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How's she goin? long-time lurker here from Cape Breton Canada who decided to finally get off his rear and make a build thread on my 1992 Comanche base model. So, you may ask why call this thread "pipe-dream?" well, ever since I seen my first comanche when i was 8 I've always wanted one, i owned tons of jeep cherokees, and built lots of them to, but.. it just didnt feel right. they were fun and stuff sure, but for the things I do day to day, they were just lacking in the utility department. The first one I built was a 93 Cherokee sport, I had purchased for $1,200 of some old fella up in the mountains. I daily drove it for 3 years, making the kilometers climb from 321,000km (199,500mi) all the way to 415,000kms (258,000mi) I slowly built it up with my highschool budget, Lift, tires, roof rack, lots of lights, and a custom winch bumper. But, like most cherokees, it had braved the canadian winters without any type of protection, which led to the floors rusting out, and the uniframe becoming soft in some spots. I ended up selling it to a friend of mine. Next came the 96 XJ, to which i was told "came from alberta" and at first sight looked clean as could be. about a month after purchase I pulled the carpets to find that the PO had covered the entire underbody in thick black under coat, hiding the lack of a floor, and had just layed metal plate down in places he couldn't hide. so I patched them up, and continued to drive it for the next year, lifting it, wheeling it, and using like a jeep should be used, but it left a bad taste in my mouth knowing about all the rust it had. Then the engine blew... So, I was left daily driving my BMW for the summer to go to work, I was jeepless, and my BMW isnt exactly a fan of our rough roads... SO What was I to do? I couldn't find a decent jeep around cape breton that wasn't rotten, or beaten to death, plus i was slowly killing my BMW putting almost 900kms (560mi) on it a week.... A few weeks go by and my itch for another jeep was getting bigger, but i didnt want anymore rot-boxes and I wanted something different.. something that would stand out. then out of curiosity I decide to search all across Canada for a Comanche... I browsed through the endless ads of the same thing, Comanches that were broke in half, missing beds, engineless husks of what they once were, or just plain destroyed like the sad fate of most of them, and if i was going to look for a MJ I was going to be picky, I didn't want a renix, no 4 cyls, it HAD to be a 5 speed... and specifically.. 2 wheel drive, Why 2 wheel drive? because it wouldn't of been put through half the stuff a 4x4 one would of. Then I found it... the perfect Comanche. a 91 (or so i thought) 2 wheel drive, 5 speed, 4.0 HO, base model. and unlike the rest... it wasnt beat half to death. it was almost as if it just came from the dealer, (probably because it was wet in the pictures aha) One problem though.. it was in Swift current Saskatchewan ... 4,307kms (2676mi) from me... so, I quickly blew it off, "too far away, and I'll never save up the money in time before its sold" even though it was only $2,500.... But try as hard as I could, i just couldn't get it off my mind, always stuck at the back of it, even with my 16 hour 6 day a week job of Crab fishing. Once I had actually saved up enough money a few weeks later, I decided to check back on it and low and behold, the ad was still up!... so I gave the owner a call and asked him for the regulars "How's it run, whats the body like, and does it need anything?" Once we were done our little chat, and I had informed him I was on the other side of canada, he replied with "Well, your the only person to really show interest in the truck, tell you what, if you want I'll hold onto it for you for a little bit until you can figure out how your gunna get here, and get it home" So, I went to thinking, that night, trying to figure out just how in the heck was I gunna get to Saskatchewan... My hope quickly dwindling, I had never left Cape Breton before, Didn't have enough for a plane ticket, and gas money to drive it home.... Then I remembered, I had a cousin working out there on a oil rig and he was due to come home soon, so I shot him a message on facebook, asking him if he'd be willing to drive 5 hours out to just look at it for me, so after some discussion, I e-transfered him out the money for the truck, and a bit extra for gas for his truck. the next day while at work, he texted me saying it wasn't any good... it was perfect, he couldn't leave the guys house without it, though the previous owner was a little concerned since the truck had NEVER SEEN THE HIGHWAY before. as the story goes behind it, he had bought it new in 1992, and it was his run-around truck for his Diesel repair shop, doing errands here and there around town, and every night it was washed, and tucked away in the shop, but the little trooper made it the entire way back to Regina without any problems, minus a bit of death wobble around 110kmh (70MPH) which was due to the tires being from 98... The next few months it spent its time waiting in my cousins garage, and got some tune-up work done, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, a new serpentine belt, filters, and some donor wheels off a old grand caravan, once the time came he set off on his journey home to me, chugging along the trans Canada Highway, up and down mountains, along lakes, coastal roads, and only stopping for a few hours while my cousin slept in the cab (still don't know how he managed that....) And then the 12th of October, it finally arrived in my driveway, my once was a Pipe-dream, had come true I now was the proud owner of one of THE cleanest Comanches on