... well, rough for me. And of course, assuming I can even find a good foundation. The first and most important rule of re-engineering any vehicle? You can’t fix bad bones. Either your foundation is solid or you’re just wasting money. So here’s a buffer image of the best Jeep color.
To be fair, putting any pushrod V8 between 318 and 392 cubic inches in front of me is basically like letting a kid loose in the candy store with your Amex Centurion. But especially these. I know ‘em inside and out, and I know all the dirty tricks. This applies to both Grand Cherokee and Commander, though the Commander has additional electrical fixup required.
- Re-wrap steering wheel because leather is not supposed to flake off. I’m thinking deerskin because it’s mostly for cold weather driving. Half considering using an SRT8 wheel and airbag for the core, but that’s some big money.
- All the factory soundproofing, right in the bin, complete replacement. This was one of the biggest Dumber-Chrysler cost cutting moves from an NVH standpoint.
- Factory head unit, right into the bin. Probably use a Kenwood Excelon coupled to the factory Boston Acoustic amp. It’s not a bad amp.
- Rear cargo area floor panel is always shot, so that’ll have to be redone. Probably in wood. More weight is actually desirable for towing with these.
- Probably modify the ESCM housing so it can actually hold a cell phone. The cubby area only has the rear HVAC duct under it.
- Longer term, probably replace all the fake wood with real wood (I have a guy.) Either that or switch it for brushed aluminum. But I’m leaning toward wood.
- Dumber-Chrysler also cut corners with the leather, so all the upholstery? Gotta go long term. Front seat bolsters are also well known for just turning to flat shit. Probably go with a monotone leather, heavier weight, more grain, and embroidery in the head rest instead of shoulder area.
- Halogens suck and my night vision isn’t the greatest. Gotta get HIDs, but none of that halo shit. Halos are for losers. I may add LED DRLs.
- Possibly retrofit the taillights to LEDs. It’s a scientific fact that LEDs illuminate faster than incandescent bulbs, which translates directly to increased safety.
- Almost definitely retrofit the EU spec rear bumper with integral red fog lights long term, but that’s a lot of paint work.
- Factory fog light housings can stay. Crappy bulbs gotta go. White also has to go. Probably go true amber lens.
- If I get a 2006+ it’s getting a heavily modified SRT8 bumper. I need the airflow.
Suspension and Brakes:
- Depends on condition, but probably very little. Swap in some heavy duty parts where appropriate for the suspension and steering.
- SRT8 brakes, possibly. Need to do more research here.
- 18" Enkei Blackhawk wheels in silver, probably. Not going over 18" for ride quality reasons.
- Aluminum deep pan; it’s not an optional upgrade for towing.
- Developing a towing upgrade package for the 545RFE as I write this. This is one of like, three automatics I am at all comfortable with though.
- Transgo SK-45RFE shift kit probably, since the big problems are the neutral gap, TCC slide bank, and drainback. Those kill 545RFE’s towing.
- New Sonnax valve body and solenoid parts, probably an OD clutch kit
- B-W heavy duty friction throughout
- Did you know ‘ported’ throttle bodies for 5.7's cost more than Porsche 911 GT3 throttle bodies from the dealer? This is what we in the business call “a scam.” I’ll have my guy do it since I only need 1mm and polishing anyway.
- Chuck the stock airbox and resonator, use a double panel filter box in the resonator location, relocate IAT closer to the TB, double intake ducts located behind headlights; net reduction in noise for significant gain in power.
- Polished 6.1 Hemi intake, non-active style, will need to solve for heat rejection though
- +15% on the injectors, 2PSI more at the rail, new rails using Gen.IV core design, may go double-bridged
- Short tube headers and 200 cell honeycomb cats, depending on condition of stock “hey we can save a bunch of money here” garbage cats.
- Probably a Comp 112-500-11 cam with standard Beehives; going mild, not wild here. So no 8000RPM excursions.
- Likely relocate battery box to the extreme rear to make more room for the intake setup.
But, this is just a rough list. And definitely not all happening at once. And depends on finding a Jeep worth buying first.
I. Hate. Car. Shopping.