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So I bought a $700 Comanche as my first truck not knowing anything about this jeep model line.  Couldn't go over 55 due to a violent shake for the 4 hr drive after trying to get money back.  So glad he wouldn't take it back, I love this rattling rust bucket!!!  So I finally crawled under it to get more acquainted and take off the pipe clamps he had on the leaf springs and discovered that the main leaf is snapped through.  I have been reading about lifts and the like and now know I can't do any bastard packs.  The local yard has TWO 'manches and am headed over on monday.  Almost to my question.  This thing is rusted out all over and has been "repaired" by a previous owner with Great STUFF expanding foam and bondo.  The engine however was rebuilt just a few thousand miles ago (tech college project passed with flying colors) and anyone that pokes their head under the hood says they are impressed at how well it runs.  I have started a DIY wildernest build made for the truck and want to own one forever.


I am driving to california for 4 to 6 months of work on Oct 20th.  Do I

1) buy one of the donnors at the yard and pay a shop to do an engine swap (I don't have the time to do it and fix it and I don't have the expertise to do it right first shot)

2) Take the leaves off one of the donors (grind the rusted studs off mine and hope there is 15k worth of life in the mounts)

3) Take whatever MJ one of you lovely people want to sell me ;) / hobble till I find one I can afford


I do live music and stage work and enjoy the great outdoors.  I want a light truck DD that can occasionally take 1000lbs of equipment to a job, expects to see some snowy mountains once a year, and can get 500lbs of equipment off the lower field when the spring monsoon hits at the music festival.  I hear that a 2.5L 2wd with a locker can take me most anywhere you'd like to camp and still get 20+mpg on the open road. If I could get all that I wouldn't need another vehicle till my lifestyle changed


89' Pioneer 2.5L Dana 35, covered in rust.



I bought a $700 truck expecting to get $700 in work out of it and accidentally fell in love.

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Had the wheels balanced and rachet strapped the tranny to the crossmember because the mount was shot (and felt like that is where the shake was coming from and my impact wouldn't bust the nuts loose) and have happily put several thousand miles on it.

I have been trying to upload pictures but I am failing.


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Bear in mind, one thing leads to another, you may (will) find there is no easy simple fix to what appears to be a simple problem.

I say that to warn you before you start putting money into this truck, your 'rust bucket'.



You say the main spring is broken, how are you driving it now?



Most yards will not sell a whole truck with title, do you know for a fact that your local yard will?



Your choice-

Order new springs from General Spring- $400 to your door. Comes with new bushings.




Pull springs from yard and purchase new bushings from NAPA, $100

Have local shop replace bushings $70 (?)



In either case you will need new U-bolts $40-50

And you replace the springs yourself........you might get it done for about $250-300.........or new for $450



Don't forget shackles, chances are yours are shot. NAPA carries replacement bushings but by the time you buy the bushings and pay a shop to replace them.....you can buy new ones.





NO! 2WD and a locker will NOT get you anywhere you want to go.

I live  in the mountains and I can attest to it.



Be aware, my D35 had a tube that was spun, IOWs the perches did not sit flat on the springs, one pointed up to the front and one pointed up to the rear. Since you have a broken main spring, I'll bet your D35 has walked out too.


And do not spend one dime on the D35 for a locker (or anything else for that matter).....waste of effort and money.....look elsewhere, I chose the 8.25.



Trans mounts are $11 at Advance, buy one and take that strap off.

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Don't forget shackles, chances are yours are shot. NAPA carries replacement bushings but by the time you buy the bushings and pay a shop to replace them.....you can buy new ones.

He's in Texas -- it's extremely unlikely that he'll need shackles. I've seen photos of other MJs from Texas and the rear springs and shackles looked like they just rolled out of the factory.

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Unless you really like to lie on your back hand wrenching on old springs at a junk yard and have nothing better to do, get new springs and u-bolts as mentioned earlier and be done with it.  I'm a believer of do things once and forget about it.  What's your time worth by going to a yard to get springs of unknown origin or condition to put on your truck only to have to do it in another 15,000 miles?  I got my springs from General delivered to my door and couldn't be happier.  The guy delivering wasn't thrilled because he had to make two round trips to his truck, one for each spring, but I digress. 

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The leaf is broken right in front of the axel, there is a ubolt ad steel plate sandwiching it down to the support leaf like a crappy spring clip. There was one of these behind the axel o translate the front load through the plate of the back of the spring? 

The truck started its life in Iowa, so I will probably need to replace the u bolts. The threads look round due to build up.  The bumper has rusted all the way through.  My plan before finding out what all was wrong was:

v8 zj front coils and sway bar

DIY the rear swaybar http://comancheclub.com/topic/42029-comanche-rear-sway-bar-short-box/

the chevy drop shakles or GM fullsize pickup shackles

eventually MT leafs and a dana 44


Jeep Driver

I didn't mean the 35 with lockers b a 2.5l in front of a 44 wi lockers.  BLM roads are far enough for me I don't need to go up any high clearance 4x4 roads. Locker would help get me out of mud.  I do three events a year that are out in a fields and forests that aways get rained on.  Not talking about wheeling mud. 

I have owned the tranny mount since day one, I haven' been able to get the bolts off (tranny plate to crossmember or crossmember to body)


I just had the thought if either truck in the yard is a 44 then unbolt at either end of the leafs and take everything from their down, axel, perches bolts springs ect.

If its a 35 and the yard will give me all of it for $200 might do that as well


What is a decent cost of an engine swap if I have both vehicles sitting there


Ok so list of things I know are wrong

No reverse lights


incomplete vacum system

lots of metalic rubbing/grinding and clicking sounds

No rear breaks

Spongey suspension

snapped front sway bar


Rust: driver side floor board rusted through (kinda repaired)

rear bumper is all but gone

panel under gas cap is gone from the trim down and follows up over the fender flare

both doors are bad on the bottom, passenger is missing 3 inch section in the corner

both the chasis rails appear to be filled with great stuff, all of the rust issues were backed with great stuff and bodo/painted


I've even considered making a run up to meet Jim and see if I could get a better truck from him.

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There was a club member that used to post a lot from Lewisville, hav'nt seen anything recently from him. His name was Koltan on his posts. I lived in Lewisville years ago, you could find someone back then by just asking someone if they knew them. I don't think that's his truck on craigslist, the seller might know him. Koltan seemed like he knew his way around these trucks, if he is still around he might give you some good advice. Denton was'nt that far from Lewisville.

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