Pulling Your XJ To The Next Adventure: The Pros and Cons When Towing Your XJ Behind An RV

On the return from another camping trip in southern Arizona, I had the chance to reflect on memories that camping did not used to include the luxuries of a Recreational Vehicle, or RV.  Far from the past’s canvas tent, roughing it in an RV is now complete with the creature comforts of a traditional home with the ability to bring along my XJ Cherokee.

Paired along with that XJ, an RV is your personal paradise at the location of your choice, with a side of adventure. Towing behind your RV will require the use of a Tow Dolly, Bumper Pull Trailer, or a Flat Tow option utilizing your Jeeps own four wheels.

Options and Things to Consider:

  • Tow Dolly
  • Bumper Pull Trailer
  • Flat Towing
  • Tire Tread Wear and Tear

The versatility of owning an XJ Cherokee surpasses the option of a small car or Off-Highway Vehicle like a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), or Dirt Bike; all of which that can be towed behind a RV. If you’re reading this article, you are already a fan of the XJ.

Pros of the Tow :

Having minimal weight behind your RV saves you in time and money. XJs can weigh around 3,200 pounds, depending upon your aftermarket budget of course, making it a lightweight option in comparison to other Jeep models.  Less weight behind you will help provide some efficiency in your RV’s gas tank. You’ll spend fewer dollars in the tank while also devoting more time out on the road than at the pump.

Some people are thinking why not just get a car.  Off-Highway use is my answer to that! The ability to have the option of jumping on and off the road. Never again will you have to blink an eye at a road sign requiring high clearance while still being able to cruise down Main Street. Your options for RV camping just got much wider!  The XJs size and weight gives you the option on how you want to tow your rig behind the RV.  It is absolutely perfect for this kind of adventure.

Options of Towing:

Being a compact SUV, the XJs are big enough to tow on their own four wheels. A Tow Bar Hitch can be purchased and installed to the front frame rails or to the bumper mount of your XJ and attached to tow hitch of your RV. A specific feature for the RV Mounted Tow Bar , is that the tow bar is installed directly into the hitch of the RV eliminating the need for a copular creating a stable connection between RV and XJ. When you’re ready to detach, simply discount the Jeep!

A Tow Dolly is basically a trailer for the front wheels, only. Going with this option would require your XJ to be driven up a small ramp until your front tires are between two outside tires. The dolly is then connected to the RV by a traditional copular-hitch system. Your back tires would stay connected on the highway as the front end is supported by the dolly and pulled by the XJ. Fair warning, a tow dolly is notoriously difficult to back up in.

Then you can always drive your precious XJ cargo onto a bumper pull, flatbed trailer. A dual axle, 16-foot trailer will take care of the weight easily and if for some fluke reason your XJ doesn’t run, you can tow it home. This does require you to store the trailer at your next camping destination and could get you over the legal length limit for the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Cons of the Tow:

No matter the selection of your XJ towing, there are some full-sized risks involved. Besides loading up onto a bumper pull trailer, other towing options will put your XJ at risk for drive train damage and unnecessary tread loss; two very costly mistakes.

Both the flat tow and dolly tow options will absolutely require you to disconnect the driveshafts.  Simply placing the transmission and transfer case into neutral will not guarantee drive train from malfunctioning. The internal gears will continue to spin under tow and depending upon your distance, this can accelerate the wear and tear of your components, or worst, explode your transfer cases.  Prior to towing in this fashion, you should make sure the transmission and transfer case is serviced.  Many people do, tow in this fashion because they have been told that the XJ is free from issue when towing flat.  This is a popular misconception.  You can combat this issue by disconnecting both front and rear driveshafts from the differentials and tie them up to the frame. The U-Joints that are now loose, simply tape or tie them up to keep them intact.  Please for the sake of your sanity, double check to make sure your hubs are not locked!

