What's new

CoWj A dream build.

Wyatt

Active Member
So after about 9 months of owning my 4runner and experimenting with long travel ifs and fancy traction control systems and all those other do-dads I decided that I needed a solid axle jeep again. But I didn't want a wrangler because I started to really like the v8 in the toyota and needed another one. So on to Craigslist I went and after a couple days of searching I found a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee limited also known as the Wj. It fit the bill quite well. Front and rear solid axles, dana 30 in the front with factory 3.73 gears and a vari lock lsd, rear was a dana 44a with match gears and lsd, at first I was a little sceptical on the strength of the aluminum housing. How ever upon further research I found that the gears are larger and thicker cut, the pinion shaft is the same size as a Dana 60 30 spline shafts and the best part is post 1999 models don't use c-clips "Score!!!".
The wj has the 4.7 power tech v8 with only 106k miles and its has been perfectly maintained by the previous owners. Transmission is the 545RFE mated to a NV247 Full time 4wd t case with a 50:50 lock in low range. Suspension is a 4 link with track bar in front and a 3 link in rear with a triangular upper link that keeps the axle in the middle of the vehicle and doesn't bind up when flexed.
This was the limited model but it came with a gas tank skid plat along with the original quadra drive system aka the vari lok progressive front and rear clutch style limited slip diffs. But being a limited the interior is loaded with goodies like 10 way adjustable heated power seats (heat and forward and back don't work on the drive side but ill fix it some day). Adjustable pedals, dual climate control, a vic or vehicle in car control which has tire pressure sensors options for what happens when it locks, adjustable service interval, mpg read out, and more.
Now with my Toyota sold I have started to order parts.
I have also decided to try to do short video updates of trips and also how the build it going and similar things to that.
Ep 1
 

Wyatt

Active Member
First things first had to flex out the suspension which had probably never seen dirt in its life and wont till its gone and the Jeep is lifted.





Varilok test.
it works okay I would rely super heavily on it but plans already include a rear air locker (purchased already :D ) so keeping it in the front will be fine for trail runs to give that tiny extra bit of traction. This was an up hill test but only about 3-5° other testing on 20° slopes it doesn't work as well.
 

Wyatt

Active Member
First things first. Gotta start fixing the neglect from the previous owners yes ownerS there were 7 but I'm gonna hold on for a long time.
The drivers door panel was suffering from the infamous short door wire problem which meant that the main negative wire that runs out of the door was a couple cm too short and had actually broken inside the rubber boot because of stress of normal door operation. This meant that the driver door controls didn't work when the door was open and sometimes worked when it was closed. So I went it and spliced a 2" piece in between the two broken pieces so that it wouldn't have any more stress and after a few minutes it was working perfectly again. Next is passenger side auto locking is broken sounds like a stripped gear. And then new driver seat motor. Possibly ill fix the heated seat as well for those chilly Colorado mornings.(Edit heated seats work drivers only on low)
 

Wyatt

Active Member
Plans for the rig. Because I have quite a large budget to work with (for me at least) I have the ability to build it to almost exactly what I want the first time.
Starting at the the front. Bumper is going to be Off Road Armor which is a small company out of Peyton Colorado. Winch is a warn zeon 8s which is more than I will ever need to pull since the Jeep start weighting 4200lbs and build and loaded I'm guessing max about 5500. Suspension is a base of Iron Rock Off road front long arm 4" but I'm using BDS 4" coils because they are a 240lbs/in² spring rate and IRO are only 180lbs/in², shocks are bilstien 5125s and other do dads are jks quick disconnects height clearance long arms and possible limiting straps so I don't drop coils. (Grand Cherokees are known for that.) Front axle stock maybe chromoly axle shafts. Rock sliders are also Off Road Armor picking them up with the bumper at his house/shop to save 175 bucks. Interior I have led lights that replace the stock one it will have a cb then a Ham (when I stop being lazy) Possibly a Scan Gauge. Rear axle is getting a arb air locker, chromo shafts, pumpkin skid plate, a 1/4" steel cover. Rear bumper is from Rock Hard 4x4 And has class 2 hitch, tire carrier, HiLift mount Jerry can mounts, and more! Wheels and tires are still on thing I have not fully decided on yet most likely it will be 235/85r16 (pizza cutters) General at² on some 16" Jeep Jk Steel wheels (unbelievably cheap) with a full size spare. Roof rack is going to be custom made by me and will house a 40" led bar in the front and spots for shovel, axe, and possibly another Jerry can.
 

overlandjeep

Moderator
plan your build out now with weight in mind
stay away from steel wheels if you can due to weight concerns remember that for every pound of unsprung weight is like 4 pounds of payload or sprung weight
 

Wyatt

Active Member
plan your build out now with weight in mind
stay away from steel wheels if you can due to weight concerns remember that for every pound of unsprung weight is like 4 pounds of payload or sprung weight
I thought about keeping the stock alloy wheels but 1 is bent and they actually aren't all that lighter than steel. I think alloys are around 25-30lbs and steels are 32lbs. Plus steel are just stronger and tend to bend where alloys crack. Weight is not the biggest issue because If it gets really bad I will regear to 4.11s on 32s.
 

overlandjeep

Moderator
Weight affects a lot more than gears things like brakes, transmission etc are built for the GVWR.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Wyatt

Active Member
Weight affects a lot more than gears things like brakes, transmission etc are built for the GVWR.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Oh I know I've planned all that in and taken into count the trans which and identical unit was used in the hemi wks and mid 2000s ram 1500 which are rated to a much higher GVWR. Brakes are going to be upgraded to some ebc stage 3 units.
 

Wyatt

Active Member


I have now ordered everything expect the rock sliders and front bumper but I am in contact with that guy because I was having issues with the website so hopefully I will get those ordered up in the next couple days and have everything ready for a 1 week thrash to build it. Hopefully...
 
Last edited:

Wyatt

Active Member
What tires did you order? Obviously not Duratracs.:p
A set of 235/85r16 General at². A tire I have been dying to try since I watched the Expedition Overland Alaska Yukon trip. Even though they have a . Ply sidewall from reports and test I've read it is actually thicker than a ko 3 ply.