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I’ve been meaning to create a build thread for my  truck on here for a while so here it goes. Hopefully I’ve put it in the right section. 

 

I’ve always loved jeeps and in the summer of 2013 I got my first which is a 2003 wrangler freedom edition that has been my daily driver ever since. It currently has a 3” lift and 33” general grabbers and I do offroad it on occasion. 

 

In the summer of 2016 right before I started college I found a 1988 Jeep Comanche for sale on facebook and I went to look at it since I’ve always like the look of them. The truck was originally a 4.0 2wd 5 speed with the ba10/5 however the guy I bought it from blew up two transmissions and started a 4wd automatic swap. My original intent was to finish that swap and turn it into my new daily but the scope of the project quickly grew. It was supposed to have been running and driving when it was parked but after trailering it home I discovered that it probably had not been. 

 

 I had gotten it all put back together and I had finished installing the front axle and the rest of the drivetrain components then I figured out that I couldn’t get it to start. I tried replacing pretty much every sensor and component in the ignition system to make it get spark but I couldn’t figure it out and eventually started to lose patience with it. I had quite a few different people look at it and try different things but nobody was able to point me in the right direction. Since I didn’t know much about the drivetrain at all other than a engine rebuild at some point since it had 270k miles on the odometer I decided to do an engine swap. 

 

My dad had a 5.7 liter vortec engine and th350 trans that were originally intended for another project that got sold so I worked out a deal with him to put them in my truck so I could actually get it back on the road. The 5.7 had been converted over to a carb with an edelbrock intake by the previous owner so I knew that I would be able to actually make it run. The th350 was 2wd and when I first started the swap I had planned to convert it to 4wd and use the np231 that I had but as I got farther into the swap I decided to leave it 2wd since I already have my wrangler and this was intended as more of a budget build. 

 

I pulled out the old motor in the winter of 2017 and got the new motor installed with Novak conversion engine mounts and a bracket I made that used the factory trans crossmember and a rubber transmission mount that I already had. The motor had v belts on it that were pieced together from a bunch of random accessories so I bought the accessory set up off of a 4.3 vortec and bolted them on for simplicity and so I could eventually hook up the factory air conditioning. I used a used Novak conversion radiator initially but it ended up having a leak so I made a universal speedway motors radiator fit in its place. I have a set of headman center dump headers that clear the frame pretty well. I ended up taking out the 4wd front axle since it had a few issues and put a 2wd beam axle back in the truck along with new ball joints, brakes and steering. The original 2wd ba10/5 driveshaft ended up being about the right length so I used it and a new 27 spline yoke. For my fuel system I ended up removing the factory lines since they were on the wrong side of the truck and I installed an external electric fuel pump that sucks through the return line since I don’t need a return style system for my particular carb. I have hooked up all the factory gauges so they work as they should and from the inside of the cab it looks stock other than my shifter. The shifter I chose was a tci ratchet shifter that fits in the interior well and is bolted to the floor. 

 

The truck currently runs and drives however I still have a few things to do to it before it’s ready to be daily driven. The tail housing on my transmission is damaged which causes it to leaks everywhere so I have a new one that’s getting installed soon. My interior was also nasty so I bought a set of Scion xB seats that I was going to use however they ended up not fitting well. I ended up buying a dodge dakota split bench that I plan to install since I’ve seen it done before. I also need to fix the leaky vent windows and trace down a leak from under the dash. The last major thing it needs is an exhaust system which I’m also planning on making myself since there are no overly complex bends and I like doing all my own work whenever I can. The front marker lights also don’t work so I need to swap in the other harness that I got from a friend. 

 

I am home from college on break so I hope to get the last few things finished up on it before I have to head back so I can enjoy it this summer. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about anything particular that I did and I am planning on updating this as often as I can. I’m also going to post some pictures of the progress below

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nice!  :D  is it the photo or is the clearance really that tight between the steering and the headers?  what are you using for a rear axle?

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32 minutes ago, Pete M said:

nice!  :D  is it the photo or is the clearance really that tight between the steering and the headers?  what are you using for a rear axle?

It’s pretty darn close lol but nothing hits, the picture makes it seem closer than it is. It has about a 1/2 of space so I don’t think it’ll be an issue. The headers are also wrapped which adds a little thickness. It still has a non cclip dana 35 at the moment but I plan to put an 8.8 in it when I get the chance. The 35 was recently rebuilt so it should hold up for a little while and I have a spare one if I need it

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This weekend I finally got around to finishing up my drivers door by reinstalling the newly fixed and hopefully leak free vent window along with some new weatherstripping along the door glass. I also got the transmission leak repaired and ordered the speedometer gear that I needed so my speedo will be accurate. Today my dad and I started installing the dodge dakota 40/20/40 seat. We used the stock Comanche bucket seat brackets for the front along with some square tubing. For the back we used flat plate connected to the old seat studs in the floor. The factory bucket bracket in the back was too far away to use and still have the seat be safe so we just didn’t use them. We also used the dakota sliders in favor of the Comanche ones since they were already attached to the seat and the mounts lined up pretty well. I posted pictures of the front brackets below and I’ll take some of the rear tomorrow

 

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how does the height of the seat in that configuration compare to the originals?

