Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast

Thread: BKCowGod's 1980 Cherokee Chief Build Thread

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    1,930

    Default BKCowGod's 1980 Cherokee Chief Build Thread

    Vehicle: 1980 Jeep Cherokee Chief

    Goal: To have a safe, comfortable, self-contained, relatively nondescript truck for up to a month of vehicle-based exploration at a time.

    Budget: The total budget is $5000. Including ALL gear. Since I traded for this truck, I have assigned it a value of $1,500 (the price I paid for my original truck). It already has the wheels and tires, lift, roof rack, and a recently rebuilt motor… So the below has to be done for under $3,500. This means I will be learning how to paint and doing all of the mechanical work myself. I am going to have to farm out the welding work, but I may be able to barter for some of it. My metal guy is really cool.

    Why: There is an assumption on the Internet and elsewhere that overland travel is an expensive hobby. My goal is to prove that it is not just possible, but quite easy, to enter this hobby with minimal expense. Of course it requires more work and potential lost blood, but this also gives you a more intimate relationship with the vehicle. This in turn means that when you do break down 500 miles from humanity, you are more likely to know not only what happened, but why it happened and how to make it stop.

    The Vehicle: I chose a fullsize Jeep for a number of reasons. My initial options were Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Land Cruisers, Troopers, and modern(er) Jeeps. All of these are excellent vehicles with their own strengths and weaknesses, but all also fall short in places I consider very important. The Cherokee Chief is a 110” wheelbase fullsize truck that has roughly the same footprint as a Range Rover SWB. It is a bit wider, but should still fit in all but the tightest trails. It is a classic, body-on-frame, solid axle, leaf sprung, pushrod V8 design. While many might see these as a liability, I see a bulletproof design that is eminently field-repairable, with ease of modification. The Dana 44 front axle gives me a turning radius tighter than most modern cars, and the stock ground clearance/articulation mean that minor modifications are all that are needed to create a truly formidable offroad machine. Even with all this, the Cherokee shares almost all of its components (and development dollars) with the uber-expensive Grand Wagoneer, so it has a relatively supple on-road ride, and the entire interior from the luxo-wag can be dropped right in. Because it is a 2-door, rear seat removal doesn’t look stupid.

    As of 10/26/09...
    $2,171 spent. $2,829 remaining.

    Most recent photo:


    What it looked like when I bought it:


    Completed Projects/Modifications:
    * Tracked down and defeated all vacuum leaks
    * Installed upgraded wiring harness
    * High amperage alternator
    * Engine rebuild: Bored out, RV cammed
    * High capacity radiator
    * 3" suspension lift
    * 1" body lift
    * Edelbrock Shocks
    * 33" mud terrain tires on steel wheels
    * Tad-Rack roof rack with hi-lift & shovel mounts
    * Headliner & Steering wheel from '88 Grand Wagoneer
    * Custom rear carpet installed (was bare metal)
    * Upgraded ignition system to Ford TFI, MSD coil, Ford Motorsports wires
    * Custom front bumper
    * Replaced stereo & broken window with unbreakable lexan
    * Porsche 924 seats
    * SunPro tach installed

    Upcoming Projects: (the below will eventually be expanded as work progresses)
    Last edited by BKCowGod; 11-26-2009 at 05:07 PM.
    BKCowGod - Northern, CA
    '95 Dodge Dakota - Big square V8 Beast Monster
    '93 Range Rover LWB - Long-term project status

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    1,930
    Restoration: I need to be able to park the truck in front of exclusive restaurants and not get towed as an abandoned vehicle, but also not be a magnet for thieves or n’er-do-wells. Because of this, I have chosen to maintain the low-key brown color. Very little will be visible from outside. Trained eyes will notice the upgraded lighting and bumpers and the larger tires, but everything else will appear to be a stock older vehicle. Most of the below restoration projects are designed to get the truck back up to daily driver status.
    • Resprayed body (original color) - $500 total. Body will be brown with black highlights and black on the fender flares.
    • Fixed door locks, seals, electrical - $25. Basic stuff here.
    Vacuum leaks, wiring harness, etc - $Free. Harness and tubing came with truck.
    • Repair cruise control & gauges - $30. Sunpro mechanical gauge cluster and tach.
    Last edited by BKCowGod; 08-28-2009 at 06:44 AM.
    BKCowGod - Northern, CA
    '95 Dodge Dakota - Big square V8 Beast Monster
    '93 Range Rover LWB - Long-term project status

