I looked at some of your pics and the vehicle looks nice. I didn't look through all of them because I'm used to looking at pics like these:http://www.mike-g.net/jeep/yinyang/pics/banner/
I have a 2001 Black Sport and I love it. I quite happily put my first scratches on it this last weekend in some trees. Don't worry, though. Touch up paint a good wax job will get most of them out. I've never had a vehicle like it and I love the freedom. Scrambling up 45 deg sand inclines and bumping down forested snomobile trails are something I couldn't do before. I'm almost sad I didn't buy a Wrangler instead, but the Cherokee has some very nice features.
I've already compiled a list of almost $3000CDN of modifications that I want to make to it including new bumpers, lift kit, engine upgrades, tires, etc.
As for problems, I had an initial alignment problem (just like all the new Libertys, hmm...) and I have a few squeaks and minor annoyances I want to get rid of. I've had it for almost 5 months and I've put about 7500 miles on it (a couple of long road trips). The minor annoyances are that the tires feel out of balance because of the alignment I had done, my driver's door squeaks, and my turning stalk doesn't quite work properly when changing lanes to the right. Small problems that I'll live with until I find time to take them to a Stealer to get fixed. The only problem is trying to find a Stealership that isn't exactly that. 5-star service doesn't mean a thing. They all suck.
Sebring, as for shocks I've been reading lots about lift kits and the different kinds of shocks that work well with them. Old Man Emu (from Australia) is supposed to be the best. You can find their page at www.arbusa.com I think (ARB makes OME). Rancho 9000s are popular with XJs becuase you can set the valving with a switch or dial to change the characteristics. Blisteins are supplied on the UpCountry package and are stiffer than stock. Another name I've heard around and seems to be getting some interest are Doetsch Tech.
I've been thinking about getting a "budget boost" for my XJ which will give me about 2" lift. I'm still not sure if I'm going to keep the stock shocks and maybe lengthen them with Bar Pin Eliminators or get new ones. Eventually I want to pick up the whole Old Man Emu 2-3" kit and put it on top of the budget boost. Big money, though. Check out http://www.rocky-road.com/xjsus.html for some initial information. Watch out, it's addictive.
To give you an idea where I am coming from, my previous vehicle was a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Consumer Reports gave the Eclipse very bad reliability ratings. I did not care one bit. I wanted one anyway and I loved it. In the 3 years and 44K miles I had it, I never had a problem. To read more about my Eclipse goto:http://www.berkshire.net/~josh/eclipse
Final words....Spend the time in each vehicle that you really want. Hope this helps.
Oh, and you can see pics of my Jeep here:http://www.berkshire.net/~josh
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