Monday, July 19, 2010

Jeep JK Spare Parts Make This XJ A Trail Hero

It's not too often you find a Jeep Cherokee using Jeep JK Wrangler drivetrain components to improve its strength and rock crawling capabilities. Chris Faustmann, who handles the research and development at Performance Automotive Group, found himself with several spare parts, after upgrading the company's Jeep JK Wranglers that are used for show and research and development. Because the Jeep JK has great brakes, 30 spline axles other good components, he thought it would be a waste not to try to use them to upgrade his Cherokee. The end result is a spectacular use of OEM Jeep parts to turn a good rock crawling Cherokee into an awesome one.
To begin with, the Cherokee uses a set of used JK axles within a new Dynatrac Pro-Rock 44 front housing. The housing is designed for the Jeep JK, so it sits five-inches wider than the stock Cherokee axles, but gives the vehicle a better stance that's noticeably more stable. Faustmann ordered the axle housing bare, so he could weld on new perches and shock mounts to accommodate a coil-over suspension system, that consists of Fox Racing 12-inch reservoir coil-over shocks and dual Eibach springs. The rear is a stock JK axle housing that's been upgraded with Superior Axle’s new Evo Shafts, 5:38 gears, an ARB air-locker, and a Dynatrac cast iron cover.

With the JK axles under the vehicle, it was tall enough to run a set of 37x12.5x17-inch Goodyear MTR tires mounted on Raceline beadlock wheels. A PSC hydraulic ram assist system helps turn the front tires on difficult terrain, and a Rock Krawler tri-link suspension kit keeps the axles under control. The system looks like it was made for the Cherokee, but Faustmann had to create new mounting brackets to adapt the JK suspension to the Cherokee's frame.

The factory transfer case was also upgraded to use a new Atlas II unit, giving the Cherokee a low 4.3:1 ratio for superior crawling abilities and added strength. The ViAir on-board compressor also makes it easy to air up and down the tires when necessary, and several new OR-Fab accessories were developed to provide trail protection when the vehicle drives up and over large rocks. These include side body armor for the rear quarter panels, as well as a heavy-duty rock slider rail that protects the vehicle's rocker panels and chassis. The Cherokee also sports an OR-Fab modular front bumper that features a grille guard, and winch fairlead for a Warn winch. The rear of the Cherokee is protected with an OR-Fab rear bumper that wraps around to the bottom of the quarter panels to provide added protection. On top, a Gobi roof rack outfitted with a KC Highlights lighting system, is used to house a spare tire, and a Hi-Lift jack.

Chris Faustamnn's Jeep definitely gets admired at the start of several events it's been on. But the real admiration comes when Jeep owners get to see how easily this XJ crawls over difficult terrain. The coil-over suspension and wide track keep the vehicle stable and provides a smooth ride with incredible articulation. It's enough to make the JK guys pretty jealous. For more information, visit
DS Media

The wider stance of the JK axles combined with Fox coil-over shocks and 37-inch Goodyear tires, gives the Cherokee exceptional traction and articulation over difficult terrain.
This Jeep is also used as a basis for development of new OR-Fab accessories for XJ models. Shown here is the OR-Fab body armor that protects the rear quarters and taillights.

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