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Project FleXJ

True Old Sluice
True Old Sluice

I had a very capable 4x4 XJ, locked front and rear, 5.5" of lift and 32" Swamper radials. We had done almost every 4 and 4+ trail in Moab, and the Little Sluice and True Old Sluice on the Rubicon; so why was I not satisfied with this very trail worthy Cherokee? Maybe it was pride, or perhaps stupidity, or maybe the fact that I kept hearing about XJ owners dumping their grocery getters for more hard core rigs. Whatever it was, something inside me knew there was hard core potential in the XJ and it needed to be exploited.

Don't get me wrong, the XJ is a great off road vehicle that can do amazing things with minor lift and tire upgrades, but when it comes to hard core wheeling they are passed over for a myriad of reasons. The first I can think of is they're very sheet metal intensive, the second very obvious reason is they have the uni-frame construction, and the third, well, there's that darned hard top. But despite all the pitfalls, for some reason I felt I had something to prove when I decided to go hard core with an XJ.

While contemplating the rebuild I decided that the complete XJ makeover would need to be done in three stages. The first stage would include a custom 8" lift that would accommodate 35" tires, Dana 44 axles, and custom steering. The second stage would include skid plates, 4 to 1 t-case, front bumper with winch, beefier lockers, and a full roll cage. The third stage would bring the project all together including all the body work with a color change, and a 4.5 stroker motor.

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