Another con for towing the XJ under these conditions is unnecessary tread wear of your tires. In a flat tow, the front tires will be subject to the most stress as the steering is constantly trying to fight the pull of the RV, especially since you will need to lock your steering wheel so that the tires are straight.

If your XJ is suited with tires rated for off-highway terrain, not for the street, you could be committing tire suicide over the constant road miles being towed behind the RV.   The hard road will be chewing away the tacky grip of your terrain or mud grip tires.  If you are considering going with a Tow Dolly, be advised that you will have trouble finding a dolly that fits over sized tires.

Summary:

Camping in an RV brings you adventure off the beaten path but being paired with a XJ Cherokee lets that path be a little longer and not so confined!  Convenience in on and off-road capabilities, an XJ Cherokee is the RV ultra-companion with being light in weight, and comes with many options to unhook and go!  So, remember to check your trailer connections folks and I will see you on the trail.

Andrea Kepler for www.RatedXJ.com

Suspension Kits That Are Rated XJ

Suspension Kits Worthy of Your XJ Cherokee

When it comes to getting off the paved road, you need a vehicle with capability.  Just like in hiking, you need the shoes that protect your feet and your body.  Those would be the tires on your XJ.  You need energy and the will to get off the trail and go for it.  In your XJ Cherokee, that would be the drive line and fuel.  You also need strength and stamina and flexibility.  This article takes us to the suspension.  The suspension on your XJ Cherokee is the strength, stamina and flexibility to get you over the rocks, the humps, the bumps, the ruts and any other terrain that stands in your way.  The suspension if you will, is equal to the lower part of your body when you are going off the trail.  Its the knees, the ankles and the stability muscles that keeps your vehicle hopping.

The Factory Suspension:  All XJ Cherokees were built with a unibody design.  The body and frame rails are tied together as one piece as opposed to a body on frame design like most trucks were built at the time.  XJ’s also have solid axles in both front and rear.  The suspension has both coil and leaf springs.  Clearances front and rear are 7.3 inches and 8.3 inches respectively.  The XJ came with Dana front and rear axles.  In the front AMC/Chrysler from 84-99 Used a Dana 30 High Pinion and from 00-01 a Dana 30 Low Pinion was installed.  The rear axles consisted of either a Dana 35 or in upgraded models from 87-89, a Dana 44 on XJ Cherokee’s that had a tow package.

Zone Offroad Products 3″ Lift Kit

Economy Kits:  Under normal circumstances, I recommend to everyone that you stay away from economy suspension kits.  When I say economy I mean in the $500 or less range.  That being said, if you have a new to you factory XJ and don’t have a lot of money to get started try the Zone Offroad Products Lift Kit from Quadratec.  Priced at a meager $318, it gives you a quality 3 inch lift.  Just enough to give that XJ Cherokee a little room over the terrain when getting off road.

 

Rough Country 3″ Lift Kit on Amazon.com

 

On Amazon.com there is also another economy 3 inch lift kit called the Rough Country 3″ Suspension Lift Kit.  At $280 and a 4.5 star rating, this seems like it could be a real bargain.  We at ratedxj.com have not tested this suspension kit, but if you have, please feel free to comment and let us know what kind of review you would give on this kit.

 

 

Mid Range Kits:

The Trail Master 4.5″ Lift Kit

Mid range suspension lifts are probably the right range to be in when it comes to the XJ Cherokee.  If you are not rock crawling and doing other extreme four wheel drive sports when you are off road, looking to see places that most people can’t see then you need enough clearance and stability to get over, around and through the rough stuff.  Boulders, mud, snow, rivers, washes, creeks and other various obstacles block your path.  That requires tires and a suspension high enough to keep your axles and undercarriage clear.  A little higher on the lift and a little wider in the tires will do the job.  Enter the Trail Master 4.5″ Lift Kit.  Priced at around $750 it gives you more than the economy 3″ kits and still is reasonably priced.

