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  1. #1
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    Default Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    Alrighty, here is the kickoff for the rebuild/restore/upgrade of my '99 XJ. Fair warning, this first post will likely be wordy, I apologize now.

    I was given this Jeep by the folks with instructions to preserve it and use it to help instill the love of Jeeps in the next generation of Guys. No pressure.

    Here are the obligatory pics (repost from the Welcome MonsterNoggin thread):
    [IMG][/IMG]



    The body is rust-free with a single half-dollar sized ding below the drivers keyhole and was given a fresh coat of paint within the last year. Barring a some heel-wear on the drivers floor mat, the interior is essentially pristine.

    We're working with the inline 6, 4.0ltr engine, the Chrysler 8.25 rear-end (yes, it's 2WD...for now), and around 220k miles on the original automatic transmission.

    For now, the Jeep is serving as my DD. As we are an avid outdoors household, I've been given the go-ahead to begin building it up as an overlander/family camping vehicle....slowly.

    The goal is to have the cash scraped together to do a full swap to 4WD with new front and rear differentials sometime around the 1st quarter of 2018. With that in mind, I've got around 100-200 bucks or so a month to commit to ongoing maintenance and the upgrade of components in anticipation of the swap.

    So far the engine and tranny have been given a clean bill of health from a shop I trust here in Houston, and I've replaced the brake pads, calipers, water pump, hoses, thermostat, as well as the usual filters, tires, wiper blades, etc.

    I felt the first hint of a 'clunk' from a ball joint the other day, so they have been bumped to next in the queue.

    Since I'm going to have the front end apart, I figure I may as well go ahead and replace all the original bushings, bump stops, and shocks as well.

    Which brings me to my first question for the XJTalk hive-mind:
    Are there any considerations beyond ball joints, shocks, bushings, and bump stops I should keep my eye open for while I've got the axles down?

    I'm allowing myself a 4 day weekend in December for the front end and a 3 day weekend in January for the rear (if needed). Since I will have the time, if there's any wrenching I can do now to prevent headaches in the future I would appreciate hearing the thoughts of you more experienced Jeepers.

    After the suspension and ball joints have been taken care of, the next item on the list will be plugs, distributor cap, and wires. As they will be long term investments, are there any favorites? I haven't applied the Google-foo in that direction so forgive the lack of research.

    I'll be posting back with any progress/acquisitions/questions. In the meantime, thanks for looking and here's to getting this ball rolling!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    I'll be doing my suspension/steering upgrade in spring 2017. There's a ridiculous amount of resources for us here; especially if you focus on Adam's, Jake's, and Ryan's builds. They're pretty epic. I'm sure there are other builds, I'm not as caught up as I'd like to be. I look forward to seeing how your upgrade/replacement goes, as well.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    I'm going to be watching this one closely, welcome to the addiction Mike, you couldn't have landed in a better place. If you're going to be pulling the axle apart make sure you're control arm bushings are in good shape. Try to replace everything with the best stuff you can afford. Nothing is more frustrating that having to do the same thing twice. Ask questions and get opinions here, you'll get a straight answer. If I can I'll put my 2 pennies in on what you're starting on.

    Ball Joints-- Alloy USA is what I run. Synergy also has a nice set available.

    Shocks-- I need to upgrade mine but here's my opinion. Bilstien OR Doetsch Tech. I'm leaning heavily toward Doetsch Tech. I have a set on my wife's WJ and they ride nice and are beyond beefy.

    Bushings-- Available through most parts stores. Do it for piece of mind knowing that if you decide to lift your Jeep you may not even be using them in the future.

    Bump Stops-- Your call but I would just leave them be.

    Make sure you're axle seals are not leaking. Brakes are in good condition. Wheel hubs are not grinding. Take a solid look at the tie rods and make sure they aren't loose. If they are it might be a good time to take care of them.

    As far as your tune up parts. I'm a firm believer in putting back what the factory had there. Champion plugs I believe, and brass terminal ignition parts. I won't skimp on plug wires either, all of mine have the lifetime warranty plug wires.

    If you see a theme here it's something I learned from my dad long ago while working with him on projects. DO IT RIGHT DON'T DO IT TWICE!!

    He actually had the nickname of 2 time Artie for a while.

    Good luck and welcome to the madness!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    The holiday wrenching list is being compiled and I'll be pulling the trigger on it sometime over Thanksgiving.

    Although a number of these parts will be replaced/upgraded in the next couple of years, I know life has a way of delaying plans and so I'm opting to make the best decision for the Jeep now rather than be stuck with a bandaid for longer than anticipated.

    Here's what I've got in the works, the tip jar is out and .02 is always welcome:

    (4) Bilstein B6 4600 and 5100 steering damper
    http://www.bilsteinus.com/products/t...stein-b6-4600/
    Reviews seem to be solid on the Bilsteins, but I'm wondering if the 4600 is the better choice for a stock lift in lieu of the 5100. Thoughts?

    http://www.energysuspensionparts.com...j3AaAt9w8P8HAQ
    Google foo is relatively weak on the bushings. Any duds to avoid?

    Synergy upper and lower ball joints.
    http://www.synergymfg.com/Synergy-D3...s-p-26182.html

    JKS front and rear Bar pin adapters.
    http://jksmfg.com/c-381164-shop-by-v...in-mounts.html

    Aside from likely having to drill out some broken bolts on the rear shocks, any potential pitfalls that I need to keep an eye out for that a breaker bar, drill, ball joint puller, spring compressor, and a heavy dose of PB Blaster can't handle?

