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  #16  
Old December 14th, 2020, 10:13
XJ-Mayhem XJ-Mayhem is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

Curious why the discussion is only between a 20+ year old XJ and a brand new off the lot JL?


Why not split the difference? Wouldn't a JK or even a TJ get you somewhere in between?
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  #17  
Old December 14th, 2020, 10:25
Evan03 Evan03 is offline
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Modernizing the XJ

Tj would be my pick. Ive always wanted one

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  #18  
Old December 14th, 2020, 10:43
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moparmansfield moparmansfield is online now
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

I'm a big fan of the TJ, but I would rather go with the LJ. Both of these lack a lot of the benefits that the newer rigs have, and finding a good deal on a LJ isn't easy.

The main reason for the stark comparison is because I have recently been seriously considering buying new, and for the long haul.

I'm not a fan of the JK, subjectively, but I really like the updates that came with the JL. The JK has held it's value very well, so if I wanted to pick a few year old JK, I think it makes enough sense to go for a new rig.
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  #19  
Old December 14th, 2020, 11:28
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need-a-bow need-a-bow is offline
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Modernizing the XJ

Honestly, I'd be looking at a good 3 link/4 link kit (IRO and Stinkyfab make great options) and decent shocks for handling. Make sure your rear shackle angle is in good shape, otherwise install shackle relocation brackets. An Antirock is a great choice up front.

For the interior I'd redo the headliner and sun visors(visual appeal), install some new or reupholstered seats that are more comfortable and add seat warmers while you're at it. A Double din radio with Android auto and back up camera isn't too expensive, and will really change the driving experience. Cleaning out/replacing the carpet and adding extra sound deadening helps too.

It will never be a Gladiator, but it also has the charm a new car doesn't. I have a 17 silverado I daily drive, but miss having my old XJ in the driveway. The new XJ is getting a bit of work to get it to daily duty.

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  #20  
Old December 14th, 2020, 11:40
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David_Bricker David_Bricker is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

This is an interesting conversation for sure, and certainly no one correct answer.


I have a '95 XJ; stroker, new AX-15, 241OR, doubler, D60s, ARBs, Anti-Rock, hydro assist, caged, etc. I don't even want to add up how much money I have in it.



For comfort, I got a pair of PRP reclining seats - great addition. I also have new carpet with heat and sound deadening liner. I had the headliner done by an old school upholstery shop; two layers of DynaMat, foam backing, and a stitched suede headliner. Came out beautifully. Noise and heat levels cut dramatically.



The XJ is still noisy on the highway. It's been mostly reliable, but still has its share of maintenance issues for a 35 year old rig.


When we move to Hawaii last next year, I plan to buy a new JT Rubicon. I need a pickup, I need 4 seats, and I need something to wheel to the remote beaches. The XJ will stay in Death Valley. Based on our budget planning, I can afford the JT. I want the comforts of a new car, the warranty, and making my wife happy with a quiet vehicle. Interestingly, in Hawaii, it's no more cost to buy new than a couple of years old. Buying the JT gets me using it the next day. Building another XJ is a year's long project.



I've enjoyed immensely building up the XJ, and have no doubt it is a superior wheeling rig to a stock or even lightly built JT. But I will be doing nowhere near as extreme wheeling in HI, and the XJ can't easily haul my stinky garbage to the dump.


I guess the bottom line is that I can appreciate your desire for the creature comforts. Our other cars have leather, heated seats, remote start, etc., and I wouldn't give it up for the world. I can also appreciate the more simple nature of an older vehicle, though to be honest, I've only had one intermittent door window motor out of our last 5 cars that could be attributed to "new, fancy gadgets." It really does boil down to what you're comfortable with.


As far as the XJ, comfort items were seats, lined carpet, headliner and door seals. They made a significant difference. For handling, Deaver springs, 3 link long arm, Bilstein 7100 shocks tuned, Anti-Rock and hydro assist made a world of difference. Along the way, frame stiffeners and the cage reduced creak, some rattles, and better "feel" of the road. But, by now, you're breaking $10k investment.


I don't know that any of this helps, but I understand your predicament.


David Bricker / SYR
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  #21  
Old December 14th, 2020, 12:33
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Anak Anak is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by moparmansfield View Post
I'm a big fan of the TJ, but I would rather go with the LJ. Both of these lack a lot of the benefits that the newer rigs have, and finding a good deal on a LJ isn't easy.

The main reason for the stark comparison is because I have recently been seriously considering buying new, and for the long haul.

I'm not a fan of the JK, subjectively, but I really like the updates that came with the JL. The JK has held it's value very well, so if I wanted to pick a few year old JK, I think it makes enough sense to go for a new rig.
Here is another thought: Wait a few years and pick up a used JL.

