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Old July 27th, 2016, 07:11
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cal cal is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hammertown, USA
Posts: 16,939
Project Unicorn - a light duty trail rig

For a couple of years now, the only rig I've had is 4643. And while that's one hell of a fun ride, its not really practical for many applications - so much so, that I've found myself wheeling my tow rig a couple of times - which isn't the end of the world, its got a locker and 33" AT's.. - but not optimal.

But I knew it was time to look for something new.

A lot of people love to bash on California and our laws. And some of them are really stupid for sure (gun laws), but as far as cars go, we actually have it pretty nice over here. We don't have rust, they don't really impose limits on lifts, tires, what we can do for steering, chops and cages - we have a really strong car culture, and generally anything safe goes. The exception there is our smog laws, which get more strict every year. That isn't to say that I hate them - anyone who's old enough to remember growing up in CA in the 80's remembers how bad our air was, and its actually pretty clean now. But in building something up, the laws can still be really inconvenient. Starting last year, however, 2000 and newer vehicles no longer go through emissions tests, just an OBD2 scan to check for codes and a quick visual. So I want a 2000 and newer car. In looking at assorted XJ packages, in 2000 Jeep still offered Federal emissions packages (1 cat, 2 o2's) and CA emissions packages (3 cats, 4 o2's) - then in 2001, all jeeps went CA.

I clearly needed a 2000 Federal XJ, low miles, clean and unmolested. Like finding a unicorn. This would let me drop in a stroker, tune the factory JTEC ecu, throw a decent header on, not be encumbered by extra smog stuff, and as long as it ran clean and didn't throw codes, pass smog somewhat legitimately.

I looked for a few months, and then sidewaysstarion sent me a link to one on CL over in Arizona. I looked at the pictures, texted a couple of them to Dallas @ SFR who promptly fired up his airplane and flew me out to get it.

I present, Project Unicorn:

2000, 2 wheel drive, 4.0 auto. 114K miles. Looks new inside, but I don't have any shots of that handy.

Picked it up a bit east of Phoenix and drove 6 hours home averaging 19 mpg.

This is going to be kind of a slow start to the build - a stereo, some usb charger ports, etc - but we all know that sooner rather than later I'll jump the shark, so I'm starting here in Modified Tech were we all know I belong.
I'm not a complete idiot - there are parts missing.

Last edited by cal; July 14th, 2017 at 15:21.
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