Jump to content
drcomanche

DrComanches "Frankenstein" Build (Graphic Images Ahead)

Recommended Posts

It's been a little while since I posted, but that's only because I'm lazy(and camera-less... the ex took it). I took a few pics with my cell this afternoon so I can update everybody on whats happening. First of all, I changed out my worn and beaten Iroks for some relatively cheap(but not to say lacking in quality) General Grabber Red Letters.

 

 

Another upgrade for me that I recently got, was an all gray interior, so now it can match and cover where pieces were missing.

 

 

During this upgrade, I somehow managed to torque the head off the bottom driver's side seat belt bolt, leaving is firmly cemented in place. I tried using channelocks, die sets, torched it, and then, in the end, drilling it out. I managed to get a 7/64 bit through then a 9/32, then a 5/16, and then the 3/8ths snapped off the the hole... No amount of drill bits nor dremel items would remove it. So, I just gave up on it and thought out my own plan here.

 

The mangled bolt end.

 

 

So, I drilled it through on the frame rail overlaps for the added strength, and that way, later I can get some thicker steel plate and weld directly to the frame, and never have to worry about my seatbelt again. Still have to pick up the grade 8 hardware for it, though. All it took was a little trimming on the plastic cover for the end and it fit.

 

 

In the process of trying to remove the bolt, I managed to damage the stock speaker, which really wasn't that hard considering it had all the tensile strength of a tissue. I went and grabbed some cheap replacements for it and installed those, which offer a considerable amount more volume than the OE.

 

 

I have installed some rear calipers I found online. They are GM Large calipers with the 7 inch mounting spacing, which rid me of my squeaky pads in the back. These calipers also give me the advantage of now having a proper e-brake, since they have that provision. I just need the cables and handle now. I don't have any pics of that one, though.

 

And my final report is I got around to cleaning, sanding, and priming my axles. The front one is about to get a TnT truss, since I found a guy willing to help me weld it for free, and from there, I would like to be able to paint it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, I received a new ignition coil in the mail, which, asside from my O2 sensor are the last parts I need for a complete tune up. It was a painless procedure that took maybe 10 minutes and the return was pretty good. It idles much lower and smoother than it used to.

 

New Coil

 

The old coil, and I didn't notice till it was pulled out but there are cracks running all across it.

 

Installed

 

I also have some pictures of the rear brakes I installed with the parking brake provision.

 

And for further elaboration, here is how the seatbelt ended up working....

 

Few more parts will be arriving soon, So I'm looking forward to some good repair time on the truck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work, to help with shifting into reverse try putting it into 3rd before going into reverse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday, I went to a car show at my local hardware store, just to look around, and the people running admissions said I should pull the truck around and put it on display with the rest. It was a bit out of place next to all the classic cars and modern muscle(the only other offroad vehicle was a CJ at the complete opposite end of the lot), but I got more than a few looks and quite a few conversations started over it. In general, it got very good review from the lot of people, and a few who offered to buy it from me(to which I obviously replied no).

 

At the show.

 

Now, today, I went to an exhaust shop to have them get my stubborn O2 sensor out which they eventually did, after a while. It runs a bit better now, but it still idles very rough, like it's missing a cylinder every now and then. Guess that leads to the other few sensors I have left that aren't new.

 

I dropped by the hardware store and after eyeing the impact drills and such for a while, I went to the paints section and got a few cans of primer, a few of rustoleum bedliners, and a few hammered black, for the axles. I got a few sheets of heavy grit sandpaper and went home to continue working on my roll bar. Previously, I had ground them all the way down to bare metal and primed them up to be bedlined. Today, I got around to bedlining them, and overall, I like how they turned out. It dried quickly, and seems to be a very durable coating. A few touch up pieces and it will be ready to install, after I get new hardware.

 

 

And, with some thought, I realized something I hadn't before (and I'm actually ashamed of it) that I could bedline over primer. I hadn't really considered it before because I was going to do some herculiner when I could afford it, and when I could manage to scrape off the PO's previous bedlining job that had failed. Now, my truck bed was a whole new project for me. I started grinding down the bed rails to prime them. While doing so, I quickly realized something. Old Herculiner ate sandpaper like Cupcakes at a weight loss convention. I could seriously go a few inches of sanding before my 80 grit sandpaper became as effective as 150 grit. So I didn't really get far in it, and I'm not terrible concerned with making it absolutely smooth, since eventually, the new herculiner will throw off the uneven edges. I managed to get one bed rail done, the tailgate, and one wheel arc till it got dark. I'll try to get the rest tomorrow.

