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Ftpiercecracker's Labor Of Love

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Well, i have been putting this off for quite some time now. But now that i have all my pictures sorted out i think its time i start a Project page. Unfortunately, this will be updated very sparingly seeing as how i am an eternally broke college student.


Regretably i do not have any pictures from the day i bought it, but i will do my best to paint the picture.   



It was 2010 and I had just graduated from High School in middle tennessee and decided to take advantage of the 1 year "vacation" period financial aid gives newly graduated senoirs. I decided i would spend that time in our home in South Florida, Ft. Pierce to be precise, and work to pay for my food, gas, and a small amount of rent. I needed some kind of transportation of my own and had been searching Craigslist for quite some time without much luck. Fords and Dodges were out of the question, just my personel preference, and most chevys were either not 4x4, were beat to hell, or were to expensive. I had been in Forida now for about a week now and my brother was getting tired of chaperoning me around. Fortunately for him and me my mom called and said she had found an interesting add on craigslist about some kind of 1990 jeep truck, she said it was called a Comanche.  She said it was 4x4, but had some rust, but in general looked like something i should check out.  So the following day, i called, it was indeed for sale $1500 bucks, started and drove fine, but had a few cosmetic issues. We set up a time to meet that same day. Me and my brother went to look at it together, at the time he was the "mechanic". We arrived to find a small squatty jeep pickup truck. It was white with the word ELIMINATOR on the bed sides, crome trim, a nice bull bar, a straight rear bumper, dent free straight body and factory skid plates for the steering linkage, fuel tank and t-case.  Now at the time i knew about the J10s, 20s, and Kaisers, but i had never heard of a comanche until now and only knew what a quick google search could tell me. Fairly reliable and fairly rare, good i like unique. The truck was in decent shape with the typical and fortunately minimal rust above the fender wells, at the back of the rocker panel, and on the bottom of the tail gate. After asking a bunch of questions and learning that on top of the rust the  a/c, manual windows, and radio all did not work. The truck did not start with the key either, the owners had hard wired a toggle switch straight from the battery to the starter. It worked fine, just turn the key to run and flip the toggle, not to big a deal, but it did mean some kind of electrical issue. Now knowing the full extent of the trucks problems there was no way i was gonna pay the full 1500 and so ensued several minutes of intense negotiation. Eventually money prevailed and we agreed on a price of a 1000 dollars cash. The lady was even nice enough to put in the bill of sale, which i still have, that if the truck was NOT to make it home i.e. broke down, i could return it for a full refund. Either way on a hot July, 6th, 2010 i bought my very first. A White 1990 Jeep Comanche Eliminator, Vin# 1J7FJ66L0LL174338 


This is the oldest picture i have of my Comanche. Probably taken a good month after i bought it. I had taken the truck back in a large track of woods behind my cousin's house were we would all ride motorcycles. We called it the Circle Track because it was basically a large sugar sand clearing with a great big mud hole in the center. This is a deep hole on the outside of the center that i let the truck slide a little to far into.




From the day i bought the truck it was used as both my daily driver and weekend/daily warrior. I can't count the number of times my friends would be left breatheless as i walked through mud holes they didnt even attempt.  They loved driving it to, for such a small truck it would really sh*t and get.


While i was in FL i had the front bumper torn off, my muffler blown apart, and several close calls due to the worst electrical problem i had, or anyone else i knew, ever encountered. To make a long story short, me and my parents spent close to $1000 in parts and labor trying to fix what ended up being a single loose nut. Ya, that nut. The one at the end of the dip stick.


There are SO many stories i could tell its not even funny, driving wihtout axle shafts, brakes going out, letting my friend borrow the truck for the day, stuck for 6 hrs waiting for my brother to get off work, Caliper seizing in rush hour traffic, learning about CAD.



Unfortuately i was forced to leave my beloved MJ in Florida due to the eletrical problem that was not figured out until almost a year down the road. To get me back home and act as tranportation i bought another little truck. This time it was not an MJ but instead an 1986 Isuzu p'up for $1900. It was by far and large the worst deal i have ever made. But i that is another story, this is about Comanche's for crying out loud.


Fast foward one entire year, after working all year i had finally saved enough money to pay for both a car trailer and gas in my dad's truck to go down and retrieve my long lost love.




