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Build thread: daily driven tow rig


NAXJA Forum User
Migrating this over, this is my 99 XJ sport build. Primarily being built for daily driven duties, beefing up to tow a travel trailer.

Purchased this XJ for $900 in July with 187xxx miles. Rust free 3 owner well maintained. Came to me with a blown heater core, blown speakers/door wires broken, headliner sagging, and a missing driver door check strap bar.

List of things accomplished/replaced

Plan of action:
(X) on hand/done (-) on order (O) optional

Mechanical maintenance/upgrades:

Tune up:
(X) Deka AGM 750cca battery 185787 mi 7/8/21
(X) NGK 3459 plugs 185821 mi 7/8/21
(X) SMP distributor cap 186128mi 7/15/21
(X) SMP LX758 Distributor pick up coil 186367mi 7/25/26
(X) UMP CR660 Distributor rotor 186367mi 7/26/21
(X) Denso 7mm plug wires 186128mi 7/15/21
(X) NGK ignition coil 185822 mi 7/9/21
(X) Purolator One A24372 air filter 185787 mi 7/8/21
(X) Purolator PL14670 oil filter (larger volume) 185821 mi 7/8/21
(X) Dorman PCV filter 185787 mi 7/8/21
(X) 6qts Castrol Edge 10w30 high mileage - 185821 mi 7/8/21
(X) 2qt castrol transmax synthetic ATF+4 (t-case) 185963mi 7/14/21
(X) 1qt DOT3 lucas synthetic brake fluid 190005mi 11/8/21
(X) 2qt synthetic Power Steering ATF+4 exhanged 185963mi 7/14/21
(X) seafoam 20oz can (in oil/vac lines) 185787 mi 7/8/21
(X) Transmission mount 187785mi 8/26/21
(X) BG Products trans valve body cleaner 189420mi 10/15/21
(X) 16qt tote BG products synthetic ATF 189425mi 10/16/21
(X) BG Products ATC transmission fluid additive 189425mi 10/16/21

Cooling system/HVAC overhaul:
(X) Motorad safety vent rad cap 185822mi 7/9/21
(X) CLR back flush 186270mi 7/22/21
(X) G power silicone rad hoses upper @ 186302mi 7/24/21 lower @ 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) GMB high flow water pump 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) Dorman 56398 water pump inlet tube 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) SKP Coolant reservoir 186292mi 7/23/21
(X) Hayden 2737HD fan clutch 186428mi 7/30/21
(X) Aluminum ebay 3 row radiator 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) flex technologies heater hoses 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) 72” silicone 3/8”ID overflow hose 186410mi 7/29/21
(X) Gates thermostat housing 186302 mi 7/24/21
(X) Stant superstat 195* thermostat 186302mi 7/24/21
(X) NTK temp sender 186302mi 7/24/21
(X) 12gal distilled water 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) 2 gal G05 zerex concentrate 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) Napa drive belt 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) TYC E-fan 186755mi 8/5/21
(X) Fan shroud 187765mi 8/23/31

(X) Heater core 190165mi 11/23/21
(X) a/c evaporator 190165mi 11/23/21
(X) four seasons a/c accumulator/dryer 190264mi 12/1/21
Arctic shill synthetic R-134

Fuel system overhaul:

(X) Denso 2344076 upstream o2 sensor 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Denso 2344078 downstream o2 sensor 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Carter fuel pump module 191010mi 12/30/21
(X) Bosch 12 hole EV6 injectors 186548mi 8/4/21
(X) NTK Throttle position sensor 185822 mi 7/9/21
(X) NTK Map sensor 185822 mi 7/9/21
(X) NTK Crank position sensor 186229mi 7/21/21
(X) berryman b12 (in tank) 185787 mi 7/8/21
(X) 1 can autozone brake cleaner (TB cleaning) 185822 mi 7/9/21
(X) Mahle TB gasket 185822 mi 7/9/21
(X) aFE cold air intake (modified 3.2l pipe) 190780mi 12/22/21
(X) 90* silicone reducer elbow 190935mi 12/27/21
(X) spectre mini cone breather filter 190800mil 12/23/21
(X) duralast intake air temp sensor, relocated to intake pipe 190800mi 12/23/21
(X) Push in ccv filter edelbrock 190765mi 12/21/21

