I am a fairly recent transplant from the flat wasteland of Chiberia (as Chicago is known during the winter months). I arrived in the great state of Colorado in June 2017 towing a utility trailer with my 1996 Jeep ZJ, and have since settled in Lakewood. I'm in the construction industry and landed a great job in Arvada. I have a love for all things outdoors and I am an avid fisherman, mountain biker, road biker, and have an obsession with modifying my Jeep(s) and off-roading.
I've owned my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ 4.0 since 2010 when I purchased it with 99K miles. It currently sits at 196K miles and mechanically it is as strong and reliable as it has ever been, but is plagued with cancerous rust from the heavy applications of road salt on the city of Chicago streets.
My solution: Purchase an identical 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ 4.0 but with no rust! I found one for $500 on CL that is even the same color, but with a slipping transmission.
I'm still daily driving my original Jeep with its fist sized rust holes in the torque boxes, while I build the doppelganger ZJ in my garage.
Right now, it sits with the interior stripped out, engine bay torn down and I have a ford 8.8 rear axle, that I pulled last weekend from the Aurora LKQ, ready to have a truss and brackets welded on. For the slipping transmission I installed a master solenoid service kit (all new sensors and electronics) along with a trans-go shift kit. Only time will tell if it helped, since the jeep is inoperable at the moment.
I have big plans for this build and I am hoping to keep it for many years to come, so I am trying to think long term. No quick fixes or cheap replacement parts. It is hard to not rush and just "get it done" without taking the time to research and think through each repair/upgrade with long term reliability and dependability in mind.
I will keep you guys posted on updates, and I'm sure I will be picking your brains for ideas on the build, and eventually trails to conquer!