Sounds like a really cool idea/project. As for the price for some of those things, as long as you shop around the most expensive part would be painting it. Even then you could spray bomb it...
So, I was thinking... I need a new vehicle. Something cheap, reliable but with other merits. My Rambler has its charm, but it has no AC and I have concerns with its reliability. It's also not the most practical car in the world. I have specific desires with a vehicle and I'd keep my Rambler in addition to this vehicle, so here's my thoughts...
Late '80s, early '90s Jeep Cherokee
4.0 I6 w/ 2WD (auto or manual, auto ideally)
Maybe some Dynamat for sound deadening and interior cooling
Solid stereo system
Flat black/gray paint
Black steel wheels w/ nothing crazy tire wise
Maybe small bolt on flairs
Maybe steel running board (painted black)
Roof rack w/ custom mounts
Maybe some roof lighting (Hella Black Magic, maybe)
Maybe smoked lenses throughout
Before you get up in arms, here's what I want to accomplish with it:
Reliable daily driver
Good stereo and cool interior temps
Something that looks kinda cool
Good interior space
A good photography truck
The last one is my primary reason for having it painted and setup the way I talk about. I like the idea of having a truck I could use for all kinds of photo situations without worrying about it reflecting in the shot in any way. Could hang out of the passenger or driver's side doors or out the back hatch... I'd have the roof rack setup so I could bring a ladder with me and bolt it to the rack, allowing me to get high angles you'd never get otherwise. Maybe even something to strap myself to the roof for crazy rolling shots. The lighting would be to allow me to throw some light if necessary for shoots, too.
I'm a pretty capable fabricator and would like to set this thing up to be the ultimate (but still daily drivable) truck for this kind of stuff. Would allow me to go slightly off road to get to cool locations and such. Would probably do some cosmetic/other changes just for fun, too.
The reason I'm making this thread is, does all of this sound relatively cheap? Or am I missing something? Looking online, I see several Jeeps that fit the bill right around a grand, but they'd likely need a little work even before my changes. Any other ideas that might be cool for this sort of thing?
Semi related pics for clicks?..
EDIT: The other reason for this thread is that I just finished a nice tall IPA, haha. Just want some feedback as I haven't shared this idea with anyone else.
Last edited by pat_ernzen; 08-17-2011 at 10:27 PM.
Yeah, the black in this heat is a serious concern for me. That's why I was thinking a dark gray to just take that edge off a bit. With black details it may look a little cooler, too. Was also thinking maybe a dark olive green with black details. Kinda like the idea of making a grill front bumper that's one giant piece... made out of the same sort of square/rectangular tubing I'd make stuff like the roof rack out of. You know how they have those swing out spares? Maybe make something like that that I could actually sit on. Would be interesting. Also, I'd have stuff like switches to disable lights by area of the car. So if I'm trailing a car closely at night, taking photos of it, I could turn off all the front lighting, but still leave the tails on. And then the reverse for when a car is trailing me. It'd be form over function, but that, in my eye, would naturally lead to a kinda cool look. Then I'd through a small logo/domain on it where it's pretty subtle to plug the site/my photography a bit.
Kinda want to mess around on Photoshop and work up a little design concept. Always liked doing that, but it's been a while since I have.
Last edited by pat_ernzen; 08-18-2011 at 01:05 PM.
I dunno, man. Think that would look pretty goofy on a Jeep. Especially given how I'm envisioning the rest of it. Would also go against part of the paint of going with such colors, as red and chrome tend to stand out/reflect. But yeah, always loved olive drab w/ black.
Going on a serious tangent here, but used to do stuff like this pretty regularly. Some for little for-fun PS contests on forums. Some just because I wanted to. Looking at them now, I was ahead of the curve, man. Stuff like the Europa, GT-R, DBR9 and Charger were all made right after the cars were released. Basically my personal "fixes" for their production designs. The DB9 and GTR were right after the production cars were shown and before race cars. My DBR9 was damn close!
