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  1. #1
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    Default New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Hello,

    My name is Jody (male). I recently purchased a rust free 96 XJ. It has many miles on it, but no rust. It's a perfect platform for me to build something. I'm not looking to build a rock crawler, mudder or mall crawler, just a good daily driver that I can also use for hunting and fishing.

    It took me over 2 years to find the XJ I wanted. It was the right year, the right color, the right transmission and the right engine. I found it on Craig's list in Denver and the seller held it for me until I got there to look at it.

    Here's a general list of what I would like to do. I already own 2 sets of perfectly good tires I had for Chev K2500, which is now a parts truck. I would like to use them on my XJ. They are Cooper 265/75/16. One set more aggressive than the other. So, that means I'll need a lift. It needs shocks anyhow. I already purchsed 16X8 wheels to fit the jeep. They have a 4 inch back space. Also it developed a noise in the rear end and I was told it probably needs to be replaced. I've been looking at a ford 8.8, which brings me to questions. I looked at a local auto recycler (junk yard) and found 2, both are from 2001 Explorers. One is from a 2 door and has 373 gears. The other has 410 gears and is from a 4 door. Will either of these work?

    This will be the starting point so I can at least use it and there are a lot of other things too which I'm sure will generate more questions. There will be bumpers, fender flares, roof rack and eventually a different engine. This one is tired, but still runs good and doesn't leak or use oil. I'm thinking diesel.

    I'm hoping to learn a lot here and who knows, I may even be able to contribute someday.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails new 2 me jeep.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Lots of questions Jody. First, I have spent some time riding tail boards too. First thing to consider. Tires from a pickup may and probably are load range D or E tires. You may notice a harsh ride since these tires if they are said load range will be made to carry a load. The rear ends you spotted will need to be re geared or you will need to regear the front axle. You didn't state what trans you have, but you will have either 3.07 or 3.54 gears and you need to match what you have. A better option would to get a rear end from an XJ that is from a 97+ XJ in your ratio and that will bolt right in.
    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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Well, first of all my tires are load range E and I know they will be stiff, but most of my miles are locally or off road. I took that into consideration. The fact is that I dislike wasting perfectly good tires that are bought and paid for. I could sell them and buy something lighter, but why go through all that and take a big loss.

    My XJ has a 5 speed manual transmission. I thought about just getting another XJ rear end, but was hoping that an 8.8 would give me more options down the road and I can have 4 wheel disc brakes. Unless the 97+ XJ's give me that. As far as gears, I was leaning towards the 373s and change my front to match that. I was figuring 373s would be better than changing the rear to 307s like it currently has (I think), with the taller tires.

    I'm still trying to figure out this forum to add a signature and related info.
    Last edited by Retired Firefighter; 1 Week Ago at 12:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    I understand saving money. Just throwing the info out there since tire stiffness affects off road ability. The manual trans XJs have 3.04 ratios. 3.73 is a good ratio for 31 or 32" diameter tires. If you are looking to save a couple of , look for a TJ with the towing package. The front axle will have 3.73 then all will bolt in without much fuss. Also, an XJ with a 4 cyl will have a 4.10 ratio. Disc brake conversions from a ZJ is an easy swap
    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

  5. #5
    prerunner1982's Avatar
    prerunner1982 is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Soooo you're the one stealing girl friends while guy's are a basic training.

    Welcome from Oklahoma.

    If you can find good used set of axles (Chry 8.25 rear preferably) from an Auto XJ (97+) they will have 3.55 gears and with the manual they would get you back to about stock performance with 32-33" tires and you wouldn't even have to change your speedo gear.
    You wouldn't get rear disk but for the price you wouldn't have to re-gear the front. I got a set from a 99 Auto XJ for 175 for my 93 5 Speed 2 door.
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
    1997 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto RIP 6/6/2016
    2000 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto


    Day of Dirt Adventure

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    I could've been the stealing the girls, but I was in basic too. I remember that cadence chant. It always made me smile while on a march. And it was Bob trying to steal my girl. He had a yellow Corvette. I only had a 1948 Chev pickup and a motorcycle. I won and we've been married 42 years, so far.

