Talk me into (or out of) an XJ

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
If the rear D35 bothers you a 31 spline Ford 8.8 out of like a 91-01 Explorer can be made to fit and has the same wheel bolt pattern and is about the same width, I know guys swap them into Wranglers. Similar strength to a 31 spline 9", 95+ has factory disk brakes and they all but grow on trees. Shop around and they can be had with decent gearing (3.73 or 4.10) to absorb some of the cost if you need to regear.

I paid $100 for my '96 with limited slip and 3.73's...
 

HouseVVares

New member
I liked the idea of smaller / lighter / with secure storage. So when I tripped over a '98 Sport with the 4.0L and AX15 5 speed I bought it for the fun of it. It has been a project that has taken on a bit of a life of its own; 3.5" lift with relocated front suspension points. Ford 8.8 axle swap. WJ front hub swap. 32ish tires on 17" rims. Since the picture I've added sliders and bumpers. And currently I'm starting on a V8 swap because I had the engine available and why not?

I always enjoy bombing around in this thing for some reason.... I agree with the other comments; find a good chassis by doing some research on rust / known weak points. That late 90s seems to be a sweet spot.

Jeep2.jpg
 
I am an XJ lifer, I will always own one in some form. They are going up in price quickly due to their iconic 4x4 look. With that said, make sure you're committed to working on a vehicle because you will spend time replacing a lot of parts. Fortunately, parts are plentiful and they are generally pretty easy to work on.

I finally had to purchase another vehicle though, a Toyota Sequoia, for more space and for a better tow rig. I love the Jeep for shorter trips, Moab crawling and trips where I'm not as concerned about payload. The Jeep is a great light duty rig and I love mine and I hate mine but I haven't sold it yet in nearly 12 years. My longest relationship....

XJ rack.jpg

Behind the Reef.JPG
 

HouseVVares

New member
where's your nuts?
Safe and sound... I installed ARP extended studs expecting I would at some point use spacers to get the track width where I wanted it but ended up not needing the spacers on this combo. So it looks kinda funky with the extended stud sticking out past the rim.
 

SlickRope

New member
I really wanted a XJ and was dead set on getting one. Well I couldn't find one that wasn't rusted out for a good price. After about a year I stumbled onto a 2004 WJ with the 4.7L for 1K. It's been awesome an went from a weekend fun vehicle to my everyday driver. I also have had a kid recently and the extra space is really nice. With leather heated seat and a V8 its been awesome. Not trying to sway you or anything but a WJ might be something to look into if you want a little bigger Jeep.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
XJ, compact, the 4.0L is a fabulous engine. Bulletproof driveline. Solid axles, plus plus. Parts, after market, used market.... the best of options.

FJ Cruiser... how long was it built for......
Lexus.... wonderful beautiful capable.... like camping in a Bentley eh..... luxury for sure. ps, I cannot fault anything Toyota.
Honestly, an XJ sounds a good fit, but since you have a Tacoma, a same generation ForeRunner might be better, parts inter changeability, common dash, seating, feel, interchangable wheels.......

Since you have that mechanical ability, a same generation ForeRunner will give you endless pleasures of wasting Saturdays in the driveway.

XJ vs first gen 4 Runner...... they are twins, just not identical.
First gen Tacoma, same gen 4 Runner..... they are identical twins.

I'd stick with Toyota.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

TavisB

New member
I had a 94. Loved it. Amazingly capable with just a 3 in lift and 31" MTs, even with open diffs.Only sold it because it was rusting out and getting hard to get through inspections. I really miss that XJ.



Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

axlesandantennas

Approved Vendor
I'm going to kind of talk you out of it. I had one almost 20 years ago. It was a fun vehicle and in some ways I kind of miss it. But the newest one is 20 years old now. And after wrenching on plenty of older cars "maintained" by past owners, I don't think it's something I would want to get back into. The biggest problem to me would be electrical. Radio or lights or whatever been replaced or messed with? Wonder how bad the hack job is going to be. And not only that, those tend to be cascading problems that prove to be very difficult to track.

I bought a 2007 Z4Coupe a few years ago that had a $3000 "professional" system installed for the former owners daughter. I starting to pull that stuff out when I got the car home. Tons of broken retainer clips. Wires twisted together with electrical tape. Wood screws to hold the speakers in. I'll never buy another used car with a replaced radio again.

And a few years before that, I had a 1994 F150. One day it would not start. Traced to the problem to a bad computer. In the end, it cost me $5 to replace 3 or 4 bad capacitors. But had I bought the replacement computer, it would have been closer to $400 just for the part. On top of that, it actually presented as a fuel pump issue. Had I not found a very good online discription, there is no telling what I would have replaced to track down the problem.

Point being, mechinical problems can be straight forward to fix but electrical issues are a whole 'nother level.
 
I'm going to kind of talk you out of it. I had one almost 20 years ago. It was a fun vehicle and in some ways I kind of miss it. But the newest one is 20 years old now. And after wrenching on plenty of older cars "maintained" by past owners, I don't think it's something I would want to get back into. The biggest problem to me would be electrical. Radio or lights or whatever been replaced or messed with? Wonder how bad the hack job is going to be. And not only that, those tend to be cascading problems that prove to be very difficult to track.

I bought a 2007 Z4Coupe a few years ago that had a $3000 "professional" system installed for the former owners daughter. I starting to pull that stuff out when I got the car home. Tons of broken retainer clips. Wires twisted together with electrical tape. Wood screws to hold the speakers in. I'll never buy another used car with a replaced radio again.

And a few years before that, I had a 1994 F150. One day it would not start. Traced to the problem to a bad computer. In the end, it cost me $5 to replace 3 or 4 bad capacitors. But had I bought the replacement computer, it would have been closer to $400 just for the part. On top of that, it actually presented as a fuel pump issue. Had I not found a very good online discription, there is no telling what I would have replaced to track down the problem.

Point being, mechinical problems can be straight forward to fix but electrical issues are a whole 'nother level.
This entire headache can be avoided by seeking out the right vehicle. Look this stuff over before buying one and you'll be set. Hack job wiring under the hood? "Custom" stereo? Walk away...
 

Battle

Member
I've had three of them and currently own too. I'm right with @ThePartyWagon - I'll hopefully always have at least one in the stable.

They're great but like others have said, they're really not intended to carry heavy payloads when stock - at least not for extended periods of time. You can break GVM pretty easily if you're not careful - which is why I don't have a roof rack or rear tire carrier in my "rig" version and keep it as a two-seater. I just load everything in the back and don't pack as much gear.

Now was a wheeling rig, they're are awesome! Same front suspension setup as a TJ (or ZJ) so parts can be interchangeable. Plus, most of them got very solid drivetrains - more so than the TJ or the ZJ.

The big current problem I see with XJs for sale is they typically fall under two categories: low mileage originals that people want more than 10k for or super cheap ones that were owned by literal children and treated as such. It's sad. Finding a good one can be tough.
 
Also, worth looking into.

Someone on Reddit has compiled an active list of Jeep Cherokees for sale on various platforms around the country. I hate that buying XJs has come to this but people are starting to seek them out and prices are going up.

Might be helpful.

 
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