My Cherokee eventually became something of what you're talking about before it was stolen/stripped.
I loaned it to my contractor friend for 3 years until he could buy his own truck, so the interior was shot (paint spills, tears, etc..) When I got the truck back, the first thing I did was tear out the interior, headliner, plastics, dash, carpet, seats, etc.. Then I put it back together with a combination of new/better parts, rhino-lining type spray, etc.. When I was done, the interior was durable and rugged, but still had some good comfort in places (like the shag carpet I used for the passenger floor area!). Then on the drivetrain, I had to disconnect the axles to have it towed at one time. I never put the front axle back on, and left it 2wd (RWD). Next, I lowered it about 3/4" and put it on 16" wheels with good street tires (the off-road days were done, and this was now a pretty useful "station wagon" for me to use- I wanted better highway MPG).
I had tuned up the engine, invested in a new fuel rail and injectors, etc.. It was running great and giving excellent MPGs until I ran into the issue with the heater core. After that, it was sitting in my driveway where it was taken while I was out of town. (we had tried selling it, the guy came and took it - he had a flatbed tower - and left me a note that he would pay me when I got home. I never saw him again, but then got an impound letter, a ticket for expired tags, and then a fine for abandoning a vehicle, and eventually a bill from the auction deducting $400 from what I "owe" the city... All this happened while I was out of town, so I had no idea I was being cited / fined / had the vehicle impounded, etc.. Until I got home. )
Anyway --- I think for color, what about a tan color, like the NATO Sand or an Olive Green? I've studies about the car color vs heat though, and the INTERIOR color matters more than the exterior color. The exterior color has a slight effect, but the interior color makes the biggest difference. When I'm in desert/hot areas (like Bakersfield and Vegas) I like cars with tan interiors. My Jeep had the tan interior and it was always cool inside. Use that + sunshades and tinted windows (tip: use the mirror tint if you want the UV protection but without distorting the luminosity while looking out the windows. Black tint tends to sap the color out of everything.)
Plenty of places to go wheeling out there too, so I can't imagine why you wouldn't want an XJ. Keep it on easy trails, and you can have fun exploring and camping. If my MkII 16V got out there it will.
I would recommend you get a 91-96 Cherokee, while there's no specific problems with the earlier ones (86-90), they had Renix engine management, and a closed cooling system. Neither one is a deal breaker, but the 91-96 H.O. motor has more kinks worked out, more robust cooling system, puts out a little more power, and gets the same mileage.
Finding a 2WD model is going to be a needle in a haystack, if mileage is your goal, just drop the front driveshaft. The front output shaft on the transfer case is sealed, you'd do no harm driving without it forever, and possibly match the added mpg of the 2WD.
Since you're not going rock hopping or anything stupid with it, and prefer a 2WD, you probably don't care about 4WD. That said, there is 2 different transfer cases NP242 (2WD, full time, part time, N, 4LO) and the NP231 (2WD, part time, N, 4LO). The NP242 in "full time" acts like all wheel drive, so if you've got a slushy snow covered road, with clear patches, it's the gear you'd want. The NP231 is slightly more robust, but "part time" (means only use it part time) locks the chain driven case, and offers no slip between the front and rear axle.
If you remove the carpet, don't plan on wearing flip flops. The floor gets very hot, and it gets very loud once it's out.
The front coil springs have a 1/2" rubber isolator, you could easily remove that for a half inch of "lower-it". You could switch out your front coils with TJ wrangler coils for about an inch of lowering. Much further than that, you would want to add hockey pucks to the coil buckets, because I think around 2" of lowering the front differential starts to introduce itself to the oil pan. Unless you find that 2WD model...
Thanks for the compliment on the wheels, took me too long to figure out that a stock Mopar part would fit... Dodge Magnum/Charger tire size is 215/65r17 (measures 28"). Stock Jeep Cherokee size is 235/75r15 (measures 29"). Sounds to me like you could pull off Magnum/Charger wheels and tires, and be right in the range for lowering it an inch. I don't know width of that though, worst case at full turn they could rub the lower control arm a bit, easily cured by adjusting the steering stops which are just bolts in each knuckle.