 

The Rough Country 4.5″ Lift Kit

Amazon has the Rough Country 4.5″ Lift Kit for much less.  Priced at just $500, happens to be just a little bit more than the economy range kits but does give you quite a bit more than the 3″ lifts can deliver.  This is the lift we recommend and it works beautifully.  This kit has an easy bolt on installation and usually takes around 4-6 hours to install yourself.  This kit has a 4 star rating on Amazon.

 

Clayton Off Road Premium 4.5 Inch Lift Kit

Premium Lift Kits:  There are premium kits that give you more than the shocks, springs, hardware and linkage.  These premium kits come long or short arm, are adjustable and come with premium connections and hardware designed to take a beating.  While they tend to be a little pricey, many come with long life or lifetime warranties on parts.  One excellent example is the Clayton Off Road 4.5 Inch Premium Short Arm Lift Kit.  The kit comes with everything you need, a lifetime guarantee and is made right here in the U.S.A.  Priced at $2219 is a lot more than the previous kits mentioned but the difference in quality and the lifetime warranty on parts is well worth the money.  That is just one example of a premium priced kit.  There are many available.  Don’t be afraid to research before you spend the money.  Ask about warrantied parts, quality in the manufacturing etc… before you go high end.

 

SummaryWe know that all of these choices as well as the hundreds of others out there can make it confusing.  We recommend you start with your budget.  Then go to the quality and capability.  If you only have $600 to spend, you are going to have to decide on capability first then quality.  That means warranty and quality hardware maybe lacking.  If you have $1200-$2000 to spend, you can get higher end parts in the 4.5 to 6 inch class but may not get the lifetime warranties available on the higher end kits.  If budget is no matter, then by all means go for the nicest kits money can buy with lifetime parts warranty coverage.

Have fun, stay safe and get out and make your XJ a Rated XJ Cherokee.  Thank you for your time.  Give us some feedback below.

 

Great Times Rated XJ

When it comes to Rated XJ activities, there is absolutely no shortage of fun things to do when you have an XJ Cherokee.  From camping on the beach to hiking the tallest peaks, an XJ Cherokee will get you there no matter where you live and play.  Here we will explore some of those options and some tools to help with the trip.

Navigation:  I once had a teacher who told me, “In order to get where you are going, you have to know where you are.”  This holds true even in today’s technical world.  Many of us still use maps, or we might use our android phone with google maps to know where we are.  Some newer vehicles come with a navigation device installed and you pay for a subscription.  XJ Cherokees didn’t come with a navigation package, and while Mopar offers an option for Navigation with a subscription, it’s an expensive option.  Here is a tool we think is better for your money.  Floureon makes a 7 inch GPS Navigator with free lifetime updates on maps for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.  You can receive driver alerts and have turn by turn directions from this unit.  Best of all it only costs around $55.  This unit will definitely tell you where you are and get you where you are going.

Camping:  Many of our outdoor trips last more than a day, or even the weekend.  What do you do when there isn’t a lodge or a cabin nearby?  You make camp.  Some of us have a very nice light camp trailer to sleep in.  If you don’t have one and would like to, Camplite makes trailers under the 4000-5000 lb towing ability of the XJ Cherokee.  The Camplite CL11FK which is their smallest design in a full travel trailer is just under 3000 gross vehicle weight when fully loaded.  Camplite also makes tent trailers and toy haulers that the XJ Cherokee can pull.

Don’t forget about good old fashioned roughing it.  We wrote about Maximizing the Space in Your XJ Cherokee a couple of posts ago.  Well when you are going out for the weekend and have to make camp, you have to bring something along to sleep under and on.  There are a lot of brands and styles of tents to go camping with.  Our favorite is the Gazelle Pop Up Canopy Tent.  The hassle with most tents is the set up and storage.  With this tent, set up and tear down takes just a few minutes and is easy.  The tent will sleep 4 with plenty of room and will most certainly keep you dry at night.  As for what to sleep on?  The Ivation Premium Comfort Inflatable Mattress is the best way to sleep in comfort and off the cold and damp ground.

