The lucky winner of the custom built 2001 XJ was selected May 6, 2023 at Wheelers for the Wounded – Texas’s Main Event at Wolf Caves in Mason, TX. The raffle raised over $20,000 to support services for wounded veterans and their families.
The XJ as it arrived on March 7 at AJE’s top secret fab facility located deep in the woods and how she looked less than two months later ready to head to the raffle.
In 2023, Austin Jeep Exclusive had a unique opportunity to harness our club’s resources, along with the skills and time of our members to work on a special project to raise significant funds for one of our annual causes – Wheelers for the Wounded – Texas. It all began when a gentleman reached out to AJE’s “Contact Us” link on our website with this message – “I have a 2001 Jeep Cherokee that needs some TLC. It’s not for sale but I am considering donating it to a group that could do something CHARITABLE with it and make the world a better place. Does this sound like your group?”
We started a dialogue and one thing led to another. Soon, both of our club sponsors (Baldy’s Off-Road Specialty Shop and Reid’s Triple T) were on board to assist, with Baldy’s arranging transport of the XJ from Arlington to their shop in Cedar Park for a full inspection and Reid’s assisting with titling and handling sponsorship of the raffle to raise funds for Wheelers for the Wounded – Texas.
Club members immediately began working on a laundry list of maintenance and repair items identified both by the previous owner and the Baldy’s inspection. For a vehicle over 20 years old, our little XJ was in remarkably good shape, but did need some TLC. The previous owner had provided us with some maintenance supplies and the AJE board voted to use club funds to purchase everything else required to get all systems on the XJ into good working condition.
Club members also started reaching out to vendors seeking donations of upgrade parts. Since Wheelers for the Wounded – Texas is deeply rooted in the off-road community, AJE didn’t want to simply provide a “cleaned up” stock XJ for their raffle. We wanted to build a vehicle that the lucky winner would not only be proud to drive on the street, but that would also be fun to drive and more than capable in off-road situations.
Below is a list of all the upgrade parts and services that were generously donated to this project by many vendors (please thank them with your patronage!) and another list of all the work performed by AJE club members donating their skills and time. Over the course of the build, AJE club members donated hundreds of hours of their time, AJE spent almost $2,000 of club funds on repair and maintenance parts and supplies, and vendors donated over $10,000 in parts and services.
Upgrade Parts & Services Donated by Generous Vendors
Rough Country donated their Front Winch Bumper & 9500-lb Pro Series Winch with Synthetic Rope.
Napier Precision Products donated their V2 Flares 97-01, 4 Door – Jeep Cherokee XJ installed on the front.
Warrior Products donated their Jeep Cherokee XJ Rear Rock Crawler Bumper w/ D-Ring Mounts.
Borla Exhaust donated their 2001 Jeep Cherokee Cat-Back Exhaust System Touring.
Mickey Thompson donated their Baja Boss M/T 33×12.50R15LT Tires.
4 Wheel Parts donated Pro Comp’s 51 Series Rock Crawler, 15×8 Wheels with 5 on 4.5 Bolt Pattern – Flat Black, including Center Caps and Gorilla Lug Nuts.
Rusty’s Off Road Products donated their XJ Cherokee 4.5″ Spring Pack Kit.
RuffStuff Specialties donated their XJ Y Link 1 Ton Steering Kit.
JKS Manufacturing donated their Quicker Disconnect Sway Bar Links for Cherokee XJ with 4-6″ Lift.
Jiffy Lube donated $300 in Gift Cards that will go to the lucky winner.
Discount Tire donated Mounting & Balancing of the five new tires and wheels, along with Lifetime Balancing & Rotation.
Warn Industries donated their Medium-Duty Epic Recovery Kit.
Waterloo Wraps donated 100% of the Labor for a Custom Wrap.
RockJock 4×4 donated their ELITE ANALOG DEFLATOR which features a precision 0-30 p.s.i. stainless steel liquid filled gauge accurate to 0.5 p.s.i., a rubber protective cover, a swiveled ended hose, long deflator fitting to allow use with beadlocks, a quick adaptor for simple tire pressure checking, and a high quality zipper case. They also donated their DIGITAL EZ-TIRE DEFLATOR PRO which features an illuminated digital gauge, extended tip for easy use on beadlock wheels, a light on the back so you can find your valve stems in the dark, and a hard plastic storage case.
Revolution Gear & Axle donated their JEEP XJ 1996-01 4.56 GEAR PACKAGE (C8.25-D30 SHORT PINION) WITH TIMKEN BEARINGS. This kit includes: front and rear ring and pinion gear sets, with top quality Timken bearings and master install kits containing: pinion seal, pinion shims, carrier shims, pinion nut, gasket or sealant, preload shims or crush sleeve, ring gear bolts, gear marking compound, & loctite.
Baldy’s Off-Road Specialty Shop donated a FULL VEHICLE INSPECTION to identify all needed maintenance and repair items, INSTALL LABOR on new steering knuckles and new differential gears, PARTS & INSTALL LABOR on a new alternator, ball joints, and O2 sensors, an ALIGNMENT to ensure proper steering after all the upgrades, a TIRE ROTATION CERTIFICATE, and a 12 MONTH / 12,000 MILE WARRANTY covering any defects in material and workmanship for all repairs and upgrades made to the vehicle by Baldy’s and Austin Jeep Exclusive.
Maintenance / Repairs / Enhancements by AJE Members
Below is the list of maintenance and repairs performed by AJE members using parts and supplies provided by the previous owner or purchased using club funds.
- Replaced Oil Pan, Oil Pan Gasket, Rear Main Seal, Oil Filter, & Engine Oil
- Replaced Transmission Pan Gasket, Transmission Filter, & Transmission Fluid
- Replaced Power Steering Pump, Pulley, High Pressure Line, & Power Steering Fluid
- Replaced Starter
- Replaced Serpentine Belt
- Replaced Lift Gate Bumper Stops
- Replaced Driver Front Door Check & Pins
- Replaced Passenger Rear Grab Handle
- Repaired Transmission Line Leak
- Repaired Power Steering Low Pressure Line Leak
- Installed Missing Rear View Mirror
- Removed Side Molding & Adhesive
- Repaired Front Differential Breather Hose
- Replaced AC Compressor, Dryer, Refrigerant, Seals, & Valves
- Replaced Leaf Spring Shackles
- Replaced Vacuum Hose Elbow
- Replaced Front Sway Bar Bushings
- Relocated OEM Fog Lights to New Bumper
- Repaired Transmission & Transfer Case Position Indicators
- Replaced Front & Rear Wiper Blades
- Removed Donut Spare, Cover, & Bracket
- Installed Flip-Up Front License Plate Holder On Hawse Fairlead
- Reupholstered Driver’s Seat
- Replaced Center Console Latch & Mounting Bracket
- Replaced Front Bump Stops
- Replaced Passenger Side Front Axle Brackets
- Reupholstered Headliner & Visors
- Repaired Lift Gate Wiring Harness
- Replaced Rear Sway Bar Links & Bushings
- Installed Rocker Guards
- Removed Factory Badging & Pinstriping
- Repaired Driver Front Door Wiring Harness
- Replaced Rear Bump Stops
- Installed Missing Lift Gate Latch Bolt
- Replaced Upper Control Arm Bushings
- Flushed & Replaced Brake Fluid
- Drained & Replaced Wiper Fluid
- Greased All Zerk Fittings
- Replaced Front Door Speakers
- Painted Roof & Rocker Panels
- Replaced Under Hood Lamp
- Replaced Front & Rear Windshield Washer Pumps
- Performed Interior & Exterior Detail