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Slow N Steady

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Finally posting my truck after about a year and a half of ownership, I purchased 2 Comanches from a guy in Woodstock, Illinois.  One 86 red 2.5, 2wd, dana 35 long bed and one 86 silver 2.8, manual, 4wd, long bed. All I knew about the silver truck was that it supposedly had a wiring/ground issue and was taken apart and prepared to be parted out. They were both purchased for $500, as well as an additional $150 for a stock pile of extra parts.  Both trucks had rust on rockers/bed ect., but at 500 for the pair I couldn't say no.  They mark the 4th and 5th Jeeps that I've owned at 20 years old, and the MJ is quickly becoming one of my favorite chassis. When purchased the red truck ran and drove but smoked white out of the tailpipe bad, it sat for awhile and i replaced the head gasket and general top end gaskets, including a check on the head, after it was back together it ran better but smoked even more. I sold it on craigslist for $450 after it sat in the driveway for awhile.  I purchased a third MJ around 2 months after the first two, I paid $250 for an 89 Pioneer lwb 4.0 4wd with no motor and the trans in the back, floors were rusted but I wanted a specific set of parts for the other truck.  The silver Comanche was missing a drivers side floor, no gas tank, no dash, no interior, no steering column, a broken shock mount on the rear bed frame, and a broken leaf spring plate shock mount.  The 89 truck had a burgandy interior with bench seat, a column,a long bed camper shell and the general small parts I needed for the other truck.  I took a couple of months getting the parts I needed and then cut up the 89 Pioneer and hauled it to the scrap yard.  It left me with all the parts I would need and I got to work patching the floor on the truck.  An amazon floor pan didn't fit precisely, but I made it work, I put in a brand new grey carpet that matched a flawless grey dash.  The burgandy bench seat followed after I had refinished the bench mounts.  I wired the necessities into the dash and discovered that signal was going to and from the column with the key but would not start.  I rewired the starter relay to a push button start,  replaced a broken engine ground strap and the ignition coil, mounted the fuel tank with new straps and it started and ran alright for less than a $1000 invested.  After that I installed a 4.5 inch zone lift and put a set of rubicon rims from a jk on that i picked up on craigslist.  Redid the headliner too, new radio with new speakers all around, smoker windows waiting to be installed, and a lund visor to top it off.  Shes registered, but not insured, driven alright on the road so far except for a scare or two. Just finished up the Ares Fab DIY Front XJ bumper as they're local to me and installed a harbor freight 9,000 pound winch. Hoping to take her on a lot of great adventures this summer and many after that.  Pics follow














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24 minutes ago, gogmorgo said:

Don't mean to be rude, but there's a key on your keyboard that says either "enter" or "return"... You might find it helpful. 

But at least your truck looks good. I like the two-tone paint. :thumbsup:










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2 minutes ago, DirtyComanche said:


Might just be an arrow.



I hope you didn't throw out that box off the one you scrapped.

If you zoom in you can see that the driver side front of the bed is smashed in, both sides also had patches riveted on. It was scrapped.

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Finished up the SOA conversion the past couple of days, did new brake lines as well.

Now the rear is a little too high, thinking about changing the shackle to fine tune the height. 

Also threw the rims and tires from my yj on seeing as I'm going to winterfest this saturday and who doesn't like an MJ on 33's!


comanche rear.jpg

comanche mud.jpg


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  • 7 months later...

Get ready for a word update! Pics in the next one below.

So at winterfest 2018 I bent the front dana 30 vcad and all my steering, I bought an Ares Fab 1 Ton  UTK Steering Kit,

and a lp dana 30 from a 2000 xj for $100 already geared to 3.55. Also replaced the upper control arms with a set

from Core 4x4.  After fixing the carnage I took the truck for a spin around the block and found some minor brake issues that I sorted out,

but more then anything I felt like the 2.8 just lacked the power I needed.  We all know what that means!

So I find my donor on craigslist, asking $400 for a 1996 XJ 4.0, AW4, 231, 160,000 miles and a new head at 150,000.  

Rear leaf spring was coming through where the floor was behind the driver seat.  Ran great and i was able to take it around the block to

make sure it worked. Negotiated to $350 and towed her to the shop.


Getting ready to tear the comanche down I didnt want it to be out of commission for an extended period of time,

and dreading the 86 4.0 swap I wanted the research component to be done before I touched any bolts.