More to come and don't worry i have TONS of pictures to put up once i get to that point

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Well it was around august in 2011 when i finally was able to bring the Comanche up to our place in Tennessee. It was several months before i figured out the electrical problem, thanks to the good folks at JeepForum.com  Once i knew i had the electrical issue knocked out i drove the truck some just about every day whether to work or just to play around on a few local trails. At the time I was doing hours and hours of research on jeep strokers and how they were built. I learned tons from the guys on Jeepstrokers.com and finally decided that it was the right path for me. I found my machine shop, bought a 4.0 short block off craigslist, dropped it off and waited and

Saved my money. 9 Months, 2100 hundred dollars invested, and my own motor pulled later, my machinist and I determined I was 300 short of having enough to build my stroker. I had just left my job, so i could focus on college and did not have single dime extra to put into the project. I have never been so unhappy to recieve 2000 dollars in all my life. I was so close it was literally painful, but the money simply wasnt there.


It turned out for the better because I ended up needing every cent of the 2K to pay for college classes. So, now my MJ sat engine less in a bay of our barn.








88 cherokee, craigslist motor $150


79 CJ 258, craigslist also, 100% complete engine for $70, all acc, intake, exhaust, carb. Unfortunately it was determined later the 12cw crank was damaged beyond repair.




Motor ready for machine shop















"Work shop"


Original 89 Renix motor, still ran like a top when i pulled it.



Tearing the engine down




Engine Pulled


More pictures, as soon as my computer unfreezes :fs1:




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Sadly there is no "building" as such :( , more of a poor man's restoration, but as soon as that money fairy drops in again you can bet your butt there will be.



So where was I. . .




Engine pulled and bay gutted





So now with the Comanche inoperable for the forseable future, i decided now was a good time to start on restoration and general maintenance.



Off with the bed



Original taillights still fully intact and old rusted holy gas tank




After a little poking it was determined the bed had a few rust spots, it was the same story on the other side too.






Rust on the bed frame




Dirt caked leaf springs




After a good power washing, ignore the arm




Then came time for sanding and paint,




I got impatient and painted a section before i remembered to take a picture.





I had got a killer deal on a paint stores entire stock of this stuff (8 bottles for $8 bucks) and decided to paint the entire frame inside and out.





Final product after painting



Took about 4 good warm sunny days for it to cure, but once it did this stuff meant business.





With the frame more or less finished, work on the engine bay and interior could begin.



Driver side carpet





Oh joy




Peddle this thing Fred!



Driver side carpet and batting pulled. Extensive repairs had to be made as the rust traveled up the entire length of the frame rail




Passenger side was literally soaking wet, but was in decent shape overall





Driver side before any work



One sheet of 12 gauge cold roll for the main floor and about 4 2x2 sheets of 22 gauge for the really technical bendy sections










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Cutting begins








Finished cutting of the rust and onto restoration. 2 coats of rust inhibitor and 2 coats of black tractor paint






I used extremely thin wood paneling and a jig saw to mock up how I needed to cut the sheet of 12 gauge.




A really B.F.H become my best friend during fitment of of the floor plate.




Only picture i have for a finished product




Finished product Passenger side







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Those were so horribly rusty. D: I would have scrapped the thing.

Scrapped it!? There is still some body there, that is considered just about mint here in Ohio. :thumbsup:


Looks like it is coming along nicely. I love the Eliminators, so can't beat it. What's your opinion on that rust protector stuff you used? How do you think it compares to por-15? If it's similar I might look for some because I'm sure it is cheaper.

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Those were so horribly rusty. D: I would have scrapped the thing.

Scrapped it for that tiny bit of rust? I wouldn't lol. If you think his MJs even remotely bad, you should see mine.


Anyways man I like your MJ and I will be following this build. Good Luck!

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Thats not that bad pretty much a clone of mine except mine has rust on the right front floor also.got mine dirt cheap but is only 2wd for now .bought a parts cherokee for the 4wd but it ended up being so solid after gutting the interior decided to build that up first.so the comanchee is on the side burner for now till the xj is done .still up in the air about a 4wd swap might keep it 2wd and enjoy the descent mpg and power sort of a street truck.keep up the good work when your finished and driving, it will be worth all the work.

