XJ Project "stock to rock"

SO I know what youre thinking… “why is JJ asking about an XJ?”… Well I’m trying to help Kate’s nephew John who is 19 and the new owner of a 1999 cherokee. He wants what we all wanted when we had a stock jeep “just a small suspension lift, aggressive looking 15’s and some 31’s… and that’s it”… This is his DD so it’s gotta be right.

Well I can say that is likely not the end of the road for this build, but in an effort to get him feeling a bit more capable on the rocks and class 6 stuff (think fall crawl trail 3). I am trying to find some helpers, experts and various “work for beer” cherokee folks to give me some advice on how to get him out on the trail for a budget of about $900.

So any ideas or mechanical expertise you can offer would be awesome. If you know of a 3 inch lift, decent wheel/tire package and any other things that would aid this build, let me know. At some point I may ask for a tech day at my garage and try to knock this out, but for now I’m looking for ideas, plans, and parts.


im a huge fan of rough country, summit has some steel 15" relatively inexpensive & dunlop mud rovers wear well along as everything is aligned properly and regular rotations are done
be prepared to cut bolts & have new 9/16 grade 8 ready

If he is looking for 31" tires he will need to go to a 4" lift. This will prevent him from ripping off his fenders when going over the rock. 3" is doable but there will be rubbing as soon as he goes over anything if he doesn’t plan on cutting the fenders. I did my first lift for about that much, back when I was 19. I purchased the Fabtech 4" lift that came with shocks, lower control arms, front coils and a add a leaf in the rear. I then purchased an adjustable track bar, and a transfer lowering kit. I’m not including the tires with this price.

I would suggest staying away from the add a leafs, and just buy new springs with bigger shackles. You will probably have a bolt or two break when taking out the leaf springs so be prepared to drill a hole on the other side of the frame so that you can drill out the bolt.

If I had to do it over again, I would go radial long arms so that when I upgraded to larger tires all I would have needed to do is buy new shocks and springs/coils. This would have save me a lot of money in the long run, but I realize that money is tight.

I’m sure Ricky would be thrilled to tackle another Cherokee lift.

They are not a nightmare if you take a few precautionary steps before you try to take the rear spring bolts out.

LOL like cutting a hole in the floor with a torch and heating the weld nuts like on that red jeep

Hes in Mystic Mike, Not too far from you…

I saw a video on using clamps to tackle the add-a-leaf. I can see that going real bad if you don’t have the right tools to handle it.


Always willing to help

s10 leaf springs give 3 inch lift. gm 1500 shackles is a 2 inch lift. I have extra 4 inch springs for the front