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View Full Version : Building an Adventure XJ Pt II


DrMoab
July 4th, 2007, 17:45
If things go the way I hope they don't go I will be selling my Dodge tow rig and buying a newer (00 or 01) XJ. Since I will be losing my tow rig it will have to double as my wheeling rig and also my daily driver. Keeping that in mind I'm going back down to 33 inch tires in order to keep in more drivable.

I know what I plan on using as far as axles, lift, tires, bumpers and such but I want the rest of your ideas on what should be strengthened that gets often overlooked. Things like uni-body strengtheners, steering box braces and such.

In your eyes, what are the most common overlooked items on an XJ?

I plan on taking this jeep on some pretty serious off-road expeditions and it needs to stand up to the beating it will take and get me home safely.

OverlandZJ
July 5th, 2007, 06:06
I take along a nice power invertor, in case i need to use a drill/grinder on a repair (havent yet) while in the woods.

If you'll be out alone or with family i'd suggest 2M radio. This is something on my list as well.

If your expeditions will include alot of rock, perhaps dual spares?

Spare hardware to hold the tracbar to axle.. :doh:

SCW
July 5th, 2007, 15:23
Ryan, I'm really at a crossroads with this problem as well. I really want a single vehicle that will get me there and back, reliably with the ability to take family along as well. Mostly hunting trips where I pretty much park the rig and spend a few days without seeing it, but lots of family trips around too. I keep camping with the Jeep and thinking of what I want, what I need, etc. It pains me to say it, but I think I'm going to dump the XJ for an older Dodge Cummins, extended cab short bed. The biggest thing I'll be giving up is size and manuverablility on the trails. Then again I have room for a chain saw and shovel. I can have plenty of clearance with 33" tires, plenty of power, run an inverter, tow a trailer, etc.

I'll keep the XJ just because I want to, but I don't think I'm going to spend any more money on it till money isn't hard anymore. I think I'd rather have what's really going to cover it for me.

Then again, I don't do the Moab type stuff. I would rather have ultimate 'get back home' ability than 'get anywhere' ability. Mostly considering things like dead batteries (easy to run two on the Cummins, harder on the XJ), trailer capacity, ground clearance, ability to carry expedition type gear even without a trailer, ability to sleep in it if needed (my XJ is slightly too short for comfort). Also, the axles don't need to be upgraded, just lock them up and go. I'd like to put one of the new Warn winch/compressor combo's on the front and come up with a way to haul a spare without taking up bed space, but I think that's time and money better serverd. For my 'needs' anyway.

Go ahead, call me a heratic. :D

Jeepsloth
July 5th, 2007, 17:16
If you're not straying to far from stock with axles, suspension and so on take a look at things that can leave you stranded.

The alternator, starter, and some of the sensors. Is there a way to upgrade them or improve reliability or is carrying spares the only way?

Fuel capacity is another thing to look at depending on where you're going.

If you're going to be doing South America jungle type stuff then maybe look at protecting the intake and waterproofing. I saw an article a few years ago about some guys that took some Cherokees through South America and they installed a sump pump type set-up inside to get rid of any water that collected after water crossings.

Communications as John suggested

Maybe a store bought expedition trailer or an "upgraded" military 1/4 trailer to haul stuff (parts, fuel, beer?)

DrMoab
July 5th, 2007, 21:26
If you're not straying to far from stock with axles, suspension and so on take a look at things that can leave you stranded.
I have a Dana 44 with Alloy 33 spline shafts for the rear and will be building the 30 with a good truss and alloy shafts. I plan on sticking around 33 inch tires, probably 285-75-16s in order to get a little narrower 11.50 inch width. I'm running 35s on a stock 30 now and have for years without any problems. Suspension, axles and tires are going to be far from stock but I'm not really looking for advice there because I already have a plan there.
The alternator, starter, and some of the sensors. Is there a way to upgrade them or improve reliability or is carrying spares the only way?

Fuel capacity is another thing to look at depending on where you're going.
I have an idea to build an aluminum fuel cell that will be 4 inches high, 12-15 inches wide and the width of a roof rack. One that can be bolted right to the rack that can gravity feed into the tank via a valve and tube.

