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Deep in the heart of Comanche County


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Thanks for checking out my build page! :cheers:

 

I bought this truck in late 08' for 900 bucks when I lived in the beautiful state of CO. I didn't have any plans to do any of this work when I first bought it, but then I started to research my new truck and found none other than Comancheclub.com,,, I got the Jeep bug and then the tinkering started. If you're reading this, then you've probably got it too. :cheers:

 

Its an 89' that came with the Renix 4.0, AX-15, 3.07 gears and 30" tires on it. At the time of purchase I didn't know much about MJ Jeeps. I had a 96 XJ that ran perfect for 160K miles in weather ranging from 65 degrees below in AK and 130 above in Death Valley. So I knew I wanted another 4.0 but, I also lucked out with the AX-15.

 

I first installed Rancho 3" lift components, then added 1.75" spacers,,,then it went to 33's and a 6 inch lift with Drop Brackets and most of the parts sourced from the JY and other Jeepers who were parting out their rigs. I grabbed an 8.8 with welded tubes and 3.73 gears from another CC member and set it up for SOA. Then found a 3.73 front D30 from an 84' XJ in the JY. I ordered the drop brackets and a few other things from Motion and got most of the other components a little at time.

 

Here's a couple of pics from back then:

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Can't believe I had that crappy bumper on it, but it was the only thing that I could weld my plow mount onto. It was not an ideal set up at all, I learned quickly that lifted jeeps aren't the best plow rigs. With the 33's I couldn't even mount the snow plow with it touching the ground so I robbed the 30s from the XJ and slapped them on. It worked a little better. Plowing at night when you live on the side of a mountain can be a little scary so I mounted up the light bar I got off of CL.

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I eventually gave up on plowing with the MJ, just too high. I started plowing with the XJ, but I got it stuck often....here's a shot of the MJ ready to pull it out one night.

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Ok, so the conclude this little flashback... We're newly living in CO and at the time we couldn't sell our house in GA. After about a year of paying for two houses things were pretty tight. Out of the blue, I get an offer to go back to Iraq working for a private company. It was an offer I couldn't refuse at the time...

 

Then this happened: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19401&hilit=iraq :(

 

So after many months of hospitalization, we can fast forward to 2010 and I'm back home in TX and getting to work on the MJ again, albeit at a much slower pace.

 

 

Jun 10'

 

I've been working (very slowly cause that's how I move now) on putting better axles (D44s w/ ARBs and 4.56 gears) and long arms on the MJ and getting it capable to run 35s dependably. I've collected an assortment of parts, even an entire lifted XJ, and I really need to get rid of some stuff, so I'll be selling off a bunch of stuff (and the XJ) soon.

 

Here's a shot of the MJ:

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I don't like the tires that are on it or the 17" rims. They were on the XJ that I bought and I wanted to try the 285s on the MJ since the truck has 3.73s. These things will go away soon, I hate em.

 

First pics of parts I've gathered. Most came from CL, I haven't been able to do any JY'ing lately.

 

Tires: I had previously purchased a set of new 33" Pro Comp Extreme MTs but I found a guy that wanted to downgrade from 35s. So we traded. Four 33's on soft eights plus 160 bucks for five 35" Bias Maxxis Creepy Crawlers on 16" D windows wheels. Good trade for me! One is out of the pic.

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Axles: The front is an older Dynatrac HP44 with 4.56 gears, an ARB and alloy shafts. The rear is an MJ D44 I got from a guy when I called about a J10 44,,,,turns out he had sold his MJ and had the 44 still laying around. Got it for 150.

 

Here's the MJ 44 freshened up by Fort Worth Gear and Axle with an ARB and 4.56s....the 8.8 in the picture was going to go in the MJ until I found the MJ 44. The 1-ton tie rod and drag link is from a Down East Off Road Hi Steer kit that I picked up off CL.

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I'll just divide this up into several posts....

