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'85 2 door questions

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Joined: 26 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: '85 2 door questions Reply with quote

Hi everyone, this is my first post here. A friend of mine just picked up a free '85 2 door Cherokee with the Chevy 2.8L V6 and a 5 speed. The transmission is shot and the engine won't start, but we're planning on turning it into an off roader that we can use to run around his farm with and take to the pinelands (NJ) on weekends. Niether of us know too much about Jeeps (I'm a Land Cruiser guy and he's into Fords), so I figured this would be a pretty good place to start. We pulled the transmission today and we're planning on yanking the engine later in the week.

I'm trying to get an idea of what kinds of engine/transmission swaps people out there have done with these trucks. I have a 305 V8 that has been taking up space in the garage for quite a while that I think would be perfect. Are there any guys here running small block Chevys in older XJs? If so, did you retain the stock trans? What other transmission/transfer case combos would work? What would be the easiest/cheapest way to get about 5-6" of lift? Also, can anyone tell me the axle ratios?

Finally, the previous owner removed the front driveshaft because the 4wd would not engage and he could not figure out why. I'm guessing that the engagement in the front axle is controlled by some sort of vacuum locking system? Would there be anyway to swap in manual locking hubs or a different front axle without a huge amount of hassle?

Feel free to throw any sorts of ideas at me. We're going to try to have a lot of fun with this project. We want to make sure everything is done right and that the truck is safe, but highway manners and comfort aren't really an issue. This is going to be a trail truck that will only see pavement on the way to woods and nothing else.


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Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Location: Murfreesboro, TN

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Matt, I can start you in the right direction, or give ya some pointers and I'm sure other folks will add to it. Over all you can get alot from this place.

To keep things cheap & not really for road could probably use a spacer on top the coil in the front end to get you up to 2"(maybe 3") of lift. This would be using stock upper & lower control arms. Just remove the sway bars front & rear (not recommended for road use). Keep in mind the more you lift it, the more it will move over to one side(passenger side). To fix this you will need an adjustable track bar. Also the more you lift it, the more you will need aftermarket upper & lower arms.

The rearend, you could use blocks (I have heard you can get 6" or was it 8" blocks). If your springs are sagging....which they probably are...I would try to find a FULL length add-a-leaf (my RE lift kit came with one). This leaf will add to height & most important add strength to those factory leafs that are about to crack and break. Then finish the lift with blocks. You should also get some shims to help the angle of the rear drive shaft. If you go over 3"-5" of lift in the rear you will start needing a SYE (slip yoke eliminator) & new drive shaft (depending on your set up & etc.)

You will need longer brake lines!

You will need longer shocks!

You need to gut the carpet & add drian plugs.

Your XJ will over heat! (get 3 row radiator)

You will break things!(save alot of money)

You will want gears & lockers!(save more money)

You will get addicted! (like on crack)

You will get the "call" to spend more money!(your always broke & dirty)

Got a Master Card?

My best advise, cut it up now before you get the "call"!

A brief description of the "CALL"
Keep in mind this starts off light & suttle, you don't even notice it at first. But it is the call to spend more money on your Jeep. Buy more upgrades. But after a while this "call" gets stronger! Before you know it it is all you think about, it is all you work for. You are HOOKED!

The first sign is of trouble denial!

I see it coming, your running with the wrong crowd already! rofl
89 or 90? XJ
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