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Beat up 88 Comanche

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About 2 months ago i purchased my first Comanche a pretty well beat up 1988 pioneer 4.0 5 speed with about 180k. 


The engine is still going strong and spewing oil as expected of a 4.0 


Unfortunately it currently has the BA 10/5 transmission that is slowly $#!&ting the bed, no reverse and virtually no fifth gear, but i have an ax-15 almost ready to be swapped in


Electrical wise the thing is a mess. 


Slowly doing what i can to get it in the shape it should be.



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  • 2 years later...

well after about 2 years of ownership and slow building this thing i decided to take it off the road and start a rebuild. Previous to the rebuild the list of repairs have been:

numerous electrical repairs( electrically this thing is a mess from previous owners)

Upgraded from the Ba10/5 to the AX15 and a newer Tcase

Boostworks t-case shift linkage

Multiple Ujoints

New(to me) Turbine wheels 

Nankang Mudstar 31" Tires

New Hurst Shift Handle


2 Fuel pumps (1 cheapo and 1 bosh)

Bored out Throttle body and new cable

Volvo 4 hole injectors

Exhaust manifold


HID headlights with LED Turn Signals



Currently in the works:

Ford 9" Swap (early bronco small bearing 4.10)

Disc brakes for 9" (explorer)

Longer driveshaft (explorer 2 piece shaft)

Dual Diaphragm Brake Booster

96 xj Proportioning valve 

Copper Nickle brake lines

Dakota rear soft line

stainless steel front soft lines

Replacing drivers side floor pan

Rebuilt HP Dana 30 (4.10 R&P out of 4cyl yj)

WJ Knuckle and brakes

Lift the front to match the rear after SOA swap



Put limited slip or locker in rear axle

new axle shafts and 31 spline third member

Upgrade PS pump and steering box

Stiffen Frame

1 ton steering 

Rebuild Truck bed / build a bed

Rewire interior + chassis

Swap engine (Torn between newer mopar engine or 1.9L TDI)

SYE and upgrade NP231 internals

Plus always looking for more suggestions 

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the previous owner had some shotty body work done on the bed to fix the rot, in short they riveted on some sheet metal and slapped some bondo on it. one day I'm driving down the highway and half the panel came loose. found rust, rust and more rust so i ended up hacking it all off and welding (rather poorly) on a new panel.

what was left of the panel 

what i found under the panel.

i was very surprised to find some of the factory paint under all the crap. i actually really like it, but to bad i have other plans for it.

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when i first bought the jeep it didnt have 5th gear or reverse so i was more than happy to score an ax15 and matching t-case for less than $300 at a local pick and pull


Shiny new EBAY special Installed with the new Trans and tcase 


ill probably get judged for painting the Turbine wheels, but honestly i like the way they look better and its only plasti dip.

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bye bye baby axle 

 Hello fun new axle! ( early 70s small bearing ford 9 inch from a bronco. has 4.10 ratio gears in it. upgrading from drums to rear disc brakes with working parking brakes)


 HP Dana 30 i got cheap that I'm building up to go with the 9 inch. swapping in 4.10 gears from a 4 cylinder YJ, adjustable control arms, and swapping the knuckles to the WJ knuckles for the bigger brakes.

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Even though i know that the Ford 9" isnt a very popular swap option (not really sure why) i figure ill do what i can to document and give a write up of my swap since i couldnt find very much info when i was starting mine.


i chose the 9" for a list of reasons:


  • Axle housing and shafts are the same strength or stronger than the 44
  • Stronger differential due to the added pinion support
  • Usually easier to find
  • Cheaper than a XJ/MJ 44 (in my case)
  • Huge amount of aftermarket support
  • Lots of common modifications and kits
  • Wide range of gearing options and widths
  • Unlike the 8.8 its a non c-clip axle.
  • Easy to change the gearing due to it being a third member differential
  • For around a $100 you can swap it to disk brakes using either new or junkyard parts
  • Working parking brake


  • can be hard to find the right size and housing ends 
  • comes as drums stock
  • most have stock 5x5.5 bolt pattern

Gathering information for this swap and build has probably taken over a month mainly due to just trying to find consistent information and filling in gaps.

 Stock the 9 inch comes in widths ranging from 57-68" wide i found a list from http://www.mustangsandmore.com/ubb/FordRearDimensions.html


65-66 Mustang 57.25 inches
67-70 Mustang 59.25 inches
71-73 Mustang 61.25 inches
77-81 Versailles 58.50 inches
74 Maverick 8" 56.50 inches
75 Mustang II 8" 57.00 inches
67-73 Mustang, Torino, Ranchero, Fairlane 9" 59.25 inches to 61.25 inches
57-59 Ranchero and station wagon rears, 57.25 inches
66-77 Bronco 9", 58 inches
77-81 Granada/Versailles, 58 inches
67-71 Comet, Cougar, Mustang, Fairlane, 59.25 inches
71-73 Mustang, 61.25 inches
64 Falcon 58 inches
67 Cougar 60 inches
67 Fairlane 63.50 inches (coil springs)
72 Ford Van 3/4 ton 68 inches
73-86 65.25 inches
57-59 Ranchero and station wagon 57.25 iches (narrowest 9" housing)
66-77 Bronco 58 inches but has 5-on-5 1/2 inch diameter bolt circle
67-73 Torinos, Rancheros, Fairlanes 59.25 inches or 61.25 inches
67-71 Comets, Cougars, Fairlanes 59.25 inches 


i went with the first generation bronco axle, it was the right length, medium duty axle, and came with 4.10s stock. Only downside to the one i got was that it was a small bearing axle, not that big of a deal since i got the axle for less than $100.

