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Comanche 88's 87 MJ


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My baby the day i bought it

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Aint she a beauty :brows:

She's an 87' SWB 4.0L with a Dana 44 Trac lok rear axle, if you think MJ's are rare in the US just imagine that only around a hundred of these were ever sold in here in Norway :eek: . With the wet climate and the salted roads very few of these have survived. I was extremely lucky to find this one with all the right options and almost no rust whatsoever, just a few patches of surface rust on the bed jamminz.gif. she has done 230K kilometers which translates to about 140K miles, not bad for a twenty year old car. The interior is just as good as the outside with separate seats and the drivers side has beed replaced by a Recaro seat in good condition.

She ran beautifully the the whole 400 miles back home but seemed to be a little down on power, but it was sort of hard to tell since this is my first Jeep and I don't have experience with these engines.

 

The ride home, me as a passenger in this photo and my friend Halvard driving

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First things first, she really needed a lift and some nice wheels, she was looking a little sorry for herself next to Halvards XJ.

 

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The previous owner had bought 1.5" lift shackles and spacers. Luckily I have access to a proper garage lift which made the job a whole lot easier

 

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As Halvard had a lot of road miles ahead of him he agreed to lend me his 31" TrxUS on American racing steelies. He got the ekstra set of road wheels that also came with the car.

 

Lookin good

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There were a few small problems that I knew of when I bought it

-Drivers side window window would not move, a new motor came with the car

-Passenger side window would only go down a few inches

-Central locking did not work

-Cruise control did not work

 

What I didn't know was that the engine would overheat when driving slowly or left on idle for more than five minutes and start squirting coolant out of a hole in the rad. Since the hoses heated up nicely shortly after starting it i figured that the rad was the problem. A (really expensive) replacement was bought from a special radiator supplier. The stealership wanted almost 1300$ for an original :nuts: and it would take two weeks to get it, this was just my first experience with crazy prices and long deliver times at the stealership. Thankfully there's a few specialist suppliers for US cars around where I live that have more sensible prices and carry most parts in stock.

I changed the rad and things looked good for about fifteen minutes before it boiled again. After some head scratching I started looking at the mechanical fan, my car doesn't have the extra electrical fan since there's no AC. There was very little resistance in the clutch even when the engine was really hot. I made a temporary fix by connecting the bolts on the pulley with the bolts on the fan with a metal band, forcing the fan to follow the engine speed. This fixed the cooling but the metal bands have a tendency to snap from fatigue when reving the engine.

A more permanent fix will be to add a second electrical fan. I have ordered two since I was thinking about going all electrical but I might keep the mechanical one.

 

I replaced the driver side window motor which was a pain in the &%? since everything is fastened with about a Gazzilion rivets.

 

With a temporary fix for the cooling and a window that allowed me to see where my wheels were it was time for some wheeling. I hadn't planned on driving the water holes. but as you can probably tell I sort of forgot

 

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I wasn't esxpexting this one to be so deep. look closely at my face as I'm driving out of it

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My day was cut a little short as I suddenly noticed a weird smell. turned out my sealed Exide battery had boiled and squirted battery acid around the engine bay :eek:

I sort of knew this battery was not quite healthy as it would be drained if i didn't use the car for a couple of days, and when I tried to charge it the current reading would newer go below 5 amps. I guess it had some sort of internal short which together with the slow speed driving caused it to overheat. Amazingly it still worked well enough to get me home and start the car several times after this. Currently I'm running on a borrowed battery with no such problems anymore. I guess I will try to get the battery replaced under warranty since it's only a year old

 

The rest of the pictures:

http://vagner.jeje.je/bilder/Offroad-GP-svinndag-04-08-2007?page=1

 

To be continued......

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After I got i pressure washed the whole car and the engine bay since it was full of dirt and mud wrom the wheeling. When it wouldn't start afterwards I wasn't to surprised. There was no spark. I checked the distributor and all the wires and connections but I couldn't find any water ingress anywhere :dunno: . I then started searching the tech section on this forum to find a solution. One thing came up again and again, CPS (crankshaft position sensor). This page http://www.lunghd.com/Tech_Articles/Engine/Basic_Sensors_Diagnostics.htm mentioned a method to measure the sensor. I tried this out and it seemed to be dead. I got a new one and swapped it which was a $#!&ty job, those of you who have done it know what I'm talking about.

Still no spark :???: I measured the new sensor and got the same result as before, turns out my multimeter couldn't measure ac this low. which I guess means the old one was ok. When I bought the CPS I also bought some other parts to do a general tune up so I changed the Air filter, Distributor cap, plug lead and plugs. Still no spark. The only thing left was the coil. Bought a new coil and it started right up. thankfully the new coil seems to sealed a lot better so hopefully it will surwive a pressure wash in the future.