Those two items alone make for a big comfortable space outdoors but when packed only take up a few cubic feet of space.  This allows you to bring a lot of creature comforts along with you.  Sleeping bags, outdoor showers, outdoor toilets, coolers, cooking utensils and of course the items to eat and drink.

Fishing:  From the pacific coast to the rocky mountain streams and lakes all the way to the rivers and harbors of the east coast or the lakes of Minnesota and Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico, XJ Cherokee owners everywhere love to go fishing.  With an XJ, you have the option to pull a boat up to about 5000 pounds with all your gear and trailer weight when it is rightly equipped.  Aluminum boats, inflatables, canoes and kayaks can be held on the racks above the XJ Cherokee.  A host of fishing equipment options can be stored in the rear compartment.  Fishing pole holders can be attached on the inside of the XJ to keep them from getting damaged.  The way I see it, XJ is the most versatile fishing vehicle known to man.

Hiking  Hiking is a past time for many people all over the world.  We love to get out, see nature and all of its beauty.  The views, the exercise, just us and the rugged trail.  Whether it is a state park in Arizona or fern lined trail in Canada, XJ owners everywhere will get out and seize the day.  Getting into some off the grid places is well within your grasp when you have the XJ Cherokee transporting you.  Rough terrain, mud, sand or snow and ice can all be conquered to get you where you are going.  The size of the XJ lends itself to narrow roads and trails.  Tire, wheel and suspension packages allow you to get over and around rough terrain.  The available power and off road capability will get you through the wet and slippery surfaces.  There is no shortage of places to see and hike when you own an XJ Cherokee.

Hunting:  I like to hunt elk.  I live in Arizona and all of my trips are around Flagstaff.  I have a Ram 1500 that does the heavy lifting when it comes to bringing gear to camp and staying warm.  When the season opens and it is time to begin the hunt, I need to be off road and in the backwoods.  The XJ Cherokee gets me there.  I can go deeper into places with the XJ than I can with the Ram and it gets me closer to the elk that I am looking for.  Properly equipped with 4 wheel drive, a winch, coolers and my hunting gear no elk is out of reach during the season.  In rugged country, snow and mud to go along with narrow trails through the pines the XJ just goes where many vehicles can’t and that saves me a lot of walking, stalking and work when I do put one down.  Trust me when I say our XJ is an awesome hunting vehicle!

Playing Other Sports:  I am a lot older, playing most sports like I use to has slowed down for me.  I can still swing a golf club if I want but now days I spend my days off doing these other Rated XJ activities we talked about earlier in this article.  Many of you however still get out and play.  Whether it is golf, bowling, tennis, football or basketball you have the ability to carry you, your teammates and your gear in the XJ Cherokee.  Whether you are just spending a day at the gym or Rock Climbing, stowing your gear in the rear compartment and taking up to four other passengers is possible in the XJ.

Summary:  I have only listed a few of the Rated XJ activities you can do with your XJ Cherokee.  Most of you are already doing these and many more that I haven’t written about in this post.  If you have comments on these or other Rated XJ activities, post them below, we would love to hear from you.

Thanks for taking the time with us,

Harvey Danger

Things to Look for When Buying an XJ Cherokee

You grab your tablet, cell phone or jump on the computer and begin your search.  You are looking for an XJ Jeep Cherokee to buy.  Maybe you want something for your child to drive to school and you don’t want to spend a ton of money or you need a second vehicle that drives well in the snow but you’re limited on budget.  Maybe a 4 wheel drive project is on your agenda.  No matter the reason, you come across an XJ Cherokee that looks great, fits the bill and will do the job but what do you need to watch out for when buying one?  If you are experienced with Jeep or the XJ in particular you may have some ideas already, but if you have never owned one or have limited experience with an XJ, this article is for you.

