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advise on my MJ


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hello all, I got my MJ about a month ago, It is the 4 liter, has the 5 speed peugeot, rwd (D35) it has a front axle (D30) out of an 03 TJ.

 

I'm looking to make this truck be a nice DD and a mild weekend warrior with option to make it a full wheeling rig. does anyone have any suggestions on what actions to take to finish the 4wd conversion? i'm thinking ax-15 + NP231/242 is defiantly going to happen... eventually. any suggestions on how to approach that and also a mild lift - 3 inch range.

 

open to any suggestions really. tell me what you think.

lots and lots of pictures here:

 

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Nice shortbed! You should be able to get everything you need except driveshafts out of a cherokee at a junkyard. That's gonna be your starting point. Take lunch with ya, you'll be there all day!

 

And as for your lift, all your front lift stuff will be cherokee stuff, and you can get 3 inch rear spring packs for the MJ, or you can do an add a leaf.

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your front axle will be your limiting factor (low pinion). At 3" you should be ok and still be able to use the stock steering and suspension components if you're on a budget and don't want to upgrade. Longer brake lines or relocating the stock ones, and longer shocks too....

 

Jeff

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ok, thanks for the replys.

 

I'm kinda on a budget, surely not rolling in the dough. I'm 17 in high school with a lower paying job supporting me. ;) its all good though.

 

anyone have a ballpark figure of how much the 4wd conversion and lift would cost?

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Costs for used parts can vary wildly by area. car-part.com might help find you your transmission/t-case (or at least show you the prices in your area). Do you have any you-pull-it junkyards near you? Occasionally it can be cheaper to buy an entire Jeep depending on the insanity of the j-yards in your neck of the woods.

for the 4wheel conversion you'll need:

front driveshaft

complete 4x4 shifter linkage (including the little bracket that bolts to the underside of the floorpan)

trans

t-case (a 242 if you want all-wheel-drive capability on the streets)

rear driveshaft (your current one can simply be cut down to fit or you'll need a shaft from an MJ with the same bed length, trans, engine and rear axle)

 

Do you know if the gears in your front axle match the gears in your rear axle?

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I was told the front was 3.55's same as the read. i know the rears are 3.55's, haven't checked the front to be sure.

 

nearest legitimate junkyard is about 45 mins away - "Blanchard's auto salvage inc" they have lots of stuff (last time i was there - like 8 years ago) I don't think much has changed in the how you get the parts.

 

I have been keeping an eye on craigslist also. there are xj's for sale in the $250 range that don't have a ton of miles and might have what I am looking for. eg: http://nh.craigslist.org/pts/1197177723.html

 

I have a rear driveshaft. I don't know if it will fit or not, but i have one anyways:

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Okay, somebody has to do it, so I will.

 

As heretical as it sounds, I am going to recommend that you NOT lift it. By all means, do the 4WD conversion. But ... a 4WD MJ at stock height is actually a pretty formidable off-road machine. And you can run up to 31x10.50-15 tires with NO lift. So ... why lift it? Once you lift it, everything starts to be affected, and everything that's affected needs money thrown at it or else you have a butcher job.

 

Just take something as simple as the track bar -- that's the bar in the front suspension that keeps the front axle centered under the truck. When you lift the chassis away from the axle, the bar swings down in an arc. That causes the axle to be moved sideways relative to the chassis. A 3-inch lift will shift the front axle toward the driver's side of the vehicle by about 1/2" to 5/8". The cheap way to "fix" that is to drill a new hole in the axle mounting bracket. But ... you only get one chance. Miss, and any additional holes will just make Swiss cheese out of the bracket. The correct way to deal with it is an adjustable track bar. That'll set you back a couple of hundred bucks.

 

Then you should have longer (preferably adjustable) control arms. You should have longer sway bar links, and you may need to drop the sway bar mounts. You need longer front and rear flex hoses for the brake lines. You need to extend the rod for the rear brake proportioning valve, or the rear brakes won't function correctly (or at all, in some cases). You need longer shock absorbers.

