Project XJ Begins
Car Revs Daily is teaming up with Engine Adventures on Project XJ, affectionately named Jeep Car by a 2-year old. The goal is to build a stock 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport, into a reliable daily driver and weekend warrior. Follow along with this video series as we show everything we do to build an auctioned XJ to a well balanced daily driver and off-road machine. This will be roughly a 5 year project. We’re sorry, but
XJ Brief History
The Jeep Cherokee began life in 1984 under AMC and Renault. AMC, known for their AWD sedans and wagons, was struggling and needed a big hit to turn a profit. Renault had bought into AMC to keep it form going bankrupt and eventually had a controlling stake in the company. With Ford and GM bringing the Bronco II and S10 Blazer to market at roughly the same time the XJ would have some stiff competition.
Running from 1984-2001 with only minor updates, the XJ is ubiquitous nearly world wide. The biggest refresh came in 1997 with an updated exterior and interior. With sales approaching the 3 million mark it was a successful vehicle, but wouldn’t be enough to save AMC. Chrysler bought AMC (including Jeep) in 1987, but continued with the XJ for as long as it was feasible.
Following the trend for more economical and road friendly vehicles the XJ was replaced with the KJ Jeep Liberty. However, the nameplate was brought back in 2014 with the KL in 2014. Despite being a small crossover with independent suspension front and rear, the KL was quite capable, especially in Trailhawk form.
Our 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport is equipped with the 4.0-liter inline 6, Aisin AW4 automatic transmission, and NP242 full time transfer case. Full time in Jeep talk essentially means it has an AWD position along with the 2WD, 4WD high, Neutral and 4WD low positions. We were able to get the slightly damaged Jeep from auction for less thank $1500. All it required was a couple hundred in repairs to bring it up to par. The goal for Project XJ is to add 4ish inches of lift, 32-33 inch tires (skinnies, likely no wider than 10.5 inches), better brakes, stronger rear axle (factory is a Dana 35), and much much more!
Project XJ Intro Video
Initial Off-Road Test
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.