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Thread: Jeep Dilemma

  1. #1
    Machete wielding woodsman 94GC52's Avatar
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    Question Jeep Dilemma

    As you may or may not know I'm returning from sunny Iraq in the next few weeks and get to spend my fair share of money on a project. Im starting to have conflicting thoughts on my build sheet, so I'm looking for some sound advice.

    I currently own a 1994 Grand Cherokee Limited that is bone stock, it has a 1 year old Jasper motor, a 249 Tcase (that for some reason screams like a raped ape when I try to engage the 4lo option), no rust, and a pretty clean interior.

    I was thinking of moving away from grocery getter status with the obvious upgrades; 4-6 inches of lift, 32-33" MT's (with appropriate rims), rock sliders, front (winch ready) and rear bumpers, and possibly a roof rack. All together I'm looking at spending anywhere between 4500 and 5500 on upgrades. I want to be trail capable and not have to be concerned with much.

    My concern is that Grand Cherokee's are not known to be the best thing to run a trail with due to the unibody construction and stress on the sheet metal.

    Would it make more sense to find a 6cyl TJ and purpose build it? I know from my previous adventures with my YJ that replacement/upgrade parts are much easier to find and therefore cheaper to buy. So would I get more for my buck by getting rid of the GC and finding a TJ? I'm sure i can find some good deals on craigslist i.e: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/d...702658971.html or http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/m...702669681.html


    Sorry if this is such a long read, but I'd hate to spend the money and not trust the end product.

  2. #2
    Kick A$$ Jeep Chick georgia's Avatar
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    Id say if you can keep the grand for daily driver and find a cheap YJ or TJ and build a rig. You can lift grands but the aftermarked parts are more expensive and not as easy to come by as YJ or TJ. Or get a regular cherokee-they can be found for as little as 500 on cl and build it, lifts are pretty cheap for those also.
    God is Great, Beer is Good and People are Crazy.

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    Junior Member robplumm's Avatar
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    I'd go with the above advice. TJ or YJ is just going to be the better option to build on.

    And 4Lo generally does scream if you're going more than about 5mph.
    4in Procomp lift and shocks (those gotta go sometime soon), 4.56s, XRC-8 Winch, EMP Steering skid, 33/12.50/15 TRXUS MTs, rear tire bumper/tire carrier from eddie and Rock Hard rock sliders.

  4. #4
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    Dude, wheel the ZJ. Get a set of chassis stiffeners from TnT Customs and have them welded on do the rest of the stuff on your list but add one more thing... Swap in a NP231 and ditch the 249. The 231 gives you the ability to have 2H, 4H, and 4L, and the 249 only really gives you 4H and 4L since it is a quadratrac all-wheel drive type of system. Oh and that screaming is probably the 249 on it's way out. We have a guy in our club that wheels a '96 ZJ w/ pretty much everything you described and it walks most of the trails. Real fun to watch him out there as well.

    The real question is do you want to be part of the cookie cutter crowd or do you want to stand out in this cookie cutter market?


    Ray
    '97 2dr XJ (mine)
    '96 ZJ (hers)

  5. #5
    Administrator/Jarhead Jeeper USMCHarleyJeepGuy's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree with Georgia and Plumm Bro...drive the ZJ and get a trail rig that is easier and cheaper to do the trail mods to...XJ or YJ would be my first suggestion.

    ...or if you REALLY want to stand out in this cookie cutter market (ala Ray)...get yourself a '72 pinto and throw the body on a CJ-5 chassis and running gear! Then you'll stand out.

    Ultimately just do whatever makes you happy Bro...it is all good.
    Marines...shoot me a PM if you have not received an invitation to the Jarhead Jeepers social group on this site and would like to be a member.

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  6. #6
    The Cow Shall Rise Again theyeti1775's Avatar
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    Ok advice - YJ or XJ for cheap builds. Figure in our XJ (mine) and YJ (Georgia's) including purchase price I've invested less than $6k for both. That is tires, lift, engine parts, skids, and purchase price.

    If your set on wheeling the ZJ, I would talk to MuddyLuxury(Jeb) here he wheels a WJ and Frank(wjcando on NovaJeepers). Both went with the Iron Rock Long Arm. I know Frank has a 4" Long Arm on his, and wheels the hell out of it.
    Yeti

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    "Long Live The Cow Beast"
    http://www.virginiakrawlers.com/forums/
    http://www.beltway4wd.com/


  7. #7
    No Balls muddyluxury's Avatar
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    For the ZJ Claytons is the way to go, his shop is up in conn. Installed and welded by his shop is like another 800.