 

The main part of the Down East Hi Steer kit. It comes with the 1-ton steering, spacers, and S10 calipers (I think). Edit: This kit is essentially a standard US passenger side WJ knuckle and an export (UK,AUS) drivers side WJ knuckle. They're pre-reamed from Down East for the 1 ton tie rod ends.

 

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Transfer Case:

 

I picked up a NP241J with the 4:1 low ratio...This'll go in the MJ. I also have a new Rhino clutch, but I really want a external slave AX15 bellhousing before I put it in.

 

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Here's a shot of the front D44:

4686672381_bb0031af76_b.jpg

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Oh yeah,,,just a little tip for you boys. Ball joints only go in and come out of the knuckle in one direction.... It doesn't matter hard hard you try, you cannot press them out the wrong way.

 

Back to the pics:

 

Bumpers and Sliders: All from JCR. Don't mind the rust, I didn't because I was going to have them blasted and coated properly. But I decided to prep and paint them myself.

 

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The old bumpers: The rear was hastily welded onto my old MJ bumper brackets with angle iron. It worked for its purpose. It was built by a guy for a cherokee with trimmed rear panels. But I wasn't about to cut my rust free bed to bring it in closer. No mind though, I've got the JCR rear bumper on now.

 

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The old front:

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Here's the new front bumper after coating and installation....don't mind the flares, I'm not done with them yet. I'll eventually trim the fender opening all the way around anyway. I think I'll get new (JY) flares anyway.

 

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The coated sliders:

 

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I'm a little embarrassed of my coating job on the bumpers and sliders. I decided I'd POR15 em myself instead of blasting and spraying poly on em and right after I got the first coat on a freak wind blew leaves out of the trees and dirt all over the first wet coat. From there it just went bad. I'm not too worried about looks though, corrosion protection is the main idea here. I may redo them later. I wish I had a shop to do this in! :fs1:

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Other axles:

I need to get done with all this swapping and get rid of some of these....

4687309182_c01fb86a16_z.jpg

From left to right:

1. 8.8 w/ new ARB and 4.56 gears - will go in the 96 XJ or the 98 ZJ

2. D44 from an early ford F100 I think - it has 3.08 gears and 5x5.5 bolt pattern. Got for for my brothers CJ.

3. 99' 8.8 with 4.10 gears - will go in the 96 XJ or the 98 ZJ

4. XJ D44 - got for 100 bucks - a total steal.

5. FSJ D44 - an early model with 2 piece axles and 4.11 gears, I got it just for the carrier and gears. Its slightly offset.

6. D30 w/ a lockright, 4.56s, and alloy shafts - will go in the 96 XJ or the 98 ZJ

 

There's a 242 and a dana 300 sitting there too.

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Got the Front D44 mocked up with knuckles and calipers....but I've got a problem with the ARB that came out of it, as well as with the axle shafts.

 

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here's the problem with the ARB that was in it: Its got a cracked cylinder cap and the flange cap carrier bearing spun on it. I've got a new one on order to replace this one. This is the older D44 style ARB (RD06) and there's a newer design out now (RD116).

 

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Also when I pulled the pinion I found this:

 

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I'm putting the front on hold until the new ARB arrives and I can take the axle to get re-geared.

 

In the meantime - the rear is almost ready. I've taken two extra sets of MJ springs and added an extra main leaf to the pack. Now the only thing left with this is the Brackets that sandwich the leafs together. Oh and the E Brake cables.

 

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Here's where I need some advice.

 

Check out the spline engagement on the front axle shafts. The short drivers side has plenty but the longer passenger side axle only has about 1/2" of engagement. I think the shaft is too short.

 

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Also check out the spacing between the shaft ends where they would be inside the carrier/locker.

 

4686674073_0d3db01f9d_z.jpg

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wow this is going to be a real nice mj i want some of your axles lol :cheers:

 

 

Thanks guys,

 

Actually I guess I'll be selling the D30 and 8.8 that's in it now. They've got 3.73s, the rear has a LSD with welded tubes. The rear is whining a little on the highway now for some reason so I'll be letting them go for cheap....