/brake overhaul

(X) Nokian Rotiiva AT 235/75-15 e load 190955mi 12/27/21
(X) Moog ES3096L left tie rod @ pitman joint (drag link) 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Moog ES3095R right inner tie rod 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Moog ES3094L left outer tie rod 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Moog ES2079S tie rod sleeve 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Moog DS1238 right outer tie rod 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Moog DS1235 track bar 186986mi 8/14/21
(X) Moog K3176 Poly trackbar bushing 186986mi 8/14/21
(X) Rough country HD tie rod bar pn93114300 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Moog super trail boss steering damper 185875 mi 7/10/21
(X) Kyb front monomax shocks 185875 mi 7/10/21
(X) Omix ada 18280.18 Front bump stops 186915mi 8/11/21
(X) Kyb rear monomax shocks 186229mi 7/21/21
(X) Omix Ada 18280.09 Rear bump stops 187845mi 8/27/21
(X) Moog k3150 poly front Sway bar link bushings 186215mi 7/19/21
(X) SKF front end links 186215mi 7/19/21
(X) Energy suspension front Sway bar mount bushings 186130mi 7/15/21
(X) Energy Suspension rear sway mount bushings 187780mi 8/24/21
(X) Moog rear sway bar link bushings 187845mi 8/27/21
(X) Moog rear sway bar links 187845mi 8/27/21
(X) Energy suspension poly Engine mounts 2.1104G 189940mi 11/1/21
(X) duralast passenger motor mount 189940mi 11/1/21
(X) Rear differential cover gasket chrysler 8.25” (2.5qt 75w140 valvoline synthetic oil) 185850mi 7/9/21
(X) 4 cans valvoline brake cleaner
(X) Front differential cover gasket dana 30 (2qt valvoline 75w140 synthetic gear oil) 185956mi 7/13/21
(X) 2 cans autozone brake cleaner
(X) Raybestos ceramic front pads 186215mi 7/19/21
(X) 4 wheel Alignment 187019mi 8/15/21
(X) Power steering high pressure line 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) Power steering low pressure line 186470mi 7/31/21
(X) Husky leaf springs 187845mi 8/27/21
(X) SKF leaf spring shackles 187845mi 8/27/21
(X) Husky rear leaf spring u bolts 187845mi 8/27/21
(X) Husky rear leaf spring mounting bolts 187845mi 8/27/21

(X) Gabriel hijacker air adjustable rear shock
(X) SKP front LCA
(X) SKP front UCA
(X) Crown HD front springs
(X) HD spring retainers/bolts
(X) Moog front spring isolators k160039
(X) Ruffstuff The Cure delrin center link tie rod boot
(X) Hayden 678 trans cooler (power steering)
(X) digital oil temp gauge (transmission)

Hayden 679 trans cooler (AW4)

Exterior mods/lighting upgrades:
(X) 22” curved combo Led light bar 190160mi 11/22/21
(X) optilux 4” led flood cubes 190005mi 11/8/21
(X) 200mm LED headlights 186202mi 7/18/21
(X) Hella relayed Headlight wiring harness
(X) Hella supertone horns 186202mi 7/18/21
(X) Dorman Help 49447 wiper linkage bushings 185225mi 7/20/21
(X) 2ga Jeepcables.com wiring kit 186986mi 8/14/21
(X) SMP Headlamp switch 188480mi 9/11/21
(X) LED 3rd brake light, red housing 190745mi 12/22/21
(X) 2x red 3157 led brake light bulbs 190423mi 12/14/21
(X) 2x 3157 amber error free led rear turn 190423mi 12/14/21
(X) 2x 3157 white projector led rear backup 190423mi 12/14/21
(X) 4x 3157 switchback error free led front marker/turn
(X) Clear turn signal housing kit
(X) Yakima rooftop basket