If you're going to be doing South America jungle type stuff then maybe look at protecting the intake and waterproofing. I saw an article a few years ago about some guys that took some Cherokees through South America and they installed a sump pump type set-up inside to get rid of any water that collected after water crossings.

Communications as John suggested

Maybe a store bought expedition trailer or an "upgraded" military 1/4 trailer to haul stuff (parts, fuel, beer?)
This is something I have also been researching. I can't decide if I want to go with a small "adventure" type trailer or go with a bigger tent trailer that is set up for off road. I really like the looks of some of the newer tent trailers out there and with two kids and a big dog this is a big deal.

DrMoab
July 5th, 2007, 21:28
It pains me to say it, but I think I'm going to dump the XJ for an older Dodge Cummins, extended cab short bed. The biggest thing I'll be giving up is size and manuverablility on the trails.
Don't do it. Take it from an owner of a diesel truck...they absolutely positively suck off road. They are front heavy, get no traction, ride like a tank and are just plain too big.

If you get rid of the jeep for a truck you will hate yourself. Trust me.

IntrepidXJ
July 5th, 2007, 21:32
Well, with this new rig are you planning on running the hard-core rock trails?

As you know, I'm building up an expedition type XJ, and I have no plans to plate the frame like I did my other one......but I also don;t plan to take it on the same kind of trails as my 92, either :)

DrMoab
July 5th, 2007, 21:34
Well, with this new rig are you planning on running the hard-core rock trails?

As you know, I'm building up an expedition type XJ, and I have no plans to plate the frame like I did my other one......but I also don;t plan to take it on the same kind of trails as my 92, either :)
I want to have the ability to do the harder trails in Moab. Pritchett and the like. It won't ever see the buggy trails. I will be giving up the jeep I have now so this one needs to do almost everything.

IntrepidXJ
July 5th, 2007, 21:56
ah, ok.....i'm not building mine to run trails like Pritchett......so yes, in your case I would weld on some T&T stiffeners for strength and to prevent the framerails from smashing in

Begster
July 5th, 2007, 22:05
If you're going to be doing South America jungle type stuff then maybe look at protecting the intake and waterproofing. I saw an article a few years ago about some guys that took some Cherokees through South America and they installed a sump pump type set-up inside to get rid of any water that collected after water crossings.

I have actually thought about installing a bildge pump for a boat that I have lieing around in mine after having flooded it so many times.


I don't know what you used for steering on your last Jeep, but I would suggesting adding a heavy duty tie rod, probably solid stock or something that will take a couple direct hits, would be good. Or at least a spare so you can just swap them before you drive home.

After all, you do need your steering to get home, and I know from personal experience, a 2 hour drive on the highway with a tie rod bent into the axle, causing the Jeep to try to pull itself off the road is not extremely fun. Its only fun when you can make a corner or a lane change without any hands though.

WaXJ_Skier
July 6th, 2007, 02:40
Spare hardware to hold the tracbar to axle.. :doh:

Yes I completely agree learned that one the hardway earlier this week 500mile drive home without the proper hardware kinda sucked made it half way before having to phone a friend.

rightseatsis
July 6th, 2007, 08:24
Make sure you also put multi 12volt PowerPorts for the GPS and other gear. Tom wired in 4 extra ports in the dash of the $50 XJ. (2 GPS, CB, Cell Phone) Very handy.

Jeepsloth
July 6th, 2007, 17:22
Hey Dr Moab have you seen the Kolpin Fuel packs that the ATV guys use? The capacity is small but they are stackable and can be removed when not needed.

