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February 2018 ● TRAILHAWKMJ's '88


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Welcome to our second month of 2018, Comanche Club! Funny how these things sneak up on us. First it's a new year. Then we've already gone through one month. Then we get to spotlight a member who came into this site swinging. He's only been around since August of last year but this build has really made a huge splash! I think he's a shoe-in.






1988 SporTruck

4.0 HO

AW4/NP231with boostwerks linkage/ Tom Woods rear shaft/ Dana30/C8.25

Stock cooling system from an '01 XJ with an added Hayden trans cooler.

Stock '01 XJ

Metalcloak 4.5" coils

Metalcloak adjustable trackbar

JKS disconnects

Rear SOA on stock 2wd MJ springs

'01 XJ interior swap.  

MJ specific trim painted Agate to match XJ dash and door panels

Reupholstered headliner, visors, and rear cab panel

Stock '01 Xj


Hella Ecode headlights w/relay harness

Led bulbs in all other exterior lights


Gunmetal Grey Metallic paint

97+ XJ front clip swap and XJ doors

JCR front and rear bumpers

15x8 MR1X Mamba wheels

33x10.50 BFG ATs

XJ 3rd brake light mounted on the rear of the cab.

Aftermarket sliding rear window and 97+xj windshield being installed this week

EZ Cool insulation on almost every surface on the interior





















Remember That One Time?... Tell Us Your Best MJ Story ●
I jumped on this rust free MJ from North Carolina almost exactly a year ago.  I didn't have a solid plan for it but I knew I had to have it.  Buying a 2wd truck in the middle of winter in Pennsylvania while living on a mountain was not the best of ideas.  It was weeks after I bought it before the snow and ice melted enough that I could give the truck a good run down.  My first trip took me to a building supply store where I picked up some lumber for a workbench project.  I was so excited to have a Jeep truck and doing truck things with it that I didn't notice that I parked on a tiny piece of ice.  It was enough to get stuck on with one tire spinning while the other 3 sat and watched.  I eventually wiggled free after several minutes and drove home with my top speed of 48mph.  Once I got home and unloaded, plans for the MJ began forming in my head.  I was officially hooked.  Minutes later and I was stuck once again but this time on a dusting of snow.

CC is Awesome!... Why Do You Think So? ●

I could not have made this truck into what it is without the knowledge on this site.  I have been lurking on this site for years reading through various member builds.  There are many great builds on this site and many have helped me acquire some knowledge for my build.  I have three build threads that I constantly visited and would like to aknowledge.  Alexia, Backdraft, and Rymanrph all have great threads and I drew on each of them heavily for inspiration and motivation.   I have read these threads over and over for quite some time.  So much so that they are some of my most visited sites over several years.  Thanks to everyone that has ever posted a thread here about their truck.


Without this site I would not have had the ability or confidence to take on a project like this on such a unique truck.  A Jeep truck.




Wow. Just wow, Aaron! It really goes to show that a good base is the start of all great builds. It definitely goes without saying that your truck is absolutely gorgeous in that stunning gray along with the blacked out Moabs and just enough details to draw us in closer. Super MJ!



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11 hours ago, saveevryjp1998 said:

Its impressive that you managed to find that mj and find the time to do that build in a year.


Thanks!  I tried to work on it a little bit each morning before work (I work 2-10)  since mid April.  Eventually the little bits add up into major things checked off of the list.


10 hours ago, HOrnbrod said:

I'm a chrome fan, but your predominately gray w. black build has me second guessing a bit. This rig looks super from the blackened out new-style XJ front clip to the black outlined tail lamps. Everything blends perfectly. Great job!


9 hours ago, Minuit said:

Excellent work. This is one of the best examples of a 97+ swap I've seen in a long time.


9 hours ago, WahooSteeler said:

An absolutely outstanding build! Congrats


9 hours ago, crumbscomanche said:

Lookin' good @Trailhawkmj!!! 


Thanks for all of the kind words.  It means a lot coming from a crew that knows these trucks so well.  One of my goals that I decided early on was to try and keep it semi-mild and to make it like a Trailhawk version of an MJ if they were still making them in 01.  I think I ended up pretty close to a slightly upgraded version of that idea :thumbsup:

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On 2/14/2018 at 9:49 PM, ZACHSMJ33 said:

Great build!! Just curious if I read this right. You used a 96 fuel sending unit on a mj tank?


The whole pump assembly from a 96xj in the stock mj tank.  I had to reach in the tank and modify the slosh pan so the pick up would fit though.  The gauge worked for like a day and hasn't since and I haven't pulled it back out to figure out why.

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I also am having the same issue and its driving me nuts. I was told its supposed to work. I just picked up another 96 pump hoping that's the problem. ill try and check my tank again to see it I need to clip more. The gauge reads empty when I'm full and when the tank is half empty it reads full. Then as it reaches half empty I'm at empty. So far every 200 miles I just fill up. I have a 99 xj harness.Just wish it worked. Once again awesome build.

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On 2/27/2018 at 12:31 PM, Fourpuppet said:

I also am having the same issue and its driving me nuts. I was told its supposed to work. I just picked up another 96 pump hoping that's the problem. ill try and check my tank again to see it I need to clip more. The gauge reads empty when I'm full and when the tank is half empty it reads full. Then as it reaches half empty I'm at empty. So far every 200 miles I just fill up.


In order for the fuel gauge to indicate accurately the fuel level, resistance of the sender level potentiometer which rises and falls with the float arm must match the internal coil resistance of the fuel gauge meter movement to get full-scale meter deflection. With a 96 sender and 9? fuel gauge in whatever year MJ you have, that's obviously not happening. Thus you see nonlinear gauge needle movement.


As far as the empty when full and vice-versa indication that's because the polarity of the fuel sender pot windings is opposite from your fuel gauge + and - terminals and the gauge is reading backwards.

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