first post with pics !!!
    It will be nice starting with an unmolested stock XJ...That way you will know exactly what you have and where you want to go with the build.
    2012 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Pro-4X, Radflo, SPC, PRG, Bilstein, Shrockworks , Leer, Antec, Magnaflow.
    My Truck "The Moose" build thread Click on the link below:
    http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...stories-MNCarl

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    South Central Indiana
    Posts
    11
    Wow, looks like a great start. My goal is similar to yours, lightly modified, explor the country back road runner. Unfortunately my start was with a broken, rusted and neglected 2000. I've spent a lot of time and expense to get it where it's at today but it's well on the way to recovery.

    Keep on track and make it yours. Good luck
    Subscribed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    STL
    Posts
    79
    Welcome to expo, and welcome back to the XJ club! Sounds like a good plan to me. I know you've already had 1 but any questions just ask. Lots of good knowledgeable people here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    84
    Following along to see where you go with it. I have a '96 Country.
    2005 Silverado 2500 D/A
    1996 Jeep Cherokee Country - with some mods

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Middlesex, NJ
    Posts
    28
    Quote Originally Posted by Marques0346 View Post
    I mentioned in the post I wouldn't "violate" the Jeep. I wanted a stock one so I bought a stock one. Don't worry, be happy.

    Welcome -- I much prefer to start with an unmolested XJ in great shape -- I say violate this jeep and make it beg

    Have any pictures of your old cherokee? -- I have a gallon of Monstaliner sitting here right now, Dirt Bag, and I like to see what others have done

    I have the same plans for my unmolested 2000, I'm really thinking Iron man fab 4 link up front but just a 4" lift on 33's -- for the class 6 roads in NH and adventures up north -- Our version of overloading here on the east coast

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Heavyopp View Post
    Welcome -- I much prefer to start with an unmolested XJ in great shape -- I say violate this jeep and make it beg

    Have any pictures of your old cherokee? -- I have a gallon of Monstaliner sitting here right now, Dirt Bag, and I like to see what others have done

    I have the same plans for my unmolested 2000, I'm really thinking Iron man fab 4 link up front but just a 4" lift on 33's -- for the class 6 roads in NH and adventures up north -- Our version of overloading here on the east coast
    Haha! That made me chuckle.

    In any case, I do have pictures of my old Jeep - I'll try to send you some later. It's worth doing, if done right. I rolled mine on and it took about 4 hours or so.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Middlesex, NJ
    Posts
    28
    I've worked with monstaliner before -- Used it on some construction equipment -- rolled on -- They had a sale over Christmas/new years and I grabbed some stuff and bought the spray gun they recommend

    I'm hoping to do my XJ headliner in monsta real soon -- I want to build a cowl hood and do that too -- Lots of plans, just hard to get things done

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