Budget Overland XK Build - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2008
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
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Budget Overland XK Build

Hey everyone, Just bought a used 2008 Commander Limited in Stone White with a 5.7L Hemi. I'm pretty much going to be building and using the rig for overlanding in the southwestern portion of the rocky's and hopefully more once I get out of the lovely land of entrapment, otherwise known as New Mexico. I travel with a buddy of mine in his '88 Toyota Pickup in a group we call Ignite Adventure.

As she stands as of 6/14/16:
  • STOCK...
  • Smittybilt Overlander RTT on OEM Roof Rack
  • OEM Slush Mats
  • OEM Mudflaps
  • Rough Country 2.25" Leveling Kit (TBI*)
  • Bilstein 4600 Series Shocks & Struts (TBI)
  • AEV Savegre Wheels (TBI)
  • 265/70/17 BFG KO2's (TBI)

*TBI meaning "to be installed". I have the parts but just haven't installed them; for, well... reasons.
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post #2 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 11:26 PM
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welcome aboard! Nice looking Commander you have there
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post #3 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2008
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
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If 4WD - system: QT-II
Current Mileage: 109000
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welcome aboard! Nice looking Commander you have there
Thank you very much!
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post #4 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-18-2016, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2008
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
4WD
If 4WD - system: QT-II
Current Mileage: 109000
Posts: 57
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New Wheels Tomorrow!

So tomorrow I will be driving to Flagstaff where I will be picking up a set of AEV Savegre wheels for the XK! I am so stoked! If all goes well, the leveling kit, shocks & struts, wheels and tires will all be done by Monday! I will keep you guys updated with photos. Here is a picture of the wheels I'm going to be picking up, scored all 5 of them for $500! (Sorry for the crappy quality, it was stolen from the Craigslist ad)

ALSO! I was having some AC problems and took it to the dealership to see what was wrong; I was over half a pound low on Freon and the HVAC head unit needed a software update, dealer took care of everything free of charge and thank god because driving into Flagstaff with no AC would be no fun with the temperatures they're going to be seeing!
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post #5 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2008
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Current Mileage: 109000
Posts: 57
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Build Update

So I finally got all of my stuff installed, so far I've had to remove the front bumper valance and mud flaps to accommodate the new tires and wheels, the 4600 Bilstein replacements ride smooth but I am hearing a little bit of a clunking noise coming from the front end, I'm off the next two days so I guess I will be diagnosing that this weekend. Here is a Picture of how she currently sits.
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post #6 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-25-2016, 03:43 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: East Coast of Florida; Proud to have served.
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Originally Posted by OverlandCommander View Post
So I finally got all of my stuff installed, so far I've had to remove the front bumper valance and mud flaps to accommodate the new tires and wheels, the 4600 Bilstein replacements ride smooth but I am hearing a little bit of a clunking noise coming from the front end, I'm off the next two days so I guess I will be diagnosing that this weekend. Here is a Picture of how she currently sits.
There are several threads about front end noise/clunking with Commanders that will give you several different things that you can check or try to correct the problem.

I am running with the 2 inch Rough Country lift kit & Bilstein HD 4600 shocks & struts like you, and fortunately, I have no clunking issues going on.

One thing I did on my Commander and one thing you may want to check is your front upper differential bushing.

They are notorious for wearing prematurely on Commanders & Grand Cherokees alike and if it's worn, that will give you some slop in your suspension up front which could be causing - or at the very least contributing to the front end clunking you are experiencing.

Best of luck with her.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 06-25-2016 at 03:52 PM.
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post #7 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2008
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
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If 4WD - system: QT-II
Current Mileage: 109000
Posts: 57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Blue View Post
There are several threads about front end noise/clunking with Commanders that will give you several different things that you can check or try to correct the problem.

I am running with the 2 inch Rough Country lift kit & Bilstein HD 4600 shocks & struts like you, and fortunately, I have no clunking issues going on.

One thing I did on my Commander and one thing you may want to check is your front upper differential bushing.

They are notorious for wearing prematurely on Commanders & Grand Cherokees alike and if it's worn, that will give you some slop in your suspension up front which could be causing - or at the very least contributing to the front end clunking you are experiencing.

Best of luck with her.
Thank you for the advice, I will definitely have to look into that. I noticed today that the upper control arm ball joint on my passenger side looks like the boot blew out and I'm sure that will inevitably occur on the driver's side as well. Looks like I might have to drop some money down the road on some upgrades, maybe the 4xgaurd uca's?
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post #8 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-26-2016, 11:00 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: East Coast of Florida; Proud to have served.
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Originally Posted by OverlandCommander View Post
Thank you for the advice, I will definitely have to look into that. I noticed today that the upper control arm ball joint on my passenger side looks like the boot blew out and I'm sure that will inevitably occur on the driver's side as well. Looks like I might have to drop some money down the road on some upgrades, maybe the 4xgaurd uca's?
Honestly I think it has alot to do with how the vehicle was driven before you bought it, as well as how you drive it.

I have not had any UCA issues as of yet, but, I believe the previous owner was not a big off-road enthusiast and I'm certainly not what I'd consider to be a big off-roader either.

While I do take mine off-road, I don't do any intentional mudding and I am what I consider to be "pretty careful" when I am driving off-road, meaning that I don't abuse my Commander and I'll normally try to avoid obstacles, as opposed to driving through or over them - unless I absolutely have to.

All I do is pull my small utility trailer around with my camping, hiking & fishing gear into various state forests/campgrounds and try to avoid getting stuck - which I haven't yet (knock wood).


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Last edited by Big Blue; 06-27-2016 at 06:02 AM.
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post #9 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 02:30 PM
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make sure that the nut on top of the struts are super tight. Its not easy to torque em down and they rattle/clunk if they are loose at all.

Did you have an alignment done? check that the LCA bolts are torqued to spec... mine weren't. Thanks a lot alignment shop...

Next is the steering rack. It often needs to be tightened after a lift.

Failing ball joints can be noisy, and catastrophic if they let go while driving. get that changed. I installed MOOG ball joints in my UCA. I should have got the adjustable ones...

Sway bar bushings make noise when they are worn. Cheap, super easy to replace.
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post #10 of 85 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Rio Rancho, NM
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2008
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
4WD
If 4WD - system: QT-II
Current Mileage: 109000
Posts: 57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyse7ens View Post
make sure that the nut on top of the struts are super tight. Its not easy to torque em down and they rattle/clunk if they are loose at all.

Did you have an alignment done? check that the LCA bolts are torqued to spec... mine weren't. Thanks a lot alignment shop...

Next is the steering rack. It often needs to be tightened after a lift.

Failing ball joints can be noisy, and catastrophic if they let go while driving. get that changed. I installed MOOG ball joints in my UCA. I should have got the adjustable ones...

Sway bar bushings make noise when they are worn. Cheap, super easy to replace.
Thank you! I'm going to diagnose in pretty much this exact order, I will let you guys know if I find anything!
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