 

As I mentioned earlier the engine has felt a bit lazy since I got the car so I bought a gauge to check the cylinder pressure. It was between 8 and 9 Bar (116-130 Psi) on all cylinders. From what i've been told this is an acceptable difference between the cylinders but does anyone know how good or bad this value is? and if its bad, how much would it affects engine power?

I checked all the engine sensors and they seemded to give acceptable readings. I was not able to fully check the O2 sensor. does anyone know how much a slightly defective O2 sensor would affect the engine?

As it is the engine is running nicely but the idle is a bit unsteady even after I calibrated the throttle position sensor.

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Plans for the car.

 

I intend to keep the body completely stock, no cutting. As I mentioned these cars are very rare here in Norway with less than a hundred sold. as a concequence they are also really expensive compared to XJ's I had to pay more than 7000$ for mine :eek: but even the for a rusted old heap you'd still have to pay more than 3000$

It will be built to handle mild to medium offroad conditions and should still be useable as a daily driver. lift will be around 4" and it will be running 31/10,5-15" TrxUS MT tires on Cragar 15x8 soft 8's. Powertrax No-slip lockers front and rear and quick disconnects. Eventually i will make front and rear bumpers with 2" receivers so I can use a multi mount winch if I decide to get one. Might also make myself some rocker guards. I just need to learn how to weld first :roll:

 

Parts ordered so far:

15x8 Cragar soft 8

31/10,5-15 TrxUS MT

2x OE replacement electric fans

Passenger side power window mechanism

3" Skyjacker lift with rear AAL

4x Skyjacker Nitro shocks

"Quicker disconnects"

Agr high performance steering pump

6" over stock stainless brake lines

Powertrax No-slip front and rear

manual remote mirrors both sides

4x Warn 4x rectangular driving lights

 

All of this been ordered through US suppliers which means 6-8 weeks delivery time but in most cases it's half price or less compared to Norway so I guess I can live with that :D

 

Thanks for all the inspiration guys, without you a norvegian MJ owner would feel all alone in this world. I've read every single post in every project thread over the last week :popcorn:

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  • 2 weeks later...
I like that bed cover.

I like it too but its actually bit to tight. The fasteners that hold it to the tailgate are hard to clip on and much worse to get off. Other than that it does a good job of keeping rain out and hiding my stuff from thievin bastards, if I secure it with the rear fasteners it's probably harder to get into the bed then getting into the cab :razz:

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YOU ROCK! jamminz.gif

 

I just love the progression of getting your MJ then wheeling pics

That’s great, I did the same thing with my first MJ had it off road in day of its purchase

 

We can see you were having a blast off-road and that’s the part about wheeling we all dig

Your Comanche looks great ,take care of it...you really would be hard pressed to replace the bed..so watch it on the trail as stuff tends to jump out and dent it up

 

Also I run duel electric fans; here is my setup very simple

 

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing

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:cheers: to you!! I looked at the same MJ my self about a month before you bought it but didnt have the cash ... and when i finally got them the seller had already made a deal with you. I must say thats is a man who keep his word, even if i offerd him more money and wanted to pick it ut 2 days before you he said a deal is a deal!

 

That particular truck is The One that got me interester in MJ's about ten years ago. At that time it was owned by a guy living next to higway E6 just north of where you bought it, i used to :drool: at it every time i drove by and i just knew i had to have one (or two, or three...) of those. So you better take care of it!! :D

 

Ps: You didn list ut the noise in the D44 among the "known problems" and yes the 4.0L felt a little lazy..

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:cheers: to you!! I looked at the same MJ my self about a month before you bought it but didnt have the cash ... and when i finally got them the seller had already made a deal with you. I must say thats is a man who keep his word, even if i offerd him more money and wanted to pick it ut 2 days before you he said a deal is a deal!

 

That particular truck is The One that got me interester in MJ's about ten years ago. At that time it was owned by a guy living next to higway E6 just north of where you bought it, i used to :drool: at it every time i drove by and i just knew i had to have one (or two, or three...) of those. So you better take care of it!! :D

 

Ps: You didn list ut the noise in the D44 among the "known problems" and yes the 4.0L felt a little lazy..

 

Thank you, I will take good care of it. True the D44 is noisy and I will have to have closer look at it before i install the lockers, but I've been told by a friend that owned an old XJ for many years that this is "normal"

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  • 2 months later...

quite a lot has happened since my last update.

Fixed the passenger side power window, installed OEM style electrical radiator fan in the stock location (strangely it has completely stopped overheating even if the extra fan never runs :???: )

Finally got my new wheels, not much different than the ones i was already borrowing, needed a massive amount of balancing weights (185 grams on one wheel :eek: ). The front bumper is off in this pic cause I've started planning my home built bumper.

