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  #1  
Old December 17th, 2012, 22:41
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

Hey guys, its been a while since i posted anything, and the few posts I had before come nothing close to this. I Actually took pictures through the process, and waited until the end to unleash it to the public. I didn't take many pictures, due to the fact I did this all by myself, in my fab shop at my house, with no rack, lift, it was my very first swap. (or whatever your nomenclature for the thing that makes you not have to roll around on the ground that you may have)

SO, let the story begin. I was creeping through the local Craigslist ads as I always do. I was honestly looking for a dirt cheap, ugly, nasty, even 2WD, XJ I could find that ran and drove under its own power with a non-renix 4.0. Stumbling through the Birmingham, Huntsville, Atlanta, Nashville, and basically everywhere within 300 miles of me, I wasn't having much luck. All ragged out "southern owned" 4X4 means bury them in mud and water till they quit down here in the "heart of dixie". I had found one, that i told myself I'd pay the 4k to obtain a decent ride, that hasn't been hacked, up by someone with a hammer. Then a couple weeks in, after making trips to drive, and look at probably 10 overpriced ragboxes I struck GOLD. (or green however the words work better.) The ad said, 1999 Jeep Cherokee 4x4- $500.00. It had been posted a few seconds before I clicked. There was no Picture of the rig, but was said to have a blown Pwr Steering Pump, 152k, AW4, power everything, factory tow hitch, a couple dings ect. I instantly called the guy, thinking that he mistyped the $500 for $5000, or $4500, so something worth more than scrap value. I asked him what the asking price was instantly. He said, $500 cash. I asked if it started, and then he informed me of the situation. He was a recent engineering graduate from Auburn University, and ha scored a great paying job. He had just bought a Lexus. (lame) Then he moved into this super fancy town home complex in the area. The jeep had been sitting for almost two months, and he had no time for it, so he wanted to dump it asap. (Turns out the town home assoc. was going to charge him a $500 a day eyesore fine.) I told him I'd be there at noon the next day with my trailer to get it.


The next day I hitched up the trailer to my 6.0 F250 beast of a tow rig. I had still not seen the Jeep yet, i got there right at noon, and saw a gorgeous hunter green 99 xj, without a flaw. There was no way this was the jeep i was going to look at. Sure enough a guy greets me and shows me this jewel, he tells me about the fee they are charging him ect. I handed him 5 hundos. I jumped the jeep off my truck, manhandled the blown power steering pump rig on my trailer under full 4.0, and aw4 power. I was ecstatic. it purred like a kitten, hell it had 3/4 of a tank of gas in it. I had almost stolen this thing. I expected a rustbucket parts/rebuilt title or something. it has never been in a wreck, nor the mud. There is a god!

I swung by autozone on the way home, picked up a new pwr steering pump, and a duralast gold. (just as good as optima imho)


Here is a picture of the beauty after i got her off the trailer.


Last edited by jwittlock; December 17th, 2012 at 22:49. Reason: picture didnt work
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  #2  
Old December 17th, 2012, 23:29
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

I figured i would break this up in different posts to make it easier on me. Sorry if it gets confusing, or if it looks like i'm talking to myself. ANYWAYS

Heres a list of mods the XJ came with.

K&N CAI
Flowmaster 44
Rustys 3 Inch Lift with newer looking rustys shocks, and full leafs.
brand new stereo.
had a like new hi-lift in the back!
practically brand new BFG A/T 31x10.5 on stock rims.

The hi lift and intake were almost worth the 500!

