Here is a picture from my first trail run ever. I went to Carnage Canyon with the XJ list. Some of ´em anyway.

Right when I started shopping for my Cherokee, ¨Four Wheeler¨ did an article about building a trail rig for $4500.00. I am trying to see if I can do this, but I spent more on the base vehicle than I really wanted to and I will also make some other consessions to the fact that it is my daily driver that I expect will push me over. Here is a list of what I have spent so far.

I bought this thing when it was ten years old. I got it for $2500.00, partially because the old owner never cleaned it inside or out when he owned it. The inside was pretty trashed. But I took out the center console and got some rug shampoo, you know the stuff for steam cleaners, and a bucket and a scrub brush AND my shop Vac. After two times over the seats and carpets it is now very clean inside. I also used Armor All on all of the plasic inside. If the previous owner had done this, I think the car could have sold for $3500.00. $1000.00 of value for just over four hours of work, not bad.

One of the first things I did was replace all of the fluids. This went well until I got to the transfer case. I had a hard time getting the drain plug out. All I had was an adjustable wrench to fit the plug. When it finally did come loose I stopped myself before removing it and tried to get the fill plug out. No luck, so I tightened the drain and waited untill I had the proper wrench (1 3/16¨) to get the plugs out. When I did finally get the plugs out, instead of a nice flow of fluid out of the drain I got maybe one ounce of black goo! I seems the previous owner got the drain plug out, but then couldn't get the fill open so he just shut the thing back up. I have since filled and drained the transfer case three times to get all of the gook out. So far no unusual noises from there.

I replaced the Radiator with a three core unit from for $120.00 including shipping! There is a nice write up on Cherokee America about replacing your radiator and I have my little rant about it here as well.

I replaced the factory air box with a Rusty's Air tube. I did not notice any performance gains, but that is not why I did it. I did it to make room for a second battery. Plus I have always liked K&N air filters.

One consession (so far) to this being my daily driver is the stereo. I put a Sony CD player in the dash and I have an Alpine amp for my front speakers, Polk's. I will eventually put in a sub and some rear speakers as well as an amp to drive them. I already pulled the power and RCA wires for this. I am planning on putting them all in and on the same box so I can remove them when I go wheeling.

I tinted the windows myself. I had done this before and had better luck. It is not a bad job, just not perfect. It was a lot cheaper than paying someone else ($30.00 vs. $180.00) and it helps with the Colorado sun. More details are in the write up.

I removed the rear anti sway bar. I also made a set of quick disconnects like the ones on Cherokee America. So far this has worked well for me. The tires I have work well when they stay in contact with the ground, I haven't spun a tire yet. But then again the trails I have done aren't that serious, yet.

I Finnally put on the lift parts I had laying around. I was really an easy day as far as work goes. I did get some help putting the rear Add a Leafs in ( Thanks Mike) and the front went together preaty easy. It was that after I got it together¸ the rear was 2¨ higher than the front. I got some 1.75¨ spring spacers for the front. I waited to put them on when I put my new axles in.

I went to the Junkyard and picked up some axles with 3.73 gears in them. I tried for some 4.10´s but I couldn´t find any. I put some new brakes on the rear and reused the fronts. The front brakes were fine, I had to transfer the stearing knuckles to the new (used) axle to keep my brakes because it was from a different year XJ¸ an 85. That was a bigger pain than I expected it to be.
I didn´t do a brake job on the rear axle I had because I knew I was going to replace it. It was a good thing too because the new (used) axle was from an 84 and had different¸ and BIGGER¸ brakes than my existing axle. I also got a non C Clip axle in the deal so at least if a do brake an axle I won´t have to chase the wheel down the trail.

I also picked up some used tires and wheels. I got four used 31 X 10.50´s for a case of beer. The spare I got from someone else for $15.00¸ almost as much as the other four.
I picked up five used alloy rims for $100.00. They are exactly the style I was looking to buy new¸ so I am real happy about that. They went on the day I put my new axles in. I didn´t want to run the 31´s with the stock gears¸ so I waited until then to put them on.

Since the last time I wrote here, I have piced up some 33"s. I also trimmed the fenders to make more room.

I got a rear bumper from Custom 4X4 fabrications. The install page is here.

I finally finished building the front bumper. Here is the write up on doing it. I am now Done with the $4500.oo trail rig.

This is my car next to my friends stock XJ.
And another view.
Here I am stopped on Spring Creek trail.
My first trail damage. I know it is not much, especially considering what can happen. If you look REAL close you can see the gouge a rock put in the wheel near the center.

As I do more I will add to this page and my tech pages as well.

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