From the March, 2011 issue of Jp
By Verne Simons
Think back to a time before econo-box Jeeps with fully independent suspension. Editor Cappa's favorite pop song "Butterfly" by Crazy Town could be heard blasting from his Wilshire corner office. It was a time when Rubicon Wranglers were just a twinkle in the corner of some Jeep engineer's eye. And the top of the Jeep pig pile was held firmly by a V-8-powered, solid-axle sports car-esque Grand Cherokee with 235 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. If you were like we were, then you would agree that despite the $1.70-a-gallon gas prices of 2001, owning a 4.7L-powered Quadra-Trac II Grand seemed ideal. You could drive it to work, weekend-wheel it, tow your crawler with it, and smoke import tuners at stoplight drag races all day long. The only problem was that no one on the Jp staff could afford the $27,000 to $36,000 entry fee for a WJ in 2001. However, being associated with the magazine, we did occasionally get to drive them. Ten years later, these once-spendy luxo-utes are reaching reasonable used prices. In fact, you can pick up a '99-'04 V-8 4x4 Grand with relatively low mileage for under $8,000. Yay! While these Jeeps are quite capable off-road in stock trim, the off-road aftermarket has not ignored them and there are a few simple mods that you, the WJ owner, can make to tune up your 10-year-old flagship Jeep. Follow along as we mildly lift our own '01 WJ and then add a few simple aftermarket parts to increase the WJ's looks, off-road capabilities, and reliability.
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