 

You can find 3-inch lift kits selling for a few hundred dollars. They aren't complete. You can't do a 3-inch lift right for a few hundred dollars. All those kits leave out some parts that should be included to do the job right. Frankly, at 17 you have other, more important things to spend money on -- like girls. Plus, that truck looks like a really nice truck. Unless you are regularly doing hard-core wheeling that requires the added height -- I just see no point in starting down that road. Make it 4WD, put on a set of good 30-inch tires, maybe toss a locker or TrueTrac limited slip in the rear differential, and enjoy the truck.

 

I bought an '88 MJ that had a 4" lift in it when I bought it. I hated it. If you'll pardon the expression, it rode like a truck. It handled badly. It steered badly. The height was perfect for breaking down the outside corner of the seat every time I got into or out of the truck. I drove it (and wheeled it) that way for a couple of years, then I finally took the lift out and swapped it for some engine parts. Best move I ever made. I like the truck much better at stock height and, since there's no legal wheeling around here and Paragon in PA has been closed, there's just no need for the lift. And at stock height on 30s or 31s, it'll still go virtually anywhere it would go before.

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It sounds like you primary goal for the truck is about the same as mine: Reliable DD that will take me down some trails if needed. Your truck looks to be in spectacular condition, keep it that way :smart:

 

Having lifted two Daily Driver vehicles, I will say... heed the advice of "Eagle". I guarantee, once that truck has 4wd, it will take you further than you want to, or feel comfortable going.

 

You can add skid plats, a rear Dana 44 rear end, bumpers, and tow points to make the truck just as completive off road as most of the, over built rigs. Enjoy driving one of Jeep's classic trucks.

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thanks for the opinions on the lift. I was kinda teetering on the fence on that anyways. I'm not looking to make too much work or expense for myself. Basically exactly what 87 warrior said, just a reliable DD that can go down trails if needbe. and it snows a crapload up here so 4x4 is kinda do or die.

 

i'll give blanchards a ring tomorrow see what they have.

 

also: are there any particularly tried and true serpentine belts - mine looks terrible.

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found a transmission out of a 94 xj, manual 135k miles. $175 - 250 sound about right? the NP242 is $250 - 300. closest one is 50 miles away.

 

not going to do the 4wd conversion right away though, don't really have all the money to get the stuff. but before winter hopefully.

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yeah, convinced to keep 'er stock height now. just working on finding a decent AX-15 and NP242, the latter of which is rather hard to find.

 

I found a jeep on craigslist: http://nh.craigslist.org/pts/1229756837.html has an AX15 but a NP231 :(

 

he said he'd give away both for $300, but may break them apart.

 

"255000 miles. it was a commuter jeep it is all highway miles from a woman who took care of this jeep. the trany is not all covered with grese i drove this jeep 100 miles home it shifted fine and the transfer works good to. this jeep still runs and drives the transfer is a 231 . the drive shaft was so rotted when i got it the first time i let the clutch out quick it twisted the drive shaft up like crushing a beer can .had to boro a shaft to get it home !! she drove this jeep into my shop wanting rust repair its underside is rusty jeep was driven easy its whole life."

 

worth it for just the tranny? will it match up to a NP242?

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XJs were never officially offered with the 242 behind a stick. :( But the 242 will indeed mate to the AX-15. I installed one into my 90 MJ. :thumbsup:

I'd be hesitant to buy a super high mileage AX-15 that had such a bad drive shaft. :eek:

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ah yeah, just had a discussion with pops about it. going to go for a whole xj rather then just parts, so mind as well look for one that is in a bit nicer condition. I can get lots of stuff off of it.

 

I know this question is asked a lot, but i've never seen a good answer to it: what is the difference between the NP231 and the NP242?

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The 242 has an extra setting that allows you to run it in awd mode on dry pavement without breaking anything. Helps out in winter where there are patches of slipperiness here and there but most of the road is clear. :thumbsup:

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ah, cool thanks.

 

I think i'll buy a whole XJ, use the np231 out of that for the time being, and then keep an eye out for a np242. they are hard to come by at a good price around here. Just gotta find a halfway decent XJ around for cheap. jamminz.gif

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when you look at an xj look at the 4wheel drive selector 231 and 242 are different.

 

231 says:

2HI

4HI

N

4LO

 

242 says:

2WD

4Part Time

4Full Time

N

4LO

 

Then if you want to be sure you can climb under and check the tag.

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