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JTHucke

2002 jeep WJ build

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Hey everyone, so my son and i are looking to build an offroad/trail vehicle for our family to start getting out and exploring in. We picked up a 2002 jeep grand cherokee dirt cheap locally and are wanting to turn it into our trail and camping rig. I have plans to put a lift on it with some bigger wheels and tires as a first step and then i thought we would add on as we go. We also have a 2004 jeep grand cherokee that will probably get built sometime as well. These are both limited models with the 4.7 v8. My main question is which lift do i go with? i was think about a 4" lift to start out but maybe i should just do a 6 as the cost is about the same. Long arm or short? i am leaning to just going with the long arm as i think it will lend better to more mods in the future. If i go to a long arm is a drive shaft swap and SYE a must? Brand? from what i can see Clayton has the most Robust design for these but they are also the most expensive. Any advice on this or help would be greatly appreciated.

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awesome, get some skids and start exploring! WJ's make a great overland platform for moderate trails.

 

Clayton has by far the best components/lifts. Iron Rock Offroad also makes a lot of WJ stuff that isn't horrible, but their lifts are really only a couple steps above Rough Country.

 

the Clayton long arm at 4 to 4.5" with 33's, rock rails, and full skids will take you to many, many places! you may or may not need a SYE for the rear with that config, each rig is different. i would just go ahead and budget for the SYE and rear driveshaft. fortunately, with the v8 and 33's, you don't really have to re-gear.

 

IMO, 4"/33's is the best "bang for buck" config on a WJ - once you step up to 6" and 35's it requires exponentially more mods and money for only a little more capability. ...assuming you want to really wheel it, that is. if it's just a mall crawler or for easy forest roads, then you can get away with the larger lift/tires without a ton of upgrades, but you'd need a new front driveshaft as well as a rear and SYE, and probably would want to re-gear. the factory limited slips will be useless with 35's almost instantly.

 

regardless of lift/tire size, you may want to eventually lock the rear. my advice is to stay away from the Aussie/Spartan "automatic" style lockers if it is a daily driver, they make soooo much noise. you can get a selectable ARB for the rear and that's probably the best option. don't lock the front unless you upgrade the axle shafts.

 

i'm not familiar with what's currently available for SYE and t-case options. when i had a WJ, only Tom Woods made a SYE for the 242, so a lot of people would swap in a 231. not sure which case you have.

 

keep a close eye on your 4.7's, never let them overheat in the slightest. head-gasket issues, at a minimum, are not uncommon on the WJ's 4.7L.

 

let's see some photos of those rigs!

 

Edited by theksmith
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Hi and :welcome:!  Awesome that you want to get your family into the great outdoors!! WJ's are pretty popular around here, so you've come to the right place! Can't wait to see pictures of it!

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Thanks for the awesome info and thanks for the welcome. the Clayton 4 inch long arm was kinda the way i was leaning. with the 4" clayton and 33's is there some trimming i will need to do? The plan is to build a solid starting point that will allow us to get out and have some fun on the trails without braking the bank but still allowing for upgrades in the future. If i start with the 4" clayton, how hard is it to upgrade to a a 6" if i want to up the game so to speak? i will post pics of them in there bone stock glory so you guys can see the starting point. The 04 is my daily and the 02 we just picked up. found it cheap..... ($500) only catch is it might need a motor. rest is in decent shape. It does run though so thats good.... just smokes.

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So unfortunately the motor is not salvageable. has a bad knock in the lower end. I have located a wrecked 05 WK with a 4.7l in it that i can get reasonable. Is there any issue with using the 05 in my 02? i have seen some things on the crank and cam wheels.... 16 tooth vs. 32 tooth.... not sure.

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1 hour ago, JTHucke said:

So unfortunately the motor is not salvageable. has a bad knock in the lower end. I have located a wrecked 05 WK with a 4.7l in it that i can get reasonable. Is there any issue with using the 05 in my 02? i have seen some things on the crank and cam wheels.... 16 tooth vs. 32 tooth.... not sure.

 

that's beyond my level of knowledge, but i'd guess that it doesn't just plug right in - i mean the block may be the same, but as an entire assembly i'm betting there are some significant differences. 

 

FYI, a couple of us bought remanufactured engines from Promar and were happy with them: https://www.promarengine.com/

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would probably just use the long block and take everything off the motor that is in it. i will check into the Promar engines though.

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