The Driveline:  From the 1984 to the 2001, the XJ Cherokee had a fabulous run.  It was one of the most popular SUV’s on the market for a host of reasons.  The driveline combinations were considered some of the best in the market at the time.  They were simple in design, durable and could go just about anywhere if you had a 4 wheel drive model.  Yes believe it or not there were 2 wheel drive models too.  From the 2.5L 4 cylinder,  2 wheel drive, 2 Door manual shift in early models to the 2001 4 Wheel Drive 4 Door with a 4.0L inline 6 cylinder and an automatic, there wasn’t that many power trains available on the XJ Cherokee.  If you are purchasing one of these models, the newest of which is at least 17 years old from its first day off the lot, buyer beware.  These are the things to look out for in the driveline.

          The Transmission:  When you first look at any vehicle of this age, first thing is first.  Test drive, test drive, test drive.  Outside of starting the XJ Cherokee and listening to it warm up and run, the first thing you will operate is the transmission.  Does it go into the proper gear, smoothly and easily?  Does it shift smooth on the fly.  No herkey jerkiness or funny noises.  “When was the last time the transmission had been serviced?”  Is always a great question to ask.  If they can’t tell you, you may want to steer clear.  While Jeep had great resale and the XJ had a good reputation, the transmission percentage wise probably the weak link in the drive train.

If you have the opportunity to take the vehicle to your mechanic to inspect beforehand, have them take a look in the transmission fluid pan.  This should tell you the story behind the service of that vehicle.  Lots of metal is not a good sign.  There will almost always be some but you do not want to see dark burnt fluid or a large amount of metal in the bottom of the pan.  This may cost you extra now, but it could save you from making a big mistake and costly repairs later.  If you can’t have this done after you give it a good through and through when test driving, always trust your gut.

          The 4 Wheel Drive Assembly:  The XJ Cherokee had two of the best 4 wheel drive units in the business.  Command Trac and Selec Trac were the two systems available on the XJ Cherokee from 1984-2001.  Command Trac was a chain driven, mostly aluminum 4 wheel drive unit that allowed shift on the fly performance.  Selec Trac unit was first offered in 1987 with the 4.0L 6 cylinder engine.  It also was a shift on the fly unit but added the center differential allowing the vehicle to be in part time 4 wheel drive mode basically sending power from the slipping wheels to the wheels with traction.

One common issue for an older 4 wheel drive vehicles tends to be with the 4 wheel drive unit itself.  In many cases the unit does not get shifted out of 2 wheel drive very often or maybe at all for years at a time.  Sometimes they may sit for months and not driven.  What happens to the transfer case during this period of no use varies but the worst part is no lubrication and is subjected to diverse temperatures from day to night.

So what do you look for?  Take the vehicle to an off road surface.  Shift the transfer case to 4 wheel drive.  Drive it for a short while if you can.  Does it go smoothly into 4 wheel drive, does the indicator show it in 4 wheel drive?  Does it go back to 2 wheel drive easily? If you do not have an off road surface to use, take it to a parking lot with a lot of room and test it there.  Shift to full time 4 wheel drive, turn the vehicle sharply for a few seconds and feel the “crow hop” if you do, stop, shift back to 2 wheel drive and continue on.  (DO NOT DO THIS FOR LONG PERIOD OF TIME; IT CAN DAMAGE A 4 WHEEL DRIVE UNIT!) Again, look for your indications and feel the vehicle.

          The Engine:  The two engines available were the 2.5L 4 cylinder and a 4.0L inline 6 cylinder engine.  While both units were unbelievably durable, they were not without their minor issues.  Look for obvious signs of leaks.  The rear main seal tends to be the most common in these older vehicles that leaks most often.  Are the head gasket and valve cover gaskets in good condition?  Are there oil spots under the vehicle or oil in places on the engine?  These are the things I would look for if I were out looking for another XJ Cherokee.

