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Looking to buy XJ and lift it but have some concerns. Help!


 
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ZONA
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Joined: 02 May 2005

PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:32 pm    Post subject: Looking to buy XJ and lift it but have some concerns. Help! Reply with quote

I had a TJ Wrangler and lifted it but sold it recently. It was a newer one (2005). Decided (the wife did anyway) that we needed a family car instead and is buying a Discovery.

Anyways, I convinced her in to letting me buy an older XJ (89-99) somehwere around those years. This will be my OFFROAD TOY. Not a commuter.

Having been around 4X4 shops when having my wrangler lifted and such, heard many of the guys put down the Cherokees saying things like they are not reliable, the uni-body will make popping and sqeaking noises all day long and other stuff.

I have found a few in my area for a good price ($6500.00) and that's not bad. I plan to do some upgrades (lift, tires, maybe rear axles, lockers, gears).

My questions start with, are those guys right about the reliability? The noises from a uni-body?

Secondly, if I were to get a XJ, I'll have about $4K I can put into upgrades. I want to run 32's and don't mind some light trimming but would like to prevent if I could. I figure I can get a set of 4 steel rims with some agressive tires (like Nitto Mud Graplers) for about $1K.

Got $3K left. I think a good lift of 4.5 inches should clear the 32's and cost about $1500.00 installed. Maybe a little more if I do SYE with it.

I want to have front and rear ARB's put in and drop gears down to 4.56.

One of my biggest questions is, since I'm not going with a huge tire, would I still need to upgrade axles? That was always a big deal in the TJ forums if you had 33's or bigger.

I know alot of you can answer in great detail because you seem to know alot about Cherokees, like ThePhantom.

Thanks for all the help - just trying to find out if XJ is a reliable fella that's not going to be this monster noise maker like these chaps are saying and also what is a good modest 4.5" lift and will I need to upgrade axles. I do moderate to challenging trails. These are some of the trails I ran in AZ when I had my TJ.


FR42 - Broken Arrow - Box Canyon - Hackberry - Bulldog Canyon - Soldier Pass

I only had a D30/D35 on my TJ and never broke anything but always felt like I should. You always read those forums with guys breaking those D35's. I know alot of that is their lead foot and hopping on the rocks but I want some piece of mind on the trail too.

Sorry for the long winded post - serious about becoming XJ fella though. Thanks again.
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chappy
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Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an 89 Cherokee Limited with a 3" bds suspension/ baja springs in the rear for additional lift plus a 2" spacer upfront. I just have 31X10.50's on it. This works well for me for a cheap lift. I did not need a sye.

I do not notice any additional sqeaks from my 180,000 mile Jeep. I had a 94 Wrangler with 33's on it before and the only noise I ever heard was the suspension moving simular to the Wrangler. In my opinion the longer wheelbase did a better job all around for the trails that I run. I also like to go on the same runs as the bigger TJ's and keep up with them. I did have Warn Rock Sliders on the rockers and a winch bumper up front. For a budget Jeep I am very impressed with it.

It would be nice to have additional lift. I think a Cherokee with 33's or 35's is the ultimate trail machine.

Just my opinion.
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

96-99 XJ with a Chrco 8.25 rear axle...those are the best of the breed IMHO and for what you want to do the 8.25 should be more than enough axle.

Rather than re-type my rationale for the choice in years check out this thread over on L4J...the 10th and 12th posts down specifically.
http://www.links4jeeps.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2265
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Renegadestang
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Joined: 07 May 2005
Location: Marietta, GA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Phantum on the years. Also, you should have no problem running 32's with a 4.5" lift. I would highly recommend installing an SYE and CV driveshaft on XJs of those years with anything more than 3.5" of lift. Some even need those on their 3" of lift, some don't. Definitely go with the 8.25". The Dana 35 is a weakling basically. Check to see if the XJ has ABS brakes. If it does, it has the D35. If it doesn't have ABS, it could be the D35 or the 8.25". Hope some of this helps.
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1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport: 4.0L, AW4, 235/75 Wild Spirit's

1981 Jeep CJ-7 Renegade: 307-4V SBC, SR-4 4-spd., 31x10.5 Wild Spirit's

1966 Ford Mustang: 289-4V, C4 Auto.
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ILLXJ
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Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Location: S. ILL.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most 96's have the 27 spline 8.25. Not much stronger than the 35. The 97+ have the 29 spline 8.25. The 96+ have the new style transfer case & it is recommended that you get a sye w/ a lift of 3" or more. I have seen some that needed a sye from the factory. HTH. JIM.
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Last edited by ILLXJ on Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ZONA
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Joined: 02 May 2005

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ILLXJ wrote:
Most 96's have the 27 spline 8.25. Not much stronger than the 35. The 97+ have the 29 spline 8.25. The 96+ have the new style transfer case & it is recommended that you get a sye w/ a lift of 3" or more. I have seen some that needed a sye from the factory. HTH. JIM.



