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I have had 5 XJs over the years and with a recent purchase of a new home, my wife and I figured it would be a good idea to own a little truck for dump runs and for me to drive back and forth to work. Being familiar and loving the XJ platform, an MJ seemed to be a logical choice.

 

I found a 1988 shortbed 2wd Comanche with 116k on it and purchased it with the idea to get it on the road and then do a minor build over the winter. Did I mention this MJ already had a 5.5" lift from the previous owner and had a hp Dana 30 already tossed under it with preps of converting it 4wd? I also have a '01 XJ I was daily driving before the rot got to bad on it that I am planning on using to donate the seats, console, and front sheet metal.

 

The plan currently is to remove some of the lift and get it down to about a 2" lift to make it legal in Maine. I am already in process of swapping over the seats and should have that wrapped up over the weekend. I am also replacing all the brake lines in it and should be done this week. Next will be the sheet metal swap and finally the 5.0 swap. I am working with Novak on making a bolt in mount, similar to their LS swap mount, and will be doing a thorough review on that. For axles, I am still a little bit up in the air. I have always desired a little wider than stock, so I am leaning towards a fzj80 front and rear end. I figure if they can survive under a +4000 lb Toyota Land Cruiser, they should be just fine a little Comanche. I will run a Dana 300 behind the 5.0 and 4r70w and will be using the obd II computer and wiring from the mountaineer donor. I will be running 33" tires and will trim sheet metal as necessary to fit them.

 

Once I figure out how to attach pictures I will throw in some "as arrived" photos and go from there.

 

Ken

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I found a guy about an hour away from me that has parted out a dozen or so MJs and picked up some bucket seats, some interior parts that were missing, and a rear sliding window. I swapped in the stainless pre-bent brakelines and eliminated the load sensing valve in the process. The brakes are still soft, but there is a pedal now, I just need to bleed them some more.

 

I took it for its first drive and identified some minor things that need to be worked before I can daily it. I filled it up with gas and added some dry gas to it since the gas is probably a few years old. I went out the morning after and found a big puddle of gas underneath of it. So, a new tank is on order. I also picked up a new fuel pump for it as well. I broke a metal fuel line stub coming out of the sending unit assembly (it was pretty thin as it broke just trying to get the rubber line off of it).

 

Does the Delphi fuel sending unit work in the renix Comanches? I have seen a ton of posts about no one making new sending units, but I saw that Delhi has them and are sold at autozone. I have one on order for tomorrow, but not overly confident it is going to work.

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When my comanche was running and i filled it up with gas, the next day there was gas on the ground and come to find out it was just the o-ring on the sending unit. Just a suggestion instead of buying a new tank. Seems like you already bought the tank though..

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When my comanche was running and i filled it up with gas, the next day there was gas on the ground and come to find out it was just the o-ring on the sending unit. Just a suggestion instead of buying a new tank. Seems like you already bought the tank though..

 

The tank was pretty much junk.  It was seeping out from quite a few spots on the side, along with the sending unit o-ring.   

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I am not sure I am going to be able to drop my 5.0 in before the winter and I need to convert it over to 4wd. Consider the following options and let me know which one is the best, please.

 

I am not that familiar with the electronics of the aw4. I have a 2001 running/driving XJ at my disposal for parts. My first option is to pull the aw4 and 231 out of the XJ. Is the wiring for the aw4 set up in a manner that I can strip it down to standalone and just swap the wiring and tcu over to the MJ?

 

My second option is to pull transmissions out and swap the outputs and tail housings, which would keep the wiring all the same.

 

I don't want to spend the cash for an unknown aw4 because I would end up throwing clutches, bands, etc in it. I am familiar with both transmissions and have confidence in them.

 

Thoughts?

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Ok, so after fighting with the gas tank, I developed some fuel injector ring leaks. After I changed them out, I had one injector that started to leak at the body, so I replaced all of the injectors because I didn't want to deal with it anymore. I finally have all of the leaking gas issues taken care of.

 

On to the next phase, I drove it 70 miles up the highway to Monkey Bars Offroad fab who is going to replace my crusty rockers, build and install my DIYJCR Offroad rear bumper, and then install my clayton 3 link kit and front truss.

 

While that is happening I am stripping down my old 2001 XJ for the nose conversion and some other odds and ends.

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Here are some pictures from Eric at Monkey Bars on some progress from yesterday afternoon (I dropped the mj off late in the morning).

 

 

 

 

 

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I kind of forgot about this post. So, I don't have a lot of progress to show on this, but I have changed up my plans of swapping in the 5.0 I have. That is going to be saved for a Scrambler that I just picked up to restore over the winter.

