ZJ

This isn’t a project like other “projects” on this site. That means… it probably won’t get scrapped and end up in the garbage… it might actually evolve into something useful; a sharp contrast to recent 4AG powered cars. Meh.

When we bought this thing, it was entirely for the daily grind. It will continue to be so dedicated. We leave in a semi-rural setting, which certainly doesn’t render cars useless, but situations certainly appear where anything less than 4WD is not practical. Snow piles up, ground clearance is helpful. Furthermore, certain comforts of an SUV are quite appealing: it easily fits my lanky frame, there is lots of room for carrying stuff (like strollers) and a nice high driving position is often more comfortable when surrounded by other trucks and SUV’s. The ZJ specifically was Car & Driver SUV of the year for many years in a row from its debut in 1993, and received many high remarks from other reviewers as well. Statistically, it’s small size and big motor help it perform better than a lot of the competition (even modern competition) and features like heated seats, leather and climate control make it very comfortable everywhere. For us it was an easy choice.

And then… approaching six months of ownership… we have really come to like this vehicle. I think that is largely because we stumbled upon an excellent example. The paint is fantastic, it’s clean inside and out, and it has run absolutely trouble free everywhere it’s gone. Furthermore when I think about what I’d like to replace it with… something boredom always leads to… I am left dumb-founded. It’s perfect for us. Well… I guess a 3.0L Diesel and long travel IRS would make it better… there are lots of things that could make it better, but I am hard pressed to find a better stockish platform.

Being from 1995, it’s a little newer and laden with electronics than I would prefer, but you really can’t look any older, and find something that really compares in other categories. Besides… as product of JEEP, it’s notoriously simply engineered and affordable to maintain.  So… if I don’t get carried away and too high on hopes… it’s quite likely that this is a vehicle that we’ll keep for maybe… 3 years? Ha… that would tie my record, so lets not get too carried away. I hope I don’t tag a deer or do something stupid in the woods.

Final Goal
Nothing extreme or even interesting really. For entertainments sake, I want it to be a true go anywhere truck… well.. as go anywhere as any other stock mid size SUV. For normal use, it already is go anywhere, but I had so much fun on my one wheeling experience that I at least want to be able to take it on the easy trails. Seems like a great way for me to maintain my car life, and get out with my family. However… I don’t really want to sacrifice much in terms of normal drivability. Jacked up ride heights perform poorly and are often dangerous on the highway. Massive tires kill fuel economy, and a trashed, mud filled rig isn’t really easy for a wife to enjoy. We have a few places within Canada and the US we would like to visit, and I’d like the ZJ to be the vehicle that can take us there reliably, safely and comfortably. That’s it.

Ideally I add a few small off-road bits, a few small comfort features, drive it everyday and never be done.

Specifications of the Machine

attributes-zj FOOTWORK

  • Upcountry coils
  • Bilstein Inverted Shocks

DRIVETRAIN

  • 318 V8
  • NP249 :{
  • OEM Rear LSD

INTERIOR

  • 1998 ZJ Premium Stereo
  • Plush Pillowy Leather
  • Garmin NUVI 760

EXTERIOR

  • Heated Mirrors
  • Ghetto Driving Lights
  • TC skid
  • Fuel Tank Skid
  • Modified MOPAR Receiver Hitch
  • MOPAR Hooks.

SHOES

  • 91 YJ 2-Piece 15 8J
  • 235/75 15 Winterforce Studded
  • Stock Mesh
  • 31×10.50-15 BFG AT KO

OTHER

  • ATI 150amp Alternator
  • Odyseey Deep Cycle Battery

6
I’m a monkey again and that means I have to drive to work everyday.  My wife’s uncles are all higher up’s at Toyota in Japan… meaning my wife is a big fan and I have a good excuse, but more than that… since the persecution of Toyota by the American government, I have decided to do all that I can […]

New Here




1
Pissed off. 1. It’s almost May.  It is supposed to be hachiroku season. 2. This weather is costing me money in more ways than one. 3. My damn camera is in Japan with my wife, and this is the best that my cell phone could muster. 4. I just spent 1.5 hours in a sick ass snow/wind storm trapped between […]

Mosquito Death


The weather has been AWESOME. 10 degrees celsius in March is as much as we can ask for. I had so much planned for my AE86 this week. It’s been a slow time at work, midterms are done. My AE86 was practically going to be on the road again. But freaking ZJ got jealous and demanded attention. Lots of attention. Jeeps are […]

My Ruined Week



Yellow on PurposeAs I said, the ZJ left us stranded on Saturday night. Last winter, on the coldest of days I had observed a charging problem. It seemed the alternator couldn't keep up with the heater, and defrost, and tunes and the like. It never left us anywhere, but when it gone down to -30 or so I was definitely weary. In the summer... it wasn't really something that I was keeping an eye on. I guess I knew that I had to do something about it before winter hit again, but it turns out I wouldn't get that far. And so... since ultimately I like our ZJ, I fixed it right.

Charging


Coming down on Top of the WorldI'm missing our new camera hard. Ran "Top of the World" on Sunday with a small group that included Ryan and his monsterous YJ. Monsterous? Well... maybe not but it's certainly a capable rig. And even though it's running what most publications would call a smaller tire size (35"), it has a lot of advantages over stockish rigs on 31's. Out on trails and actually facing adversity... the ZJ has some major disadvantages over other more popular rig choices. Facing 2' drops and gigantic walls of dirt and mud, polyurethane bumpers seem like the dumbest idea ever. Especially when they are as long and as fat as those on the ZJ... even after my trimming. And clearance... whether a stock XJ or Toyota or Nissan would hit bottom as often as I did I don't know, but I hit it way to much for comforts sake. I was definitely glad for the armour I do have, and will certainly invest in some more. And the 318 that is so nice on the streets and highway... is pretty irrelevant on the trail.

Top Of The World



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