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Banks doesn’t make a downpipe for their headers (not sure why)…so I had to source my own. Since I wanted to keep things stainless my search took me to Northeastern Exhaust (an ebay seller). Two thumbs up on the stainless steel 4.0L downpipe I got from them – zero issues with installation/ bends – absolutely perfect. From there the pipe connects to a Magnaflow California spec catalytic converter, then back into a Banks “Monster” stainless steel cat-back system. The pipe size is 2.5” and it’s a simple turn-down style tip same as stock under the rear bumper.

 

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After the muffler, the Banks exhaust system is a pre- and post- axle pipe joiner. The pre- pipe was exactly 4” too long out of the muffler. I can only guess this was done for those who don’t use a ‘universal’ (versus ‘direct-fit’) catalytic converter. No idea, but after trimming that down life was good. New Mopar oxygen sensors were installed and some additional high-temp wire loom was added around the wiring of those.

 

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New transmission hard lines in and first gen XJ trans cooler connected up. I prefer this style of cooler over the newer XJ style that completely bypasses the radiator connections and is hung through the fins.

 

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Fired up Mossy Green today after the make-over...Idled and sounded great. Couldn't drive it as the front suspension is bare minimum -- axle, springs and tires. Getting ready to swap over a low mileage Dana 30 and install all the new stuff. 

 

In between time, we pulled the overhead console and headliner. There were a couple small bubbles starting, and I just wanted to be done with it. The board was in near perfect shape once I buzzed off the old foam.

 

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Had some quality Dremel tool time carving out the extra 1 3/8" needed for the factory 97+ XJ tow hooks to clear the bumper corners -- and the fog light openings. Dremel tool, followed by an assortment of flat and round files, and finished things out with a varied grit wet sanding. Final step is the SEM Trim Black rattle can to get things back to factory finish.

 

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Interior side overhead console gets the same treatment as my '97 XJ... Handsfree mic. The microphone grille is from a '04-'10 BMW 5-series and looks right in the XJ. Headliner and overhead console will be out for a recover by end of this week.

 

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Been chipping away at a mix of things – added rear passenger factory footwell lighting – similar to the ’97 XJ I’ve got. Also ran the dual front power seat wiring for the Country edition mist gray seats. Dual power became available from the factory in ’00; Prior to that if there was a power seat option, it was driver’s seat only. As an FYI, there’s a guy in Ohio who rebuilds these seat tracks and does a heck of a good job freshening them up. NOS seat switches round up that upgrade.

 

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I couldn't help myself and decided to refresh the entirety of the interior panels with a fresh spray of color/low gloss clear coat. Started with the driver/passenger step-in trim, driver interior quarter panel, and power seat switch trim/bezels.

 

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Finally, as I dig through things it gives me the opportunity to clean up PO work. Rear sound bar wiring and replacement of one of the rear seat belts -- guessing this was a warranty repair, but difference was in the color of the seat belt quarter panel trim (one agate, one mist gray -- replaced the assembly with dual agate insert trim). Not terrible, but drives me nuts.

 

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Removed the door handles, key cylinders, and roof rack so Mossy green got a much needed compound polish 3x, followed by wax. New badging to go on next. And headliner, overhead console and visor recover should be ready by end of week.

 

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On 3/15/2021 at 9:22 AM, Gjeep said:

who will be driving soon (in about 6 months)

hey me too with my truck. more like 5 now. wow the takeover is soon. progress looks good!

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Got the recovered headliner, overhead console frame and visors back from Harold's Upholstery out in Santa Clara, CA. The guy is top notch, never an issue, even for this perfectionist. (He's the same guy that did my MJ seats and '97 XJ headliner et all.)

 

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Decided we're keeping the Country edition cloth seats over upgrading to Katzkin leather, so I took an upholstery cleaner/ vacuum to probably what I would consider the least used seat panel in the vehicle -- the back seat upper portion and after an hour and a half a cleaning the waste water was unbelievably filthy -- and these seats actually looked clean to the naked eye. I have a feeling the seat cleaning process is going to take a bit longer than expected. It's not clean until the waste water looks clean.

 

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Still waiting on the custom coil springs, and the new carpet I need is on back order until mid-May (color is out of stock).

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40 minutes ago, Gjeep said:

Got the recovered headliner, overhead console frame and visors back from Harold's Upholstery out in Santa Clara, CA. The guy is top notch, never an issue, even for this perfectionist. (He's the same guy that did my MJ seats and '97 XJ headliner et all.)

 

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Decided we're keeping the Country edition cloth seats over upgrading to Katzkin leather, so I took an upholstery cleaner/ vacuum to probably what I would consider the least used seat panel in the vehicle -- the back seat upper portion and after an hour and a half a cleaning the waste water was unbelievably filthy -- and these seats actually looked clean to the naked eye. I have a feeling the seat cleaning process is going to take a bit longer than expected. It's not clean until the waste water looks clean.

 

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Still waiting on the custom coil springs, and the new carpet I need is on back order until mid-May (color is out of stock).

If you don’t mind me Asking , how much did he charge you ? I need to get the one on my zj redone 

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Cost of the headliner/ overhead console recover was $300, but know I remove the old material and clean it up/ repair if needed before bringing it to him.

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38 minutes ago, Gjeep said:

Cost of the headliner/ overhead console recover was $300, but know I remove the old material and clean it up/ repair if needed before bringing it to him.

Okay , I might call and ask , I really like how yours came out , thank you g! 

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It's taking endless time to clean these seats. Driver's side done. I had two small cracks starting drivers side vinyl that I had the upholstery guy address. He mentioned something I'd never put much attention on -- Jeep made a mistake running the side strip of vinyl with the grain going vertical. That's why cracking on these panels is inevitable (except on the leather/ vinyl seats where the grain does run horizontally.) My passenger side was in good shape/ NOS issues but I had him run mist gray vinyl horizontally on that side strip as well.

 

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As most of you know, many of the Chry-co cars/trucks of this era shared the same color and grain interior. I found some mint vinyl off the seatback back-side of a Chrysler minivan. Finding this NOS isn't all that possible these days, so I go for the next best -- often untouched areas of the seats. And that minivan stretch was a good 46"x24".

 

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Took apart then put back together the AW4 shifter bezel -- painting/ detailing it to look as close to new as possible.

 

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Also ran wiring to the cargo area where I'll mount an XJ 12V socket.

 

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Exciting times...Just got my Coil Spring Specialties front springs. They're based off the Up Country springs and are 20% stiffer/ .5" lower. (Typically I go 1" lower, but keeping this one a pinch higher in the nose, but entirety of stance will still be a mild rake.) Rattle canned them another coat of Satin Black.

 

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My hope for the weekend is to have the front end entirely redone and done. NOS/ new everything... and what's not Jeep like the ball joints and I forget what else is Moog goodness. Again, high hopes to knock this out this weekend.

 

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