W e a t h e r W a r r i o r . N e t
2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4x4

Jeep Cherokee Sport (XJ) Phased Plan

The vehicle was just acquired and is currently "in the virtual shop" being planned out and designed.  It also will be in the regular shop having some much needed items done to pass Maryland Safety Inspection (required) as well as other items. This vehicle will be pretty low key to start, but will sport many upgrades and items for off-road, storm chasing and filming duties. Like the Subaru I just got rid of, it will not sport "chaser / whacker" non-sense.

Be sure to scroll down for all the data and information, and ongoing tracking.

Sample Interior Layout from Dodge Caravan (previous chase vehicle)
Caravan Interior
-Sirius Satellite Radio (will not be added)
- Garmin GPS GT-20 USB (Now Globalsat BU-353)
- Dual Band ham radio (maybe...not much into these days)
- Laptop (or may soon likely be an iPad)
- Jeniko laptop desk (new one is a Jotto)
- DC to AC Power Inverter
This was the basic set-up for chasing tornado alley.
While the Dodge Caravan had more room, similar equipment will be added.  The Jeep will have some slightly different with likely a less cluttered set-up both for simplicity and tight fit.

Upgrade shopping:
This section has a myriad of options I'm looking at for upgrading or fixing the Jeep. In some cases I'll will describe the level of priority (1 being highest, 5 pure fantasy) and other relative information.

Suspension: Priority 1
Rough Country 3" Lift (to keep the 31"x10.5 R15 tire size)
Install video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yksVkcO1Xo

Priority 3:
Adjustable front track-bar (Rough Country or similar):
Bar Pin Replacement kits:
front: http://www.jeepinoutfitters.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=2318
rear: http://www.jeepinoutfitters.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=2317

BDS Suspension 3" Not choosen, might upgrade later (if RC kit doesn't do as well).

K & N Filters Air Intake Kit
(have read not recommended
for trail use, due to dirt and water)
K & N Filters Stock replacement (ordered and awaiting pick-up)

Heavy duty Radiator
Large Alternator
Snorkel Air Intake


Wheels and Tires: Priority 1
BF Goodrich All Terrain KO 30 x 9.5 r15
Goodyear Wrangler Authority (Wal-Mart) 31 x 10.5 r15
Definity Dakota A/T 30 x 9.5 r15 (out of stock) new design coming
used tires

Brakes: Priority 2
Rotors - ProStop
Pads - ProStop
Stainless Steel metal lines:

Bumpers: Priority 5
Front bumper I am thinking of a custom design that actually uses the OEM parts, but will also accept a winch, large trail lights, etc. I may attempt to build it myself, although my welder is probably too small for the heavy welding necessary.

Rear bumper will likely stay stock for a long time. I may modify it to be slightly longer, but I might do that with brackets rather than a new bumper.

Cargo roof racks: Priority 5
Yakima. Existing unit from Subaru installed, but not that secure. Need to get proper attachment points. Then add a cargo basket and Kayak mounts (only have bike mounts attm).

Cheaper alternative to the Yakima cargo roof basket:

Rear Hitch:
Thinking the tube style, if around the same price as the square tube type. Probably Class II, but 90% of the hitch use will be for a bike mount

Warn is the common, don't need anything fancy. Very low priority. Likely purchased with custom front bumper.

Custom or modified console for equipment and moderization.
Add laptop stand/table/mount
Custom stereo (no large bass, just decent speakers). Other than the head unit, very low priority
Change to black carpet and black headliner, and maybe even more black pieces (like pillars).
May change to diamond plate on some surfaces, mostly including the rear cargo area.

2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport XJ, Phase I - Fix, repair, replace, clean
2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport (XJ)
2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport XJ - Phase II - Initial upgrades

Jeep Cherokee Sport (XJ) Dash interior, partial dissassemble
Two photo merge. This is with all upper and center pieces removed for detailed cleaning and documenting.
Jotto Laptop Plate Mounting (under center console)
  • 1) removed console and other components
  • 2) cut carpet and clean
  • 3) modify existing Jotto laptop stand base plate
  • 4) Install modified base plate
  • 5) reposition carpet
  • 6) Reinstall center (cleaned) center console, insert extension.
Jeep Cherokee Sport XJ - Center console removed

2000 Jeep Cherokee XJ Sport 4.0L engine (stock?)

Jeep Cherokee XJ brakes diagram for parts
This is a diagram for ordering parts via 4wd.com I'm not
100% sure if it is exact for my model/year

Price Tracking (Kelly Blue Book/KBB.com)
Stock price (no modifications)**
Modified Price (added features)++
What I would sell for now.
November 3, 2011
$4,470 Excellent
$4,470 Very Good
$4,070 Good
$3,420 Fair
$4,535 Excellent
$4,235 Very Good
$4,135 Good
$3,485 Fair

