1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief Off road Build With 4″ Iift Kit & 37″ Tires

1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief Off road Build With 4" Iift Kit & 37" Tires
Lifted Jeep Cherokee Chief 1978
1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief Off road Build With 4" Iift Kit & 37" Tires
Lifted Jeep Cherokee Chief 1978 rear view
Jeep Cherokee Chief on Wrangler Military offroad tires +2
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For off-road enthusiasts seeking to maximize the rugged capabilities of a classic SUV, this customized 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief delivers adventure in spades. Built up from a solid foundation of Jeep engineering, this rig has been outfitted with a range of upgrades to transform it into a veritable rock-crawling machine.

This Jeep Cherokee Chief off road build starts with a 4-inch suspension lift kit that provides added ground clearance to clear boulders and obstacles. The stance is further elevated by a set of massive 37-inch all-terrain tires that provide tremendous traction and allow the rig to power through mud, sand, and snow.

lifted Jeep Cherokee Chief on 37 inch Wrangler Military offroad tires

Chief (SJ) Build Specs


– 401 AMC V8 motor
– Rebuilt Turbo 400 transmission
– Shift kit

Suspension Lift Kit and Drivetrain:

– Dana 60 front axle
– 14 bolt rear axle
– Twin stick Dana 300 transfer case
– San Diego Driveline driveshafts
– Full high steering
– 4 inch lift
– Longer travel shock mounts
– Deaver springs
– Shackle flip


– 17-inch Hummer H1 wheels
– 37-inch military Wrangler M/T tires
– Trail Worthy Fab double beadlock inserts

Other Mods:

– Custom tube fenders
– Custom tube bumpers
– Dual battery setup
– 24-volt welder

Jeep Cherokee Chief 4 inch lift kit and offroad wheels

Off-road Build Details


A 401 cubic-inch AMC V8 motor under the hood of this beast packs a powerful punch, breathing through a four-barrel carburetor to generate plentiful torque. The engine’s output is handled by a rebuilt Turbo 400 automatic transmission fitted with a shift kit for firmer, more responsive gear changes ideal for off-road driving.

With this robust drivetrain delivering tire-churning traction, this classic 4×4 Jeep has the grunt to conquer tough terrain and make short work of muddy trails or steep inclines.

4″ Lift Kit and Deaver Springs

The rugged suspension and drivetrain components are up to the task of serious off-roading, featuring sturdy Dana 60 front and 14 bolt rear axles from one-ton trucks. The four-wheel-drive system utilizes a twin stick Dana 300 transfer case and custom driveshafts from San Diego Driveline to divide torque effectively between both axles.

With a 4-inch lift kit, long-travel shock mounts, Deaver springs, shackle flip, and high steering conversion, the chassis is optimized for flexing over obstacles and damping big impacts while traversing rough terrain.


Rolling on 17-inch Hummer H1 wheels, this vintage 4×4 gains added off-road prowess from a set of 37-inch Wrangler M/T military specification tires. Double beadlock rings from Trail Worthy Fab further enhance traction by mechanically fastening the tires to the wheels for superior grip when aired down off-road.

Off-road Mods

To accommodate the massive tires and maximize clearance, this Cherokee Chief has been outfitted with custom-fabricated tube fenders and bumpers, replacing the original bodywork for an aggressive off-road stance. A dual battery setup powers both the vehicle and an on-board 24-volt welder for trailside repairs, enhancing self-sufficiency.

See Also
Trial-ready Jeep Cherokee XJ Pre Runner on 35”s with 5” Lift

While built to excel off-road with its robust capabilities, this Cherokee still sees street duty and use towing jet skis to the beach, retaining day-to-day drivability. Needless to say, this customized Chief is prepared for adventure, whether tackling tough trails or cruising down open highways in rugged style.

Lifted Jeep Cherokee Chief 1978

Jeep Cherokee Chief History

The 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief represents an important milestone in Jeep history as one of the first production SUVs equipped with oversized tires from the factory. Descended from the legendary Jeep SJ platform, the Cherokee Chief inherited the rugged underpinnings of its Wagoneer forebears, including the highly capable Dana axles and four-wheel-drive systems that enabled these full-size SUVs to conquer harsh terrain.

As a more affordable alternative to the upmarket Wagoneer, the Cherokee Chief brought stout off-road credentials to buyers seeking an adventurous, go-anywhere vehicle. Featuring a seven-slot grille and classical Jeep styling cues, the 1978 models cemented the Cherokee’s reputation for off-road mastery. These vintage SUVs are now sought-after by collectors who appreciate their significance in Jeep’s transition to more civilized, yet still capable, all-terrain vehicles.

Interestingly, it was the 1974 Cherokee sales brochure that first used the term “Sport Utility Vehicle,” foreshadowing the rise of this new automotive segment. With both its heritage-inspired design and available big-tire packages, the 1978 Cherokee Chief helped define what an SUV could be, blending ruggedness and practicality in an appealing package. Its influence can still be seen in Jeep’s family of adventure-ready SUVs today.

Positioned as a sportier, two-door version of the Jeep Wagoneer, the Cherokee Chief quickly attracted a following among younger drivers and off-roading enthusiasts. Its trim proportions and available V8 power delivered agile performance on and off the road.

An abundance of aftermarket lift kits and oversized tire options enabled owners to easily customize their Cherokee Chiefs for tougher terrain, making the vehicles even more capable for adventurous owners. Leveraging Jeep’s reputation for ruggedness in a more youthful package, the Cherokee Chief struck a winning formula.

Its balance of on-road civility and off-road talent carved out a niche that delivered on both daily-driver comfort and weekend warrior escapades. The Cherokee Chief’s accessible size and enthusiast-friendly persona secured its popularity among thrill-seeking drivers looking to push the limits of factory Jeep’s all-terrain pedigree.

Production years:

  • 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983;
View Comments (2)
  • I love the design key on these. it would be awesome if Jeep resurrected it in modern models. Take the Mustang, camaro and Challengers, you can clearly see the original lines of the first gen models in them, I think it would be awesome if the new Grand Cherokee would look somewhat like this.

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