If I were trying to achieve your goals I would be looking for a JK (or farther down the road, a JL) with a blown motor. Do an LS swap on it and then you will have a solid drivetrain that should at least last a long time. Then you just have to figure out how you are going to maintain the body electronics and doo-dads.
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  #22  
Old December 14th, 2020, 14:04
Rockwood Rockwood is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anak View Post
Here is another thought: Wait a few years and pick up a used JL.

If I were trying to achieve your goals I would be looking for a JK (or farther down the road, a JL) with a blown motor. Do an LS swap on it and then you will have a solid drivetrain that should at least last a long time. Then you just have to figure out how you are going to maintain the body electronics and doo-dads.
JKs/JLs don't seem to depreciate enough to justify buying used and wondering how many woo-pows the previous owner used to get over that waterfall...

I just went through this, and in the end decided that the JT isn't a very good truck, nor is it a very good Jeep. With the money "saved" not buying new, I'm going this route instead:

https://motoiq.com/jeep-ls-swap-part-1-introduction/

And probably getting a newer truck to replace my tow pig (2000 Excursion V10).
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  #23  
Old December 14th, 2020, 14:26
RCP Phx RCP Phx is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

More thought before you comparing "Apples to Oranges"! You must first look at the wheelbase, then look at the suspension type as coils are not as stable as leaf's.
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  #24  
Old December 14th, 2020, 17:05
macgyver_7_6 macgyver_7_6 is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

I gotta be blunt and honest. If you don't have cash to buy it, you can't afford it.
Borrowing money is bad, the credit score era is a sham.
Yes, I am a Dave Ramsey advocate.
This covid year has hurt a lot of people who said they could afford it...that is, until you lose your job.
Keep saving and buy a nice TJ for cash. Or keep the XJ and buy something modern with 100k miles on it for $10k as your commuter. My 99 XJ is my daily driver and toy but I am looking at a more "plush" vehicle to drive 60miles roundtrip for work. Something AWD, because that 242 in the XJ don't like patches of ice on I70!!


Good luck in your decison!
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  #25  
Old December 14th, 2020, 18:08
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Skruffy Skruffy is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

My two cents:


I own a 2001 XJ that has every conceivable upgrade. Seriously, the only part of this thing that is stock is the body. One-off custom made by me air suspension (real air suspension not just body lift bags), frame stiffeners, Clayton offroad 4 link rear, JK rubicon axles, a friggin supercharged LS3! Just to name a few. Oh do I love my xj, however, I also own a 2018 WK2 Diesel Trailhawk. Other than real tires it is bone stock and in every category except for actual no joke rock crawling and very likely long term reliability it out performs the xj. It is way way way more comfortable, quieter on the highway, tows better, gets 28 MPG, and brakes way better. The point is no amount of modernization will make your XJ feel like a modern car, but I would argue that you should not want it to. XJs are simple and relatively easy to work on. There is a huge amount of aftermarket support. They have a ton of potential and are most importantly fun. All the ridiculous amounts of work I put into my XJ was never about making it feel like a new car it is about the process and satisfaction of completing the job then hitting a trail and enjoying the work.

Additionally the importance of not worrying about dents and dings can not be understated. My favorite car I ever had was a POS 2004 Jetta with enough miles to go to the moon and the beauty of it was that I simply didnt care about that car at all. One day I found my two kids in the front seats with sharpies drawing all over the leather. Didn't care. Imagine that with a JT that you are upside down on the minute you drive it off the lot!
I say keep the XJ and the $750 a month. Buy a POS daily driver that you do not care about and work on the XJ one thing at a time.

Last edited by Skruffy; December 14th, 2020 at 18:11.
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  #26  
Old December 14th, 2020, 19:04
SlowXj SlowXj is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver_7_6 View Post
I gotta be blunt and honest. If you don't have cash to buy it, you can't afford it.
Borrowing money is bad, the credit score era is a sham.
Yes, I am a Dave Ramsey advocate.
This covid year has hurt a lot of people who said they could afford it...that is, until you lose your job.
Keep saving and buy a nice TJ for cash. Or keep the XJ and buy something modern with 100k miles on it for $10k as your commuter. My 99 XJ is my daily driver and toy but I am looking at a more "plush" vehicle to drive 60miles roundtrip for work. Something AWD, because that 242 in the XJ don't like patches of ice on I70!!