I started tear down on 8/15 and by the end of the day I had done my scrap run with the entire drivetrain, wiring harness, front clip, hood, etc.

600 pounds! $22!


We got the xj in next to the truck and tore in, pulled the engine harness with the drivetrain and removed the body harness from there. 

Installed the dash and body harness, put the drivetrain in,  and started work on the trans crossmember and front core support. After those were burned

in I installed the exhaust and front driveshaft.  Still have to shorten the rear shaft, finish the splicing to the rear harness,

and purchase the new senders and radiator stuff for the bay.  This swap is definitely a bit of work! 

Thanks for reading, 


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Yah I told the PO i would send him some pics when everything was done.

His son was daily driving it to chicago until they noticed the floor one day, then it sat for about a year.


Camaro is a 1968 SS 327.  Grew up in that car, my Dad bought it when he was 17, around 1990. 40xxx miles. 


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Trying to update a little more frequently, finished a shop project on a 1948 desoto and got to resume working on the Comanche.  Had my friend's xj on the lift the past few days as he was doing a full set of frame stiffeners, few pics of that.


I've had the metal for the bedside armor for a few months now, figured there was no better time then now to start.  I had a sheet of 3/16 and took two 7'1.5" X 2' cuts out of the sheet.  We did a rough cut on the driver bedside originally to cut out rust,  then we continued measuring and consulting the factory flare on the other side to get an idea of what we wanted. 


Final Measurements: DRIVER SIDE

From front of bed:

31 Inches to left bottom cut mark

36 Inches to left top cut mark (6 Inches down from top of armor)

60 Inches to right top cut mark (6 Inches down)

55 Inches to right bottom cut mark


Fuel door cut wasn't ideal but a thick weld cleaned it up - no measurements.


Plan is to go and buy a few feet of 1/1.5 square tube and some 1/16 to make the flares. 


Some also may say that 3/16 is overkill for the rear armor but I plan to daily the truck in the winter.

I prefer this weight to the sandbags i'd have to throw in the bed anyways!


I need an extra hand to rearrange the shop so i can start cutting the other side.

Also threw on my new power steering hoses, new radiator comes tomorrow.















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  • 2 weeks later...

10 days since the last post will have to count as more recent updates lol.


Spent the past few days doing some more metal work.  I've got both flares tacked on to the bed armor, and the armor welded in. 

Still needs a final grind job.  Got all the 1.5 square tube from a local metal supply's cutoff selection, $31.  Turned out pretty ok in my mind,

certainly better then the rust that plagued the upper fender flare area.  


I'm still waiting on the last few engine parts I need and I should be able to fire the 4.0 swap for the first time, here's hoping anyway lol.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the point on most projects where i start to take virtually no pictures, unfortunately. 

Both bedsides and rockers are 90% done, lil bondo and some more grinding.

Really tired of metalwork lol.

Rockers are 2x6 Box, 1/8", no current reinforcement into unibody "frame rail", intending on adding that later.

Currently, the rockers are welded to directly underneath the door,

with the original bottom pinch seam for the rocker pounded flat against the bottom of the 2x6 and welded.


Went ahead and connected a new starter and found that it does in fact crank over with the key,

some alright progress.


Thanks for reading, pics below,





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  • 2 months later...

It’s been too long. 


I started a new job in November. Left me in a transition where I had to travel a bit for some work training in Ohio then New York. Settled in through December and got ready to be home and work on the truck ! 


Life happens, bought a 1992 Mazda Miata, a yellow example with only 66,000 miles from the original owner. A very good deal and a good purchase. Although it takes away much needed attention and money from the Comanche. Miata is currently listed for sale to try and infuse some money into the truck and my yj. Maybe buy a bike. Who knows lol. 


In in the meantime I’ve installed my cooling system, oil pressure sensing unit, new Cps, new ignition system. Been having some wiring shorts and some difficulties with the taillights. Everything seems to be functioning now. 


Still needs a new driveshaft, some bodywork and a little more interior time. 


The truck is running very well currently. Had the opportunity to put it up on the lift and actually let it “drive” a lil. 


I'm hoping my next update has me in the parking lot at the least! The couple feet of snow doesn’t help though. 


Thanks for reading. 


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