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Old 02-06-2012, 11:34 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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'81 Cherokee Laredo Build - New Pics

I've been wanting to start a build thread for my Cherokee for some time now, just haven't had any free time until now.

So the story behind it:
After having a near-death experience with my first car, a 1985 Porsche 944, i decided that it wasn't the right car for a teenage guy, and started looking for a Jeep. I found this one on craigslist and just had to have it. A 1981 Cherokee Laredo W/T for $800. It was being sold by one of those children's charities that you see the billboards for "Donate you Car". It had a 258/T176/NP208, and it didn't run. My dad and i bought it, towed it home and got to work. Didn't take much to get it running, just a carb rebuild, had to put a couple push rods back in place, and drain the 16 year old gas (did i mention it sat for 16 years without being started?). I had the biggest smile on my face after getting it going. Here it is the night i brought it home. Sorry about the nighttime pics, they're not the best.


PA100298 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100300 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100299 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100297 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100296 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100295 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100294 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

PA100293 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr
There's the stock AM/FM/CB radio i proceeded to take out then hack the dashboard for a modern stereo. I'm starting to regret that choice now. I've done A LOT of work on it since then. And i've had a blast doing it.
Here are some pics of how it sits now.

PB030208 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

IMG00098-20120204-1737 by bruner1981jpce, on Flickr

Since purchasing, just to name a few more major things i've done, I put on some 1" front shackles, 2 1/2" rear blocks, factory brush guard, relocated my Marchal fog lights (now with 100W bulbs, man those things really light up my street at night!) on to the brush guard, and put on a valley industries tire carrier; just to name a very few things i've done. The original $2700 that i got from the sale of the Porsche is long gone, and i'm sure i have invested well over $5000 into it total, including the purchase price. I was keeping track for a while, but didn't really keep up, and now i'm a little scared to see the actual numbers. Either way, i think this old cherokee is worth it.

This is by no means a professional resto/mod, this is being done on (currently) an unemployed high school senior's budget with awesome parents who are paying for necessary repairs, gas, insurance and registration. I'm very grateful for them . I'm doing this so i can look back and see all the work i've done, share my ideas, pick up some new ones, and hopefully give some ideas to others. I love this forum, you guys rock! I'm constantly coming up with new ideas after seeing all your work, now where did all my money go ? Thanks for looking and I'll keep you all posted!
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12

Last edited by bruner1981jpce : 03-10-2012 at 02:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2012, 02:49 AM
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Diesel YJ Diesel YJ is offline
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Looks great, I love the Cherokee's, keep up the good work.
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:24 AM
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mud89 mud89 is offline
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I like the Laredo seats
It was the top of the Cherokee line in the 80s
Not very surprised that you succeed in getting it running, the 258 is a tough engine
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Last edited by mud89 : 02-07-2012 at 03:27 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2012, 09:20 AM
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Strode Strode is offline
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Sweet rig, I like it. Especially for $800. I'm surprised they ordered a 258/T176 in a Laredo.
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My build thread: 1982 Cherokee Laredo

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  #5  
Old 02-07-2012, 10:23 AM
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77_chief 77_chief is offline
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Great looking rig! Wish I could find some stock seat in that condition. I also know what the hole in my dash towards the passenger side is thanks to your pic above CB mic.
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2012, 01:30 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mud89
I like the Laredo seats
It was the top of the Cherokee line in the 80s
Not very surprised that you succeed in getting it running, the 258 is a tough engine
It may be a tough engine, but it definitely doesn't have the kind of power I want... Yet.

One thing I forgot about earlier was the conversation I had with the PO earlier this year. I didn't buy it from him, so I didn't get to learn all of this at the time of purchase. So the PO is a photographer, and he bought this cherokee new in 1981. He drove it all across the western US, and parts of canada and alaska. In 1983, he got a special pass from the government to take pictures at Mt. Saint Helens, so he drove the Jeep to the volcano, and drove it up the side! I was pretty excited to find that out.

All this and its got less than 140K original miles. I love this jeep. The interior is pretty sick. The whole 70's design is so cool.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:00 PM
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Looks like tons of fun!
Any idea from the PO why did it sit for 16 years? Seems like it is in pretty good shape.
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  #8  
Old 02-07-2012, 05:54 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blake5179
Looks like tons of fun!
Any idea from the PO why did it sit for 16 years? Seems like it is in pretty good shape.
It is in pretty good shape, aside from the slight front end damage from, I believe, an accident. he let it sit because he injured his right arm and was unable to shift, and just let the jeep sit.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2012, 09:12 PM
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Thumbs up

nice
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  #10  
Old 02-08-2012, 12:57 PM
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3rdelement 3rdelement is offline
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nice score!
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build thread: click HERE
1985 Jeep Grand Wagoneer {woodless}-Edelbrock 1406 carb, Edelbrock Sp2p Intake, Hella ecode headlights, bixenon HID 5000k headlights, mb quart 6.5" component speakers f&r, alpine cde-100 deck, final edition grill, Hella 550 fog lights, 1991 window regulators, cs144, aluminum coolant&washer tanks
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2012, 07:04 PM
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dadley dadley is offline
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radio

would you sell the radio/cb combo?
if so E-mail dadleys@gmail.com---Thanks
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77 J-20/401/auto/AC (4 SALE) Sold 12/1/11
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78 j-10 HONCHO"SOLD"
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82 J-10 SPORTSIDE/"SOLD"
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2012, 07:16 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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AM/FM/CB is already out and sold, sorry. hacked up my dashboard to put in a modern stereo. Really regretting that now.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2012, 12:25 AM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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Bit of an update for you guys. About a month and a half ago, I developed a leak from the check valve grommets on the tank (what a PITA job that was). Now, after dropping and reinstalling the tank 4 times, countless hours of work, and not TOO much money, here's what i've gotten done recently.