    Thanks for the input as always.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    X2 on the heavy dose of PB Blaster

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    Alrighty, ready to click 'buy' and either I'm missing something (entirely possible) or Bilstein doesn't offer a 4600 steering damper. Can anyone weigh in on the contrary?

    I know it's trivial, but if I'm dropping the cash my inner OCD would like for the components to match.

    Also, XJ-Jake I'm not seeing stock height options from Doetsch. Any recommendations?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    That might be right Mike. In that case I'd probably go with a bilstein shock.

  8. #8
    denverd1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    sounds like an AWESOME platform to build! looking forward to it.
    Wheelin' East Texas in a RED XJ

    RED 98 XJ with 4.5" lift, ZJ steering, front and rear locked on 33's
    cowl intake, Cobra CB, SYE, bumpers, 10K winch, lights
    ,___________
    //___l__,\____\,00_
    l_--- \___l---[]lllllll[]|
    (o)_)--(o)_)--(o)_)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    Update:
    Well, some surprise dental work has postponed the shocks/ball joints till next month. Thanks multiple root canals....

    In the meantime, I popped the hood the other day to find a near dry coolant reservoir and a splash pattern which looked to be emanating from the thermostat housing.



    The water pump went out on me this Summer, and when I replaced it I left the t-stat alone (I've had problems with faulty t-stats from the parts store in the past, so I now tend to leave them be unless they absolutely need attention).
    I guess connecting and reconnecting hoses must have compromised the gaskets, so I replaced it this weekend. No issues with running small errands around town, we'll see how things go with my 45min commute in the morning.

    I also had dropped some Seafoam in the crankcase a week or so ago. I've always heard good things about the product and figured now was as good a time as any.
    I'm pleased to report that after a few days the more pronounced rattles quieted down, and a fresh oil change with Shell Rotella T6 and she sounds almost mean again. I've also ordered a test kit from Blackstone Labs for the next change, am curious to see how things shake out.
    Wrenching on this XJ marks a return to the garage for me after 15yrs of being a vagabond with no place to hang my tools or make a mess. Man, the depth of info that's available now is staggering.

    To help me get a handle on maintenance, as well as build a schedule and budget for upgrades, I downloaded the Tinkerbuilt Vehicle Logbook for iPhone. https://appsto.re/us/WZamt.i

    Seems to have the features I need, but I'm open to any suggestions or tools y'all use to keep on top of the day to day fiddlies or help plan your builds.

    Hopefully more exciting stuff to come in the next few weeks.


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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    Not sure what you mean by tools to help plan your build. That will depend on what you want the outcome to be. But the tool for that is the entire forum really. We have builds that go from stock to wild
    230 hp 4.3L Chevy
    Built 4L60E with manual lockout
    Atlas 4 speed
    Griffin radiator
    On board air
    Warn 9.5ti on custom bumper
    7.5" RE front and bastard pack rear on custom long arms
    30 gal gas tank
    lockers
    And a bunch of other stuff

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    I'm thinking apps, spreadsheets, order-of-priority lists, flowcharts, etc.
    Professionally, I'm in the planning/scheduling side of construction and for better or worse it's leeched over to the rest of my interests.
    I feel more comfortable when I have a plan/schedule/blueprint as it lets me track progress, feel like I'm accomplishing goals when the mid-build stagnation starts to set in, as well as prevents me from going on a buying spree.
    I'm cruising the build threads and getting a feel for the common threads, but I live by the axiom that if I have an issue there's likely half a dozen folks who already tackled it.


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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ



    App, spreadsheets, order-of-priority list, flowchart, etc...

    Professionally, I'm on the production/installation side of construction.


  13. #13
    denverd1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    I keep a document on Evernote dedicated to Jeep stuff. It's prioritized, but serves as a big drawing board more than anything.
    Wheelin' East Texas in a RED XJ

    RED 98 XJ with 4.5" lift, ZJ steering, front and rear locked on 33's
    cowl intake, Cobra CB, SYE, bumpers, 10K winch, lights
    ,___________
    //___l__,\____\,00_
    l_--- \___l---[]lllllll[]|
    (o)_)--(o)_)--(o)_)

  14. #14
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    Default Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    Wrenchdevil, after years of masonry and residential, my job is making sure guys like you never have to slow down on the commercial/medical side of construction. God help you if you keep a superintendent/foreman waiting....
    I always have to add the qualifier, tho, otherwise folks look at me odd when I start drawing schedules and mapping my deliveries.

    Denver, my master list and ongoing budget is in google docs for now, may take a look at Evernote. Do you know if it compares to OneNote?

    Thanks to both of you for chiming in. There's a lot of pics floating around of folks' progress, it's nice to get a peek at the methods behind the madness.


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    Last edited by MonsterNoggin; 12-12-2016 at 09:03 PM.

  15. #15
    denverd1's Avatar
    denverd1 is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: Slow and Steady: '99 XJ

    I need to do a build thread, been saying that for a few years.

    Onenote is Microsofts cloud storage right? They're similar, I think in that you can access docs from anywhere.

    Evernote syncs across all devices and is basically an online archiving system. Can capture Web pages, emails, etc. has plug-ins that work with browser and other programs. Pretty handy.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    Wheelin' East Texas in a RED XJ

    RED 98 XJ with 4.5" lift, ZJ steering, front and rear locked on 33's
    cowl intake, Cobra CB, SYE, bumpers, 10K winch, lights
    ,___________
    //___l__,\____\,00_
    l_--- \___l---[]lllllll[]|
    (o)_)--(o)_)--(o)_)

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