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Old 04-21-2016, 08:29 PM   #1
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Default Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

This is going to a long, ongoing process. And much more work than the Jeep JK 2 door I just finished.

I'm going for kind of a stock looking rig with a bit of modification. Like the owner is a weekend warrior who had money for tires and maybe a small lift.

I plan on doing all the gimmicks I did on the JK. Such as a horn, exhaust, custom light controller with manual directionals, 2 speed trans.. and so on.

I'm using the amazing new jeep cherokee xj 313mm hardbody that has recently become popular.

I bought a Vaterra Ascender Kit to use as the main chassis.
Along with the GCM combo to place the trans where is should be.

I ordered a twin hammers trans to give this a 2 speed.

Click the image to open in full size.
I'll update parts as I go.

I had originally wanted to do another GCM Skeleton combo. I do believe it's the best chassis I've ever used and just an incredible design. But I just finished one and have never had/built and ascender. So, I wanted to try one. Plus, the GCM combo for the ascender looks really nice, so it'll all work out.

I find documenting a build really improves the quality of work; so interesting or not, it'll be on here.

I may also do some work on the scale city that will be posted here.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

If any of you have a set of 1.9 dirt grabbers, could you do a quick measurement? I know rc4wd's website says 3.85", but none of my tires measure out to what is listed. My challengers measure 4.5" and list as 4.24". Could be the foams.

Thanks! I'm trying to do a mock up before deciding and ordering.

Side note:

This build was stressing me out more than a hobby like this should.*

I'll never get used to spending money on a kit, and then pulling half of the parts off and throwing them in a box. Along with the tires, shocks and body. I cut the body to shape, but may just sell it off.

Anyway... body mounts and interior were the two big ones getting too me.

Luckily I have something in mind for mounting the body. At least for the back part. I wish they added some posts or tabs. I don't really trust glue enough to add them.

Dramatic side note over.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Your last build turned out assume, so why all the stressing? Take a deep breath, and chill.
Good choice on the chassis and motor forward kit from GCM.
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Old 04-21-2016, 09:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

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Originally Posted by CODYBOY View Post
Your last build turned out assume, so why all the stressing? Take a deep breath, and chill.
Good choice on the chassis and motor forward kit from GCM.
It's better now. It was just the amount of work. I like to have things go quickly. I've also never built a hardbody like this that needs paint and so much problem solving. I wish this body had screw bosses or even spare tabs. But it doesnt. Makes mounting kind of tricky.

I'm also planning a scratch built interior..

I think I've figured out body mounting. I just need to fabricate some things.

Thanks for the words! Helps build my confidence on this build.
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Old 04-22-2016, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

I'm probably going for Dick Cepek Mud Country tires.

Quick update.

I ground/cut/sanded off the unused mount on the transmission. It was getting in the way of me running battery/motor wires through that hole. Looks nicer too. A bit more scale. I hope I don't regret giving up two perfectly good mounting holes.

Click the image to open in full size.

And I made a plate that I mounted next to the servo. I'm going to use this for the ESC. Rx will be on top of the servo. I'll probably need to get another 8 channel for this rig. I'll have to figure that out when it comes time, as the 8ch is much bigger.

Click the image to open in full size.

I've also finished mounting the micro servo and linkage. That went very easy thanks to GCM'S awesome little mount.

Body mounting is up next. That's what I'm working on today.
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

It's looking nice! What size servo did you use for the 2 speed and did you mount it on the t-case plate? Did you make your own shift linkage? What driveshaft are you using from the trans to the t-case? Sorry for all the questions but I started most of mine last night(GCM front motor) and I was running into lots of issues(2 speed). Thanks a lot for the thread.
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

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Originally Posted by Scale Junkie View Post
It's looking nice! What size servo did you use for the 2 speed and did you mount it on the t-case plate? Did you make your own shift linkage? What driveshaft are you using from the trans to the t-case? Sorry for all the questions but I started most of mine last night(GCM front motor) and I was running into lots of issues(2 speed). Thanks a lot for the thread.
Hello, I used this servo
Solar Servo D654 0.12@4.8v Digital Metal Gear 12g

I made my own linkage out of piano wire (spring steel). I prefer actual links with rod ends, but there wasn't room.

I used the t case mount. I had to open the trans and drill a 1/8th hole to flip the shifting rod.

For trans to t-case I used standard 5mm U-joints. I just need to lathe or cut a rod to connect them. These u joints can be found on Rc4wd's site or on ebay from china for dirt cheap.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-22-2016, 03:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

First of many steps:

I made a bracket for the front. Luckily, there are two tabs to either side of the grill on the inside. I'm guessing these are there for mounting a radiator. I used them to mount this angle.