New check valve grommets on the tank and sealed with gasoline proof sealant
New sending unit o-ring
Fuel level sender replaced in August
New fuel pick up sock in August
New pick-up and return lines on the tank
New fuel tank vent lines
New fuel filler lines
New vapor lines at and around the charcoal canister
Rebuilt Carter BBD carb
New fuel pump
New fuel lines in engine compartment
New fuel filters

I think thats it. Done so much i can't remember it all. Just about got my fuel issues worked out completely. Its reliable and driveable again. All that's left to do is buy a new charcoal canister for a 1991 Cherokee, retrofit it and install it to replace my bad charcoal canister, then check the O2 sensor and make sure its still giving good readings, then undo computer bypass. Still have to buy the new canister, but the O2 sensor check and computer bypass reversal will be done tomorrow morning.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:22 AM
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81cherokee laredo 81cherokee laredo is offline
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Nice Cherokee, 81 was a good year. Good back story about the jeep as well.
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81 Cherokee Laredo- 360 727 NP219 SOA/SF 35 Coopers 4.56 Gears
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2012, 09:56 AM
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78J-10 78J-10 is offline
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Nice rig. But does an 81 really have a Computer and a o2 sensor??? I could be wrong.

I would hve killed for a 4spd in my 79 jtruck that 3 spd and the 258 didn't like each other at all lol
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  #16  
Old 02-11-2012, 12:56 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78J-10
Nice rig. But does an 81 really have a Computer and a o2 sensor??? I could be wrong.

I would hve killed for a 4spd in my 79 jtruck that 3 spd and the 258 didn't like each other at all lol
Yep, it really does. I can go take a couple pics and post back in a few minutes with them. I think my cherokee may have been made recently after AMC decided to go with the computer controlled carb and O2 sensor on the 258, or it hadn't been sold before they came out with the computer controls, and the dealer decided to upgrade it. That's my theory.

Yeah the 4 speed is pretty nice. I'd definitely take it over a 3 speed, but i keep finding myself wanting a 5 speed. There have actually been a few times when i'm on the freeway going about 65-70 with my engine turning about 2500 rpms, and i've actually gone to shift to 5th gear (my previous car was a 5 speed). So it looks like an NV4500 is coming soon in my future, once i get a job. I think that should get me some better freeway mileage.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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  #17  
Old 02-16-2012, 08:11 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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Well i've been chasing different problems back and forth to finally finish up all the work on the fuel system. I've replaced everything on the fuel system, aside from hard lines, the tank itself, the tank check valves, and carb (but it has been rebuilt). Today i put a gasket between the carb and intake (i was tired when i was working yesterday, don't judge), filled up, and ran in to some idle problems that i suspect come from routing the fuel tank vent lines right to the pcv valve. gotta replace the old charcoal canister and that should be the last of the fuel problems. Just need to order one online and i'll be set.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:25 PM
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jeepjerry jeepjerry is offline
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That is an awesome Cherokee you have!!! What a find! ...

I love the 258 and t-176 combo. Sure, it isnt fast, but it gets the job done! My dad had a 83 258 4-speed j-10 while i was growing up and he used that thing like it was a 3/4 ton. It towed lots of stuff. I would definately look into doing a 4.0 head swap and better cam. It wakes the 258 up nicely. If you find my wagoneer build thread, you can see how i built my 258 and mine pulls good.

I had that computer stuff in my 81 waggy as well. Out it went...
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:26 PM
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Jeeps looking good.I hear you on the gas tank.I've gotta do the same thing on my 90 along with changing out the extremely rotted stock one.I found one at a pull-a-part,did a little repair work to it ,and linexed it.It should last a long time.Not looking forward to this job.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:36 PM
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bruner1981jpce bruner1981jpce is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepjerry
That is an awesome Cherokee you have!!! What a find! ...

I love the 258 and t-176 combo. Sure, it isnt fast, but it gets the job done! My dad had a 83 258 4-speed j-10 while i was growing up and he used that thing like it was a 3/4 ton. It towed lots of stuff. I would definately look into doing a 4.0 head swap and better cam. It wakes the 258 up nicely. If you find my wagoneer build thread, you can see how i built my 258 and mine pulls good.

I had that computer stuff in my 81 waggy as well. Out it went...
Thanks! Yeah there is some engine work I would like to do once i get the money. I was actually talking with you about this not too long ago on your waggy build thread. I'm the one who has to deal with all the smog laws, so I'm pretty sure the 4.0 head is a no go, but now i want to go ask the smog referee. it'll get a better cam for sure. mine does ok towing as it is, it just doesn't like to tow on hills. last summer i used it to pull my scout master's 40's willys into our summer camp. pulling it on the freeway going up this one steep grade (sunol pass, for those of you CA guys) and i was in the far right lane, in 2nd gear, foot to the floor, doing 35 mph on the freeway. then for the hills into camp, i had to put the transfer case in 4lo (front axle disengaged of course) to make it in. top speed in 4 lo was about 25 mph, but that was the speed limit anyways, so not a problem.

Showngo - yeah, i now despise working on the gas tank. my best advice for you now, is replace everything around the tank while its down, if it could need to be replaced in the near future.
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Andy
'81 Cherokee Laredo W/T 258/Weber 32/36 DGEV/HEI/176/208 AMC 20/Dana 44 3.31 gears
Status: Work in progress Miles: Less than 140K (as of the talk with the original/previous owner) "The Jeffrey"

Build Thread: http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=151814 New pics: 5/18/12
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