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tom_echo

Budget Wheeler - 87' MJ

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Hello ComancheClub!

 

I'm Tom and I've been dreaming after a Comanche for a few years while I was in college and just getting into jeeping.  I basically bought this one as soon as I graduated, it's not perfect but I think it was a decent deal and I love driving it.  I looked up the carfax it spent most of its time in Virgina before going up to Vermont in like 2010 (based on the registration) and then coming down to Connecticut where it basically sat because the owner had 3 other 4x4s and didn't have the time for this one.

 

Here's the pics from the craigslist ad where I found it in March of 2018

 

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That rust is all the way through the floor, that brown thing there hanging out is the carpeting.

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So overall a pretty decent looking jeep for the price ($1500), just from the first look

  1. Floors rusted out completely (I'll post a pic with the carpet pulled out it will be really obvious)
  2. Cab has like 5 leaks, probably related to above
  3. Wheel wells rusted out
  4. Temp sensor didnt work
  5. Shocks totally blown out
  6. Rear leafs uneven and have no weight bearing capacity whatsoever. (About 500lbs of weight leveled the bed straight to the tires)
  7. Seat is all ripped up
  8. If you take your foot off the gas it dies
  9. Brakes are scary bad
  10. Steering is terribly loose 
  11. Bumper is hanging on with 2 bolts
  12. AC doesn't blow cold
  13. Leaks oil
  14. Steering wheel points to the left when going straight
  15. Wheels point outwards
  16. Smells really really bad in the cab
  17. Power steering lines leak
  18. One tire had a bubble

 

 

I'll be updating this spread sheet with everything I buy to track the total cost of the project, it is totally up to date and has all the parts i havent written about here, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AdNCqjBvQa4w9ZlsGyszRt0f8tcKhygAMFhtZKzvQH4/edit?usp=sharing

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The first day I bought it I took it off road, there's a nice unmaintained farm road right by my house, nothing serious but it got the truck dirty.

 

IMG_20180318_104205610.jpg

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Back home in the barn, this is where she sleeps.

 

IMG_20180318_154916389.jpg.9fcbd5a011e16b3366cbaaa707711f58.jpg

 

This is when I discovered the windows get stuck if you roll them all the way down, had to take the entire door apart to fix it.  It turns out I wasnt the first one in there, the plastic sound barrier had already been cut open and taped back.  won't be making this mistake again.

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looks like a solid project in need of tlc.  like most old Jeeps. :D   well, certainly like my old jeeps.  :(  

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First things first, the floors have to be fixed.

 

Bought these for $90 bucks off ebay, they're thin Chinese steel but they'll do.

 

IMG_20180321_202657636.jpg.824c6fef5e4c9cc086a32dd8872870c1.jpg

 

Stripped out basically all the interior, you can kind of see it in the photo the bottom of the seat had the original build sheet, although it was so work it fell into pieces as soon as I tried to pull it out.

 

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Spent some quality time with the vac and an wire cup on the angle grinder to get rid of any surface rust.

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As you can see drivers side is totally trashed, the front left portion is wide open, a lot of the rusty parts just expanded out and left giant holes.

IMG_20180321_202713795.jpg.ff4cbb2d1ca9840d061e98d1888bfc28.jpg

 

Drew out some lines with a grease pencil to try and visualize where to cut and what sort of panels to put in.

IMG_20180324_210701876.jpg.dbe43cfb34b8d52cfe0d12507784aa9a.jpg

 

Switched to the other side for a while because it was much more manageable with it's smaller sections of rot.

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As you can tell these aren't the highest quality welds but it's the best I could do with my $100 craigslist mig welder, I kept burning through because the rust was worse than I thought in some spots.  Passenger side is done for now.  I wire brushed all the rust off, and painted with the eastwood version of por 15 that I had lying around, hopefully that will prevent any future rust from coming back.

 

IMG_20180324_211903632.jpg.cd70a27f3aa85dd3061244f2721a5e26.jpg

 

 Came back to the drivers side, had to cut a ton out but I'm slowly making my way around.  Starting with the easier smaller bits in the back.  Got to be really careful about hitting those fuel, brake and electrical lines around the right side of the unibody rail when I made the cuts.

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Finishing up the back of the driver's side.  Doing the same thing as the passenger with the grinding and the paint.

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Wasn't really sure what direction I was going to take on the trans tunnel because I had to get it perfect for the transfer case linkage, so I spent some time calking.

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More to come, I have a big backlog to upload for photos, some things got less photos than others, I'll try and mention the things I did but forgot to take photos of.

 

 

 

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Couple more floor photos.

 

Shouldn't have welded next to new seam sealer, it melts it.  Got all my holes drilled for the seat and the cross member.  The transfer case linkage ended up working out fine.

IMG_20180407_162643064.jpg.f584e41ca02d700ac66bff2ef300c67c.jpg

 

I painted and calked everything after this. Then used some bed liner I got for $30 on amazon, decent stuff, super smelly but it should make the floor really rugged.  As you can see I fixed the rust but not the leaks.

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Thinks are taken a bit out of order here as you can see I got a cheapo bench seat cover ($30), made of the cheapest weave of cloth I have ever had the pleasure of sitting on.  I should replace it with a real blanket at some point.  

 

 

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 Around the same time as I did the floors I replaced all the brakes and ran new ebrake lines to the back, the old ones had totally frozen up and become useless. 

 

IMG_20180407_210952494.jpg.aa038edde585634d12feae721cdf0315.jpg

 

Ended up being a waste to replace all that in the rear as I did an axle swap to an 8.8 (upgrading from the dana 35) like 5 months later.