 

Before

 

During

 

And After

 

I have also been having some trouble with the any paint on top surfaces. It seems to be cracking with very small cracks. I tried waxing it up to restore it a bit, but it didn't work very well, so my next option is to take some fine grit sandpaper and redo the surface.

 

Here is a pic of what I'm talking about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I clay barred it a few days ago. Most of the cracking and staining needs to be ground off, so tomorrow, I guess I'll get some fine sandpaper and try that out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, yesterday, with the 4 or so hours I had remaining in my day, I decided to scrape some more of my old bedliner off and continue on. I managed to get only a few sections done in that time because, like I said, that bedliner eats sandpaper. I purchased a floor scraper to assist, and that does ok, but ends up digging the edges in, leaving the center still bedlined, but the outer edges all the way to metal.

 

 

And then today, upon arrival home, I found that my inch pound needle torque gauge had arrived, and after breifing the instructions, went out to fix my pinion seal. I won't get into the details, but I didn't have all the things I really needed for this, but managed to complete it anyway. I was taking pictures to do a write up, but about 30 minutes into it, I was to oily/greasy to hold my phone. I can see it being a fairly easy procedure, if I had had all the right tools, which I didn't. But, a few hours later, I filled the diff back up, cleaned off the bottom of it(so I can tell if it leaks again), and took it for a good 20 minute test drive. So far, no leaks, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for it. I guess Friday will be my next day to work on the truck, so I suppose I'll be back to the bed by then.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, I decided to paint my rear axle up, since the pinion seal has been fixed and there's no worry about it leaking on anything. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the torque on my wrench to loosen the leaf spring bolts, so I only did the center section. I chose the Hammered style paint, because the axle housing itself was pretty rough, and trying to smooth that out would take forever.

 

I did notice some odd divits in the metal around the drivers side shock and the breather. Not sure what that's from.

 

 

And, all finished up with paint.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, after my starter failed me one too many times, I went to the parts store and got a new one, and while there, I remembered that my valve cover was leaking, so I picked up a gasket too, since it was cheap. The starter was a cut and dry repair, took the old out and put the new on with no trouble.

 

 

Forgot to get a finished pic on it, but you get the idea. After that, I switched over to the valve cover. The bolts gave me no problems, since they were all fairly loose to start with. As soon as I got them all out and pried the cover up a bit, I knew I had unleashed hell...

 

Now, there was so much deposit of gunked up burned oil in here that it was literally an inch of deposit in between every lifter. I couldn't just leave it like that, so I took to cleaning it all out with a screwdriver and a shop vac.

 

 

I managed to get everything fairly clean before it was pitch black outside, but it will have to be finished tomorrow. This was certainly unexpected, and hopefully, my engine will improve from this. Now I have to look forward to the oil pan... :fs1:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thats ruff. It appears who ever had the engine before you didnt believe in oil changes. May consider adding some seafoam and letting run about half hour and change oil. Helps liquify those deposits

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice truck ya got there.

 

POs usually have an awesome way of surprising you on down the road.

 

True story.

 

I managed to get a bit more work done on the 24th. Got the top end all cleaned up, or at least as best as I could. It ran great, but now I need to make time for the oil pan, too. I went to turn in my core and found out that my starter wasn't really the problem, although it was still well worn, so I don't regret the replacement. While there, I got some new battery terminals to try that out. It was an easy repair, and so far, although I haven't tried it warmed up, it seems to fire every time.

 

I also got to work on my bed a bit more, and decided to use some Rustoleum Bed liner as a cheap color match for the bed. It has a good tough surface, but it doesn't cover the bed imperfections quite as well, however, I figure I'll just go over it later with some Herculiner, or maybe a spray in. I put 3 coats on the bedrails and the tailgate, and overall, I think it's going well.

 

 

I'm liking the lack of red showing. It really adds to the look of the truck. :D

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

by anychance you got them spacers still. i know it been awhile, i fell off the face of the earth for a while haha. also details on that sending unit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still have the spacers, sorry it took so long for me to get back again. Seems like a constant back and forth. As for the sender, it's from a Cherokee, so it won't fit the Comanche.

 

Some progress today, which is pretty nice, since I've been all out trying to find out why it won't start. I replaced my battery terminals in the hopes that it would fix my starting problem, but to no avail.

 

Today, I got out and put my new headliner in the truck, and man, does it make a difference. This brings my interior up to 85 percent complete leaving the sound proofing, insulation, carpeting, and the little detail things like b pillar lights(I also wouldn't mind some of the newer seats). I put in some reflective insulation on the roof before I put the headliner up for a little extra. I took off my shelf it unit from the front that had water damage from a poorly installed front window which had ruined the felt like surface it had. I spent an hour or so removing the rest with some denatured alcohol that turned whatever it was to putty. I took it to it's bare metal, which isn't a bad look and matches my steering wheel spokes. I then reinstalled everything and then installed the visors I had put off for a while.