 

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Also I finally got my skyjacker 3" lift kit and some other goodies

 

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Clockvise from top left:

-Skyjacker Nitro 8000 shocks

-Skyjacker 3" lift springs

-Skyjacker accesory kit "single flex" including steering damper, adjustable upper and lower links with uniballs, adjustable trackbar, quick disconnects, trackbar and steering damper relocation bracket

-Skyjacker full length add a leaf for 3" lift

-Powertrax auto lockers for front and rear axle

-Steel braided brake hoses, 6" over stock

-AGR high performance steering pump

-JKS quicker disconnects (Didn't realize quick disconnects came with the skyjacker kit)

 

This was to be combined with the 1,5" budget boost I already had on the car for a 4,5" total lift.

I sort of forgot to take any pictures of the whole process, but I got some of the results. One thing the Skyjacker kit didn't have any solution for was that the braket on the lower leaf was to short with the add a leaf in the pack, I had to get this fixed quickly and couldn't find any suitable flat bar. The solution was to use parts of some old horse shoes, these were the right width and already had a hole for the bolt, I don't think i've ever heard of anyone else who has a parts of a horse shoe as a functional part of their car :brows:

 

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Removed the overload spring since I didn't think would do anything but reduce articulation

The old Trackbar gave me a lot of trouble since it didn't want to come off at frame bracket. after spending almost a whole day in total trying to get this of I gave up and had a local machine shop drill out the bolt for me.

The new control arms should give lot of extra articulation and improve the steering geometry

 

LCA uni-ball

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Side wiev showing Spring, LCA, UCA, shock, brake hose and JKS Quicker disconnect

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Rear brake hose

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Trackbar and steering damper relocation bracket

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The front is more than 1" taller than the rear and also quite a lot stiffer, I might remove or replace the front spring spacer to even out the stance

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Even though the front is very stiff the car is actually a lot better to drive. I haven't had a chance to test it offroad yet but it seems like most of the articulation is at the back. if the front spings don't loosen up a bit after some use I might consider replacing them for something softer.

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:drool:

 

Are you going to get the lift/tires approved and written in the registration papers?

 

I have considered it since there is a possibility that you can get TÜV papers for this kit, but since I bought this kit from the states I would have to get them directly from Skyjacker. I don't think its worth the hassle and I could put the old springs and "approval wheels" on in an afternoon if I get stopped.

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The only way is up :roll:

 

I have reconsidered my plans to remove the front spacer since I like the height the way it is, instead I'm going to try and get some old XJ leaf pack and build an MJ/XJ leaf pack to raise the rear that little extra bit.

Has anyone tried this? I was thinking that I could use one of the longer XJ leafs and use it to replace one of the shorter leafs in the MJ pack. the tighter radius of the XJ leaf should give it a litte boost, right?

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I have a skyjacker 3" kit (but it didnt come with the same control arms as yours) waiting to be installed, was supposed to be with tuv papers but i havent found them anywhere yet... gonna send the dealer a mail about them once i get into it.

 

What size tires? 33"?

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The only way is up :roll:

 

I have reconsidered my plans to remove the front spacer since I like the height the way it is, instead I'm going to try and get some old XJ leaf pack and build an MJ/XJ leaf pack to raise the rear that little extra bit.

Has anyone tried this? I was thinking that I could use one of the longer XJ leafs and use it to replace one of the shorter leafs in the MJ pack. the tighter radius of the XJ leaf should give it a litte boost, right?

 

the XJ leave is flatter so it really won't provide that big amount of lift...you could find some s10, dakota or MJ leaves since they are arched for SUA and use those as an AAL...won't sag either

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I have a skyjacker 3" kit (but it didnt come with the same control arms as yours) waiting to be installed, was supposed to be with tuv papers but i havent found them anywhere yet... gonna send the dealer a mail about them once i get into it.

 

What size tires? 33"?

 

They are 31/10,5/15 Interco TRXUS, I want to stay with 31's since I want to keep the body and bed absolutely stock but I can't help thinking how much better 33's would look

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the XJ leave is flatter so it really won't provide that big amount of lift...you could find some s10, dakota or MJ leaves since they are arched for SUA and use those as an AAL...won't sag either

 

My bad, I hadn't really thought about the SUA thing, I figured that since they were shorter they would have to have a tighter arc.

i was thinking of replacing one of the original leaves instead of adding another AAL since I don't want it to be to stiff

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:drool:

 

Are you going to get the lift/tires approved and written in the registration papers?

 

I have considered it since there is a possibility that you can get TÜV papers for this kit, but since I bought this kit from the states I would have to get them directly from Skyjacker. I don't think its worth the hassle and I could put the old springs and "approval wheels" on in an afternoon if I get stopped.

yall gota get yer lifts n tires aproveds by the law to make it legal?

thats gota BLOW! , and i thought that living in cali dealing with the smog laws sucked .

 

and why not try doing a small lift shackle to level it out in the back , would be easier than trying to piece together a bastard pack.

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