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3 minutes ago, Pete M said:

how does the height of the seat in that configuration compare to the originals?

They are pretty similar in height to the ones that were previously in the truck which were 2 door xj buckets on modified frames. They may sit about an inch taller but my dad and I can both see out the middle of the windshield with plenty of headroom. I couldn’t really get them any lower without modifying the floor since the middle seat is on the tunnel and I didn’t really want to add spacers to raise it up

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18 hours ago, Me&my86MJ said:

Those look way more comfy than my bench seat.

They are very comfy and much better than the two door buckets I had and the bench seat in my friends truck. They also look really good in the interior

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Today I finished up the seat brackets and got them painted and ready for installation with my dads help. The rear brackets are flat plate on one side and 2 inch square tube on the other. I’ll get some pictures of them mounted in the truck tomorrow if I have time. I need to go to the scrap yard at some point tomorrow to get rid of the leftover parts from the engine swap that nobody seems to want because our yard is starting to look like a junkyard 

 

 

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The seat installation got finished up today and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I also got my new speedo gear in the mail so I installed it as well so it will hopefully be accurate now

 

 

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2 hours ago, mjeff87 said:

D35 + 5.7.....:bananagun:

 

Digging the build so far, just don't wait on that 8.8 swap.

I’m thinking it’ll be ok for a little while as long as I don’t try to light the tires up and I drive it like I have a dana 35. I do have a spare too so I have spare parts if/when I manage to break it

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oooooorrrrrrr, you could upgrade to an 8.8 or 8.25 and go have fun :D  preferably something with a posi  :driving:

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12 hours ago, Pete M said:

oooooorrrrrrr, you could upgrade to an 8.8 or 8.25 and go have fun :D  preferably something with a posi  :driving:

An 8.8 swap is in the plans I just have some other stuff I need to do before I get there. I’d like to find one with a limited slip so both of my rear tires can die at the same time😂

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ford was kind enough to include the gear ratio and pois-or-not on a sticker on the door of the explorer.  :L:  google for the codes.

 

personally I like the KJ Liberty 8.25.  it's 2" wider than stock to better match the MJ's wide butt and has disks ('cept for '02).  :D 

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32 minutes ago, Pete M said:

ford was kind enough to include the gear ratio and pois-or-not on a sticker on the door of the explorer.  :L:  google for the codes.

 

personally I like the KJ Liberty 8.25.  it's 2" wider than stock to better match the MJ's wide butt and has disks ('cept for '02).  :D 

I knew that the codes were on the explorer doors because I’ve looked for one for my wrangler as well since it also has a dana 35 but I just haven’t pulled the trigger on one just yet. 

 

I didn’t know about the kJ liberty 8.25 so I’ll have to check that out too. I’m hoping the 35 will at least hold up for a little while so I can save up for an axle swap

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Libbys are everywhere in the pull a parts.  it's like $125 for an axle.  3.55 and 3.73 are the most common ratios.  posis are hit or miss. 

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I have a 350 and a Dana 35 and that thing has taken some abuse. I can lay well over a hundred feet of rubber and it ain't broke yet. YET. An axle swap is in my future but the fuel injection was expensive so I need to recover a bit.

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It’s been a little while since I’ve posted so here’s an update. The exhaust is all figured out and almost finished, just a little more welding to do. The passengers side was pretty easy and we were able to just shorten a 90° bend and weld it to the flange. The drivers side was a pain due to the upper control arm and the oil filter getting in the way so it was made in many more section. I had to wrap it with some exhaust wrap due to the clearance between the starter on the passengers side and the oil filter on the drivers side. I’ll post some more pics as soon as it’s all finished. It’s all 2.5 inch mandrel bent pipe and I have thrush welded mufflers which should sound pretty good

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wow, that bend was a challenge.  5 sections! :( 

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2 hours ago, Pete M said:

wow, that bend was a challenge.  5 sections! :( 

It was no fun at all but it clears much better than when we tried to do it in fewer pieces. It’s all finish welded now and I’m waiting on more exhaust wrap so I can finish it up

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The exhaust on my truck is all finished up and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s all nice and tucked up out of the way with no real clearance issues. I’m back at school now and not near the truck so I probably won’t be updating as much however it’s almost ready for the road. I need to get it registered, aligned and tuned up before it’s ready to be driven more than just short distances

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