Jeep Cherokee XJ Bumper, Winch & Battery Tray – Project XJ Overland Ep. 8

On this episode, we slap on a new bumper, install a winch, fix our free-range battery problem, a few other odds and ends. And show you something very interesting we uncovered when pulling the bumper off.

Smittybilt XRC Bumper:
Smittybilt XRC Winch:
JCR Battery Tray:

TrailRecon Amazon Shop:

Project XJ Overland does not even look like the same rig anymore and my boys and I have slowly been crossing things off our list and the XJ is really starting to transform.
Stick around till the end of the video and I’ll bring you up to speed on our budget and I’m going to ask for your help with something.

So a broken headlight, missing battery box, no passenger side front fender liner and a solid painted grill… should have been clues enough, but it wasn’t until we pulled the bumper that I added it all together….. project XJ overland was in some sort of crash that damaged the R front side. Not a big deal, but would have been nice to know.

On the last video, I asked you opinion about the grill… should be black it out or leave it painted. And there were some great comments and it was pretty close to 50/50 split. So, my boys and I have decided to leave it painted, but we are going to black out the inner grill fins… we think that’s going to give it a great look with the new bumper.

I need your help… the exhaust is garbage and needs to be replace. It’s hanging down low and has a couple leaks…. If you are and XJ owner and have an after market exhaust, let me know what you are using and how you like it. We aren’t looking for a super load exhaust, but some thing will a little growl, is okay. So please let me know in the comments.



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  1. Hi I came across this video I inherited a 95 Cherokee long ago but let it sit. It was recently stolen, but recovered which is making me want to build it up. Your videos are great reference and I like how you go piece by piece with the build. So thank you and a new subscriber here ?

  2. I am running a walker quiet flow cat, muffler and tail pipe. I stuck with stock diameter. It is inexpensive and it is quiet like stock until you get on the throttle and it purs. Pros are it is quiet so I am not scareing wildlife and I can hear if something is wrong with the jeep like a u joint or sticky brake until I open it up. the cons are that it doesn't come with a coating. I did not paint it so after a year it is showing signs of rust. put on a coat of protective exhaust paint and she will be gold.

  3. Rear Bumper : $ 614.00 Free S/H Best price I could find. 3 months of looking.

    The only thing made to fit 1984-2001 Jeep Cherokee XJs. Now the Finder Skins
    (see parts list) will have to be cut to fit proper on some models. This is not in the instructions. Also you will have one hell of a time installing, if you have a gas tank skid plate. Save all the original hardware (nuts bolts and screws) You are going to need some of them.

    Front Bumper:
    Not a direct fit, as most upgrades. Fenders will need cut. And go to "Tractor Supply" for missing hardware. This is a Very Nice and well made bumper.
    Suggest using an engine hoist and a couple of straps (tie down, tow straps) what ever. Help suspending in removal and installation of bumpers.

  4. Check local junk yards for factory parts. Battery box and bracket $10
    Now put thin rubber mat in bottom of battery box. Note: cabinet draw liner, Walmart, comes in a roll. Also baking soda in battery box for acid over flow. Protects the metals.

  5. I installed the smittybuilt bumper on my jeep xj. My front end is sagging. How can i fix this ? I have 3 inch rough country lift.

  6. Excellent video. I'm "building" an '89 XJ and just picked up my smittybilt bumper. Alarmed at the weight, but I think I'll go ahead and mount it. Thanks for the great how-to and the really good video. To the point, no repetitions.

  7. BTW, on the exhaust. I plan to replace my worn out system too,but haven't decided what to use yet. I will say that I believe in keeping the outdoors clean and quiet. At least as quiet as possible. I love the sound of glass paks and all the mufflers that we run on our hot rods. I have two street rods that sound bitchin' but for the overlanding I want to be as quiet as possible. If you want a killer muffler, though, with excellent sound (not quiet) I recommend the Porter. It is a muffler from the '50's and was run an many street rods. The new model is stainless (even polished if you want. me NO) with stainless steel packing. It will never burn out or change tone. Just google Porter mufflers and you should find them. I think cost is around $80, yeah, not cheap, but will last longer than the vehicle and you can put it on the next one!

  8. I have a 2001 xj and i have a flowmaster super 10. I have the stock cat then the flowmaster then it dumps out right under my car with no tail pipe. Its extremely loud and vibrates my whole car and cars next to it. I've set 3 car alarms off by driving next to them. I like it but not great for a daily.

  9. lm curious as to what lockers you are thinking of putting in ? I have been trying to decide on Grizzly mechanical or spending the big bucks on arbs. By the way I retired from Toledo Jeep Assembly and spent around 12 years on the XJ line in trim before going over to the Wrangler line .

  10. I know I'm late on this but I use Banks exhaust on my 03 TJ 4.0 Automatic. It has a nice tone… Not loud , just a mellow tone. I also have the same winch as you.

  11. I went with the tuff stuff 4×4 bumper for the xj direct bolt on no drilling and you dont even mess with the power steering…. has a place for a winch, and 2 fog lights check it out when you get a chance….. thanks for the great videos….

  12. i have a jeep xj 1993 2 door and i love my flowmaster 50s it is really deep sound and it is not to load when you are driving around but if you step on it…it is really nice and load

  13. 91 xj here running the stock exhaust manifold…got rid of the cat converter and muffler…straight pipe right out the back…has a bit of a rumble but still quiet enough to have a convo while driving

  14. I noticed the color shade difference on the passenger side when I watched the last episode. Could tell it had been hit and fixed. .

  15. Hi i enjoy your videos a lot great content! I am trying to make my own bumper but I was wondering what the dimensions were for the area where the winch sits? How many inches should I leave from the start of my bumper to my fairlead? If you could help me with this I would apreaciate it thank you!!!

  16. I'm installing this bumper on my 91 XJ right now. Thanks for the video! It really helped the process. I'm having a little trouble with the inner bracket piece that slides into the frame on the passenger side. Any advice?

  17. Hi Brad, I love your Cherokee more than anything, the colour, the tyres, loving it the way it's coming. Excited to see the way it coming.

  18. I have a 98 XJ very similar to the one you bought. I really like what you're doing with the kids & the XJ, I have three boys of my own. After watching your Project XJ Overland series I ordered these same bumpers, front and back, for my XJ. I bought them from Northridge 4X4 as you suggested and the TrailRecon coupon got me a great discount. So thank you for what you're doing, thank you for the coupon and mostly….. Thank you for your service Brad, it is very appreciated.

  19. Can someone tell me what the offset or backspace is on the wheels that they have mounted on this overland project XJ. I want my wheels to sit flush with the fender flares I will add to my 01 XJ

  20. My son & I just installed the same winch on the same bumper as you did. My question is my winch came with the steel cable. You show tensioning a synthetic cable. Did that cable come with the winch or did you buy that separate? Also, I put on the same Smittybilt rear bumper as you. We are required to show our license plate so I found and bought a Smittybilt rear plate bracket. I am pretty much following your build as a guide and am VERY happy so far. Keep building!

  21. I used a cat converter from a Wrangler TJ because it was more lower profile than the 2001 XJ's bulky cat converter. I then ordered a custom made stainless steel cat-back 2.5" performance exhaust from 4WD Hardware, which is custom made by Heartthrob Performance. The pipe is T-304 stainless steel, and the muffler is T-409 stainless steel. The whole kit is a bit pricey, but I want it to last like the one I installed on my 1989 Cherokee 15 years ago.

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