 

I acquired my neighbors '96 XJ that I am planning on swapping the HO, AW4, and 231 out of to give this a little more power and to finish the 4x4 conversion. I will be swapping the dash over along with most of the wiring to get it ac in it as well. For the fuel pump, can I just swap in the fuel pump/sender over to the MJ tank since I am swapping over the newer gage cluster as well? It looks like it is very similar. When I swapped my tank this past fall, I opted for one without the baffle pan in it.

 

This weekend I will be swapping over the master cylinder to upgrade the brakes on it.

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LOL, so I keep forgetting about this thread.  

 

I have pulled the truck off the road for the weather, and have stripped it right down, minus leaving the bed on for now.  I have swapped over to the +’97 interior, including doors and the nose.  I have to do a little sheet metal work on the floors before I can finalize the interior and put the new carpet in it.  I have the Clayton xmember installed for the 3 link.  I just pulled the dana 35 from the rear and will be dropping the dana 60 in the rear on Wednesday.  I am planning on keeping it SUA for now, and will be looking to lift it 2-3” over stock to clear some 35s.  The front end will be pulled for a kingpin dana 60.  I know the axles are over kill for 35s, but I have them, so I may as well use them. 

 

Oh, and by the way, the 5.0 is sitting in the engine compartment now.  It is staying there.  I will be fabbing up new motor mounts soon and then I can shift over to merging the wiring harness from the donor Mercury Mountaineer and 99 XJ.  I hate wiring and am forcing myself to learn on this project.

 

 

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i got the 60 bolted under the rear and need to open the ID of my H2 rims up a little bit so they will fit over the hubs.  Once I get that done tomorrow, I will grab some pictures.  With a full width 60 in the rear, about 66” WMS, it looks like the outside of the tires will be around an inch or two of stock width.  I need to see how the front 60 looks for width before I decide to change my wheels for something with less backspacing.

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I will grab some more pictures of it tomorrow, but this is how it sits right now.  I am pulling the front axle out and suspension tomorrow to make room for the 60, and then will start working on positioning the motor and fabbing the mounts up. 

 

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I have a 4”x4” block of wood between the spring plate and bump stop to give me the 3-4” of lift I am after, while keeping it SUA.  I think that height is about perfect.  I am thinking about adding TJ flares to give the tires some room to move around.

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Got a little done today on the truck.  Got the front end out, and most importantly, got some cleaning/reorganization done in the garage.  

image.jpg

image.jpg

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good stuff!  :D   it's really coming along nicely.  I remember when my truck looked like that.  Just a Jeep explosion of parts! 

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12 hours ago, Pete M said:

good stuff!  :D   it's really coming along nicely.  I remember when my truck looked like that.  Just a Jeep explosion of parts! 

 

Yeah, we bought this house about 2.5 years and unfortunately every time I “buckle” down and get serious about organizing it, I end up tearing into a project.  I have done a frame swap on my wife’s ‘98 TJ, and torn down 3 XJs, and now started into the MJ.  After this project, I am planning on spending the summer setting it up the garage the way I should have done it originally.  I am planning on an LS swap into my ‘04 Unlimited next winter.

 

From left to right, the wife’s 98 TJ, my 88 MJ, and my 04 TJU.

09D74C3C-F49A-4F2F-9A90-19CD60E30064.jpeg

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I rolled the 60 under the front to start lining it up for the control arm mounts.  It pretty much took up all of the space and will make mounting the motor, exhaust, and anything else under there a challenge.  

C74CE0E4-C31F-4EB1-BC71-3771F5C88838.jpeg

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I got the control arm mounts on the axle tacked I place today.  It is back on the ground on all fours again.  Next up will be to work on the motor and tranny mounts.  I will grab a picture in the morning, but it is going to be tight down there, although, I did notice I have the motor sitting about 4” lower than where it will probably end up.  

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Not much to report since I am 3,000 miles away in sunny San Diego for the month of January.  I did bring the 5.0 wiring harness out with me to plug away at it when I have time.  I hate wiring, but this is forcing me into learning a little about it.  I am following some awesome videos on chopping the harness that make it very easy, so we will see how it turns out.  

 

Starting with the body side of the harness (the engine harness is in the box)...

 

 

2E3A48BC-0E04-4BF4-BBA8-B135CE308A06.jpeg

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This is the only side pic I have the front 60 getting stuffed under the front end.  Since that picture, the control arms and wheels/tires are bolted up.  I am running 3” OME coils up front and still trying to decide on what 3-4” lift rear springs to run.  

1129DA2C-7439-4B3D-B973-0DF8E6D9CDD2.jpeg

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moving over to the Epic Tech forum. :L:  

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