**Priced as Sport 4dr, 4.0L, Auto, AWD, ABS, AC, Pwr Win, Pwr Lock, Pwr Steer, Tilt, AM/FM/Cass, Dual Airbag, Leather Seats, Roof Rack, Steel Wheels,

++Priced as Sport 4dr, 4.0L, Auto, AWD, ABS, AC, Pwr Win, Pwr Lock, Pwr Steer, Tilt, AM/FM/Cass, Dual Airbag, Leather Seats, Roof Rack, Steel Wheels, Oversized Tires,

Cost/Expense Tracking
Unit Price
Item Total
Aug. 24, 2011
$ 74.99*
$ 74.99
Nov 2, 2011
The Truck
$ 2700
$ 2,700
Nov 3, 2011
Tax, Title, Temp. Tags
$ 212
$ 212
Items above not included in "total" listed below.
Nov 2, 2011
Champion Platinum spark Plugs
$ 2.99
$ 17.94
Nov 2, 2011
138,738 Value grade wire set
$ 14.99
$ 14.99
Nov 2, 2011 138,738 Hayes Repair Manual - Cherokee
$ 24.99
$ 24.99
Nov 2, 2011 138,738 K&N Air Filter (stock replacement)
$ 54.99
$ 54.99
Nov 3, 2011
138,738 CRC 12oz. Intake cleang spray
$ 3.99
$ 3.99
Nov 3, 2011 138,738 Gunk 15oz Engine Degreaser spray
$ 3.99
$ 3.99
Nov 3, 2011 138,738 Meguiars Natural Shine Interior Spray
$ 5.99
$ 5.99
Nov 3, 2011 138,738 Car Wash Sponge
$ 1.00
$ 1.00
Nov 6, 2011

Bosch Evolution (not Icon) wipers
$ 27.98
Nov 6, 2011

Rear lift gate hydraulic
$ 24.99
Nov 7, 2011
138,764 Davis CarChipPro 8226 (4.99)
$ 75.43
Nov 7, 2011
138,764 Rough Country 3" Lift Series II
$ 345.95
Nov 7, 2011 138,764 Rough Country shock cover
$ 3.10
$ 12.40
Nov 7, 2011
138,764 BDS transfer case drop kit
$ 35.22
$ 35.22

Wheel Spacers
$ 25
$ 100


Tax is not included with most pricing, but most items being bought in MD will have had 6% added. Shipping cost is in parathesis

Upcoming costs (not incurred yet)

Tires (full set, installed, balanced)

$ 680

Wheel spacers (unknown size)

$ 220

Exhaust (cat. to tail pipe) Dynomax

$ 200

brake pads front

brake shoes rear

brake rotors front

brake drums rear

Quick Log
Tue., Nov. 1, 2011
Found car on Craigslist, called to see, made offer, owner called in the evening, closed the deal.
Wed., Nov. 2, 2011
Got the money, picked up car, drove it home.
Thu., Nov. 3, 2011
Interior cleaned and some parts removed (center console, center instrumt paneal. Door jambs and other hard to reach areas cleaned
Fri., Nov. 4, 2011
1.continued interior cleaning (with add'l panels and components removed).
2. Ext. surfaces cleaned, pressure washed, and waxed.
3. Test mounted exist. Yakima rack.
Sat., Nov. 5, 2011
1. finish cleaning interior pieces
2. clean engine bay (with decreaser)
3. modify console to install laptop stand
Sun., Nov 6, 2011
1. install more interior components.
2. purchase a few odds and ends
3. took junk tires to recycle center
Mon., Nov 7, 2011
1. ordered suspension kit and accessories (Rough Country)
2. ordered Davis CarChip Pro
Tues. Nov 8
1. cleaned (with decreaser) underside of vehicle, especial attention transfer case and transmission
2. complete interior re-install (center console).
3. reviewed elements, plans for suspension install.
Wed. Nov. 9
1. suspension kit arrived, unpacked and removed
2. more review and planning for suspension install (including newly discovered issue with shock obsorber tower top mount broken bolt.
Thursday. Nov. 10
Not much work today, rain prevented outside work, Did jack up truck to prep for suspension work. Also worked on getting the front stabalizer bar (aka anti-roll bar) loosened.

Also gapped the spark plugs to the proper .035 gap (out of the box was around .050)
Friday, Nov. 11, 2011
Lots of tools bought today in preparation for work. Some dissassembly of the front suspension was done, mostly just removing the shock absorbers from the top mount points.

Also went to DC to pick-up wheel spacers (spidertrax) from a craigslist find. half off new price ($200 new not incl. shipping) isn't bad!
Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011
Big dissessembly day. Front suspension removal was the focus. Items remaining not removed yesterday, was completed today, including the lower control arms, springs, etc.
Sun. Nov. 13
Somewhat of a rest day. Waiting on the Jeep parts store (dealer) to open so we can get some replacement bolts and brackets. This was a late decision after yesterday's dissesembly was complete.