 

 

My oil pan seal as well as my new rear main are en route, with the addition of some new custom battery cables, so more work will be coming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, in these past few days, in an effort to get the work done before the storm hits, I have completed a few things. I finally got around to doing my oil change, dropping the pan, and replacing all the seals, and cleaning. Compared to the top of my engine, the bottom was very well mannered. Not a lot of buildup at all asside from a thin film of old oil.The pump looked clean, and the pan was imaculate, with little to no buildup.

 

I popped off the bearing cap and replaced my incredibly leaky rear main seal, and pretty much put everything back together. I did notice that my bearing race was a bit scratched up, but in otherwise decent condition.

 

 

I also noticed some small drips from my rear axle again, so I'm going to replace the yoke this time, since it was pretty badly grooved when I did the pinion seal. Perhaps I will change out my u joints too.

 

 

In other news, I went to work on the 25th (before the repair) and when I left I had the lucky chance of seeing this drive by.

 

 

I ran over into the lot to meet the guy and told him that it was a great looking truck. His response? "oh, you just like the name on the back of it, that's all..."

 

I laughed and said "No, it's more than the name" and pointed towards mine about 30 feet away. We talked for about 15 minutes. The guy himself was an older fellow, in his 70s, I would guess, and had owned that truck since it came off the assembly in 1987. 150000 miles on it, all original parts and paint. He DD'd it for about 10 years and then garage kept it the rest, driving it casually. No sign of rust anywhere. I had no idea that there was any more than the 2 I had always seen around here. Pretty interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Small World! I came within a whisker of buying that exact truck in 2010! Only reason I didn't is at the time I desperately needed a new daily driver, and it needed a lot work done to get it into that kind of shape. I had neither the time or space to give it the work it needed and deserved, so I ended up buying a stock Cherokee instead. I remember at one point in time is was Red and White and lived on my block!

 

Truck is looking great! Let's get some more updates on it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it sure has been a while since I've done any kind of updating on here, but with a bit more money now, and a new dd car, I can finally commit some real attention to this thing without worrying about transportation. Just today, I ordered a custom truss from tnt customs to fix the nightmare that is my front axles brackets, and give it some beef. Should be here within 10 business day, but now I need to get it welded on. I have no equipment to weld nor any experience, so I guess I'm just finding a friend or something. I'm also looking into grabbing some square steel channel and cutting my rockers out to weld them in giving me some rock rails and subsequently taking away the unknown amount of rust behind the soft rockers. I'm pretty sure I saw a build thread where someone did that, I'll just have to find it again.

 

 

Small World! I came within a whisker of buying that exact truck in 2010! Only reason I didn't is at the time I desperately needed a new daily driver, and it needed a lot work done to get it into that kind of shape. I had neither the time or space to give it the work it needed and deserved, so I ended up buying a stock Cherokee instead. I remember at one point in time is was Red and White and lived on my block!

 

Truck is looking great! Let's get some more updates on it!

 

Yeah it is a small world. I figured somebody else had to be looking at this thing. It wasn't a bad start, although it did need some real work done. And I still see that paint creeping up at the seems and under the hood. At some point I want to get it fully painted, but that costs a bit too much. 

 

As it turns out, I was also looking for a dd and this was a bit of a time crunch for me. I had a few months after getting it to make sure it was driveable and that was about the time I started this build thread. I was just too hard headed to pick something easy to work with.  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, I decided to go out and see what I could find and fix on Frankenstein. For a long time(and I'm sure my post is up in the tech section still) I haven't been able to get it to start on its own. I replaced battery cables (which I just realized, I didn't post any pics of), starter, battery, wires, etc. Pretty much anything I could find in the system that dealt with starting power. I went out today and got the last piece I could think of, being an ignition starter switch. I dropped my column and installed it(with much stretching and bending trying to get the bolts back in) and put it all back together to see if this had solved the problem. Spoiler alert... It didn't. It was still hesitant to turn over. I sat and thought for a while trying to figure out if I had missed something, but came up with nothing. 

 

Now, when I first got it, there was some custom wiring done to it, especially since it was a spliced harness. One of the weird details was this switch on my lower dash.

 

Now, when that switch was pushed, it wouldn't turn over at all, but it had no effect when the vehicle was already started. When it was on, the vehicle would turn over. I though it a long shot, so I unhooked the wires and tagged them together.