They also have a Water Pack. Just food for thought.

http://www.onlyatv.com/fuelpack.php

ChuckstrPT
July 6th, 2007, 20:44
ah, ok.....i'm not building mine to run trails like Pritchett......so yes, in your case I would weld on some T&T stiffeners for strength and to prevent the framerails from smashing in
It's kinda funny you guys are talking about this, as this has been the motivator behind my current build. I had to get rid of the trail only truck, and could only have one. So the priority has been longevity, protection, and performance. When I started, the TnT stiffeners, as well as their long arms weren't available. I added T and J tubular chassis stiffeners early on, when it was still almost exclusively street driven, and was very impressed with the Absence of any squeaks or rattles. I think they did a great job of stiffening things. Unfortunately, now the TnT long arms are out, as is their belly pans, which I would have liked to obtain. To do that, I'll have to cut off the tubular stiffeners, or drill through them with a whole saw...no thanks. Tire goal is also 285/75/16s, 4.56's and locking the rear. I can't afford an ARB, so I'm going with the install and forget about it Detroit. I've been very happy with Carolina Rockshop tcase/tranny skid. A buddy made me some copy JKS Supernerfs. Gas tank skid, and bumpers have been useful. I haven't upgraded the steering, but that's an obvious choice. I've got both 2 meter (could swing the cash for the dual band I wanted) as well as CB. I'd mount both in the overhead console if an option. I've got my CB up there, and the 2 meter (V8000) on the dash. the antenna wires are plumbed up into the headliner, and into the back hatch. Keeps all the wiring up out of any possible water issues.
With my current set up, on 32's, open, and stock gearing, I've found it very capable, and not offensive on the road. I'm using RS9000's set on the medium side for most street work with good results. Some day, I'd like that in cab controler! I'm working on wiring a compressor (my rear bumper contains a tank).
If I had to do over, and had cash, I think I'd go right for the TnT stiffeners/long arm kit.....

87manche
July 10th, 2007, 13:48
Ryan, I'm really at a crossroads with this problem as well. I really want a single vehicle that will get me there and back, reliably with the ability to take family along as well. Mostly hunting trips where I pretty much park the rig and spend a few days without seeing it, but lots of family trips around too. I keep camping with the Jeep and thinking of what I want, what I need, etc. It pains me to say it, but I think I'm going to dump the XJ for an older Dodge Cummins, extended cab short bed. The biggest thing I'll be giving up is size and manuverablility on the trails. Then again I have room for a chain saw and shovel. I can have plenty of clearance with 33" tires, plenty of power, run an inverter, tow a trailer, etc.

I'll keep the XJ just because I want to, but I don't think I'm going to spend any more money on it till money isn't hard anymore. I think I'd rather have what's really going to cover it for me.

Then again, I don't do the Moab type stuff. I would rather have ultimate 'get back home' ability than 'get anywhere' ability. Mostly considering things like dead batteries (easy to run two on the Cummins, harder on the XJ), trailer capacity, ground clearance, ability to carry expedition type gear even without a trailer, ability to sleep in it if needed (my XJ is slightly too short for comfort). Also, the axles don't need to be upgraded, just lock them up and go. I'd like to put one of the new Warn winch/compressor combo's on the front and come up with a way to haul a spare without taking up bed space, but I think that's time and money better serverd. For my 'needs' anyway.

Go ahead, call me a heratic. :D
you want an MJ ;)
with the exception of a standard cab, a long bed MJ will do everything you want.
My Mj is slowly turning into this. The wife wants to go camping/hiking. I don't hike, but I'll drive.

I get to cary the TSL's in the back, along with camping gear/firewood, most anything. Sure is nice to do long highway trips with highway tread.

JPFreek1
July 25th, 2007, 16:49
If any of you actually get around to building one of these things and taking it out for 'adventure', let us know as it's right up our alley. ;)

IntrepidXJ
July 25th, 2007, 21:52
If any of you actually get around to building one of these things and taking it out for 'adventure', let us know as it's right up our alley. ;)

see my thread below ;)

Handlebars
July 27th, 2007, 17:21
If any of you actually get around to building one of these things and taking it out for 'adventure', let us know as it's right up our alley. ;)
I lived out of mine for the entire summer of 2003, does that count?

DrMoab
July 27th, 2007, 19:02
If any of you actually get around to building one of these things and taking it out for 'adventure', let us know as it's right up our alley. ;)
Randy just did and I will be starting soon. You want a full write up?

Fish'nCarz
August 3rd, 2007, 20:59
see my thread below ;)


Very cool!