Upon starting to replace the spark plugs, pulled the one from Cyclinder No. 1 (the one with the misfire code) and found quite a bit of fresh oil on the tip. The plug looked brand new. I realized this was bad. I put in one of the new plugs, then went to Cylinder No. 2 and pulled the spark plug and same thing, oil! I put that plug right back in.

I then went and checked cylinder no. 1 for compression and it's low. Only 60psi whereas it should be 120 psi to 150 psi.

Worked stopped while I assed the issue.
Mon., Nov. 14, 2011
Today, completion of the front suspension was done. New springs, lower control arms and shock absorbers was done as well as installing the stabalizer bar drop brackets. Rough Country did goof and send me the wrong bolts and nuts however on that drop brackets, so that is just useable, but not road worth. Front is complete and next warm spell I'll work on the rear. It'll be some days before major work is done.
Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011
Not much today, committed to helping some friends paint their new apartment.

Just loosened up some of the main bolts for the rear leaf springs and went and bought the proper nuts for the SAE bolts for the stabalizer bar as mentioned above.
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011
Significant work on the rear suspention. remove existing shock absorber (only one). Remove block lift/u-Bolts, rear leaf springs, etc.

Then installed new add-a-leaf (AAL) to the existing factory ones, remounted the U-bolts on to the leaf springs, and attempted to remount the leaf springs, with little success. I also got the new shock absorbers ready and half mounted one to the Jeep. The other still needs the dust cover mounted and installed.
Tues Nov. 22, 2011
Leaf spring reinstallation, ordered some new OEM bolts for various susp. comments, purchased brake components (rotors and pads for the front).
Fri., Nov 25
Install last leaf spring bolt, grind upper shock mount smooth (from previous owners poor patchwork). Continue drilling of broken bolt

Gas Mileage / Fill-up tracking
Total cost


* Includes Shell/Gaint (or other) discount of various amounts. See full MS-Excel Spreadsheet for specifics
+ This is from reserve (spare containers) gas purchased earlier but now used.

Some Links, references and information


"For those of you in Maryland you need to reference COMAR Title 11, subtitles 13 and 14. These are the regulations that are enforced on an Equipment repair order. Not all equipment laws are covered under the Transportation Article Title 22.

Quick guidance, if you have to modify your suspension in order to fit larger tire/wheel combinations, it is considered illegal. Otherwise you have to reference the vehicle height regulations in COMAR and the Transportation Article.

As for mirrors, you are by law required to have an inside rearview mirror, and at minimum, a driver's side rearview mirror." from fredcop on JeepForums.com and unverified

"For people that don't feel like digging; in addition to the drivers side mirror, your bumpers have to be below 28" front and rear." from Krawler510 on JeepForums.com and unverified


The tire/fender rule is here [www.dsd.state.md.us]
The bumper height rule is here [www.dsd.state.md.us]
The whole section is here [www.dsd.state.md.us]


Crack cyclinder head info for 2000-2001 XJ (and others)

--Jeep Forum
--Cherokee Forum.com
--Maryland Jeep Club
--Maryland Creepers

Forum threads of value:
Death Wobble and U-Joints

Return to Chaser Vehicles Page
Return to Automobile pages on Onlinejason.net


Orig. Base Retail Price
$16,775 - $25,460 (all)
Gas Mileage
See below for factory ratings
20xx MPG Avg. =
Lifetime MPG Avg. =
*chase season avg.

Spec Data:
2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport
4.0L Inline 6 (I6 3964cc/242 CID)
AMC original design
SAE Net Horsepower @ RPM: 190 @ 4600
SAE Net Torque @ RPM: 225 @ 3000

Aisin-Warner AW-4 4-speed automatic
Front Axle:
Dana 30, Low Pinion, Standard Cut, 297x/760 universal joint, 27-spline axleshafts.
Rear Axle:
Dana 35, c-clip, ABS.
Chrysler 8.25", c-clip, non-ABS, 29-spline axleshafts.
Axle Gear Ratio:
3.55:1, automatic transmission, I6, V6 engines

Factory/Stock Dimensions:
Wheelbase -
101.4 in (2,576 mm) 
Overall width - 69.4 in (1,763 mm) w/o mirrors
Overall length - 167.5 in (4,255 mm)
Overall height:  4WD: 64.0 in (1,626 mm)
66.7 with cargo rack
Front Track: 58.0
Rear Track: 58.0
Road clearance: 8.1"
Cargo volume:
to Seat 1 (ft³): 69.0
to Seat 2 (ft³): 32.9

Curb Weight: 3,357 lb (1,523 kg) (approx.)
Fuel Capacity:
20 gallon fuel tank (approx.)
Fuel Efficiency:
14-17mpg/20-22mpg (city/hwy)
87 octane (regular grade)
Toledo, Ohio, United States

More Specs:

Stuff on my Jeep (or ordered)
Rough Country 3" Lift
K & N Filters