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Newbie lookin to upgrade

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Hi, newbie here looking for some advice on upgrading my Ba-10/rwd to a anything else/4wd. This is my first truck and first jeep and being an amatuer mechanic i'm unsure on the price vs. worth when buying parts. I'm thinking about picking up a parts/project comanche for around $1500 because it's a '89 4wd longbed with what looks to be a stock d44/d30 setup, havent seen it in person yet only a few pics(bit of a drive and i'm going to need to rent a trailer) so i'm just hoping it has the MT leafs and an ax-15 or aw-4("it's automatic" was all i got). You guys think the actual MJ parts are worth it or should i just be picking up a donor xj for half the $ or less and making the parts work?

Also, it has a non-running 4.0L and not sure how bad the rust is.

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Using an MJ as a parts donor will mean one less MJ on the road. That's really what it comes down to. The only real advantage to using an MJ as a donor is you're more likely to get a rear driveshaft in the correct length, but generally a custom driveshaft won't set you back the difference in price vs a rotted out XJ.

Although you will get a whole whack of spare MJ-specific parts with an MJ as a donor, so maybe if you have space to keep them around that might pay for itself... eventually, maybe. 

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If the parts MJ is too far gone to bring back, I say part it and build yours with it. The MJ parts truck will make the swap a bolt in affair with the D44.  I assume you can not weld/fit, so I would suggest you go the MJ route if it does have a D44 in the rear.  

Quick math -


$1500 for the MJ.  That D44 goes for $300-500 from what I've seen, that's going to be the only part of value to your swap the XJ won't have.  You should be able to sell the taillights for $150, tail gate for $100, bed for $100 or so depending on rust, bench for $50-100.  Should be able to sell a couple more parts.  Should get $75 in scrap for truck when you are done with it.  Figure you can recoup around $600 (assuming you sell $125 worth of misc stuff).  That reduces your total investment to $900, if you pay the $1500.  Should be able to talk him down to $1200 at least.  The misc parts you pull for your own collection (interior pieces, MJ specific hard to find little bits) can be priceless.


$750 for a rusted out XJ.  The rear axle is useless to you because it won't bolt in.  To pay someone to weld the MJ suspension brackets on will cost you at least $300 if you can find a guy to do it on the side.  Call a 4WD shop and their price will likely be ridiculous.  Finding a MJ D44 is rare, so you will be riding on the D35 for a while.  The D35 will hold up to mild use.  As far as parting out the XJ, I wouldn't expect to recoup too much.  You'll be using the parts most folks are looking for on the XJs.  Might sell $200 in parts.  Same $75 in scrap value.  That puts you at a total investment of $475.  BUT you don't have a worthwhile rear axle.  Finding an MJ D44 or a modified 8.25 or 8.8 will be a PITA and will cost you $300-500 on a good day.

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It didn't look like its been on the road for awhile, but could be worth saving still.


And yeah, i don't have or have access to a welder right now and i've never fitted anything, mostly basic maintenance and parts replacement. So going for the MJ seems like the plan.


I'll do my best to save the old one, though from what i see on these forums putting a Ba-10 and dana 35 back on it won't make anyone too excited to get it. And if i part it out, i've seen 3 more MJ's driving around town, though they seem to be in just as good or better condition then mine.

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