axle mostly cleaned with some fresh paint


When i swapped the axle i wanted to do a SOA swap at the same time. I bought a swap kit from Ruffstuff Specialties that came with anti-wrap perches, leaf spring plates, shock mounts, and u bolts for $140? shipped both the perches and spring plates have 3 alignment holes so you can adjust wheelbase. http://www.ruffstuffspecialties.com/catalog/9SS25-BIG.html


The actually swap of the 9 inch was pretty easy same as any other, strip, clean, hang and set pinion angle than weld the axle in.


For the Disc Brake swap there are plenty of aftermarket kits, but they tend to cost at least 250+ and being a poor college kid that wasn't really an option. So i went with using parts from the Ford 8.8. The backing plates and caliper brakes from a 95-01 Explorer work with the late big bearing ends with no modifications and only slight modifications for the small bearing. Brakes from 92-95,96-02 Crown Vics,Grand Marquis, or Lincoln Town Car. 


When pulling the parts its easiest to grab everything at once so you don't forget anything or have to go back later.

parts needed for the swap are:

Backing plates

Caliper bracket


Parking brake shoes and hardware

Matching Brake Pads

Rear Rotors from a Ford Explorer for 5x4.5 or Front Rotors from a Suzuki Side kick for 5x5.5

spacer due to smaller backing plate


i think i got everything for less than $100 including new rotors and pads from rock auto


When i got my parts i didnt know that the small bearing and big bearing retaining bolts are spaced a little differently so because i used explorer parts i had to slot my backing plates slightly so that it would line up and bolt onto my axle housing ( wasnt much work, just took some time and a dremel or cutoff wheel)

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  • 10 months later...

Slow progress, is better than no progress.

Got the 9" built and installed

New driveshaft

Pulled the bed off

Ran all new brake lines

Built a temporary flat bed 

Fixed the floor


I drove it for a few weeks the way it was, but gave up on fighting the electrical gremlins. I decided it was time to swap the wiring to obd2, the first plan was to swap in everything from a 96. That plan didn't last long, every JY Xj had the pcm connector cut so I settled on a 98 swap.


So far the truck has been gutted, engine and engine bay cleaned degreased and painted, along with the steering column hole cut and brackets drilled out 



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Engine bay is all cleaned and painted, amazing how much work it takes to get almost 30 years of grime off. Cans and cans of degreaser,  rustoleum self-etching primer, and some rattle can hunter green.







Also started on the interior work, so far have the new hole for the steering column cut and the new brace mocked up




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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of new holes in the jeep, steering brace mounted, Hvac box mounted, and passenger side J/B mounted and secured. Engine harness mocked up, still need to find a few brackets and secure everything.

 Does anyone have a picture of how the harness is supposed to go between the J/B and Hvac box? I don't remember how it was run on the Xj I pulled everything from   


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  • 2 weeks later...

Central New York weather makes me really wish I had a garage, but  still got the dash mocked up, the engine put back together and finally stuffed back in.

Ever so slowly working away at my to do list. Still need to figure out the mount the trans and t-case back up before it can get shipped down to Tennessee in a few weeks. Hopefully the snow holds off until than 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally hung the drivetrain back in the jeep and got it all bolted back up. Got the dash mostly mounted in the cab, just need to figure out the lower dash mounts. Than comes the fun of wiring, lots and lots of wiring. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Managed to get most of the New-ish parts on, 80% of the dash is installed and secured. Still trying to find where everything goes, but getting there bit by bit. I still need a horn button/airbag, glove box, a rear harness and various other bits and pieces. 


99+ intake seems to fit pretty well, but time will tell. The ps pump took some effort to fit on the new manifold, but it does fit with the newer bracket. Slowly getting the engine bay all plugged in and put back together and broke the rear alternator bracket somehow, but did get the fenders and radiator put back on.


Just need to find my headlight harness and I can put the header panel and front bumper back on. The damage from the deer I clipped awhile back is definitely a problem with the new fenders and left a pretty big gap between the hood and fender that I'll have to fix later on.






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  • 2 weeks later...

Sadly had to wrap the jeep up for the time being, finally decided it was time to get out of New York. So the jeep will be stuck sitting at home until I find a new place down in tennessee, or until I can fix enough of the girlfriends grandparents toys to earn a spot for it in their garage.


At least for the time being I have another jeep to get running, a 94? Jeep yj w/ the renegade package. Its been sitting for the last few years after a "small" engine fire.IMG_20171209_091230.thumb.jpg.5d129be8e39882618aa6d8d7406d0858.jpg

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