    I second the TNT unibody stiffiners, if you can wait IRO will have a bolt on LA kit for the ZJ and will prolly also have some sort of frame stiffiners. I think IRO(Josh is the freakin man) has some of the best service I have ever seen. The GC wheelin community is pretty small, and you get alot of attention b/c not alot of people wheel them yet. As for parts and avaliablity, your way off base my friend. The ZJ will take any XJ front and TJ suspension system. The geometery is identical. Axle swaps are a breaze and the power of the V8 is awesome. Plus the space with a family there is really nothing better than to have all the spare stuff and gear you need, and still have room for the family and a cooler.

    the heated seats are a plus in the winter
    -Jeb

    99 GC Ltd. V8. plenty of goodies, 6in lift 33s, rear locker, 12v cooler, steel bumpers fr+rr, Roof Top Tent,
    01 TJ 4.0 auto.. stock street queen for now.

  8. #8
    Machete wielding woodsman 94GC52's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, I love my ZJ as much as I loved my YJ. It just seemed to me that I would be really limited on goodies for the GC. I'd be more than willing to have a weld on LA kit put under my GC, but I'm not a welder, nor do I know of any local shops in the DC area that can do the work and have it be reliable. I'd be willing to travel anywhere in VA if someone knows a reputable shop that has dealt with GC Long arm lifts.

    I know i can do all the work on a Wrangler in my driveway (did it on several Jeeps down at Bragg), but i just dont want to be the guy with a box full of parts in my garage and a Jeep on jackstands.

    Jeb, i hope your gonna be around Belvoir for a while, cuz im gonna bug the hell out of you as i inspect every moving part under your rig. So i guess im settled, ZJ it'll be.

    Now get me a parts supplier when i can buy all this crap from and the credit card gets unleashed.

  9. #9
    No Balls muddyluxury's Avatar
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    www.ironrockoffroad.com will have a ZJ LA kit here shortly if its not already out. Josh is an awesome guy will bend over backwards to help you out.
    www.kevinsoffroad.com has everything a GC owner could need. He is a reseller of Claytons Kit. If you go claytons I would take the trip to his shop, its not to far and since they desgined it and install them all the time you'll be set.
    stay away from kenesaw mountian, thier bumpers are crap and the customer service is worse, same goes for Rocky Road Outfitters. His service sucks and now his lifts are crap. They used to be awesome i wheeled the piss outa mine and it was great a buddy got one a few months after mine and it was junk.
    http://www.tntcustoms.com has the frame stiffiners to solve your worries. for suppension.

    Skid plates, go with IRO those things are beefy and well thought out.

    and yes I will be around belvoir for along while. As far as the 249 goes junk it, its not worth the price of the scrap steel. if your set on full time four wheel drive you can have my 247 for 50 bucks, The rear axle will be a problem for you as it is an alum D44 center section with a diff. bolt pattern then everyother d44 on the market. Also its week point is the alum center section allowing the tubes to move and causing the bearings to wear out faster. An 8.8 for TJ d44 would be good swap options. And it also has only one locker desgined for it, and you missed the last production run by a few months. its called an Aussie locker will run you about 500 bones now and its a lunch box locker. These guys at belvoir will tell you I am brutal to my rear axle and it holds up fine.

    also check out jeep forums zj/wj section read the faqs and it will enlighten you to alot of things you never thought of.

    feel free to PM and I can impart knowledge and ideas that will make your wife want to kill me for the money you'll be spending
    -Jeb

    99 GC Ltd. V8. plenty of goodies, 6in lift 33s, rear locker, 12v cooler, steel bumpers fr+rr, Roof Top Tent,
    01 TJ 4.0 auto.. stock street queen for now.

  10. #10
    Machete wielding woodsman 94GC52's Avatar
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    i've been on NAGCA uner the same name, 94C52, but getting a straight answer from that site is as hard as getting a fat kid to pass a tape test. I looked at the Iron rock ZJ kit early this deployment, and the Rubicon express kit (non long arm). I had planned on dumping the 249, if i kept the Jeep, but I'm trying to decide to wheel it as is until something breaks then replace the broken parts with upgrades (drive train that is) Im close enough to work that i normally walk if the jeep is down for the weekend.

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