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86 2wd 4cl 4spd bare bones base


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So.. I have a poor, tired 86.. It hasn't had a rough life.. but it has sat for years now. It used to be my dads truck, yearss back.. but then he gave it to me... Well... not knowing what I had.. it kind of got set aside.. and I got a newer car and haven't really looked at it since. it's been about 6 or 7 years probably.. so anways.. I have been thinking seriously about it lately.. and I have some plans for the ole' girl. I am a bodyman.. so none of that is a problem at all.. and am somewhat mechanically inclined.. but am also not greatly educated in that area.. haha.. I'm basically just asking for everyones opinion on what i should do or if they think this would be a decent set up.. I'm not looking to make it a mud truck.. but It will be offroad from time to time.. nothing too extreme.. just a little fun in the mud.. I plan on pulling the 2.5 and rebuilding it... hopefully finding a donor 4x4 5 spd xj and swapping the tcase and tranny over to the manche. Could I swap axles too? or are the stock 89-mid 90s xj axles janky? well i plan on doin that.. liftin maybe 3-4 or 5 inches.. and runnin 31s or 32s. does this sound sort of legit to any1? this is a terrible post i realize.. haha I'm sorry

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no idea what text speak is.. so apologies.. and.. not tons of highway driving.. maybe 30-45 minute trips max on the highway.. also i know this has probably already been discussed 500 times.. but while I'm on here.. may as well be THAT guy.. and ask if theres a lot of wiring involved with the 2wd to 4wd swap

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I am perhaps the primary objector to TXT SPK, and the original post in this thread was NOT in text speak (well, except for the "any1"). The proof of that is that I could read it.

 

THe 2.5L is an excellent engine, but not overly endowed with either horsepower or torque. If it's a 5-speed it probably has 4.10 gears, but the 4-speeds came with 3.55 gears. With a 5-speed, 4,10s are acceptable (but not great) with stock tires, but 4.10s are what we typcally advise for 31" tires with the 4.0L 6-cylinder. Personally, with a 4-banger I wouldn't go bigger than 30x9.50s ... or just 235/75R15s, which are very nearly as big as 30s, a wee tad narrower, and several dollars less expensive.

 

If your goal really is mud, you might be better advised to skip the 2.5L rebuild and just get a 4.0L out of a Cherokee and put that in. It'll be more work, but the results will be more satisfying.

 

As to axles, Cherokee and Comanche axles are identical except for spring perch location. In an '86, you most likely have a Dana 35, non C-clip version. There is a very small chance that you might have an AMC Model 20, which is a very strong axle that should be plenty adequate for mudding ... especially with a 4-cylinder. The D35 isn't a great axle, but if you don't really beat on it, it'll last you for awhile. The original D35 in my '88 Cherokee has been wheeled all over the northest and is now at 285,000 miles. The only maintenance was to replace the Trac-Lok at around 175,000 because the clutches wore out.

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Thanks a lot guys, very useful information. Since the MJ is a 4 spd.. one more stupid question.. as far as swapping in the 5 spd from a 4x4 donor truck.. is it just plug and play? or will that need some sort of wiring? I've never really handled a project quite this big.. just trying to get it all together in my head. thanks guys

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The only wiring for a 4WD of that vintage is the vacuum switch for the 4WD light on the dash. The light is already there (although it may not have a bulb in it). For simplicity, you don't actually NEED a light. Set up the front so you either use an axle with no disconnect, or shim the disconnect so it's always engaged, and skip all the vacuum garbage. After all, you have that big lever in the floor. If it's forward, you're in 2WD. If it's sticking up, you're in 4WD.

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