Interior mods/upgrades/repair:
(X) JVC CS-HX649 6.5” 4 way speakers
(X) Pioneer FH-X720BT dual din head unit
(X) Metra dual din head unit mount kit
(X) Metra 16ga speaker wire
(X) Metra stereo wiring harness
(X) white Interior LED lighting, red led IP cluster lighting
(X) 3/8” chinamat 80”x40” roof insulation
(X) camo headliner 9/16/21 188670 mi
(X) hunter green visors 9/16/21 188670 mi
(X) hunter green overhead console trim 9/16/21 188670 mi
(X) black plastidip rear speaker grills 9/16/21 188670mi
(X) console arm rest camo wrap 9/24/21
(X) radio bezel camo wrap 9/24/21
(X) gauge trim hunter green 10/5/21
(X) passenger airbag cover hunter green 190170mi 11/24/21
(X) glove box door camo 190170mi 11/24/21
(X) kick panel camo 190170mi 11/24/21
(X) shift surround camo 190205mo 11/29/21
(X) Autometer 15210 dual gauge pod

Future upgrades:

Brake overhaul for towing:

WJ front brake swap
(X) ZJ rear disc dust shields
ZJ powerstop z36 rear rotors/calipers
ZJ rear pads TBD
ZJ powerstop SS brake hose kit
Reese towpower Class III/IV hitch
AirLift airbag spring helpers
Dual psi air gauge (twin circuit reading, one for shocks one for bags)
10gal onboard air tank
Air pump/compressor TBD (may convert a York a/c compressor mounted under hood)

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First day home vs
After christmas new tires mounted
Front led conversion



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Priced out the rest of the parts to rebuild/swap ZJ disc brakes to the rear axle. Powerstop rotors/calipers/hoses/parking brake shoes, new axle shafts, new axle seals, new u joints, speed bleeders, KJ e brake lines. $850 plus shipping from the Rock.

By the time i’m done, i’ll have my own collectors series magnet thru them 🤣 $3500+ in parts in 4 months should about cover it

Expecting about the same $ to do the front WJ swap. Knuckles i can get used locally for about $60/pair. The rest i will buy new (and the front hoses will be left over from the ZJ powerstop kit)

This weekend will see new control arms installed along with crown HD front springs with upgraded hardware (grade 8 cad plated bolts and retainers), roughstuff “the cure” center link boot (and a new jam nut on that tie rod end since its half stripped/too big) and hopefully the trans temp gauge and autometer pillar pod mount.

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Nice bit of work you have put into that. I like it.

This really does belong up in XJ tech. The idea behind the "Daily Driver" section of the forum is that this is where folks can post up about their Crown Vic or whatever else they drive.

It is not that anyone will complain about you posting here, but in the event someone limits their forum search to the XJ specific sections they will not find your information. And given that you are including part numbers, this is useful information.
Nice bit of work you have put into that. I like it.

This really does belong up in XJ tech. The idea behind the "Daily Driver" section of the forum is that this is where folks can post up about their Crown Vic or whatever else they drive.

It is not that anyone will complain about you posting here, but in the event someone limits their forum search to the XJ specific sections they will not find your information. And given that you are including part numbers, this is useful information.

Got ya :) posted here because its more daily driver than tow rig lol

Can a mod move to xj tech please?

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Most of your post fits "OEM Tech" best since your doing mostly repair of stock components. "Mod Tech" is for changes that are not "standard" equipment, then there is "Advanced Tech" if your actually building something "new" to the XJ market!
Most of your post fits "OEM Tech" best since your doing mostly repair of stock components. "Mod Tech" is for changes that are not "standard" equipment, then there is "Advanced Tech" if your actually building something "new" to the XJ market!

Yup. And upgrading to better components as much as possible at the same time. I dont need to go crazy with 6” of lift etc, stock ride is good enough but needs some help in the form of 20 years of tech advancements and aftermarket upgrades

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Weekend projects:

Autometer 15210 dual gauge pod. Not a perfect fit for 99, pillars are rounded at the windshield. I’ll heat gun it to get that edge to lay flat against the pillar. Digital Trans temp gauge in one hole. Havent decided on the second gauge, probsbly a digital dual circuit psi gauge for the airbags and shocks with one sending unit on the 10gal res tank and the other ???


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Current pics, with roof basket. Id like to get the AWS vent shades for the windows and an old Lund XJ windshield visor eventually

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Thanks. Project is stalled at the moment, been too cold to work and i’ve been laid up in bed sick.

First “major” snow and ice came thru for the season last night. The Nokian Rotiiva’s did wonderful without 4wd, outrageously well with.

Theres some binding in the front driveshaft or u joints at low speed full lock in 4wd. Need to look at the slip yoke also while im in there, just in case. Had some issues with the tx binding and sticking in part time 4wd before, lower temps seemed to fix that (suspect linkage, and planning on installing an Azzys tc link setup).

