Back in May, I sold my 1995 Jeep Cherokee—a $600 rustbucket that just three years prior had heroically stuck it to $50,000 rigs on the trails of Moab, Utah—for $500 to a young man with an ailing XJ. That young man stopped by last week to show me the machine that Project Swiss Cheese’s organs saved, and I must say, it is beautiful.
Its a lot easier knowing that a vehicle I used to wrench on and pilot daily is headed for the scrap-heap now that I’ve had a look at this gorgeous light blue two-door 1995 Jeep Cherokee. It belongs to Tevin, the young Michigander to whom I sold my rapidly-disintegrating Jeep Cherokee, and it’s alive because my old Jeep donated its heart.
This Henry VIII Jeep Cherokee (Get it, “Tudor” sounds like “two door”? I’ll see myself out) is actually in really nice shape. It has a few dings here and there, and the front bumper could use some straightening and some end caps, but there appears to be very little rust, which is remarkable for a Michigan vehicle.
Tevin swapped Project Swiss Cheese’s engine into this Jeep, and, I’m thrilled to say, he also decided to use my old XJ’s suspension. The rest of Swiss Cheese is now in the process of being turned into a cheddar cube to be served as an hors d’oeuvre to some furnace that will melt it all down.
But I’m okay with that. The two main parts of my XJ that I thought were worth saving were the engine and the suspension lift, the latter of which I had cobbled together with Junkyard and Craigslist parts for $120. The engine ran beautifully and made great compression, and the suspension offered tons of articulation and solid ride quality; I’m thrilled Tevin saved those.
I do wish he’d swapped the head gasket and had the head checked like I’d suggested, as I know for sure there’s a slight coolant leak into the oil, but there’s still time for that. I also wish the transmission and axles from Swiss Cheese could have been saved, as those were in excellent shape as well, but in any case, the important thing is that Tevin’s vehicle is now back on the road. I even got to have a ride in it.
Driving down the block near my house, I noticed that the machine’s still got some issues with the front end—something up there feels quite loose, so Tevin will have to figure that out. But overall, the Jeep seems great; the old four-liter runs strong, and the two-door XJ rides quite nicely. Most importantly, Tevin and his brother Terrin—who, incidentally, also owns a Cherokee—seem happy, and I can’t say that I ever expected a vehicle as terrible as Project Swiss Cheese was at the end of its life to yield anything other than misery. So it’s a fine ending for my very first Moab project.