Good luck in your decison!
This is it... I'm am also a fan of Ramsey.
My solution to a similar problem is to have 2 xj's... I do not require modern conveniences... If I drive more than a couple hours I take the wife's car (momma deserves a decent car) # Ramsey

One xj (96) is the pos crawler with probably 400k on the clock. It's been a tank and did 350k as the daily bone stock before upgrades. It was so good I bought a 99 for the "upgraded" facelift. It's been pretty great for the past 50k miles and with only 200k on the clock I expect another few solid years of dd duty out of it. When I can pay cash for the next daily all the parts will transfer from the 96 to the 99.

If you can afford the 750 a month in payment you can open a bank account named "car fund" this allows you to pay for a car (jl) without needing the bank to help... No idea what your loan would look like but as an example... borrowing 30k at 4%over 7 years is dang close to 5k added to the cost of the vehicle... I don't know about y'all, but I'm good with not doing that!

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  #27  
Old December 14th, 2020, 22:44
Evan03 Evan03 is offline
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Modernizing the XJ

I'll agree. I see people around me afford all kinds of stuff. Diesel pickup, jeep, snowmobile, boat some have it all. While I daily a truck I've had for 15 years. I have a jeep ive invested lots of time i have tools and mortgage.

I have good credit could bring home everything everyone else does but bluntness is honestly honest I can't afford a 60k truck a 20k utv and 12k sled on top of a mortgage payment.

I'd build the xj Itl be like a long term investment in sanity

I dont think anything is affordable in Hawaii.


So in your predicament thats what I'd do. Put money here and there into what I have. Even if when you are done you have 20k in it over 10 years it happened over time and with cash



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  #28  
Old December 15th, 2020, 07:28
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linksvu linksvu is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skruffy View Post
My two cents:


I own a 2001 XJ that has every conceivable upgrade. Seriously, the only part of this thing that is stock is the body. One-off custom made by me air suspension (real air suspension not just body lift bags), frame stiffeners, Clayton offroad 4 link rear, JK rubicon axles, a friggin supercharged LS3! Just to name a few. Oh do I love my xj, however, I also own a 2018 WK2 Diesel Trailhawk. Other than real tires it is bone stock and in every category except for actual no joke rock crawling and very likely long term reliability it out performs the xj. It is way way way more comfortable, quieter on the highway, tows better, gets 28 MPG, and brakes way better. The point is no amount of modernization will make your XJ feel like a modern car, but I would argue that you should not want it to. XJs are simple and relatively easy to work on. There is a huge amount of aftermarket support. They have a ton of potential and are most importantly fun. All the ridiculous amounts of work I put into my XJ was never about making it feel like a new car it is about the process and satisfaction of completing the job then hitting a trail and enjoying the work.

Additionally the importance of not worrying about dents and dings can not be understated. My favorite car I ever had was a POS 2004 Jetta with enough miles to go to the moon and the beauty of it was that I simply didnt care about that car at all. One day I found my two kids in the front seats with sharpies drawing all over the leather. Didn't care. Imagine that with a JT that you are upside down on the minute you drive it off the lot!
I say keep the XJ and the $750 a month. Buy a POS daily driver that you do not care about and work on the XJ one thing at a time.
I agree with Skruffy here, having an XJ, a EcoDiesel WK2, and wrestled with your very same thought. I really wanted to mod-restore our XJ but finally landed that absent of 10s of thousands into it, it'll never match the wk2. I finally landed I would continue to work on the XJ for fun, enjoyment, and to teach our kids - it will hopefully be their first car - but not go all out. I personally recommend building the xj for fun as time and budget allows but finding some mid-range rig for the creature comforts.
The WK2 with an ARB looks good, by the way.

Either way, this should be a fun thread!

Oh, if you go all-out on the XJ, I'd start with the interior first since you already have fairly well built. Seems more important to you at this point to have the feels and looks inside done.
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  #29  
Old December 15th, 2020, 09:24
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devildog0 devildog0 is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

IMO the charm of the XJ is it's lack of "Modernization". The look and feel call back to a time before electronic nannies and infotainment systems.
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  #30  
Old December 15th, 2020, 11:21
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Rob Mayercik Rob Mayercik is offline
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Re: Modernizing the XJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockwood View Post
I just went through this, and in the end decided that the JT isn't a very good truck, nor is it a very good Jeep. With the money "saved" not buying new, I'm going this route instead:

https://motoiq.com/jeep-ls-swap-part-1-introduction/
I don't really have anything to add to the thread discussion, but I have to say, I very much enjoyed reading your LS swap introduction. I found several bits downright hilarious (especially where you compare AMC's "Soviet Overkill" with Chrysler's "send that @#$& to the moon" approach, not to mention your commentary on the 1997 models, which seem to be much more of a rival for the 1996s in the "worst XJ year to try and get parts for" competition than I thought.

Have you considered a "build thread" here that just links back to each installment on that other site (so you don't have to post it twice)?
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