When I was 19 I went to a great event in Washington New Hampshire called Spring Fling. This was an event held on private land that had some great trails and every kind of rig there from full on buggies with portal axles to little Suzuki Samurai’s on 33 inch tires. At that time I was just a spectator and would hop in a rig with anyone I could to join in the action. One rig that year really caught my eye, it was a ZJ Grand Cherokee on Clayton off road suspension, one ton axles and some worn out military 37 inch MTRs. I was fortunate enough get a ride with Scott and I was hooked. The one ton Grand Cherokee was added to the bucket list.
Fast forward 12 years and I had the opportunity to trade out my FJ cruiser for some cash and a sweet one ton WJ. The minute I saw this vehicle I fell in love. It is low, wide and classy black.
It’s a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. The interior is in beautiful, black leather seats keep you comfortable while the wood grain keeps it sophisticated. The V8 with auto transmission puts out plenty of power pulling hard on the through the mountains and the NP231 out of a TJ fits in place, offering 2hi,4hi,4low,2low. The addition of 2 low is welcome and helps a lot when facing downhill with the front locker.
The front axle is a Dana 60 out of a Chevy Truck that has been re geared to 5.38 and locked with a Grizzly locker and red neck ram hydro assist steering. Out back the 14 bolt was given the same treatment and upgraded to disc brakes. The 4 wheel disc brakes can lock up the 37 inch Maxxis Trepadors without hesitation.
Connecting these big axles to the Grand is a Radius arm front suspension with Clayton Off Road 6 inch springs, Bilstien 5100 shocks, Prothane coil inserts and some limiting straps. Out back a 4 link holds the 14 bolt in place and provides ample flex with 10 inch travel pro comp shocks. A set of Raceline bead lock wheels let you run single digit air pressure in the 37 inch Maxxis tires.
The one ton Grand Cherokee has been everything I dreamed it to be and more. For a vehicle built for off road it cruises on the highway at 85 mph no problem. Off road it flexes and has traction to get over just about everything you would tackle in a full bodied rig.
I have been extremely happy with this rig and don’t think you could have a better balance of on road handling and off road strength and agility. This is one rig that has truly lived up to expectations.