I'll be able to drill holes and use this to mount the body to the chassis. It'll also allow me to mount a radiator very easily.

Click the image to open in full size.

And because it will be mounted to the chassis when the body is on, I may also be able to mount a winch or bumper to it.
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Old 04-22-2016, 05:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Rear bumper mounts.

Most guys with this body won't use the bumpers and can just fill the holes and move on. But, I'm going for a very stock look, so the stock bumpers are getting used. I don't know if I'll use a winch or not.. I do feel it's kind of necessary.

I made up these aluminum pieces that mount the rear bumper in a way that can't be seen. This way I can fill the holes and not have two Philips head screws showing on the rear hatch.

Click the image to open in full size.

I can deal with the small screws by the fenders. But the ones on the hatch really bothered me. Plus, this new mount is quite strong.

The rear bumper is nice and thick on the top and strong enough to hold the screws in place. I'm also using it for body mounts.

All these aluminum parts will be cleaned up and painted when I get to putting color on the body.
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Last edited by Dustinf; 04-22-2016 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

And finally, rear body mounts.

I made these two brackets that mount to the frame.

I'll be putting m3 set screws into the rear bumper. They will go through these brackets. Then I'll use a nut to keep the body on

I will probably drill a hole right through the bumper, put the set screw in, and then fill the hole with putty and paint over it.

Click the image to open in full size.

Like the other aluminum pieces; they still need to be sanded and cleaned up. Then painted black.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

I found this picture. It's not mine. But, it's this body with dirt grabbers.

Click the image to open in full size.

I know I'm obsessing over this more than I should. Worst case scenario; I'm down $40.

Honestly, even if I make the drive, I wouldn't comp this rig. I'm too gentle with my stuff, sadly.

So even though I may ruin the performance and angle of the ascender, it's worth it for the look I'm going for.

The challenge of a stock rig can be a lot of fun on the trail.

That's my internal monolog trying to justify a small tire
I don't expect anyone to really care.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

What color rims do you think would work best for a stock cherokee? Probably chrome or silver?
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Old 04-27-2016, 02:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

How hard core weekend warrior do you want the build to look?? Reason i ask is i think the tamiya cc01 gold wrangler rims or the silver 5 bar rims that look alot like stock cherokee rims would look sharp.
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Old 04-27-2016, 06:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by moondaddy View Post
How hard core weekend warrior do you want the build to look?? Reason i ask is i think the tamiya cc01 gold wrangler rims or the silver 5 bar rims that look alot like stock cherokee rims would look sharp.
+1 on the Tamiya gold "mesh" rims. there was a "stock chero" build on here with ax10 axles and open diffs. it was pretty cool.
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Old 04-27-2016, 08:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

I've seen the mesh rims. They do look very scale. But if I bought a cherokee with those on it, I'd change them.

What 5 bar rims do you speak of?

I saw that integy makes a set of rims that look perfect for a stock cherokee. But they were sold out everywhere.

I could use another set of Rc4wd JK rims, but those are sold out. Plus I've used those on the last rig.

I ordered a cheap set of black gmade wheels for now. This way I can run until something else comes up.

At the least, I could imagine a weekend warrior buying tires and rims.

Dirt grabbers 1.9 will be the tires used.
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Old 04-28-2016, 01:51 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

tamiya silver 5 bar rims p/n10445516
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by moondaddy View Post
tamiya silver 5 bar rims p/n10445516
Ohh yeah, I looked at those. Sorry.

Man, they are certainly cheap enough. If only they weren't glue on.
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Old 04-28-2016, 08:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Click the image to open in full size.

I've wanted to try a set of gmade rims for awhile now. I'm actually kind of intrigued by gmade and want to build one of their rigs at some point. So far I've only used their shocks.

But I really like the look of these. Even if they are cheap, they will look nice and last until I get some aluminum wheels.
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Old 04-28-2016, 09:14 AM   #19
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Finally got the cantilever setup finished. I'm using GPM aluminum shocks. I made shorter rods to accommodate the look I'm going for. 10mm shorter to be exact.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

These shocks come with three different spring sets. I'm using the lightest and it's still very stiff. Once I get all the weight on there, ill probably need to use the next set.

I should have done this set up on the JK skeleton build. I'm really impressed with the amount of travel it gives, even being lowered and especially compared to the short shocks I used.
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Last edited by Dustinf; 04-29-2016 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 04-30-2016, 12:20 AM   #20
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Default Re: Cherokee XJ Hardbody Class 1 Build

Where did you get the Cherokee body.
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