Project XJ Frame Stiffeners

Stronger = Better

Jeep Cherokee XJ’s are known for being capable off-road vehicles. However, they do have some short comings. The unibody frame makes the XJ lightweight and is plenty strong for stock applications. Even when modified with a lift and large tires the unibody is strong enough for daily driving and on road use. However, modifications along with significant off-road use can take it’s toll on the frame.

So to go from this:

To this:

We decided to start Project XJ off right and reinforce the frame with a set of Iron Rock Off Road unibody XJ frame stiffeners.

Installing XJ Frame Stiffeners

We are starting with the center section and will add the front and rear sections at a later time. The pieces are made form 3/16-inch steel plate and pre-bent for a nice fit. Plug weld holes are also put into the pieces for higher strength and easier installation. We suggestion a higher end solution for XJ frame stiffeners as they will be stronger, easier to install, and retain all of the factory holes for other uses. Iron Rock Off Road frame stiffeners can be purchased in sections or in a complete kit.

XJ Frame stiffeners will reduce creaks (not noticeably), add torsional rigidity, create a stronger base for add ons, and can act as sliders. They are a great first modification as many of the items that come after will attach to them. Installation takes time and a bit of effort to ensure the welding is done correctly. While we aren’t experienced welders it was something that was accomplished in one weekend in a home garage. Keep in mind this was just the center section.

What We Learned

Now that we have some experience we would have done a few things differently. Weld through primer is a hinderance when working with such thin base material. The weld arc has to be hot to burn through the weld through primer, but that makes it hot enough to burn through the base metal as well. It can still be used, but we recommend cleaning off the areas that are going to be welded down to bare metal. Take it slow and do it right.