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The 2Grand Cherokee

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  • The 2Grand Cherokee

    So, my wife and I had tossed around the idea of buying a nice Tacoma TRD offroad to build into a weekend wheeler/camper. Well, we came close to going to getting one and after a second look, decided to shelve that idea and I was given a budget to work with to acquire a vehicle to build. My criteria wasn't too restrictive- the whole thing has to be done on the cheap, so parts can't be outrageous. 4x4, capable of towing 1k-2k pounds several times a year, room for the dogs, my tools preferably room to sleep in the back when needed. Not too bad. I was looking at FS Broncos, Blazers, Cherokees, and other cars of the like. Historically, I don't like Grand Cherokees, but in my search for Cherokees, I found that the bigger brother Grand Cherokees had good reviews and was much cheaper for the mileage and condition. So enter the 2Grand Cherokee: 208,000 miles 2002 4.0 Grand Cherokee Laredo. Rebuilt motor seems runs well, no smoke, and perfect oil pressure. It's got a few inches of spacer lift, some pretty tired mud terrains, and looks like it was a mall crawler. No clunks, or rattles. The bad: A/C leaks, so I need to hunt that down. But thanks to Rightpedal's help, I have two vehicles with functional A/C at the moment, so I can be patient and not drive this till I get the A/C fixed. Rear window regulators are bad, and the power steering pump sings. That's all that I see at the moment. As the name implies, initial purchase cost is $2000, so that's where the total sits now.

    The plans:
    -Tires- going for a simple LT265/75/16 Tire- stock size for lots of trucks, a bit bigger than stock/what's on there now, should be a good compromise between off/on road performance.
    I'm thinking of either Wrangler Authorities- a Wally world exclusive that seems to have good reviews, Kenda Klever M/Ts, or a set of Treadright recap A/Ts. All cheap enough I can get five of them and have a matching spare.
    -Trans Cooler, because automatic
    -Bumpers/winch/tow points- Time to start collecting steel and a welder. I want solid places to pull from, and I'll start hunting for a workable winch and hopefully spring for a synthetic winch cable.
    -Hitch/trailer- I'm going to borrow my dad's trailer for some winter projects, so while I'm in MI we're going to do this part of it.
    -interior will get set up with a secondary floor for gear and stuff with a top deck for an air mattress.
    -Skid plates/maybe rock sliders
    -Roof rack/awning

    Beyond that, not much to do. Since it'll be a daily driver, driveline mods only to beef it up. Maybe in the long run an 8.8 ford/LSD if the right deal comes down to replace the glass D35 rear in it now.

    Oh, and it's a selec-trac so the transfer case goes 2wd/AWD/4HI/4LO, not the normal full time AWD. It also missed the dual zone climate control that seems to go bad in these,





  • #2

    Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

    It was pouring rain tonight, so I took it over to the base mud hole to baptize it. It's not a terribly serious mud hole as I could drive into the middle, stop, and hammer it in 2hi and it drags itself right out. The side effect was learning that the throttle stick open. I cleared it and couldn't recreate it with further passes through the mud but all the same. I'll be disassembling it to clean and lube everything, and probably add a double return spring.

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    • #3

      Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

      Am i going to see it today??? Crazy rays for the hitch. Me for the metal and welder.
      Last edited by rightpedal; July 29th, 2016, 03:33 AM.
      Well I have stopped buying stuff for cars I don't own. Is that a step in the right or wrong direction?

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      • #4

        Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

        Wrenches have been turned. The old PS pump is out, to the tune of $110. I'm going to replace the high pressure line as well, which will probably run me another 35 and it looks as thought that's my issue. I'll be bothering rightpedal shortly, possibly tomorrow or Sunday if he's about to borrow a puller as I need to swap the pulley to the new pump. I just wish the previous owner had spent the $35 on the hose and not taken out the $100 pump.

        Based on cost and realistic use, I'm going to stick with the 245/75/16- I can Get new general grabber AT2s within budget in that size, and it'll tow and go down the road better for the 95% of what I'm doing, and still do what I want.

        This is my current projection of cost:

        $2150- current
        $800- 5 tires (Maybe less if I can successfully sell the current ones)
        ~$100- A/C hose, seals, valves, refrigerant
        ~$200- bumper steel- thinking some schedule 4 pipe and 1/4" or 3/16s plate and and I can make something work with some help. I think I can do cheaper than this, but it's the number I'm currently authorized to spend
        $300- winch- Good reviews on the ENGO e9000. I'd like a synthetic line or American-made winch, but this is a DD/budget build and I'm trying to be realistic
        <$100-Hitch
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------
        $3650 Total for now, minus whatever I can get out of the tires.

        Still need raised cargo floor and roof rack, but that'll be some scrap lumber and craigslist staking.

        In a year or two if I choose to keep it, I'm thinking about the Iron rock Off Road lift with OME HD springs- 3-4" lift (maybe 2" higher than it is now), better load capacity/articulation, and $750.
        I'll also be closely watching the trans, which seems to be a weak link- but it seems that the 42RE can be rebuilt with 46RE internals which solves the major issues. If that looks like it'l be a thing maybe time for me to find some cores and learn how to rebuild a slushbox.


