By any measure, the Jeep XJ is a proven platform for starting an off-road build. Add in a chance to score one at a good price from a family member and that’s all it took for Adam Dahdough to start his love affair with the second-generation Cherokees.
When it comes to this SUV, it’s pretty easy to see there is no shortage of mods. But naturally as we all do, Adam has his favorite addition which happens to be the dash control panel housing the Eaton E-locker switches and ambient temp gauge. When asked about his choice in locker system, Adam said, “I heard of guys who run air lockers always having issues with leaky air lines. I also didn’t want to run air lines or have an air compressor randomly running, so the E-locker was the best solution. Since I’ve owned them, they’ve been amazing.”
Taking a deeper look around the Jeep reveals just how built it actually is. The suspension starts up front with Rough Country long arms retrofitted with Currie Johnny joints and extended bumps. Bilstein 5100s provide dampening on all four corners and the rear is lifted via Rubicon Express shackles.
As for the drivetrain, the XJ features a front G2 Core 44 and an ECGS Ford 8.8 out back. Both are loaded with 4.56:1 gears. Disc brakes front and rear help reel in the 35-inch Mickey Thompson MTZ P3s wrapped around a set of 15-inch Pro Comps. “I have put my Mickey Thompson tires though hell and back, and they hold up through everything I’ve thrown at it,” commented Dahdough. “Snow, ice, mud, and sand. They’ve been amazing and I’ll probably get the same tires for my next set. Other brands of tires I’ve owned have not held up well during similar conditions.”
When it comes to protection and body, JCR came through with a set of full sliders and Fab Fours keeps the pumpkin safe. Iron Rock Offroad unibody stiffeners ensure the XJ’s body stays true with any load the trail delivers. Under the hood, the Cherokee is still mostly stock, but the plan for next year is a rebuild to bring the power levels up to match the rest of the SUV’s performance. On the short list for next mods, Adam says he has been eyeing JCR’s bumpers, tire carrier, and roof rack.
Overall, this Cherokee is exactly what we love about XJs. It’s a trusted, affordable starting point to build the crazy capable trail rig of your dreams. Whether hitting the Rubicon trail, the SoCal deserts, or anywhere in between, this go-anywhere build embodies the Jeep spirit perfectly. Stay tuned to Adam’s adventures on his Instagram, and don’t forget to check out the latest and greatest from Mickey Thompson and Eaton.