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The Dog showing preference


The Cherokee is a 1995 XJ Sport right hand drive that has been lifted 4 inches using a Rancho full size Cherokee add a leaf kit where both the front and rear add a leafs were added to the rear spring pack to give the 4 inches of lift. The third leaf was removed from the original pack and the front add a leaf was trimmed by 40 mm to clear the friction pad. The front coils were from a 4 inch TJ wrangler kit which gave just over 3 inches of lift. This gives the car the same amount of clearance from the top of the tyre to the under side of the flare front and rear and leaves the chassis level when loaded with camping gear and a trailer hitched up. The front springs from the wrangler are the same as for a Cherokee except that a wrangler stock springs are 1" shorter than XJ stock springs. The wrangler weighs slightly more than a XJ so long term life is not a problem. I got an extra 1/2" by making up spacers for both the front and rear which you can see in the how to section. The stock arms were only moved forward by 1/4" with packers that I made to return the caster to stock. I have also a 1" drop on the transfer and have no vibes at all. The track arm was changed by welding up the old bolt holes and then re-drilling when the axle was centred. The front brake lines were left as they had enough length at full droop. The rear has the retaining clip removed and the pipe was pulled through it and then some fuel hose put over it where it passes through the holder and kept in place with a couple of nylon ties which have worked great on both XJ's for the last five years.

Below is another set up I did to another XJ for the same 4" of height. See it here.

No. Part name Part number
1.  Lovell's coils CFR - 58
2.  Rancho RS9000 shocks RS 9128
3.  Transfer case spacers See here
4.  Rancho RS9000 shocks RS 9241
5.  Rear bumpstop spacers See here
6.  Rancho steering stabilizer RS 5401
7.  Rancho add-a-leaf 60612
8.  OME 2 degree shims OMECW2
9.  Hockey pucks ( rubber ) -
10.  Shock extensions See here
11.  Rancho add-a-leaf 60913
12. Spring clamps -
13. U bolts UBNB06

I have just given retail prices so this is all you would expect to pay. The Rancho gear you can try in Victoria, Off-Road USA in Brooklyn on (03) 9318 0366 and in Sydney, Auto Alliance on (02) 9634 2238

I find the ride better than original especially when loaded and on corrugated roads that are so common in the Australian Outback. We have 813,769 kms of roads of which only 323,020 kms are sealed. 490,749 kms are unsealed of which 177,593 have no surface at all! Which means they just run a bulldozer through to mark the track and leave it at that! I do around 4000 kms of gravel and offroad tracks on every end of year holiday. The standard springs are too soft for towing and heavy loads and are prone to sagging before long. The setup does feel a little firm after you have just unpacked after a holiday, but after turning the shocks down to their softest setting you soon get used to it again. The shocks are Rancho 9000's which have 5 different settings which I find ideal when switching between empty around town to fully loaded on holidays. The shock mounts have been raised front and rear to compensate for the dropped bump-stops which was done to stop the larger tyres fouling the guards and safety reasons.

My all coil XJ before it got rolled

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My first Cherokee with 4 inches of lift and swing-a-way carrier for the tyre and jerry can holder. The rear  coil suspension I made using Range Rover trailing arms and Holden Commodore coils and panhard rod. It ran AR 511 wheels with custom offsets in 15x7 on the front and 15x8 on the rear. The tyres were 31x10.5x15 on the front and 31x11.5x15 on the rear. All the windows were tinted including the front windscreen to help against the 40*C (100*F) temperatures in summer. It had fantastic articulation and was very comfortable on and off road with the spring rates feeling the same front and rear. Coils aren't as good at carrying a heavy load as leaf springs and I had to set the suspension up higher in the rear when empty so it would be level when loaded and towing my trailer. More on the coils setup here.

Not the best looking now

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Well this is what greeted me after I turned around when I lost CB contact with my wife who had taken over the driving duties while I drove my mate Ken's XJ. Needless to say that I couldn't believe that my wife and daughter got out of this by themselves with only a little scratch on them. Not the best way to start the first day of a 5 1/2 week holiday. The accident happened outside Wilcannia in outback NSW due to the combination of an un-braked trailer, roof top tent, a blown tyre and several large holes in the road causing the car to flip one and half times.

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We camped overnight until the station owner of a near by property righted the car and towed us to his place in the pouring rain with me hanging out of the drivers door with my wife next to me half lying in the seat while the mud from his car was being flung at us. The car was then stripped of personal things before the insurance company took it away never to be seen again. Ken and I loaded up his car and my trailer and took off home while my wife and daughter went by bus. While I waited for the cheque I repaired the damage done to the trailer and roof top tent and searched for a replacement XJ. The cheque came after two weeks and with one week before we were due to leave again, I built  my replacement '95 XJ into what you see at the top of the page. More on the coil setup here.