Featured 4x4s

Mud Puppy – A Low Budget Cherokee

"Mud Puppy" is a 1991 Jeep Cherokee that I was able to buy cheap due to peeling paint, blown front axle bearings, and seized rear brakes.   The body and drivetrain, on the other hand, were excellent.  

I quickly snapped up a Dana44 heavy duty rear axle out of a Jeep Comanche truck at the local auto wrecker, and also picked up a low km front axle from a newer Cherokee.  The rear axle went in place using leaf packs created from mixing the Cherokee and Comanche springs, and the front suspension used spacers plus coil springs from a V8 grand Cherokee.  This gave four inches of lift and let me squeeze 32" tires under the fenders.

At first glance it looks like the 32" tires fit fine, but I  knew some major fender trimming would be needed. 

Here you can see the front fender trimming and the new front bumper. 

Out came the saws-all and grinding disks to remove three inches all around the front fenders.  In the back a pinch-weld seam inside the fender required careful cutting and hammering to bend the fender metal inwards and shape a new larger opening, which was then re-welded back to the inner fender.  A Pro-Comp front bumper was also added, which we modified to hold a Warn 8274 winch.  

I spent a lot of time tweaking the suspension to make sure I got maximum wheel travel while ensuring that the tires would not hit the fenders, and the only way to test properly is to flex it out and check everything over.  A flexible suspension like this can cause issues with coil springs unseating, brakes lines getting ripped, drive shafts pulling apart, and suspension arms binding, so time spent making sure everything is right prevents breakdowns later. 

Almost enough clearance.  The tire is just barely making contact with the fender. 

After adding every skidplate known to man I got down to final touches like changing to mud tires, adding TJ flares to keep it street legal, installing a heavy duty alternator to power the winch, and installing a CB radio.   


I sold this rig back around 2008.  If anyone has seen it lately let me know.