the Island. But, his journey wasnt over yet, I wasnt just going to leave it alone.. no no no. I wanted a Comanche that will brave anything i want it to, WHILE being a comfortable daily driver, and knowing how many miles it was going to get, I decided to name him Nomad, Adventurous and never stuck to one spot, which seemed fitting after his journey across Canada. First thing was first, The caravan wheels had to go. I put some used 235/75R15 winters on the factory wheels and tossed them on which improved the look of the truck drastically. I swapped the grille to one with a chrome outline, and added Hella H4 conversion lights with a Putco Relay harness Then, I had to cover up the bare metal rockers, so some Primer, rocker-gaurd, and Color match paint later, and I was left with this. The front seemed kinda bare, so a small trip to Moncton and I had acquired a new front bumper with Bumperettes, some fog-lights and I also had ordered some NOS KC light covers to cover them up. Plus, I had also found some wood-grain door panels from a cherokee country, a leather wrapped steering wheel, Bucket seats, and a center console. So, out with the old interior And while I had it out, I took out the carpet to clean it, lightly sanded down the paint, and covered the entire thing in Chassis saver paint. Then, we swapped the Bench brackets onto the buckets, and bam I had a nice Eleminator packaged interior, With full gauges, comfy buckets, woodgrain AND A CUP HOLDER. I cruised around for a while like that, grinning from ear to ear, but I knew winter was coming... and I knew he'd have to be upgraded and protected for the upcoming months, so my pride and joy wouldent end up like every other jeep i've owned. So, I went out and bought this as a donor truck. One VERY rotten 88/96 Cheromanche. a obvious hack job, wires ran everywhere, a very broken frame that was attempted to be patched.. but still ended up breaking in half on the drive home from just bouncing on the trailer. so, we pulled all the running gear out of it, and began the swap into my clean, unmolested, untouched 92 survivor, I had also purchased a BDS 3" lift kit at the time aswell, and some Bilstein 5100 shocks. Out with the old Dead-axle 30 Then out came the grease-ball of a perfectly shifting 2wd AX15 while we had everything apart, we decided to do the rear-main seal and oil-pan gasket, to ensure this is one jeep that won't mark its territory. Up went the External slave AX15 from the donor truck And then the transfer case We transfered the gears from the donor Dana 30, into a rust free housing then sealed it up and painted it, Adding new ball-joints, wheel bearings, U-joints, axle seals, Pinon seals, and anti-seizing everything and then Wrestled it under Nomad and began bolting everything in place, the new track-bar, upper and lower control arms, shocks, all new V8 ZJ steering gear, calipers, pads, rotors, and flex hoses We tossed in the rear drive-shaft for now, knowing i would have to get the one from the donor truck rebuilt, and undercoated the entire under-side of the truck in Fluid-Film Also making up a special tool so we could run the under-coating nozzle way into the frame and coating the inside of the rails thoroughly, plus the insides of the rockers, fenders, doors, and innder bedsides. , And after 2 weeks of hard work I could finally see it sitting on its own weight again. I took the truck over to a local spring shop the next day to have them put in the add-a-leaf, and then from there it went for alignment. Once i got home, I put on the wheels and tires from my old 96 Cherokee, and pretty much have been driving it since. I will actually be going to Moncton this week coming to have my front drive-shaft rebuilt. I hope you enjoyed reading my little adventure, and if you didnt, sorry for the wall of text! I will update this thread as I make improvements to the truck and eventually begin traveling with it, as a closure here are some pictures I took of the truck recently, and I look foward to making updates in this for everyone of this awesome site to read!
Came close to a car trade today, but I think the MJ owner would have come out far ahead; was going to trade my 03 Cavalier for a 92 MJ... the Cav works/drive fine, is road legal, and everything operates [bad tires and minor body damage to fender] but the MJ has: 140k 2wd 2.5 long bed, 5 speed, base model, no A/C, and a 1992 model year Rusty coolant and clean but dirty oil intermittent noisy valves or lifters? Low clutch pedal engagement [fluid full but dark] Noisy fuel pump... like hear it 15 feet away noisy Shakes at 55-60 [old tires or track bar? could not isolate vibration] Last registration sticker on tag was 2008 Minor body damage to rocker panels and both bumpers Bad headliner Thoughts on the issues or the potential even trade [i know ev1 here is biased for the MJs and Cavs are universally hated]? The truck is 140 miles away and would hate for it to crap out going over the pass [snow/ice].
Well, I'm not jeep-less actually. I've been a devoted Ford Ranger driver for 7 years. Love Rangers...my '97 6cyl Xlt extended cab carried me back and forth across the country many times. but i always secretly wanted an XJ...and finally bought an IMMACULATE 5.5 inch lifted '99 Cherokee monster with 60k original miles. I LOVE it, what i always wanted. But now I'm a Jeep addict in need of a daily driver to replace my beloved Ranger. And now I fantasize about the MJ...a reliable Jeep pickup. So I'm looking for a well-maintained MJ with at least GOOD condition interior and no major problems with less than 125,000 miles and very minor rust. Realistically, thats the best I can afford right now because of my XJ purchase. I'm in Va...so within 600 miles or so..... any ideas?