Ok so moving on in the story, i brought it home put the battery in, and put the new power steering pump on. I took it out for a drive, and noticed it had a little drift to the right, so i had it aligned and the tires rotated and balanced. I checked the fluids, topped it off with new trans fluid, and drove her around town for the next month or so. Even took it out on the the interstate to Birmingham and Huntsville a few times! She was running better than my 96! Heres where the story gets sad. . . I was really busy one saturday and i had been meaning to change all the fluids to really check out what kinda shape she was in. No bad signs just a new car tune up deal. Then my buddy called needing some help working on his newly bought house. So what do i do? I say " ah hell i'll drop her off at the Xpress oil Change, and have them change all the fluids, flush the radiator, and drain the diffs. BIG MISTAKE. I had had services done there in the past on my moms car, and dads truck, and even my cars when i was younger, never had any issues. I just like to work on my own stuff, Bc well. Im a guy, and i love getting dirty.
Long story short, apparently the guy at the oil change place ruined it. I paid when i dropped it off, bc i would be picking it up after they were closed. IDIOT IDIOT IDIOT. Later that evening, i went and picked it up, they had my record laying on the seat, and the keys under the floormat like i asked. I checked oil level, coolant, and trans levels before i left. All was good.I started it up and made my way home. I live 6 miles away. On the way home i noticed it was running a little warm, i figured air in the system. The next day my girlfriend and I took off on a shopping trip to the mall about 40 miles away. Taking the beautiful alabama backroads the whole way, I kept an eye on the gauges, the temp was rising and falling from time to time. Again, i figured JUST SOME AIR. . . about 35 mile in the trip, all hell broke loose. Sounded like a piece of metal hitting the fan blade. Temps maxed out. Puking coolant from the resi. I stopped of course. shut her down. and began the cussing. My $500 dream, had turned into a melting piece of SHI* in a matter of 30 miles. I've never seen a 4.0 give out so fast. turns out the oil plug has became unthreaded, losing oil. This may have caused a head gasket issue, or maybe the head gasket issue and oil leak at the same time created the bomb. Who knows. I called my dad to meet me at the location to trailer her home. I get her to the shop and call the oil change folks. It was sunday, so they were closed. Cussing began again.


Monday i called early as possible, they send a guy out. He looks at it and says, i quote " well it looks like you burned up the motor" I am enraged. There were words back and forth about who was liable. then they offered to have their mechanic look at it. I had to tow it up there to the mechanic. Began cussing. I get it up there, explain to them the situation, The manager says they aren't liable since there is coolant in the resi, (boil over) and a little oil left in it. maybe a quart. I become really pissed. We had words, and the woman asked me to leave... I filed a claim with the corperate office, they aren't liable since the place is privately owned. BLAH BLAH BLAH.


So, here i am. two days prior, had an amazingly operating machine, that i got an even better deal on. To now, a ruined engine at best. The $500 jeep just turned into a project

I pushed her in the shop at my house and began to tear her down. Plug wires: melted. Anything plastic: melted. Engine turns but is almost seized. Pull the plugs: all burned, and #5 had hit a piston.. Engine is done. Pulled the intake/exhaust and started to see shavings. Engine is toast. I pull the head off. here is what I found. Cracked #6 piston. Completely FUc*ed! #5 piston. head basically cracked in half.
LET THE STROKER BUILD BEGIN!!!!!!!!!

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Old December 17th, 2012, 23:44
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

THE STROKER BEGINS.

So, continuing the story I start the research. I want to build a super reliable, higher output 4. something stroker. My bestfriend's dad is a engine builder locally, so i get a deal. I do weeks of research, and bring him the options, he knows more on internals and compression ratio stuff than i ever will. I can turn wrenches, but I develop Nesting and Toolpath Optimization Software for CNC machines for a living. I'm no motor genius. I'll admit it. My machinist took a look at all the options, and this is what he came up with for the best low end, reliable torque monster.

The block needed a sleeve in cylinder 5, and the rest bored .060 over for the stroker. here's the specs for parts we used:
Jeep 4.2L 3.895" stroke crank
Jeep 4.0L 6.125" rods
Keith-Black Silvolite UEM-KB944 +0.060" bore forged pistons
9.5:1 CR
Crane #753905 204/216 degree camshaft
Ported big valve 2.02"/1.60" cylinder head
Mill block deck 0.020"
Mopar/Victor 0.043" head gasket
0.051" quench height

Here are some pics of pulling the engine.