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On a test drive after bleeding the brakes (which actually work surprisingly well at this point).  I discovered I was leaking gas, like everywhere.  The tank itself was probably rusted and trashed anyways but it kept leaking after I changed it.  At first I thought it was the gas tank but after I changed that I still had a leak.  I then discovered this tiny crack in one of the lines of the sending unit, it was covered in this like thick plasticy paint, it looks like someone tried to repair it at some point.

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I did't take many photos but I ended up replacing the gas tank ($130), fuel pump ($45), and sending unit ($75).  The sending unit came from an earlier model MJ because I couldn't find any for my year.  It had an external fuel pump that year so I ended up just buying an f150 fuel pump and placing it where the filter used to go, it worked out pretty good.  Just had to rewire the pump off the wires that used to come from the sending unit.  Now the gas gauge isn't accurate but as least I don't have a leak. 

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It looks ugly but it works fine and hasn't moved or caused a problem after a feel wheeling trips and a couple thousand road miles.

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So now that the jeep is finally running, I bought some new tires ($600), got em mounted ($70) and kept one of the old ones as a spare.  I probably should have gotten a more aggressive tread but I thought I would have more on road than off road use. 

 

IMG_0026_LI.jpg.4b2387391a9a7ce96e1bb58517e00ff2.jpg

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I also added a set of KC lights I had in the barn.  I haven't bothered to wire them up yet as I only have a 62 amp alternator so I'm sure they'd hardly light up anyway.  Right now if the radio and the blower (for the heat) is on the lights will start do dim.  If anyone knows of any swaps to get a bigger alternator let me know.  I want to swap something in that is beefy enough to run everything without struggling and probably a future winch.

IMG_0254_LI.jpg

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honestly that sounds more like corrosion in the cables or bad grounds than the alternator. :(  have you run through Cruiser's Renix tips yet?  should be right at the top in the DIY link in my sig.

 

also, be sure to make a signature of your own :L: 

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9 hours ago, Pete M said:

honestly that sounds more like corrosion in the cables or bad grounds than the alternator. :(  have you run through Cruiser's Renix tips yet?  should be right at the top in the DIY link in my sig.

 

also, be sure to make a signature of your own :L: 

 

Hadn't thought of checking the cables to the alternator, which direction do they go, straight towards the battery?  I'll check out that renix guide hopefully it'll have some tricks to get help the truck idle after startup.

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Did some basic maintenance:

  1. engine mounts - as you can see in the photos it's totally worn away, there was nothing left to the mount, just a little bit of rubber on the bottom.
  2. air filter
  3. Spark plugs, air filter, cap and rotor, spark plug wires,
  4. All 3 temp sensors
    1. one in the back of the head, near the intake, this one runs the sensor on the dash,
    2. one on the engine block drivers side above the the oil pan which runs the fuel injection system
    3. a final one near the airbox in the coolant line which toggles the electric fan
      1. decided just to bypass this one, I couldn't find it online and I wanted the fan to run all the time, not sure if it will burn out earlier but I'd rather be cool.  I can always upgrade to that ford tarus fan (there's a DIY article somewhere on the forum)
  5. Power steering lines, they were leaking a bit.  This was a breeze to change not much too it.

 

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Here's the airbox, all but one bolt is totally rusted out.

 

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Old versus new sensor, looks like it was a bit stripped, I checked it with the ohmmeter and it wasnt working properly.

 

IMG_0084.jpg.cd41c10ba9a15b9a1e0462b41c5c15b0.jpg

 

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As part of my ongoing work to kill all the leaks in the cab (see above pics of water on the floors) I calked the upper right corner of the back window

IMG_0081.jpg.9542a28f36c71aa4b33911c1a7df1bac.jpg

 

Ugly but it works.  I also replaced all the weather stripping on the windows just in case it was leaking there as well, it was all cracked anyway.

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One of the bolts on the bumper's left side had snapped off, I drilled another hole and ended up with 5 total bolts (3 of them being grade 5 rather than grade 8).  Should be good enough for a recovery point.

IMG_0174.jpg.8685c62dd7bc489afac4c995af947c9e.jpg

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Went wheeling in the local state forest, it's a decent spot.  I was surprised to see how well it did, the long wheelbase seemed helpful but it was a little hard getting around tight turns.  Should have taken some more photos.

 

 IMG_0066_LI.jpg.120ff0f384054ffc972222f1abd88b70.jpg

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Did a bad thing, I ended up doing some serious damage to the panel on the passenger side behind the door.  The dog makes it look better but it was a big disappointment.

 

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It's easier to see how one of the leafs is sagging from this far shot it might be a bit exaggerated by the terrain though. 

 

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Looking pretty good I would say.

 

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yeah, I remember my first real damage.  smashed both my rockers on a simple trail ride just about the time I was contemplating putting in rocker guards.  :( 

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16 minutes ago, Pete M said:

yeah, I remember my first real damage.  smashed both my rockers on a simple trail ride just about the time I was contemplating putting in rocker guards.  :( 

 

I really want to build an exocage in the future which will put an end to anything like this.  I think an easy first step is probably rocker gaurds, made out of whatever cheap rectangular tubing I can find at the junk yard.

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rocker guards take very little steel to do.  just find a local steel place and buy what fits your design. :L:  I went with 2x2 square for the guard, 1.5" round tube for the runners, and 3/16" plate to spread out the load at the frame.  make it into what you want  :D  

 

 

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