2004 Grand Cherokee Laredo (WJ)

nick_n_ii

Member
So I've had a bad year for Jeeps.
October 13th 2019 - My was was in a wreck that totaled out our JKR
October 13th 2020 - The ZJ that we bought to build (bought Nov 2019) cracked the block in 3 places and broke the uni-rail at the fire wall inside

Oh and ya this one still remains nameless.. But I'm leaning to "Dark Knight"

SO now we're on to Jeep #3 a rather clean (for a Northern Michigan Jeep) 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with 188,000 on the clock. It's a 4.0 with a 242 T-case. Bought knowing it had a tranny leak. Found it was both pump seals and a cracked torque convertor. Replaced them, found a dead cooling fan replaced that drove it 2 days and lost reverse and 3rd gear. I heard the band break when it happened. Now waiting to pick up a replacement transmission on Monday. Ad pull it again.

Since having it I've re-wired all 4 doors (broken wires seems to be a theme on WJs). Bought a replacement passenger fender (only seen rust) and a replacement hatch (it's dented) all in factory Black..

Plans are 4.5" Rusty's coils, all Iron Rock control Arms, Trail Forge bumpers, affordable offroad tank tuck, V8 Vari-Lok with 3.73 gear axle swap and 265/75R16 tires..
 

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nick_n_ii

Member
That is a currant area a research.. I'm leaning to dropping the IRO arms and going TrailForged Long arm kit...
 

jpat30

Adventurer
Nice find, INMO, WJs are such an underappreciated jeep. They make great backcountry explorers and DDs though. I had an 03 Laredo with the same drivetrain you have that took my family and I everywhere. Man I miss that thing. I would highly suggest that if you lift it over 4 inches, you invest in long arms and go ahead and swap your front driveshaft from the repezza unit that is up there using the the replacement shaft from IRO. Once you lift a WJ, the repezza is on borrowed time and will frag, they dont handle lift well at all. Anyway, good luck and have fun!
 

Stepsride

New member
That is a currant area a research.. I'm leaning to dropping the IRO arms and going TrailForged Long arm kit...
Well welcome to the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2004 and I have touched every bolt nut screw on that thing. I have the infamous 4.7 liter V8 that has been reliable as can be. I am wrestling with electric just like you are. Once you replace the Crap MOPAR wiring it works well. I rebuilt the 247 transfer case, I rebuilt the limited slip in the front and rear with new Spicer clutches, I rebuilt the drive shafts and all the suspension. Since this was a project vehicle for my daughters and I, we did the IRO 3 inch lift with all new control arms. It looks great with 32 inch General AT's. MY BIGGEST regret was not going long arm. I drove a Trail Forged LONG arm Grand Cherokee and the ride was SO SMOOTH. It has the Johnny Joints on each of the ends. That is a great kit. No comparison to the short arm.
 

nick_n_ii

Member
Been reading A-LOT the last few days. My build will as most go in a few stages.

Stage 1 - will be a set of V8 axles with Vari-loks and 3.73 gears. That set up will be on 4.5" short arms. Of which I have about 90% the parts. And will be on 265/75r16s.
After this I'll be doing bumpers, sliders and a RTT. With plans to use it overland this summer and just see what I do or don't want to change. And how well it works. As of now I'm pleased and feel in stock form it's a better riding more usable and more capable than my last ZJ on 3.5" lift and 245s was...


The long out view is a complete axle upgrade. We are talking 1-3 years out. Axles always seem to be my limit and where I go and how I get there. I want to be as near to bulletproof without being stupid about it. I'm on the fence do mostly to cost and ultimate build plan. I'm looking from 35s to 38s in tires. In part I'd like to do a Michigan to Alaska Overland/Xtreme trail run in a few years. And I love Snow wheeling and Adventures. Clearance is King here. So that's left me with a few Axle option ideas. JK Rubicon 44s (Pricy before I even bracket and regear- even more so than TG customs), HP44/FW8.8 build out (not as bad price About the cheapest option, super strong just need to source parts), Superduty 60/10.5(all but ruled this out based on width and weight and requires way more tire than I'll ever need) and the other option is Trail-Gear custom front housing/Tacoma rear with Toyota 8" and e-lockers.(This one is growing on my)

My goal (if I can) is for this to be the Last full Body Jeep I build out. I've destroyed my fair share of XJs and ZJs over the years. And Good solid uni-body rigs seem to be getting harder to come by(At least in Michigan without being super over priced). WJ's seem to be the last of a breed for Jeep/Trail rig/Adventure platform. If this one fails or don't last as I'm hoping I'll be jumping off the Jeep ship in favor of a Toyota. I love solid front axles, and the space this thing has. I'm a die hard when it comes to Jeep 4.0s
 

Grassland

Well-known member
Is Michigan a salty winter nightmare sort of place?

I had to get out of my WJ due to rust and the fact everything was 14 years old at the time and everything that broke was a PITA to replace because it was siezed or replacing it caused the next part to go.
Didn't have the time or money for it.
With the unibody I never had much interest in going super tall or super large with tires as you clearly know you have to replace a lot of parts and it gets $$ quick.
 
My goal (if I can) is for this to be the Last full Body Jeep I build out. I've destroyed my fair share of XJs and ZJs over the years. And Good solid uni-body rigs seem to be getting harder to come by(At least in Michigan without being super over priced). WJ's seem to be the last of a breed for Jeep/Trail rig/Adventure platform. If this one fails or don't last as I'm hoping I'll be jumping off the Jeep ship in favor of a Toyota. I love solid front axles, and the space this thing has. I'm a die hard when it comes to Jeep 4.0s

Step carefully into the Toyota world, they are fantastic daily drivers and I've had many various models. They are significantly more costly to modify and modify well. As you know, the Jeep world is full of options and supply/demand dictates pricing to an extent.....that is much less the case in the Toyota world as supply is much more limited. It simply is harder to cost effectively "make it yours" over there vs. here. But they are fantastic vehicles for the most part.
 

nick_n_ii

Member
If/When I go Toyota it will all be home built parts. I'm back at the drawing board of starting a small Offroad/Overland directed fab shop. Only time will tell though..
 
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