Using the Jeep Cherokee XJ as a Daily Driver and a Recreational VehicleDecember 7th, 2010 by admin
I grew up off roading with my family every weekend. We started with Volkswagon Bajas, then a 4X4 Toyota, then Jeeps, back to Bajas, and now it’s a combination of them all with 4X4 Baja Jeeps. This is my ’98 Jeep Cherokee with the 4.0L in-line six cylinder motor that I use as a daily driver and a recreational vehicle. I chose the Jeep Cherokee XJ because I’m also part of a desert race team that races a Cherokee in the Jeepspeed 1700 series. We can use my Jeep for spare parts if the race car breaks and we’re in a pinch.
I needed the little XJ to perform better out in the desert. Because I don’t like shoveling sand or snow, the first upgrade I did was install a Detroit Locker in the rear axle. The Detroit locker maximizes traction by delivering 100% of the torque to both drive axles, making sure I don’t get stuck.
To fit the 31” BFG all terrain tires, I installed a 3” Skyjacker suspension lift. The lift uses stronger boxed, lower control arms that can take a beating from the desert rocks. The new front coil springs and rear add-a-leaf help it through the bumps, while the Pro Comp shocks keep it riding smoothly. Spraying all of the stock suspension bolts with penetrating oil a day before the install made life a lot easier.
The engine has over 160,000 miles. To keep it running strong, I added a cold air intake system from aFe. It helps the engine regain some of the horsepower lost from wear and tear throughout the years. My plan for this Jeep is to build it as a safe and comfortable 4X4 pre-runner. It will be a Jeep that can handle pre-running the rough desert race courses of Baja Mexico, get me back to the states with no mechanical issues, and still tow our tent trailer to Colorado for some trail running on family vacations.
In the future, the Jeep will be getting a 6” lift, a custom Ford 9” rear axle with 5.13 gears, a custom Ford 8” front axle with matching gears, a full safety cage, Sway-A-Way shocks on all four corners, and a set of 33” BFG mud terrain tires.