    The rear end that's in it now is an 8.25. I could just have it repaired I suppose, but then would still have to deal with brakes. With 265,000 miles, I assume I will need to do brakes all around anyhow. The 8.8 I found is 100 and has 373s. Although I still would have to pay the shop to weld it up correctly.
    1996 XJ, 5 speed manual, 4.0, 265,000 miles and no rust

  7. #7
    prerunner1982's Avatar
    prerunner1982 is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Congrats, Welcome and thank you for your service.
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
    1997 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto RIP 6/6/2016
    2000 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto


    Day of Dirt Adventure

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    I'm not sure what kind of fabrication/welding skills you have.. or what kind of local welding or offroad shop options you have... but when I was up in DE I had looked into doing the 8.8 conversion on my 97 XJ.. and decided to stick with the 8.25 (which you can pickup in a local JY fairly cheap)... and will plan on going to a ZJ disc brake conversion... and with rehearing my 8.25 and D30 to 4.10's as well as doing the ZJ conversion I'll still be cheaper then it would have cost me to pick up an 8.8, get the brackets and have them welded on (and hope they're right), and then regear my D30.. so I decided to go that route... and have replaced the drums on the 8.25 just to make sure it's safe in the mean time while I save up for the disc brake conversion and a few other things I want to do at the same time..
    FORMER GREEN XJ CLUB MEMBER
    IF YOU DON'T STAND BEHIND OUR TROOPS, FEEL FREE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THEM!!
    DOING SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE YOUR BUDDY DOES IT THAT WAY MAKES AS MUCH SENSE AS SHARING TOOTHBRUSHES

  9. #9
    denverd1's Avatar
    denverd1 is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Welcome Jody! I can see why you waited to buy, that one is mint! It's the right color too! great platform to build from

    I agree with finding a 4-banger XJ with 4.10 or TJ with 3.73 axles. Find a matching set, bolt em in and off you go. I wouldn't worry about running a load range E tire. they'll work, just air down when you need a little better traction. Disc brakes would be cool but there are other options to convert the 8.25 to disc and the XJ stops decently with 31" tires on it. you can't cage it and stick 35's on it and expect it to stop, but that's not your plan so stock braking will work for now. I would recommend tuning up and adjusting the current brake system, then refresh pads/drums and inspect the axles you end up buying.

    couple ways to fit your tires, trim fenders a little and lift a little. or trim fenders a lot with no lift. I think they look great with 2" of lift and 31's and you can do that several ways while staying budget friendly.

    for engine swap, diesel is cool. but the 4.0 is a pretty kickass engine and should be easy to find for cheap. if you're not towing a lot, i'd pop another 4.0 in there beat on it like it owes me money. well maintained, 300K miles is just getting broken in.
    Last edited by denverd1; 1 Week Ago at 12:41 PM.
    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)_)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Lots of ideas out there, thanks.
    Yes, I can weld. I own tig, mig and stick welders, but may hire it done anyhow. I found an off road shop not too far away from me (35miles) that will be doing most of my work on this build. It’s called Zeus OffRoad. https://www.zeusoffroad.com/ They saythey can weld the kit on the 8.8 for 400-500 plus parts.

    Also there are these options:
    https://www.ironrockoffroad.com/product/xj-ford-88-axle-swap-kit-w-truss.html

    https://www.carmonkeys.com/1996-jeep-cherokee-axle-assembly-rear-chrysler-8-1-4-3-07-ratio?utm_campaign=google&gclid=eaiaiqobchmitdqz0-ay2qivudubch3oqq37eaqycyabegi23_d_bwe

    https://eastcoastgearsupply.com/i-4764922-ford-8-8-rear-axle-bolt-in-xj-assembly.html

    I haven’t checked the local auto recycler yet for a usedstock rear end yet, but I will before I pull the trigger.

    Of course there is the chance of just repairing theoriginal, but then there is still the disc brake issue and the gearing forbigger tires.

    I will also start a new thread in the “my build” section. Itmay be a better location to exchange ideas on this project.
    Last edited by Retired Firefighter; 1 Week Ago at 01:03 PM.
    1996 XJ, 5 speed manual, 4.0, 265,000 miles and no rust

  11. #11
    denverd1's Avatar
    denverd1 is offline Level: Uber Jeep Cherokee Trailer Queen
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    FYI another option to improve braking is using a dodge 2500 master cylinder
    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)_)

  12. #12
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Took my XJ off road for the first time yesterday. Checking on our deer stands.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails snowy jeep.jpg  
    1996 XJ, 5 speed manual, 4.0, 265,000 miles and no rust

  13. #13
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    Default Re: New here. Looking for tips and advice.

    Nice pic. These are good snow rigs
    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

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