 

And of course, it starts with no problem... So to recap, I spent a lot of money completely upgrading and replacing my power system, and the 1$ switch was the problem... In any case, at least I won't have to mess with the power system any time soon. Since my dash was off, I decided to have a look at my ac/heater unit because my temperature slider wouldn't go all the way down. I found out that that was it's full range of motion, so I guess it's not really a problem. Putting it back together, I dealt with this terrible plug that is falling apart from what I can only imagine was some chemical electrical enhancer or something. 

 

I considered replacing that at some point if I could find the part somewhere, and I started to go through my glove box and console box, seeing what hardware I had to put the dash back together. While looking in my console, I found this.

 

Extra parts that I just randomly find save the day again. I spliced it in and now, no more blower speed problems. I also switched out my glove box lid with one that wasn't chipped in the corner, just for minor appearance improvement.

 

I tried again to find out where I could get my little reverse light harness from the trans to the engine bay and, by some stroke of luck, I found a topic on jeepforum talking about just that, and while nobody could find one, there was a link to the type of connector it is. I purchased some of those, and as soon as they arrive, I will have reverse lights. Because my engine harness is more modern, however, I will have to clip the newer style plug off and rewire it with the older one that I ordered. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Small update. Just got my new truss today, although I had to call them back because it was missing a few parts. Now I just need to cut all my old brackets off and get this thing welded. If I can manage to get all the brackets off my axle and get it prepped, there's a shop here that will weld the truss for $75.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for( and by that I mean it's really dirty and actually quite a large undertaking, all things considered) I have finally started my axle prep. Since it will be off(and it's old as dirt) I'm going to make this a full rebuild of the front axle. I began by jacking it up(which, as you'll see, took some innovation to actually maintain due to the truck being at that perfect height between jack stands and high stands) and removing whatever parts I could reach.

 

 

 

This was the result of the first half day working on it, since I get off at 3 every day now. Most of it was pulled apart but I was losing light so I stopped for the day. The next day was far more accomplished.

 

 

 

I broke it all free, save for the brake cables. I was hoping to keep those attached to the calipers, but the calipers seem to be attached to the axle. I'll have to wrench with that and see what I can do. One of my concerns was a high pitched hum that came from my transfer case when I had it in four wheel drive, so I split that open, hoping it wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. Turns out, it looks pretty good. No wear or chips. The fluid looks healthy and good(aside from leaking out of the sides of the axle) so I guess the noise is coming from somewhere else. During this dismantling process, I also discovered that my u joint for the front axle was bad, so I'll add that to the list of items to buy.

 

 

 

 

The hubs had frequently given be trouble, being hard to switch from 4 wheel to free, and because I'm stripping the axle, I took them apart too. Very dirty inside and I need a special tool to get the c clip out, so it is spared for now.

 

 

My goals for this are to:

Repaint my calipers, linkages, and y link in army green and everything else black

Replace my ball joints, hubs, axle seals, u joints, wheel bearings, diff cover, and perhaps brake pads

Strip axle to bare metal and have new truss welded on

Overall bring the axle back 100%

 

 

Two days from now, I will continue to disassemble it and try to start hitting it with the angle grinder. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Made more headway today. Got the axle completely stripped down aside from the carrier(I'm a bit intimidated to work with that). Learned a few new things about my truck, and one was that I need new u joints for the axles and the driveshaft. One of my axle u joints even had a chunk out of it.

 

 

All of them were a little worse for the wear with the rubber seals obliterated from use. I don't know if it's standard practice, but the axle u joints had a spot weld bridging the shafts and c clips, making them very hard to remove. My passengers side brake rotor has some very deep grooves in it from something. Guess those are getting replaced as well. The pads on the drivers side were ok with some light cracking on the edges. The passengers side back pad was destroyed. The brake had reached the screws/bolts and the grooves it carved into the rotors took their toll as well. 

 

 

I'm not exactly sure how to tell if the wheel bearings are bad since they seemed intact and in decent condition. The rest of it was simple to remove. My seals for the hub were different on each side, so that makes me wonder, and on only one side, I found what I think is an axle seal(although it wasn't in place and was destroyed).

 

 

 

My ball joints were impossible to move by hand so those are getting replaced too.

 

I don't know if there are inner axle seals, but I really don't want to take out the carrier, since I don't really have the tools for that, but if there are, I may not have a choice. All in all, a successful day. Now it's on to grinding the old brackets off and smoothing it out and then cleaning it up and getting it welded. 

 

 

 

On a side note, I also had a weird rusty metal ring between the passengers side hub and caliper holder...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×