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  #4  
Old December 18th, 2012, 00:04
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

The Parts list.

Okay, since we've been through the purchase, destruction, extraction, and rebuild parts. Here's what I replaced. Everything under the hood. Kept the original inatake/header, alternator, AC, Power Steering pump. Everything else was replaced.
02 Sensors
new air filter.
plugs
wires
performance distrib, firewire kit with coil.
brown dog motor mounts.
CSF 3 row Radiator.
Trans Cooler.
ZJ clutch fan.
New XJ electric fan.
185 Tstat
All Hoses.
Heater Coil.
all tps,cps,iac sensor stuff.
starter.
Flowmaster Super 44 Offroad
magnaflow hi flow cat.
belt.
all new pulleys
new hardware for trans to engine.
I'm sure i'm forgetting stuff but,
Pretty much you name it.

John the machinist called 9 days later with my motor done.

My parts total plus motor rebuild was right under 2600. Its awesome to have such good friends.

Its late, and work comes early so i'll continue this tomorrow. here are a few pics of the new engine.





more to come tomorrow- Jeremy
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  #5  
Old December 18th, 2012, 07:25
Redsnake Redsnake is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

A great deal on the XJ... a SUCKY deal on the 'jiffy-lube'... I NEVER use those places! I've heard WAY too many horror stories from customers and also employees.

Even after you have thrown the extra $$ at this one you still STOLE it!!

Looking forward to the 'rest of the story' ...
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  #6  
Old December 18th, 2012, 09:42
kastein kastein is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

wow... you got screwed on that oil change! At least you're probably still under fair market value though since you got the jeep so cheap.

Looks like it's got a lot of promise, nice clean XJ.
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  #7  
Old December 18th, 2012, 09:53
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clean4drxj clean4drxj is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

I would've been pissed as well, My jeep I change the oil myself since I can roll under it easily, my honda I have done but take it to a decent place that's been around along time.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 10:14
G2WANIT G2WANIT is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

Man, it's stories like yours that have me checking my drain plug for DAYS after someone else changes my oil - which isn't often... I'll even go so far as to FEEL the plug for oil! (Yeah, thanks, you've got me paranoid! )

Looking forward to the build, love to see how strokers turn out!
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  #9  
Old December 18th, 2012, 10:56
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Outlander560 Outlander560 is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

yea i just yelled "NO SHIT" in the office when i saw you picked up that beauty for $500...nice find jiffy lube blowssss i would have caused a ruckess over that one...good luck with the stroker build i'm going to be following this thread closely
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Old December 18th, 2012, 13:37
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

Yeah, it was a hell of a steal. I never thought I would end up building a stroker for such a decent looking rig. But i did, and its the raddest thing i've got now. I'll post more on the "rest of the story" tonight when i get some time.

I think my 96 is up for sale... kinda the redheaded stepchild now =( I want like 6k do you think its worth it?

96 155k np242 built with everything but longarms. Give me your ideas on what a price would be in the meantime. - Jeremy

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Old December 18th, 2012, 19:02
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

Alright, so continuing the story on the Craigslist steal/ Halvoline EXpress lube RAPE.

I've ordered my parts, got my motor back from the Machinist, slapped on a new valve cover gasket, put the new flowcooler water pump on, tstat housing and everything else to go with. Its so much easier to put on a water pump when the engine is out of the truck! I used felpro gaskets for everything, on the water pump and tstat i used a light 1/16 inch coat of BLUE RTV on both sides just to be safe. Break out the manual and torque the bolts down to spec. I hate that sticky crap but, its awesome insurance on a motor that would cost the average joe 3k to build. I decided to hold off on the intake/exhaust Mani until i had the engine in the jeep. I knew it was going to be a bitch, but i would rather have an exhaust leak than a half tight block to bell housing bolt. I was done for the night, and went inside to relax.