One step at a time...i just want to finish it already 🤣

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Something isnt right with the ass end, ever since i replaced the leaf springs with the Husky branded stuff from rockauto.

Over bumps and in corners, it feels like the axle is swaying side to side. Also bottoms out and bangs hard on the right rear (this is the side i had trouble with captive nut breaking at the front eye mount and had to cut into the frame). Also bunnyhopping the rear.

Retorquing helps for a few miles and takes some of the clunking away but it always comes back

Now, part of it could be the omix ada bump stops being too long (amazon reviews from other XJ owners mention cutting 1” off) but that wouldnt explain the axle sway and bottoming out.

KYB monomax shocks have less than 5000 miles on them, no leaks i can see. The only thing i can see that might be causing issues is the bar pin bolts at top mount. They snapped off and mechanic had to replace them. I have replacement bar pin flag nuts to go in and may order BPE mounts. Its possible the shocks could still be stiff and need breaking in, but i shouldnt be bottoming out and banging so easily if thats the case. Nor would it explain the swaying feeling im getting afaik.

Anyone have suggestions where to start looking when the weather gets better?

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Let my mind wander a bit tonight in regards to the leaf spring replacement...

What if: the leaf springs are installed backwards? What if i have the wrong eyelet in the shackles and they need to be rotated 180*?

The Husky 97539 springs have two different sized eyelets (looking at the pics). The body mount side is wider that the eyelet that is there the way they are currently installed... under load/cornering this could be causing deflection in the rubber bushing and causing the feeling of lateral movement in the axle...

I’ll try and crawl under tomorrow and snap a few pics. If this is the case, i’m amazed that 3 different mechanics didnt notice it when they torqued down the hardware on multiple occasions. Flipping it around though, the eyelet would be too narrow for the shackles at the rear...

Also, doing some reading it seems i may need longer shocks for these springs as they have more free arch than factory (according to a thread i found on cherokeetalk factory is 4” free arch; iirc these were listed 6.5” or 7” free arch, 750lb/spring).

Guess i’m doing a 2” lift after all if i have to pull it all back apart again 😅. Was going to wait and take it to Jeff Daniels Jeeps to do everything at once...
They can't be mounted backwards because the axle attaches to the leaves significantly away from the center of the leaf packs.


Not sure why the front eyelet is narrower than the rear one then unless by (bad) design. OEM springs that came off had same size eyelets front and rear.

Seems all the aftermarket options i find are set up the same as the Husky springs that are on there.

I’ll post pics this afternoon

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Also, when i spoke to the guys at Jeff Daniels, they mentioned its not uncommon for the exhaust to bang around back there. Explains the noise, Still wouldnt explain the feeling of lateral movement under me

If i had to do it again for the first time, i’d spend a bit more and use different leaf springs. Should have done the 2” lift in the first place, wasnt planning to lift at all though

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Not much to report, snow has me laid up inside hibernating. Replaced a couple vacuum elbows on the manifold with some leftover 4mm silicone tubing from last car.

Dumped half can of B12 chemtool in the crankcase in prep to do an oil change and hopefully quiet down the lifter tick at idle when cold. Can and a half in the gas tank. Seems to have made a difference so far. I’ll change it at the end of the tank and run rotella T6 10w30.

Need to check my 12 hole bosch injectors, make sure they arent leaking. MPG dropped from 23 highway to 16.5 (in part due to the cold and in part probably due to the aFe intake pipe, but i was seeing 19 before the intake pipe)

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One more thing to note: used about 1.5-2 qt of oil on this OCI. Not terrible for just over 6k miles and ~192k on the odometer (ran long this time, usually run 5k intervals...anything less is a waste of high mileage synthetic oil).

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Can anyone share some info/experiences on the Rocky Ridge Outfitters 2” budget boost kit? Aint trying to spend a whole lot more or go any higher than that since ive already done rear springs and kyb shocks. Longer u bolts are done...

What else would i need to piece together a kit? 1.5” Drop shackles, 1/2” rear blocks, and 2” front spacers are all i need yet, correct? Maybe BPE shock extension for the monomax shocks? What about sway bar links?

If i can piece together something for cheaper than the RRO kit i’d rather go that direction

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