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1988 Comanche Long BedProject


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Howdy. I am going to start a build forum of my Comanche.


I bought this rig as a low budget trail and hunting rig for 1500$ with only 98xxx miles on it. It has a 6" short arm lift on it already with leafs on the rear. It was not running and required a new oil pump. I did the rear main and checked all the main bearings for excessive wear due to low pressure while I was in there. The guy said he didn't run the truck after the oil pressure dropped and I believe him as the mains looked fantastic. I got it running with a new oil pump and then the crank shaft position sensor when out. While troubleshooting that I replaced the distributor, cap, plugs, and wires. So now at least the ignition system(mostly, more on that later) can be counted on.


I went to the junk yard and was the first one to a 98 Cherokee so I snagged the open cooling system, driver fender, grill assembly, and passenger fender from a different XJ. I swapped the new body panels onto my MJ and reinstalled the original fender flares and kept the original bumper and valence. It looks pretty good with the old and new together. I am going to paint everything when the weather stays above 60°.


I just picked up a set of XJ doors with cigarette windows that I'll paint to match the white as well for my "going to town doors". I have begun cutting the stock doors in half to make some good trail doors. I'm going to modify both sets of hinges so they can be easily swapped. I think they're turning out pretty good. 


After I finish the half doors I'm going to bob the bed to a 6'. I think they look a lot better than the 7' bed and will provide a little trail relief as well. 


Last week the some electrical grimlins decided to not let the truck start. I have no power to anything with the key in ACC or Start and the starter solenoid isn't even clicking. So I think I have a ground problem. I'm going to start troubleshooting by going through all the grounds. I hope I can get this dude running again without re-wiring it, but at least then It would be solid.


Future plans:

U-bolt flip

Fabricate a long arm kit

Reinforce the frame

Truss both axles

Lincoln lock the D44

Fabricate front and rear bumpers


Short bed canopy

33's, I'd like to have 35's eventually. 








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Awesome truck and project man!

I really like what you are doing with the stock doors! That looks good and functional. The newer front end looks great too.


It looks like the Comanche I recently got, mine is just a short bed. Also an 88.

Definitely go through those grounds and connections.. I was having the same issue, but now electrical-wise everything seems solid.

My initial issues were from a really bad dipstick ground, and also a loose connection to the starter. I re-did all those lines, and added a bunch of grounds.

I'd make sure that dipstick ground is good, and also the ground on the back of the motor to the firewall.


Cheers man!


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Well I started at ground zero for the electrical system. I took off the battery cables and cleaned the terminals and posts. I seriously cannot believe it, but it fired right up after that. My flabber was thoroughly gasted. 


I also got my passenger door cut up. Today I'm going to the junk yard to find some new door panels. I want to make my half doors  look as factory as possible. 






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Yea I’m going to cut the bottom section off the door side hinge for both my half doors and full doors and replace weak factory pin with some 1/4” round bar. That way I can swap them on and off quickly. I’ll install a plug on the truck side of the speaker wires so I don’t have to deal with the speakers every time I swap doors. 



Today day I welded up the angled sections. I also went and picked up some new door panels to modify to fit my half doors. I ran out of time(don’t like being loud for my neighbors sake) to grind the welds smooth so I started modifying the panels. I think they’ll look pretty good when I get everything buttoned up. I figured out that XJ rear door handles have the same bolt spacing as the front ones. The angle I cut the doors at just barely cut the top connection in half. I could make the fronts work, but honestly I like the way the rear XJ handles look. 


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I had a very productive weekend on the Jeep. I got the bed cut down and the half doors ready for paint. This week I am going to get some plate and 2x4 tube to finish boxing in the X-Brace and fabricate a roll pan style rear bumper. I really like how the rear looks right now so I want to save that simple look as much as possible.



Of course 3 of the bolts holding the hitch on broke free inside the frame rail so removing it was not an option. 










I have a couple area's that will require some attention to finish it up.



I love the way this truck looks shortened



My buddy spent a lot of time on my half doors, a lot more than I would have, so they're going to look really good once we throw some paint on them.





All in all I removed 24" from the rails to the rear bumper. After All said and done when I get the new bumper mounted the truck will be about 20" shorter than in stock form.




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  • 2 months later...

It finally warmed up enough here in Boise to get some paint sprayed! I think I got pretty decent results for a 15$ harbor freight paint gun and one stage industrial enamel paint. It's not going to win any beauty contests but, it's a wheeler so it really doesn't matter. Other that the mismatched body lines at the bottom of the rear quarters, you really can't even tell it's bobbed unless you look real close.





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I got it mostly pieced back together. At least enough to drive it to work so I can get my emissions done at lunch time. I left the tailgate as is because I love the patina it has gained over the last 30 years. I might spray some clear over it to preserve it's look. I still need to paint the fender flairs white, shackles, springs, front bumper, cab vents, and frame rails black, and roll on bed liner. I am contemplating doing bed liner on the rockers... Any thoughts? 


I have the door panels 80% done as well. I will finish those up here in the next week hopefully too.


I had the front and rear lighting harnesses unplugged while I was painting everything. Last night I put everything back together, my running lights were on initially but then blew the fuse. The running lights and dashboard lights went out. BUT when I step on the brake the dash, brake, and running lights all illuminate. The turn signals light both right and left with either turned on, and stop blinking when the brake is pressed... Now I'm no electronics technician, actually I was, but I think I have some electrons that are confused...




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On 5/7/2018 at 10:52 PM, crumbscomanche said:

those doors look great! 

Thanks! I think they turned out pretty good.


I got a lot done this weekend. I got the fender flares painted and installed, the front bumper painted, the rear axle painted, the leaf springs painted, the frame rails painted, and a few other misc goodies painted. I also built a header-back exhaust with a high-flow Magnaflow Cat, and cheapo Cherry-Bomb two chamber muffler. The over axle hoop I was going to re-utilize was rusted straight through the side so I will have to buy another section so I have a rear exit. Right now its just dumped straight out after the hanger.


I also got the radio wired in and fixed a electrical bug that had the running lights coming on every time I pressed the brake. 


Pro-Tip: Do not put reverse light bulbs in your brake light socket. I didn't pay attention to the bulbs when I put the tail lights back together so the reverse bulb was shorting the running light circuit to the brake circuit every time I pressed the brake. 




I'll upload some more pictures after I get the front end back on the truck. My phone camera decided to stop working.

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9 hours ago, Swampy said:

It looks great, almost to good to be a woods truck 


Thanks! It's a 10' paint job for sure, though. It's not so good that I'm afraid to rub a tree or get it dirty, but it's all one color now which is all I wanted. 


I got everything bolted back on. I love how this thing turned out!




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