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        • #5

          Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

          Maybe in the long run an 8.8 ford/LSD if the right deal comes down to replace the glass D35 rear in it now.
          I'd be more concerned about the 'glass' 42RE trans than the D35. They got a little better in the 00's, but they still suck.
          Those trannys are one reason I won't touch a Grand Cherokee or any RWD Mopar. They can't build a trans to save their ass.
          XJ's used Aisin-Warner AW4's which are pretty stout. The Wrangler and GC guys swap them in place of 904/999/42/44RE's.

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          • #6

            Re: The 2Grand Cherokee


            I'd be more concerned about the 'glass' 42RE trans than the D35. They got a little better in the 00's, but they still suck.
            Those trannys are one reason I won't touch a Grand Cherokee or any RWD Mopar. They can't build a trans to save their ass.
            XJ's used Aisin-Warner AW4's which are pretty stout. The Wrangler and GC guys swap them in place of 904/999/42/44RE's.
            I'm generally with you. It doesn't look excessive to swap the AW4, but I'm not to the point yet where it's time to worry about the trans, and I still want to look more into the 42/46 hybrid.
            tardis454 likes this.

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            • #7

              Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

              New P/S pump seems to be a dud. My reservoir is empty and my underhood is soaked in atf. Looks like a bad shaft seal, which frustrating since I went through pains to correctly install the new pulley correctly to not damage the seal or bearings. Oh well, time to exercise the return policy. I'll give it one more go then I'm finding an OE pump at a junkyard. The A/C system has new discharge line and I've replaced every seal I can get to. Hopefully evacuating and charging it will bring it back.

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                The good part of that is - if it won't hold a vacuum, it saves you the cost of refrigerant. Try some more. Usually it was the O-rings back when I did that kind of work.

                Rebuilt stuff is hit and miss any more. YOU are the quality control... it's pretty sad. I did a vacuum pump on the diesel that lasted maybe 1000 miles. Pulley kit was about 300 miles away but I got really lucky and coasted it into an O'reilly just as the temp gauge was coming up. When they seize they take out the fan belt. Anyway, rent the tool kit from O'reilly or Autozone (free if you take it back usually) and do it in the parking lot... style points if you take it back in less than 15 minutes.
                Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

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                • #9

                  Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                  Hitch- Grand Cherokee specific Curt, $70 with plug and play wiring harness from craiglist, minus the bolts/spacers, but I still have the hardware bag from the universal fit that I put on the F150.

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                  • #10

                    Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                    It lives! Second bad rebuilt pump and off to the junkyard for a nice oem pump that work flawlessly. I can buy four more for the price of the rebuilt pump.

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                      Thanks to much generosity on the part of Rightpedal, the jeep is doing pretty well. The winch bumper is currently partially complete, with a pair of horns running into the front framerails and the winch plate welded atop them. Schedule 40 pipe will be bought and wrapped around the the headlights to protect the edge, and a skid plate will be built dropping down from the center.

                      So far a great deal of expertise, knowledge, and spiritual guidance has come from Rightpedal on making this project come together, not to mention that most of the heavy lifting has been done in his driveway using his tools.

                      I need to throw some pictures up, but I'm currently taking leave home in Michigan and working on breathing new life into my late Grandfather's 1978 CB750K, which I am inheriting.

                      So far cost breakdown is as follows:

                      $2150- previous total
                      -$95 for the used PS pump vs the new
                      -$10 sold the front bumper cover
                      ------------------------
                      $2045
                      ------------------------
                      $57- A/C hose
                      $45- Condenser
                      $12- O ring kit
                      $19- Refrigerent
                      ----------------------
                      $2178 with A/C working
                      ----------------------
                      $695- General Grabber AT2s in 245/75/16- much quieter and smoother riding than the BFG M/Ts. 4 so far #5 will be bought on the next oil change/tire rotation to add in.
                      $45 Harbor Freight winch plate
                      $70 hitch
                      ---------------------
                      $2988 Currently invested

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                      • #12

                        Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                        Walt, I heard the AT2 will not flex out much when aired down to 10-14 pounds.

                        Would you mind doing a little experiment with before and after pictures?

                        I am going to need new tires for the Hurricane rims on project CJ-7 Jeep, like the AT2 design, but really need something that will air down and flex well.

                        http://www.bangshift.com/forum/forum...7-rehab/page13
                        Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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                        • #13

                          Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                          Sounds like a cool bike thread is coming up!
                          Good to hear from you and for you to send kudos towards rightpedal!
                          You are a good man, Walt!

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                          • #14

                            Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                            Once I get back to Maryland I'll shoot some pics at different pressures- I'll shoot each pressure on flat ground and I'll find something to deform the tire- any suggestions? I'm new to the off road thing, so feel free to provide input.

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                            • #15

                              Re: The 2Grand Cherokee

                              Flat ground is fine.

                              We run at Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan and airing down is critical to staying afloat in the sand......so much so that the Park Rangers have finally started writing tickets with a fine if you get caught blocking the entrance by being stuck without airing down.
                              Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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