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Old April 30th, 2019, 11:35 AM   #1
Devils15
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So hi I'm new here just signed up today. Bought a jeep been fixing it so its reliable no lift or big tires yet. Wanted to do a little offroading to get a feel for everything learn the etiquette and such.

I live in northern illinois, I have heard of the badlands and cliffs. But someone just told me about river road rally park. It's like 20 min. From my house the website says its stock vehicle friendly.

Anyone have any advice for someone just starting out? Heard of this river road place?

My kids are finally old enough to not cost me an arm and a leg, right now its just my leg so I'd like to start taking my jeep out using it and modifying it t get into this.

Thanks for any advice and hope this is an appropriate thread to put this in.

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Old April 30th, 2019, 11:45 AM   #2
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@Sandals I think that is in your area?
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Old April 30th, 2019, 11:57 AM   #3
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Badlands its a lot of fun, wide variety of terrain. Not the biggest piece of property but enough to keep you busy for a weekend. Cliffs is fun but its MUDDY. Never heard of River Road Rally Park. From there website looks like a lot of man made obstacles and mud pits.
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Old April 30th, 2019, 12:21 PM   #4
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Well I should probably mention my pile so everyone knows what I'm working with. I have a 2001 jeep Cherokee basically stock, I did put 235 75 15 tires on it, and swapped out the dana 35 for a 8.25 with a factory limited slip.

I picked it up about a year ago and have just been fixing the p.o. previous repairs. It's going pretty reliable now it was a Florida car originally so rust is kinda to a minimum for a jeep. Want to take it out and kinda see what it will do.

Eventual plans are pretty tame swap out the lp dana 30 for a high pinion. Lift 3 to 4.5" 31 or 32 inch tires. It's also my daily so nothing to crazy. Just want to get out and get it a little dirty. I have never been to any of the parks so don't know what to expect. Especially with a stock at this point rig. How are the badlands or cliffs on a stock setup?

Also any etiquette kinda pointers anyone can throw out there when I do finally go so I dont make an ass of myself, rules of the offroad kinda advice?

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Old April 30th, 2019, 02:43 PM   #5
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Before getting stuck have a plan on how to get unstuck i.e. good tow points all 4 corners, straps, Spend time watching other rigs with similar mods to gauge obstacles.



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Old April 30th, 2019, 02:48 PM   #6
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Cherokee (XJ) is a great platform to start from, very capable and lots of aftermarket support. 3" lift and 31's is relatively cheap to do and will make it perform a little better. I'd probably hold off on the D30 swap, HP is stronger but isnt going to be worth it in my opinion.

Badlands there's fun to be had in stock form. Cliffs I'd say stay away from just because its so muddy and there's a good chance of getting body damage. That park near you might be a great place to start. They may put on events throughout the year and that would be a good way to get your feet wet...plenty of people to help you out and show you the ropes.

Etiquette/pointers....Make sure you have tow points front and rear for when you get stuck. Most stock XJ's dont have good factory tow points. Most, if not all, the off road parks require you to run a flag. So best ahead of time figure out a good way to mount one. Take it slow, dont go for the biggest obstacles right away, get some experience on the easier ones. The offroad community is a really great bunch of people so as long as your are nice and courteous out on the trail you'll find plenty of people to help you out.
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Old April 30th, 2019, 03:56 PM   #7
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Went to River Road Rally Park a few years ago as part of Jeep poker run type deal put on by a local radio station (95 WILL Rock) and it's definitely more geared to stock vehicles.

If you're going to do any wheeling for the first time, I also suggest having a friend tag along with a 2nd vehicle.

Also, in addition to the lift and larger tires, a cheap lunchbox type locker (Aussie, Spartan, Lock-Right, etc) in the front or rear axle will make your rig more capable, even with smaller tires.
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Old April 30th, 2019, 05:55 PM   #8
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Never wheel alone. Ever.

I’d look for a local club.
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Old May 1st, 2019, 07:22 AM   #9
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Well watched a youtube video saw a Subaru doing the river road place lol. So next time I have a chance I'm gonna take the jeep out there just to mess around. Gonna have to wait till it hasnt been raining for a week. Dont mind if it gets muddy but everything around me is soup right now so I'm not doing that.

And thank you for the replies. My xj does have a factory hitch but not the factory toe hooks. Bumpers are part of th eventual plan also but not today. Gonna stop by a bone yard and see if I can snag a set of factory toe hooks when I get a chance cause something's better then nothing.

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Old May 1st, 2019, 07:22 AM   #10
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Anyone know of club out in mchenry county area?

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Old May 1st, 2019, 01:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devils15 View Post
Dont mind if it gets muddy but everything around me is soup right now so I'm not doing that.
Mud is fun for a bit.....until it starts destroying everything with a bearing, or your alternator.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Devils15 View Post
And thank you for the replies. My xj does have a factory hitch but not the factory toe hooks. Bumpers are part of th eventual plan also but not today. Gonna stop by a bone yard and see if I can snag a set of factory toe hooks when I get a chance cause something's better then nothing.
Factory tow hooks are a good start Factory hitch works great for a rear tow point. Just add one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/d/Cell-Phone-...ers/B001CF1A7O
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Old May 1st, 2019, 09:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devils15 View Post
Well I should probably mention my pile so everyone knows what I'm working with. I have a 2001 jeep Cherokee basically stock, I did put 235 75 15 tires on it, and swapped out the dana 35 for a 8.25 with a factory limited slip.

I picked it up about a year ago and have just been fixing the p.o. previous repairs. It's going pretty reliable now it was a Florida car originally so rust is kinda to a minimum for a jeep. Want to take it out and kinda see what it will do.

Eventual plans are pretty tame swap out the lp dana 30 for a high pinion. Lift 3 to 4.5" 31 or 32 inch tires. It's also my daily so nothing to crazy. Just want to get out and get it a little dirty. I have never been to any of the parks so don't know what to expect. Especially with a stock at this point rig. How are the badlands or cliffs on a stock setup?

Also any etiquette kinda pointers anyone can throw out there when I do finally go so I dont make an ass of myself, rules of the offroad kinda advice?

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Welcome to the forum!

If I were to build another xj, I would go in this order.

1. tow points
2. unirail stiffeners
3. traction aids
4. 3" lift and 31-32"s (preferably with 3.73 or 4.10)

Can reference my Herman build. I did a lot, aside from hardcore rocks. Never really let me down, small enough to have to be tactful in picking lines, graceful enough to navigate the trails, strong enough to be enjoyable. My only regret throughout the build was the stock gearing and order of upgrades.

Check out Iron Rock Offroad and JCR for xj parts.

https://www.greatlakes4x4.com/showthread.php?t=257100
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Old May 10th, 2019, 08:14 PM   #13
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Where are you at? I live in Antioch.

River Road is ok, it's close and it's better than nothing.

I've heard of some people have some private places they wheel at, but haven't ever had a chance to pursue any further.
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Old May 11th, 2019, 11:04 AM   #14
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Crystal lake, river road is about 20 min. From me. Gonna go just to get out and do it. Gonna be tough next free day I have range or river road? Decisions decisions lol.

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