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    1,930
    Range & Ability: Here is where most of the money will be spent. Mileage is around 14-16 on-road and can get as low as 10 off-road. The goal is to have 500mi range, so 45 gallons should give me a comfortable buffer. The dual batteries will require an upgraded alternator (just in case). It already has 4” of extra suspension, and the 3” body lift will be removed in favor of a 1” lift. This will give me good clearance for the 33” tires without being too tall. I have chosen to go with all terrains because much of my driving will be on the road. If I don’t go retread, I will try for used BFG A/T’s. If I can get a good deal on an LSD, I will go for it, otherwise I will end up with an Aussie Locker for the AMC 20 rear end. This will give me excellent offroad performance, but I am worried about compromising my snow traction. Overdrive will be a godsend both for my engine and my ears on the freeway, but I’m not sure if it will be in the budget. All metal stuff will be performed by Steel Worx of Santa Clara, CA.
    High capacity alternator
    Ford TFI & MSD 6A Ignition
    3” suspension lift & 1” body lift
    33” All-Terrain tires on steel rims
    • Locking rear differential.
    • Onboard air compressor
    • Sliders and skid plates
    Front bumper: 2x driving lights, CB antenna
    • Rear bumper: 2x backup/flood lights, aux LED brake lights
    Roof rack with recovery equipment (rope, gloves, etc), hi-lift, jerry cans, solar
    Last edited by BKCowGod; 08-28-2009 at 06:45 AM.
    BKCowGod - Northern, CA
    '95 Dodge Dakota - Big square V8 Beast Monster
    '93 Range Rover LWB - Long-term project status

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    1,930
    Communications & Multimedia
    CB radio mounted in glovebox for emergency/convoy communications
    MP3/CD stereo with iPod control (iPod in glove box)
    On-Road GPS on suction mount
    • UMPC with wireless internet and GPS for offroad navigation.
    Local map library
    Last edited by BKCowGod; 08-28-2009 at 06:45 AM.
    BKCowGod - Northern, CA
    '95 Dodge Dakota - Big square V8 Beast Monster
    '93 Range Rover LWB - Long-term project status

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    1,930
    Passenger Comfort & Security
    Retrofit seats from 1983 Porsche 924
    Sound and heat insulation throughout
    • Invisible UV tint on all windows, very mild privacy tint on back windows.
    Rollable futon mattress
    Down-filled flannel sleeping bag and additional down comforter
    • Secure/hidden storage for 2 rifles & ammo
    Storage for white gas, water, stove, food, etc. for 2 people x 14 days.
    Last edited by BKCowGod; 11-26-2009 at 05:07 PM.
    BKCowGod - Northern, CA
    '95 Dodge Dakota - Big square V8 Beast Monster
    '93 Range Rover LWB - Long-term project status

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Way out west Texas
    Posts
    928
    FSJ'S UNITE!!!!!!!

    I am glad you are doing this build. So far I am having fun with my build and I think these trucks are a very under appreciated platform. My hope is that we can show everyone just how good these trucks can be.

    I will be watching and possibly steeling ideas
    2013 Toyota SR5 4runner
    2012 Suzuki drz400
    1999 Jeep TJ 2" lift 31's 5speed
    1989 FJ62 Toyota Landcruiser
    The mountains shall bring peace to the people. -Psalms 72:3
    I'm from Texas, what country are you from?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    3,245
    Both of your FSJ are totally getting me "jonesing" for one. I love the body styling, very classic offroad look. With today's modern drivetrains, I would totally be looking to swap over a EFI, OD tranny setup, to get better performance and mileage.

    My problem, I need another project like I need a hole in the head. Good luck on your builds!
    1997 Ram 2500 Build & 2004 FWC Grandby Build

    2000 Cherokee Classic 4x4, Lots of stuff! SOLD

    Follow our adventures at:
    OverlandAdventures.Org

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,060
    Quote Originally Posted by xj_mike View Post
    Both of your FSJ are totally getting me "jonesing" for one. I love the body styling, very classic offroad look. With today's modern drivetrains, I would totally be looking to swap over a EFI, OD tranny setup, to get better performance and mileage.

    My problem, I need another project like I need a hole in the head. Good luck on your builds!
    LOL

    I'm in the exact same boat as you! Love them and need another project like the proverbial hole in the head.

    I've been reading up on the MPG issue over at ifsja.org.

    Maybe you guys know... which years had a lockup torque converter on the 727? Any?

    As far as highway cruise is concerned I don't know why a 727 with TCC can't be as efficient as a 700R4 swap. It's all gear ratio at that point. Lower axle gears and 1:1 locked drive - if off-road low range is affected do a 203/205 or 241OR t-case.

    I read that the 258 based waggies can get into the low 20s for MPG. That's amazing in my mind, especially considering using a carb and other old fashioned emission controls.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Phoenix/Prescott, AZ
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by BKCowGod View Post
    Range & Ability:

    Vented front disc brakes
    You already have those! Are you referring to cross-drilled or slotted?

    Todd Z.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    1,930
    Todd -

    thanks, I meant to put slotted. This writeup happened because I forgot to bring my novel to work and I needed something to fill the time.

    Others - I have yet to decide for certain re: fuel injection and tranny swap. I used to hate my mpg ratings until I realized pretty much every truck on this board is getting less than 20, and all the trucks that would work for me were lucky to get 15. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a well-tuned carb that 2min of tenderness in the morning before you drive off won't fix.

    Preacher - go to the tech section of ifsja and read about the Ford ignition swap. I know you just bought all the parts, but not sure if you installed or not - maybe there's still time to swap.
    BKCowGod - Northern, CA
    '95 Dodge Dakota - Big square V8 Beast Monster
    '93 Range Rover LWB - Long-term project status

Page 1 of 8 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •