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88 Comanche Chief - 'the UniTruggy'

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Hi :waving: I'm Dan, and I have an addiction. In the past 7 months, I've had a 2000 WJ, a 1989 Xj, a 1988 XJ, and a 1977 FSJ Cherokee Chief (the last 3 were all 2-door models). Only the FSJ still remains. My girlfriend also has a DD 2001 TJ; yea, she got bit by the bug too. Anyway, I felt like I needed another one, so last Sunday, I drove to Elko, NV to grab a 1988 Comanche Chief and dragged it back to Salt Lake City. Did I actually need another Jeep? No. Especially since I live in an apartment with limited parking. Did I want one? YES. I've been looking for a Comanche shortbed for years now, and it was either not the right Jeep, or had the wrong bed, or the wrong drive train. Anyway, I found this one on CL for cheap :brows: with the 4.0 and a busted transmission in the bed. Perfect. But how out the rust situation?? More on that later.

Enough talking; I know you all like to look at pretty things instead of read.

don't worry; the front bumper is in the bed...

...as is the transmission, transfer case, a spare wheel, driveshafts, and some other junk.

tailgate is solid

everything lines up well on both sides.

a little bit of damage here, but that'll probably just get trimmed off anyway

doors are in good shape.

as are the rockers,

and the frame

no problems with the drip rails (passenger side looks identical)

engine is dirty, but was told it would run and that it had a recent rebuild

and the part you've all been waiting for, the floors:

driver (those are shadows, not rust)



So thats what I've got. Plans include an aw4/np231 swap since the t-case in the bed is an np272 :nuts: I wanna get it running first, and then this winter it'll go into 'cocoon' mode and hopefully come out of my garage next spring as a beautiful butterfl-, er rock crawler. I'd love to find a ford d60 and a 14 bolt to go under there, i already have some 35's and 37's, but may want to go bigger (ok, *will* want to go bigger), which will probably mean going 231/231 doubler or 231/300 doubler. I don't know, but I've got some time to figure it out. Def thinking about doing a dove tail and narrowing the nose as well. This will most likely be a pretty slow build, as everything will be paid for with cash; no credit cards here.

and for good measure, here's a dancing banana :banana:

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how rare is it?? i know they only made the chief for 2 years, but what kind of numbers are we talking?? its gonna get wheeled though; thats why i bought it. besides that, the interior is completely gone, other than the bench, and the dash is a mess, and it won't have the original drivetrain from the tranny on out, so it won't be a collectors item. its a Jeep, and will be used as one.

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  • 1 month later...

so a mini update: picked up a mated ax15/231 last week that came with the correct driveshafts, new clutch/flywheel, and a bag of greasy bolts. it's still not in yet, but should be in the next week or so. then last night, i picked up a C&C 14bolt, that will be getting a disc swap and a shave. still gotta find a front 60

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ive always been a fan of MJs. I guess I'm a sucker for mildly unique vehicles. I've been searching forever, and being from new england originally, that search was rough. then coming out to utah, it came slightly easier, but i never found the right one. then this one popped up and i knew i had to pull the trigger. I wasn't looking for a chief in particular, but rather for a shortbed with no rust. i wouldve preferred an auto, but the swap was a bit more indepth, and i found the ax15/np231 locally for pretty cheap, and out of an 89 white shortbed sport truck that was totally by some highschool kid :(


anyway, don't expect a running, wheeling, fire breathing monster anytime soon; I'm hoping to not owe a dime for anything on this truck once its all together. since its also my first serious build, you'll most likely be seeing quite a few dumb noob questions. (when this happens, remind me about the search button, cause I'm sure that my issues have been someone else's issues before me). want to do as much as possible myself, so i can learn something, while supporting myself and my family, instead of supporting someone else's.


so enough :typing:; i need to be doing more :wrench: so i can comanche.gif

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  • 1 month later...

update time!!


ok so the update is that nothing has happened since the last update, except the fact that i have *part* of a tcase crossmember. yes, i said 'part'. the guy I'm getting it from used to have a fab shop, and had a few of these laying around. well it seems like i got the last one, but he can't find the side plates for it. :fs1: so mating the engine to the rest of the still-out-of-the-truck drivetrain will have to wait a little bit longer.



so i decided tonight, after not having any free time in the garage lately, to step up and see what i can figure out with the engine. My findings?? i don't know whats missing, whats necessary, or whats wrong. here's what it looks like right now:



now obviously it needs a battery, (and a good cleaning), and the AC lines are missing, but then there are 2 wiring connections that arent attached to anything; one can be seen just above the throttle body, and the other is a bit harder to see, but its just below the vacuum connector and to the left.


what are these?? and what should they be attatched to?? and do you guys see anything else thats missing?? i have a Haynes, but the more i stare at it, the dumber i feel :dunce:


edit: theres another engine pic in the first set of pics in post #1

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the one near the vacuum block is the other tps sensor. the manual (5spd) only uses one as the automatics (aw4) use 2 for the tps and the cruise control. i have the spare one just laying there too.



here is mine..if you look under my vacuum block you can kinda see it tucked underneath


the other looks like the Crank sensor plug.

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