The next morning (saturday) i get at it early. I was hoping I could have the engine in and bolted to the tranny. I tried to call everyone of my friends, but they wanted no part in helping me. I offered beer, food, money, everything there is to offer. No body would come help. Great friends. I would just have to drop it in by myself. I was already in a bad mood, since my friends were being bastards so it may be the reason why i said ah... "fuc* it, i'm leaving the CPS in the bellhousing when i put this thing in." I hooked up the leveler, tied the hood bacck out of the way to the roof rack. and started dropping it in. It went in the bay fine, but i wasn't out of the woods. I still had to get it pushed into the tranny, and bolted up. I set the leveler to let the rear of the engine sit a little lower than the front, and kinda eyeballed it till i though would work. I started to drop the jack pressure and in she went. It hit the tranny just right as it came down, i heard the "clunk", and i was so excited i yelled, then drank a beer, and smoked two cigarettes. I felt like such a man, I just dropped in an engine by myself, no help, i could have won a fist fight with rocky.

I know everyone says to change the top bellhousing bolts to standard hex heads. I had no issues pulling my engine, I didnt even have to drop the crossmember to get them out. just about 3 feet of extensions and the E12 inverted torx socket. I put them back in, again without a hitch. I put the other two 7/16 lower ones in too. I got the Brown Dog Motor Mounts from my parts pile, and bolted them up. I went with the poly ones to see how they felt. I had single handledly bolted this whole thing up in about 4 hours,from out of the engine bay hanging from a hoist to in, bolted up to the trans and engine mounts. I never saw it being so easy. I'll get to the rest of the saga later on. here are some pics to drool over.














kinda a random assortment of pics. but i hope ya'll enjoy
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Old December 18th, 2012, 19:07
kastein kastein is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

You put the torque converter in the tranny and fully seated it first, right? Dumb question but I've seen too many people screw up by bolting it to the engine first... I think you did it right since it went together so easy.

I reused the factory bolts the first two times (different jeeps), then my trans blew up (cracked the bellhousing in half) right after someone stole my entire tool collection so I didn't have an E12 socket and had to make do. Ever since then I've replaced them with hex heads... even though I bought a new E12 socket.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 22:39
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

The TC never left the tranny KASTIEN, It stayed in the whole time, i could still turn the engine over with a biiiiig wrench to get the flexplate to TC bolts out. I did mark everything before hand, but after that i held the flexplate up, turns out the bolt pattern only allows for one way to bolt up. Smart thinking Chrysler. Like i said, it was my first engine replacement in a jeep. I've been doing break in runs around town, and to the store in the new stroker, she does awesome. Drives like a brand new one. I dabbled in turbo cars here and there, did a 1jz swap once apon a time. I had my time with a C10, a couple blazers,and all sorts of SBC stuff, a bronco ect. . .I think being from the south, you have to like to wrench around on cars. Now I have a 05 Wrx STI to drive in the snow that lives in Colorado, a 06 F250 6.0 PSD Tow Rig DD in Alabama, a 96 xj, and this 99. I just fell in love with Jeeps when i bought the 96. I'm no stranger to turning wrenches, just not too familiar with these boxy Chryslers.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 22:46
kastein kastein is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

Excellent! Figured you got it right but just wanted to make sure, since doing it wrong is a great way to nuke the torque converter and trans fluid pump and have to pull it all back apart again.

Around here most people wrench out of necessity... few actually enjoy it. I do when the bolts don't break and the threads don't strip.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 23:01
jwittlock jwittlock is offline
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Re: Project Jericho Stroker build. "The Craigslist Homerun"

Haha I think its an outlet for me, I write nesting and toolpathing software for CNC machines, as well as develop 3 - 5 axis CNC controls and drive motors for retrofitting and OEM CNC plasma, laser, router, waterjet, punch combo, turret punch machines ect.... it never really ends lol. But I love working on cars. I guess it just lets me get away from the computers, and machines, and just clear my mind for a while. If i could support my habits, or hobbies (whichever term you use) by changing oil for a living I probably would. But then again I love the CNC stuff too.
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