2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ Overland build
Check out my WJ Overland build. There were a lot of options to choose on the right vehicle to start with. The Jeep xj was my first choice but soon found that the prices of those are sky high. Couple of weeks on Offer-up and I found this 2004 Jeep WJ.
I went with the V8 and the NV247 Quadra-trac II. I searched and searched for a V8 that had the NV242 Select Trac however they are far and few of them out there. If you are looking at the WJ’s as an option for a overland vehicle check wjjeeps.com for information on the WJ’s. The lift kit I decided to go with was the 4 inch long arm Rough Country kit. The kit was super easy to install. I was able to install in my driveway in a weekend. I am not sure how long I will stay with this kit, but as a budget build this was the ideal kit. During the installation of the lift kit I added an axle truss to the front dana 30 axle.
Next I went on offer-up and found a set of 33 inch tires and rims from a newer Jeep. I ended up finding a set of 5 for only $300. At some point I would like to move up to 35 inch tires however for the price I paid for these I could not pass the offer up. Installed some bushwhacker fender flares to help with the bigger tires.
Roof Rack Tent and Roof Rack Fabrication
The roof rack tent I decided to go with was the Smittybilt Overland XL. Let me tell you, this tent is huge. The entire top of the Jeep is covered by this. Probably way more room then we needed but the extra room is nice. In addition to this tent I also purchased the Annex attachment. I really like this Annex, the floor is part of the Annex so when you close the door there are less likely for the critters to climb in. We use the Annex as our dressing room and a place to leave our shoes so when we climb up into the Smittybilt tent we do not bring to much dirt. So far both the Smittybilt Tent and the Annex attachment have been very durable. The only issue I have had is the velcro straps that hold the cover on while the tent is closed. However I contacted Smittybilt and they shipped out a brand new heavy duty set of velcro straps to replace the old ones.
To support the Smittybilt roof rack tent I decided to build my own roof rack. After lots of research I found the stock roof rack on the Jeep wj, was suggested to have a max weight limit of 200 lbs at the most. I am confident the factory racks will hold a lot more then 200 lbs however with the Smittybilt tent weight being 770 lbs, the weight of the vehicle moving and the wind I figure I would need something a bit more sturdy. I searched all over for a roof rack to purchase. The only ones I could find required me to attach the rack to the factory rails. So I determined the only way I was going to get what I wanted, would be to fabricate my own. I purchased some 1/8 thick flat iron and some 1 inch square tube. I pulled the factory rails off and cut the flat iron to the length of the roof. I drilled holes in the flat iron were the factory rails bolted on. Then I drilled 3 extra holes at a bigger size and installed rivet nuts. If you have not used or seen a rivet nut or a rivet nut tool these are super handy. I installed a rivet nut in the front, middle and the back. I used stainless steel bolts to prevent rust. I also put some sealer under the head of the bolts as I tightened them down. I cut and welded some square tube riser’s onto the flat iron. Then welded square tube the size of the roof of the jeep. Cleaned up the welds and sprayed with rustolium and some spray on rhino liner from autozone. So far I have put about 5000 miles on the roof rack in pretty high winds and this has held up very well.
Jeep WJ Galley
Next was to build a galley in the back of the jeep. I really did not know where to start with this. I looked online and all the prefabricated galley’s were super expensive and out of my budget. So I decided again to try and fabricate my own galley. I decided to go with wood as this was the cheapest option for my budget. Now I want to warn you I have no prior wood working experience, so do not judge. I am not going to go in depth in the steps and measurements to build this unless there are people interested. There was a lot of trial and error though and still found flaws. The biggest flaw I found out on my first camping trip. When the stove and the cutting board is pulled out, the food that I put on the cutting board would get in the way of pulling out the drawer. So I would have to move everything to get into the drawer. The cutting board I put on was a custom cut bamboo cutting board and screwed down with stainless steel screws.
I feel pretty good with the final product, especially what it cost me to fabricate myself. The heavy duty drawer sliders I used are VADANIA Heavy duty drawer sliders. The sliders have held up very well and very sturdy.
Thank you for checking my Jeep WJ build out. I will have more updates on the build soon.