The InteriorIn any vehicle you want to be comfortable, and you don’t want to be embarrassed if someone else gets in.  What kind of condition is it in when you arrive?

          The Seats:  Are the seats, torn or sagging?  Do the adjustments of the seats work properly?  Have they been covered or has the vehicle been garaged.  Make sure when you and or your passengers get in, that you can and are comfortable sitting in the vehicle.  Do the rear seats fold down properly?  You want to know that you have all of the storage and moving capability available ahead of time.  Many of the adjustments on the two front seats wore out or quit working all together.  It could be a sign that the vehicle wasn’t properly cared for at one point in time.  Look for these items with the seats but remember to be reasonable if they don’t work.  It is a vehicle that has been around.  If they aren’t proper but you like the vehicle otherwise, ask for a price reduction so that you may fix the problem or ask if they can fix it and you give them the asking price.  Either way is acceptable.

          The headliner:  The headliner tends to be another issue in the XJ Cherokee, especially if the vehicle has been subjected to intense heat over its lifetime.  This is a simple fix but again could be a sign of the lack of care.

          The Electronics, Dash and Steering Wheel:  The cosmetics, electronics and steering wheel all seem to be something that tends to wear in vehicles where the heat and humidity are prevalent.  Do the switches work?  How about the Stereo?  Is the dash peeling?  How about the condition of the steering wheel?  You will want to look these over well before making a purchase.   They are commonly in a state of disrepair in XJ Cherokees that have not been cared for well.

The Suspension:  This topic is wide ranging.  The number of issues with the suspension are infinite.  So many XJ Cherokees have lift kits installed, after market shocks, springs, track bars and other pieces of the suspension too many to name.  When test driving, don’t be afraid to hit the bumps and potholes in the road.  Listening and feel are most important here.  Do you hear metal on metal noises or are the shocks and springs weak?  This is one area of the XJ that is buyer beware.  Look it over, corner to corner.  Are the shocks or springs new?  Is the hardware in good condition?  Does it feel normal when driving on flat smooth terrain?   Does the XJ act right when cornering and steering?  All very valid questions when buying a new to you off road vehicle.

The Exterior:  When looking at the exterior, much of this is cosmetic.  A vehicle can always be painted or have new parts installed.  That being said, think about how the XJ Cherokee was taken care of, prior to being put on the market for sale.  This is probably the best condition the vehicle has been in for months.

The Paint:  Be reasonable about your expectations but here are some things to watch out for if you don’t want a big paint bill later.  Is the clear coat peeling in multiple places?  Are there rust bubbles?  Has it been in an accident?  Are there newer parts with paint that does not match?  Again, these are vehicles that have been on the road and off the road in a lot of cases, have high expectations but be reasonable and thoughtful about what it is you are buying and paying for.

The Wheels and Tires:  Wheels and tires can make or break the visual on an XJ Cherokee.  Do the wheels match the suspension?  Are they in great condition?  Will you have to replace them?  Will you be doing your own work on the suspension, wheels and tires down the road?  At this point I would look to make sure that the seller hasn’t replaced what was on the XJ with inferior products and I would also make sure they are safe and secure on the vehicle.  If they look out of place, they probably are.

The undercarriage:  Take the time to get down.  Look at what you are buying from underneath.  If you can take it to a shop and get it up in the air, even better.  Common issues are with the axle’s, exhaust and suspension.  If the vehicle has been off road, it is very common to have parts wear out.  The axles, tie rods, engine mounts, shocks, springs, bushings and other parts get dinged, twisted and rust.  If you are buying an XJ, or any off road vehicle you want to inspect the undercarriage.

The Glass and Mirrors:  Last but definitely not least, is the glass and mirrors.  Is the windshield cracked or chipped?  Do the windows roll up and down?  Does the defroster work?  How about the mirrors?  Take the time to look at these in detail.  You will thank yourself later.  These items can be replaced but if they are not right at the point of sale, again a price adjustment may be in order.

