Jump to content


Recommended Posts

Hi guys this is my first post here.  Really enjoying reading everything.  I have always wanted a comanche since I was a kid.  I have about $10k set aside for a fun truck build.  I am patiently waiting and hunting for the right one.  I am trying to find some place with what years have what options to help me narrow my search since I am in the beginning stages.  I want the 4.0, manual trans, 4x4. Not sure if I want the long bed or short bed.  Aesthetically i like short beds but practically nice to have a long bed so not sure yet on that. Any preferences on that amongst you comanche fans?  What year ranges have those options? From what I could see just 91-92?  Any help or chart would be killer I know this is the place to ask..




Link to comment
Share on other sites

these trucks are like legos, you can easily build anything you want from them with the 20 years of cherokees found in the junkyards.  :thumbsup:  

avoid 86s since they won't have the 4.0. 

the 4wd conversion is simple and then you can swap in the better late-model XJ parts. 

87-92 MJs could be long or short bed, 4.0 or 2.5, 2wd or 4wd.


what is your end goal for the truck?  trail monster?  daily driver?  both?  what size tire are you shooting for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

End goal is bolt on upgrades, not looking for crazy fabrication mods.  I want a nice clean comanche that will be used for a hunting truck, firewood getter, and still could be a daily driver.  


Thanks for the quick reply!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

the 4wd conversion is completely bolt-in. :thumbsup:   rust is the biggest challenge. 

-a rust-free truck is the most important thing to me. 

-second is engine choice (a 4.0 will bolt in place of a 2.5 but you need a complete donor XJ and it is quite a bit of work) and engine health (these are invincible engines if properly cared for),

-third is transmission choice (the easiest to change of the 3). 

-oh, and try to get a truck with AC if that's important to you.  you can swap it in with junkyard parts, but it's a pain in the butt. 


35s are too big if you want a somewhat normal truck.  remember that these are little trucks with little wheel wells.  fitting 33s or bigger usually requires hacking at the fenders or sky-high lifts.  31s or 32s on a 4.5" lift can make a very capable truck if you add in a locker.


also, keep in mind that a 4.0/manual truck will come with 3.07s from the factory and they suck with even little tires, let alone giant ones.  be sure to factor gearing changes into your budget.  :thumbsup:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't say "easy", but it is all bolt-in if you get the parts (clutch stuff, correct year flywheel, pedals, etc). :thumbsup:  


keep reading, keep learning.  lots of great info in the DIY forum.


in long vs shortbed, it's only a 12" difference (6" in front and 6" behind the rear tires).  shortbeds will turn a bit tighter, longbeds can carry a bit more, shorts have a bit less overhang, blah, blah, blah.  bottom line is that I would not turn down a long or a short that had a good running engine and a solid body. . :MJ 1: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a short bed fan and you can do plenty on 32's .


I am also an HO (91-92) fan and previously owned an '88. There is a thread in my sig from when I did the conversion but here is something that I cooked up: 



I did this last spring. Pretty simple as the 2wd beam axle uses all of the same suspension as the solid axle from the 4x4. If you can use a wrench you can do this swap on the front. Unbolt one, bolt in the other. A few hours work.




You will need a matching AW4 and transfer case. Spline counts changed some between years so it is easier to get a matched set and get one as close to the year of your truck as possible to alleviate any possible electronics matching problems. Some claim issues with swapping years. I used a '98 set-up in my '91 with no problems. Obviously XJ donors are the most plentiful. Get the t-case shifter at the same time or use the option below. Drop the fluid lines & shifter linkage, drop the rear drive shaft being careful about the fluid in the tranny, unbolt the 4 converter to flexplate bolts, unbolt the bell housing ( the top two are a weird inverted torx thingy...can be a PITA), drop the cross member, & as you drop the tranny disconnect the electronics. Be sure to keep the cross member & mount oriented correctly as they can go back together backwards and cause alignment issues. Attach the electronics/speedo to the new pieces, hoist it in place, & re-install the crossmember as it is the same for 2wd/4wd. Attach the bell housing bolts, attach the flex plate bolts, attach the lines. You will need to screw with the exhaust as the main hanger is attached to the cross member. I took my exhaust completely off to weld up the manifold and to go custom past the head pipe. If you are going to go off-road in any kind of wet area take this time to extend your tranny breather tube. It is much easier out of the truck.


The t-case shifter can be a royal pain to source and mount especially in the rust belt. A far better solution, both in ease of installation and later performance, is this shifter linkage: http://www.boostwerksengineering.com/231-HD-Shift-Linkage-Auto-Trans-_p_25.html . That is $38 well spent. To install the shifter itself pull back your carpet and unbolt the access plate. Bolt the t-case shifter into place from the interior side. Attach that new linkage from below. Attach the original tranny shifter linkage.


The front drive shaft is pure XJ. Maybe grab it with the tranny & stuff. The rear drive shaft is more tricky. First of all the original is too long and will need to be shortened. The new length will depend on the t-case and rear axle that you use. here is a chart that will help: http://comancheclub.com/topic/18925-looking-for-driveshaft-lengths-of-stock-trucks/ .

The next problem is that that although the 4wd trucks used a conventional rear drive shaft from the factory the 2wd trucks used a bizarre ( and giant) two-piece arrangement with an inner and an outer tube. In between is a full-length rubber sleeve that connects the two tubes. That rubber makes re-welding harder and the shaft often cannot be re-balanced if that rubber has shifted over the years. You cannot get an XJ shaft as the MJ has a longer wheel base. That leaves having a custom shaft built or doing what I did: I found a conventional shaft in the pick-in-pull that was longer but used the same 1310 u-joints. I had this shortened and re-balanced as that is usually about a third of the price of a custom shaft.



4wd AW4 & matching t-case


T-case shifter & boot


t-case linkage


front driveshaft


Front Dana 30 HP front from an MJ/XJ in a gear ratio to match your rear. ( the early CAD axles are less desirable and use smaller u-joints. '96-99 up are better donors. A 2000/2001 XJ or a TJ front end will bolt in but they are the weaker low pinion designs and it will be hard to match the ratio with a tj front. )


custom rear drive shaft of one flavor or another


I tried to make this as complete as possible but I may have forgotten something. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...