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Time to paint




The entire floor board of the truck got 2 coats, sorry no pictures. Turned out real nice.






With the floor boards painted reassembly of the interior could begin.





Fancy insulation from EZ cool came in





Laying into place, clearly a pro job. 






I went super cheap and got batting from an XJ at the junkyard, turned out to be pretty clean acutally

Image Not Found





Then the new premolded carpet came in, practically identical to the original color.




FYI even if you think the carpet needs to be cut, don't. Ask me how i know this.



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MMMmmm new carpet smell









I left it like this for quite some time, not putting the rest of the interior like the seats, console and dash.







Done with the interior for the time being, I started on painting the engine bay, roof and a little body repair where my driver's side cab corner kissed a corner post.




Engine Bay prep, I used about 3 cans of this stuff for the bulk paint remover. Burns like a @#$%^&* ! Seriously, if you use it be VERY careful.





After a little sanding








Painted, talk about shiny, thankfully it dulled after a few days.






So now the engine bay is done, onto the roof.







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  • 2 months later...

Alrighty boys, i gonna pick up the pace a little. I know i was really dragging this out with every little detail.



The roof stripped down to bare metal. . . .




My state of the art paint over spray protector. . . . 




Primer of choice. . . .





Primed . . . .  





Painted and Cleared. . . . I also did my best to properly wet sand between each coat.





If you are wondering what the holes were from, i can only guess the original owner had a either a wind foil or more likely one of those sun visors.





Also cleaned and painted my sliding window frame. . . .







This has all been months ago so i am still trying to figure out the order in which i did all this stuff. . . .   :hmm:



More to come as soon as i can get them uploaded to photobucket.




Pulling my new engine. . .






The donor. . . . . a 93 auto 4x4 ZJ  Good M&T means good motor and transmission.





I was working 7 days a week at the time and going to school so i simply did not have the time to pull the engine myself, so i put an ad up on good ole craigslist. 150 for someone to pull an engine doesnt sound to bad does it?  Must not have been, because i had the guy who would do it within the day i posted the ad.




My assistant Malachi

























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Getting the old girl ready.




Bringing home the new engine.






Problems . . .


With the ZJ motor, there was no pilot bearing because it was an auto, so i had to install one. Problem was the ZJ's pilot bearing had an INNER diameter that was too large for the ax-15 snout and the MJ's pilot bearing had an OUTER diameter that was to large to fit inside the ZJ crankshaft. With a little grinding i convinced the MJ pilot bearing to fit in ZJ crank.




Engine + Transmission = almost there.




Engine installed





Squid style intake manifold with properly matched intake/exhaust gaskets. Yes i removed the spacer and fixed the jerry rigged pipe clamp on the fuel hose.




"New" Ford 5.0      4 hole injectors. I put them in a clean glass jar filled with injector cleaner shook them like crazy and let them soak for a day and a half.





First fire, there might be no sound.






Finally moving under her own power again. . . . The mud you see is just from going up and down my drive way.





Putting humpty dumpty back together again . . . .


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Front fenders removed for painting. . . . .






Painting inside as well after thorough cleaning and sanding . . .





Fenders, scrubbed and sanded . . . .








Cleaning up and painting tail lights. I think i'm getting a little ahead of myself.







New B-pillar lights . . . .


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  • 3 months later...

Ok i gotta ask....What the heck attacked you arm!?




On the other hand, great work!



Remember the whole bit i wrote about not listening to your own brain?


I was cutting a section of pipe from the bottom up with my angle grinder. Incredibly dum, I know. The 3ft pipe was only welded on one end, the other was just in open air. I knew it was a very foolish way to cut the pipe, but i did it anyway. About 3/4 of the way through, it did exactly what i had expected it to do. The 2ft of pipe that i was cutting off came down and pinched the cutting wheel of the grinder, shattering it, leaving it super jagged and also giving me the worst case of "kickback" ever. The sequence of event; pipe fell, which pinched the blade, which shattered the blade and kicked the grinder with what was left of the blade back at me. Jagged wheel still rotating at 11,000rpm took a chunk out of my forearm when it hit and gave me several cat scratches before i could blink. 

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