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Got the new JKS Shackles in, so it was time to swap out the rear axle:

 

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The old ones contain most of the rust that was on this truck...its a Colorado truck so its practically rust free, although when I was under it today I noticed a line of rust behind the cab at the bottom in between the bed and the cab. :fs1: I also had to cut 3 of the 6 leaf/shackle bolts with an angle grinder. They were seized to the inner metal bushing. You can see on in the pic....

 

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It was frrreeeaakkin' hot! Some shade was in order:

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Here's a shot of me with the back end up, had to get it up pretty high, just for reference, I'm 6'2"....dang I'm getting a wee bit hefty...

 

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New steel brake line for the rear:

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Got the 8.8 out finally. I have to admit, I've had help from my brother and my neighbors on this. I am just really not able to physically do this anymore. I can, but I am moving really slow, not to mention the temperature is touching 95F. I could have swapped the entire drivetrain and both axles in an afternoon before my injury but now I am barely getting around. Without help I knew it would be almost impossible. Its why I went with the tires and springs already on the axle, that way I could just roll it under. A year ago I would have just muscled a 300 lb axle in place,,,,,now, not so much. :shake:

 

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By the end of the day yesterday I got the new D44, springs and 35's sitting under the MJ.

 

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Today, I finished tightening the spring bolts, swapped out the 8.8 driveshaft flange, hooked up the brakes and bled em, and got the shocks installed.

 

Ah ha! This MJ D44 is back where it belongs - under another MJ - Mine!!!!,,,,,(mad laughter) :banana:

 

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I've kept the brake proportioning valve. I guess I may remove it one day but I figure if it works then I'll leave it. I'm sort of - of that mindset anyway. I won't cut the bed or the rear flares, I scoured the JY last year searching for all the correct vacuum hoses....I just want to keep things either stock or easily removed and placed back to stock without screwing something up. I opted for Motion's SOA kit vs welding on new perches. It fit like a glove and gives me the option of using the D44 sprung under, or in another future MJ.

 

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When I got everything hooked up out back I just couldn't resist taking out the MJ. So I did a little 2WD trip up to Proctor lake, (right up the road) and snapped a couple of shots with the MJ on a side of a hill. The front is still 3.73s and the new 44 in back has 4.56s, so there was no 4x4 wheeling.

 

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I'm pretty happy the flex of the new 5 leaf pack:

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Man, I really need to fix that dang dent in the passenger door :shake:

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This was the last shot, then I called it a night...I love this truck. :yes:

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Next I'm going to remove the Transfer case and transmission, get the flywheel reground for the new Rhino clutch and swap in the NP 241J. After that, it'll be the Rock Krawler long arms:

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Great work, I am jealous of you guys who do all this great work. The last major thing (for me) I did on my own was change my fuel injectors. I succeeded but decided at that point it is better for me to pay someone else to do it. Took me 3 times as long as it would have taken you. Keep up the good work and great pics coming. Also, plans for the body, paint?

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Thanks, I try to do the best with what I have. I just got a used mig welder, once I'm better at welding then I hope to make some great improvements. The guys on this forum have really done some awesome work and I'll be plagiarizing a lot of their ideas.

 

I might consider addressing the paint and body after the drive train is squared away. If I do, I'd like to get a straight bed and tailgate though. I bashed my tailgate when I got caught on a steep hill collecting firewood and the bed rails are all dented up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the new ARB for the front in last week....and finally dropped off the front D44 at Fort Worth Gear and Axle to get the gears set up.

 

Here's everything it came with:

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Next is to remove the front D30 and get the long arms set up,,,,that'll probably take me a while...Thanks for staying tuned! :thumbsup:

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the perspective makes that box look HUGE compared to the t-case. :clapping:

 

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:popcorn: It is a special edition texas air locker. aka full hot air

 

 

Yep, exactly 101F worth of hot air, so I'm sitting inside watching episodes of Lost with the AC on full blast. :brows:

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