I'll be staying tuned to this, and if you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to help...
I don't quite get the big off-road tires with such minimal clearance and no mud gaurds?
The car must not ever go off road, and it must need to be repainted every year?
The black one with the Challenger wheels though, that looks much more appropriate! Those wheels, in black matte, may be what the OP is looking for!
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
Thanks for the info and pics. Appreciate that. To be honest, though, I'm going to kind of go with whatever I can find cheap. The primary goal is affordability. Everything else I can make work. Came up with some other ideas that I think would be pretty damn cool for the photography side of things and would probably make it a pretty marketable/bloggable thing in itself. I've never seen a truck remotely like what I'm talking about when it comes to photography. Would make it the ultimate rig for rolling shots for sure.
Began working on a Photoshop, but struggling with getting the custom grill concept to look right. Have ideas, but it may be a bridge that I may have to cross when I have it in front of me. Don't really feel like putting the effort into it at the moment. And I definitely want steel wheels, just for the look of them. Like I said, going for a function over all else look, even if in reality, that means choosing things based on visuals. Figure steel wheels with tires should be pretty damn easy to find cheap as take-offs, too.
^No, that thing rubs tire everywhere I'd bet. Looks nice though...
Pat, just found this in one of my 17" wheel threads, thought the tire numbers might help you...
Loved the look of the Magnum steelies so I grabbed a set for my dd (sprayed with rustoleum hammered gunmetal grey) and slapped a set of 225/65R17 Michelins on... I know I know they aren't 255/75R17s but they will get me to work on time and thats what counts. Also I need to pick up a set of the center caps, so far they have eluded me.
Jeeps really look great guys, just wanted to let you know you inspired me, maybe one day mine will finally grow up!
Last edited by deucestudios; 08-30-2011 at 10:34 AM.
20mpg tops, with small/stock size tires, a fresh tune up, clean filters, and a gentle foot.
I've yet to see anyone say manual or auto get better mileage, manuals have 3.07 axle gearing to auto's 3.54.
Generally speaking, the 5 speed might cost you a little more up front.
There are 4 bangers out there, they're not at all common, and I don't think they get much better mileage.
So, I'll be buying something tomorrow in all likelihood... I'd like it to be a Jeep, but I just don't if I can stomach the gas mileage given how much I drive. Though atypical, I drove 3,000+ miles last month. The difference between ~30mpg and just under 20mpg is like $250 in just that month, and that sucks. I'd say I'll be driving it probably 2,000mi a month. Maybe 1,500 if I'm lucky. That definitely lessens the blow, but it's hard for me to not think about all the money I could be saving with better mileage. Again, in the end, this vehicle will mostly just be a commuter.
Is there any way to increase the mileage in any significant way? Like I said, I was already thinking about stripping out the interior a bit. Don't know how much weight I'd lose, but obviously any helps. I'd also likely get a 4wd six cylinder and drop it to 2wd. Can you swap out anything with the gearing to significantly increase highway mileage (with will be the majority of the mileage)?
Well, no matter what you get you should be able to fab/get a nice roof rack. Then you can put a ladder on it. I recommend one like this...
(I can't find a good pic of one like I saw) I'd make it a little different, though. The one I saw came down onto the tire and not on the paint. There was even a little track on the rack itself that the ladder rolled across (we're talking actual rollers here) and it made it a breeze to pull it down/put it back up. It was cool.
Well, it's something to think about anyway.
Good luck finding something.
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
For some reason I have always toyed with the idea of getting a 2WD Cherokee and....lowering it Dead serious too. I think it would look pretty cool. A 2WD Cherokee isn't going to be an off road warrior anyways. I love the shape and the look of them and think it would be a really cool DD/road trip car. Unsurprisingly, google image search brings up basically nothing since I'm probably one of the few people in the world who would lower one