Summary:  There is a lot of information to read and understand in this post.  The XJ Cherokee is one the best off road vehicles on the market when it comes to used vehicles.  We have given you some things to evaluate on your next opportunity to buy one of these iconic vehicles.  This list is not the end all be all but if the things you read about here are all in good to excellent shape, you can bet that the XJ you are buying is a pretty good one.  We want to say good luck, and good hunting for your next XJ Cherokee.

Maximize the Space in Your XJ Cherokee

Best Tips to Maximize Room in Your XJ Cherokee

Let’s face it.  If you take your XJ Cherokee everywhere like we do,  loading it up with all the gear you need tends to cramp your style as well as some of your body parts.  By the time you put all the things you need into just over 36 cubic feet of space behind the second row seats, stack the rear seats with people and fill your floor boards with drinks and food, everyone becomes wedged in a tiny little bit of space.  Maximizing the usable space in the XJ Cherokee doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.  Here we will filter through some of the best ways to maximize the space in your XJ Cherokee and we will give you some money saving options as well.

 

Roof Racks

Many XJ Cherokees came from the factory with a roof rack.  Our first suggestion is to use it if you have lighter or more organized items and cases that can be well secured.  While the factory roof rack is great for loading slim line or light weight items it just is not good enough when it comes to the large, heavier or bulky items that seem to take up the most space inside your XJ.  Several manufactures have an option in this market.  They range from a universal carrier at just over $100 that can be secured to the factory mounts all the way up to model specific heavy duty carriers around $1300.  Our suggestion is to stay somewhere in the mid range with these products.  There are many well sized and strong roof mounted carriers that will do the job.  One example is the Smittybilt Defender Roof Rack for the 1990-2001 Jeep Cherokee.  It is a great carrier and at around $535 is a great buy.  If you need a solid carrier in the lower price segment Amazon sells a Universal Carrier for just $105 that will work with your factory roof rack.

Hitch Mounted Accessories

There are some great space savers that can attach directly to your hitch.  Bicycle carriers, Spare Tire Racks, Luggage racks and Cargo Baskets, even Surfboard and Canoe Carriers that will save you some space inside or on top of your XJ Cherokee.  There are almost as many options in this segment as there are things you may want to carry with your XJ.  In most cases a standard cargo carrier will do the job.  Vault makes a pretty good carrier that is 60″ x 22.5″ for $130.  Couple this type of carrier with straps and a roof attachment, you can carry just about anything.  Bicycle Racks vary but Yakima makes a 2 bike carrier for around $375 and has an optional Holdup for 2 more.  These are just two examples, please do your research to find the best one for you.

Lift Gate or Bumper Mount Accessories

Depending upon your tire and wheel group, adding a lift gate or bumper mount spare tire rack with your matching spare is a great way to free up usable space in the storage compartment behind the 2nd row seats.  You can also continue to use your hitch for other things like towing or a separate space saving option.  If you have factory wheels and tires this is an easy transition.  If you have a larger wheel and tire group make sure to do plenty of research before purchasing one.  Hanson Offroad makes the simplest version for around $550 but we have found that the Smittybilt Carrier even at $741 may be a better buy.

Organizers:

Like hitch mounted accessories, there is almost as many items in this segment as there are things to organize.  From seat mounted add a trunk style cargo bags, grocery bag holders/organizers to full cargo area racks that give you two levels or more of space to organize your gear, there are certainly a ton of options to choose from.  The Mountaineer Rack sold by Olympic 4×4 is a great cargo area accessory for about $275.

Summary:  

As you can see, there are many options for you to leave some leg room for you and your family or friends in your XJ Cherokee.  We will keep updating this post with the latest information on products after we can safely say they are the best available.   Please keep Rated XJ in mind when searching for more helpful articles down the road.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post,

Harvey Danger