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My cherokee build

Rooney77

Bearded lady
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Well it's about midway through the process but I'm moving the documentation of the build here. It's a 1981 cherokee Laredo. Used to have a 360/727/quadratrac. Now it's got a 6.0 LS/4l80e/np241. Stock 44/amc20 axles. I got it back from paint a couple of weeks ago so I guess I'll document the rebuild here. As a point of reference, this is what I started with.
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Rooney77

Bearded lady
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Besides doing the motor swap I had to tackle some gauge cluster issues, body damage, floor rot, ac install and my horrible attempt at painting. I also converted to a rhino grill in the mean time because the classic look appeals to me (no pics yet).

So some pics of the paint.

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Rooney77

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Then I got it home and started assembling it. First thing to tackle was the doors. It drove me nuts not being able to shut em. I cleaned up the triangle vent windows, polished em and installed new rubber. Installing them was just a whole not her nightmare but I got it done. Reinstalling the windows and door mechanisms was easy after that. I also installed Cali style mirrors because the tiny stock mirrors sucked balls and I really like the looks of the new ones. Got the doors adjusted too so they shut easily and line up at least as good as AMC did it.

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Rooney77

Bearded lady
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Still have a metric ton to do, including the lift. My hands are killing me from polishing the chrome. I gotta remember to tighten the motor mounts, get driveshafts, make an exhaust, finish the tailgate (current project), install the painstakingly polished roof rack....

From here on out, posts will be more detailed since they'll be real time. I've got a boatload of deliveries coming so stay tuned.

Last pics are of the stupid stock roof rack I spent an entire day polishing. I was on baby duty so it took a bit longer than expected. Apparently babies make terrible polishing rags.

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Rooney77

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Its message on the whiteboard in your photos.

Hahahaha. I left that for the wife and kids one morning when I got out there before they woke up. The 5 yr old had been excited to work with me so I didn't want him to think I left him behind.
 

toocheaptosmoke

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Will be watching this build, good stuff. :smokin: Any plans or upgrades for the m20? Been daydream planning a cherokee/wagoneer build with a turbo 6.0, 6 speed manual, some day...
 

Rooney77

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Will be watching this build, good stuff. :smokin: Any plans or upgrades for the m20? Been daydream planning a cherokee/wagoneer build with a turbo 6.0, 6 speed manual, some day...

Not at this point. I'll save the tinkering and hp hunting for the 6.0 I'm putting in the hotrod.
 

Rooney77

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So I spent the day today installing my new rear window mechanism and crank handle. What a pain in the ass that was. Good lord I hope I never have to go back into the guts of the tailgate.

I also got the roof rails and roof rack installed as well as the upper door panel mounts. The mounts got riveted and was a 5 minute job to wrap up the day.

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Curbkrawler

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Still have a metric ton to do, including the lift. My hands are killing me from polishing the chrome. I gotta remember to tighten the motor mounts, get driveshafts, make an exhaust, finish the tailgate (current project), install the painstakingly polished roof rack....

Best thing I ever bought was a cheap buffer/polisher from eastwood and one of their compound kits.

This is the windshield trim off my Wagoneer. I even used it for the bumpers.

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Broncokyle88

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Best thing I ever bought was a cheap buffer/polisher from eastwood and one of their compound kits.

This is the windshield trim off my Wagoneer. I even used it for the bumpers.

How do you think it would work for wheels? Would they be too awkward to get up in there and do a good job? I’ve got a set I’m refinishing, and would rather use something other than a drill with that will cup thingy to polish them.
 

Curbkrawler

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How do you think it would work for wheels? Would they be too awkward to get up in there and do a good job? I’ve got a set I’m refinishing, and would rather use something other than a drill with that will cup thingy to polish them.

I think it would be pretty awkward. I bought a wheel refinishing kit from them for like $20. I haven’t used it yet but it includes various rotary buffing pads of various shapes and different compounds.

When I refinished the bumpers and grill on my Wagoneer I ground everything down to bare aluminum, hand sanded in steps from 400 grit to 1500 grit, and then buffed with 3 different compounds. I used a rotary tool for the front bumper and you could see swirl marks. I used the bench buffer for the rear and got better results. My shoulders were killing me afterwards!
 

Rooney77

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I think it would be pretty awkward. I bought a wheel refinishing kit from them for like $20. I haven’t used it yet but it includes various rotary buffing pads of various shapes and different compounds.

When I refinished the bumpers and grill on my Wagoneer I ground everything down to bare aluminum, hand sanded in steps from 400 grit to 1500 grit, and then buffed with 3 different compounds. I used a rotary tool for the front bumper and you could see swirl marks. I used the bench buffer for the rear and got better results. My shoulders were killing me afterwards!

That's a ton more polishing work than I care to do. 😳


I do have the rhino grill I need to polish up though.
 

Curbkrawler

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That's a ton more polishing work than I care to do. 😳


I do have the rhino grill I need to polish up though.

It wasn’t terrible. Believe me, I would rather slam my junk in a car door than spend an hour doing paint and body work. I don’t know about yours, but my 90 Wag had some sort of coating or finish on the alum grill and bumpers that had yellowed and was “stained.” That’s why I sanded it down using harbor freight scuff pads on a die grinder and then wet sanded and polished.
 
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Rooney77

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I got one headlight bucket modded as part of the conversion to a rhino grill and decided to mock it up. Gotta say I wasn't as blown away as I thought I'd be. So I'm back to trying to polish up the muscle grill. FYI, rhino=narrow grill and the muscle grill is the wide one. I did buy a buffer from HF today after an incident with a power ball in my drill press. Don't do that by the way.

It definitely brought yesterday to a halt. I did get the ac condenser mounted so all wasn't lost.

Interested in your opinions on the two different grills. Pics 1, 2 and 3 are of mine, 4 and 5 are random interwebs pics.

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Curbkrawler

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I personally am a fan of the muscle grille. That's my favorite of all the grills.
 

Rooney77

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Bought a polisher/buffer to hopefully revive the muscle grill.

Also got a delivery today. 😁

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Curbkrawler

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Nice! I have to wear out the 100k mile shit box tires on mine before I shop for new tires. Does your Cherokee have any lift at all? I don’t really want any larger tires on mine, but considering either a stock spring replacement or maybe a 2” lift just for aesthetics. My suspension is completely sagged out.
 

JohnnyJ

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Agree, I like the muscle grille. I like the Rhino on pickups, but prefer the muscle on Cherokees/Wags.
 

Rooney77

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Nice! I have to wear out the 100k mile shit box tires on mine before I shop for new tires. Does your Cherokee have any lift at all? I don’t really want any larger tires on mine, but considering either a stock spring replacement or maybe a 2” lift just for aesthetics. My suspension is completely sagged out.

No lift and 31s on 3 of the 4 corners, currently.

The new tires are 33s and seeing them next to the rig I'm glad I didn't go 35s. I still have a bds 4" lift to install.
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Curbkrawler

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That is going to look great. What year Mustang? I've got a 66 GT coupe.
 
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