Build on a Budget – Project XJ

1998-Cherokee-Classic

As we were sitting around planning stories the other day we realized we no more free time on our hands. It was also at that exact moment we decided that another project made perfect sense.Quick name one of the least expensive Jeep’s available: if you said the XJ Cherokee you were right. Produced from 1984 until 2001 they are plentiful, inexpensive, and very capable rigs for off road use. If you ask a die hard XJ owner they will regale you with the number of times they have rescued JK, TJ, YJ, CJ, H2, and Ford owners until your ears bleed – or you start begging for conversations with fishermen.

Concept.

The idea is to take a very stock XJ and turn it into a better handling on road and totally fun off road rig without breaking the bank. It is way too easy to go hog wild and spend three times what an XJ would cost to buy.

Budget.

Normally we would shoot for a $1000 budget cap. In the case of most XJ’s they are going to require things that not replacing would be both stupid and dangerous. Worn out control arm bushings, haggard leaf springs etc. So in this case we have a cap of $2000 for the lift, upgrades, and new wheels and tires. That seems like a figure most owners could come up with and it will build a very capable XJ without sacrificing safety. We will provide the real cost of the items used and not cheat with discounts etc…

What won’t be done.

No bumpers, winches, body modifications, or other add on items for this article. We are going to focus on driving capability and comfort. Hopefully we can source a donor rig that has a good motor and drive line or this will go over budget really fast. Stay tuned and let us know what you want to see in future articles.

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William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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