Are you saying that every Cherokee 97 and after has the 8.25 and NONE have the Dana 35?

Look here - I called some junk yards close by this weekend and was able to find a Ford 9" rear and a Dana 44 Front (from 87 Bronco) combinded price for only $750.00. I was sooooooooo happy........until I called the shops to find out how much it would be to install them. Apparently, there's a crap load of customization that is needed to get those bastards on there and then, the standard lift kits won't fit. You have to go custom on the suspension lift also, according to several local shops. The cost started soaring so I can't go that route. What can I do do at least beef up the axles some? I know there is a Super 30 kit for the front and there is a Super 35 Kit for the rear Dana 35 with a Truss but what is there for the 8.25?

At least I have decided on what look I want. I like the R.E. 4.5" lift with 32's, ARB's front and rear with 4.56 Spicer, R.E SYE Kit with new CV rear shaft. I can afford that. I just want a little peace of mind towards axle strength. That's sort of why I'm keeping tire size down somewhat. Was looking to go 35's. Any suggestions?

Are those guys pulling my legs on the 9" rear and the cost to put that in? Forget the front D44. How much to put that rear 9" in (what do I have to do besides cut the housing length, cut axles to fit? And will a conventional lift kit still fit right?

Thanks all Smile
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's 91 and later and it's got ABS, it's got a D35. Otherwise, it's pretty much a 50/50 shot as to whether its a D35 or an 8.25. Now, if you want to put an axle in that's not "factory", you are looking at a lot of fabrication...so if you want more of a bolt in solution, you're options are very limited.

Unless you are hardcore rock crawling or wheeling with the hammer down, the D30 should be able to handle 35's just fine...especially if you beef it up a little (alloy shafts, etc.). If you would rather trash the D35, you can pick up a D44 for the rear out of an 87-89 XJ and beef that up as well. That setup will allow you to run any bolt on lift kit out there and you should be able to handle 35's just fine. The 87-89 D44 is the strongest axle that will bolt right in (30 spline, 1.31" diameter shafts).

Now, it's not as strong as a D44 but you could also look into swapping in a 97+ 8.25 axle (29 spline, 1.21" diameter shafts), but I don't know how easy it is to find aftermarket parts for them...I never had to investigate it since I swapped a D44 in.
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ILLXJ
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Joined: 08 Aug 2005
Location: S. ILL.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some have the D35, but since you are going to upgrade with gears & a locker I just dismissed them. The 29 spline 8.25 & the XJ D44 are direct bolt ins. Anything else will take some work. As for the 8.25 the only locker I know of is the No-slip. Works very well. JIM.
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Last edited by ILLXJ on Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ZONA
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless, I'm still going with 4.5" set up and 32's. Just looks nice and will handle fine on pavement and still handle some nice trails, if I get some good beefy tires (Nitto Muds).

I'm not a Hard Core wheeler at all. 3.5 rating is what I like (1.5 to 2 foot steps is max I'll try to tackle). And I go REAL slow on the iffy stuff. I figure if you can't make it up slow and safe, you probably shouldn't be trying it.

You guys are helping me a ton - I thank you.

Guess I will search for an XJ 87-89 D44 then. If the only locker for the 8.25 is No-Slip then no thanks. Had one of those on my TJ before changing to full locker. That No-Slip was useless on the deep ruts where that rear tire was in the air. That's what made me upgrade to full time locker.

Don't know how common 87-89 XJ with D44 was but I will try to find one. Otherwise, if the Cherokee I get does have D35 then how much of an upgrade is that Super 35 Kit with Truss? 20%? More?
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

XJ D44's are out there. You should be able to pick one up for around $300.
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Renegadestang
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also heard of quite a few people installing the 8.8's out of Explorers, especially since most of them have some sort of posi-traction. Don't know anything about installing them, though...
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1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport: 4.0L, AW4, 235/75 Wild Spirit's

1981 Jeep CJ-7 Renegade: 307-4V SBC, SR-4 4-spd., 31x10.5 Wild Spirit's

1966 Ford Mustang: 289-4V, C4 Auto.
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ThePhantum
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8.8's require fabrication on XJ's. They have coil spring perches and need to be converted to leaf spring.
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