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Swapping a 1978 Sunrader Shell onto a Comanche? Thoughts?

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Hey guys, 

Glad I found this forum and hoping you guys will have some insight for my project idea...

 

So I picked up a rare 1978 Toyota Sunrader at a price I could not talk myself out of. Since the stock toyota is grossly underpowered and slow, I want to pull the camper shell off of it and put it on a 4x4 truck. My initial thoughts were a more modern Toyota (am I allowed to say that word here?) since they match up fairly nicely but recently I discovered that the Comanche might be a good option. The wheelbase is similar and from my research, these are fantastic trucks. The one thing I'm curious about is I need to get a measurement from the back of the cab to the center of the rear wheel to see how the camper shell would pair up. Also, and I know this is vague, does anybody know how the frame would compare from the Toyota to the Jeep? 

Thanks in advance! :)

 

Existing Truck:

712739296_1979Sunrader.jpg.e5d1918ff0c03

Frame with shell removed:

00l0l_gwgYISCPcWU_1200x900.jpg.494f46e3b

 

 

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that would be a sweet project for sure :L: 

 

 

360528042.jpg

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IMG_20190305_161235073_HDR.jpg.0758adacacf91d3cc7ed344e4c676f01.jpg About 40" on a short bed. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the replies guys!

Well, that rules out the short bed It needs to be about 44". Does anybody have a longbed they could measure?

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Longbed MJs have 6" more wheelbase, so that would put it at 46ish.

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If you are able to remove that camper and put it on another truck, then you should have the ability to set the wheelbase to fit your needs. It would be pretty easy to move the rear axle to where you need it.

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2 minutes ago, Darren said:

Longbed MJs have 6" more wheelbase, so that would put it at 46ish.

 

Nice, that should work then :)

Now I just need to find one in my price range haha

 

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unless you're looking for an huge engine/harness swap, get a 4.0L from the start (that will eliminate the '86 MJs).  rust free is the most important thing to me.  floors are always suspect no matter how nice the outside is (they are prone to leaks getting under the carpet).  obviously the condition of the bed matters little to you.  they are trucks, so the bed can get a bit beat up over the years.  87-89.5 came with a weak stickshift, but it's easily swapped out for the later ones.  essentially they got a little better each year, so all things equal I'd probably take a 91 over an 87, but I'd never turn down a good deal on an 87.  These trucks are like Legos.  you can build whatever you want. :L:   even 4wd bolts right in to a 2wd without modifying the body. 

 

there's a thread at the top of this forum about the "most important tips" that will have lots of good, um, tips.  :laugh:

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Hell Creek Metric Ton leaf springs come with center pins 1" further forward to help wheel offset already. That should put you within an inch and I'm sure with that camper you will want a metric ton leaf set at least and upgraded rear axle if the one you buy doesn't have a 44.

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You do realize you can order long perches and drill the pin holes anywhere you need to to center an axle, right?

 

You'll have better than 5" to 6" of adjustment across the perch. 

 

 

axle_02.jpg

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Are you planning to cut the back of the cab out for a pass through?

 

If so I think you will need to add back some bracing due to the cab and front end being unibody.

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50 minutes ago, Jeep Driver said:

You do realize you can order long perches and drill the pin holes anywhere you need to to center an axle, right?

 

You'll have better than 5" to 6" of adjustment across the perch. 

 

 

axle_02.jpg

Those are exactly what I was thinking offset 1 hole with Hell Creek leaf packs on a lwb truck he should be perfect.

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I would also add that it would be a very bad Idea to go extreme to 1 side of the perch or the other since the leaf pack would be in a terrible position having the perch so far off balanced. Axle wrap and broken leaf/leaves would be highly likely down the road.

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Hell Creek Metric Ton leaf springs come with center pins 1" further forward to help wheel offset already. That should put you within an inch and I'm sure with that camper you will want a metric ton leaf set at least and upgraded rear axle if the one you buy doesn't have a 44.


I’d be looking to fit that Toyota dually rear in if the MJ’s frame fits between the tires with room to flex. If it’s the 5 lug, they are same pattern as Jeep (not sure on the center hole diameter) and if it’s the 6 lug version, an upgrade on the front diff to one from a Full-size ‘80+ Jeep Wag/ Grand Wag/80-83 Cherokee 4 Dr will get you a matching 6 lug pattern.


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On 3/5/2019 at 6:39 PM, saveevryjp1998 said:

I would also add that it would be a very bad Idea to go extreme to 1 side of the perch or the other since the leaf pack would be in a terrible position having the perch so far off balanced. Axle wrap and broken leaf/leaves would be highly likely down the road.

That's what I was thinking as well.  Those perches would act like a lever if you put the center of the leaf way off to one side.  Axle wrap to the extreme.

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DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

 

I've been kicking around the same idea but with a Chinook shell

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On 3/5/2019 at 6:11 PM, Pete M said:

unless you're looking for an huge engine/harness swap, get a 4.0L from the start (that will eliminate the '86 MJs).  rust free is the most important thing to me.  floors are always suspect no matter how nice the outside is (they are prone to leaks getting under the carpet).  obviously the condition of the bed matters little to you.  they are trucks, so the bed can get a bit beat up over the years.  87-89.5 came with a weak stickshift, but it's easily swapped out for the later ones.  essentially they got a little better each year, so all things equal I'd probably take a 91 over an 87, but I'd never turn down a good deal on an 87.  These trucks are like Legos.  you can build whatever you want. :L:   even 4wd bolts right in to a 2wd without modifying the body. 

 

there's a thread at the top of this forum about the "most important tips" that will have lots of good, um, tips.  :laugh:

Great info man, thanks for the tip(s) 

 

 

On 3/5/2019 at 6:40 PM, Jeep Driver said:

You do realize you can order long perches and drill the pin holes anywhere you need to to center an axle, right?

 

You'll have better than 5" to 6" of adjustment across the perch. 

 

 

axle_02.jpg

 

excuse my ignorance but this is a whole new ball game to me...do you mean I can adjust the back axle to fit is where it will line up correctly?

 

On 3/5/2019 at 7:21 PM, masimmons25 said:

Are you planning to cut the back of the cab out for a pass through?

 

If so I think you will need to add back some bracing due to the cab and front end being unibody.

 

The purist in me says no but for the purpose I want to use it for that would make a ton of sense. My skateboard buddies and I take trips all over and its nice to not section it off from the rest of the crew for those longer drives. If I were to do it I would probably still keep the sections behind the driver / passenger seats and just have a little doorway type of deal. 

Funny enough, the bracing on the current '78 Hilux it currently sits on just has a steel bar that hooks into two brackets on either side above the driver / passenger doors. Ahh, the simplicity :laugh:

 

46 minutes ago, KC0GFG said:

DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

 

I've been kicking around the same idea but with a Chinook shell

 

Yeah I've seen a good amount of Chinook swaps but not too many Sunraders. As much as I like the Chinook's I feel like the over-cap area is kind of dead space since its not really enough room for a bed unless it were to pull out into the space...thats just me though. These videos provide good info for the swap process if you havent seen them...

 

 

 

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honestly, there is so little room in the cab there's no way I could go from front to back while driving so I'd never hack the cab like the Toy had, but you could bond it to the cab and simply remove the rear window for some access.  although if you did that the heat/AC wouldn't work quite as well as factory.  :dunno:

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Quote
  On 3/5/2019 at 7:21 PM, masimmons25 said:

Are you planning to cut the back of the cab out for a pass through?

 

If so I think you will need to add back some bracing due to the cab and front end being unibody.

 

The purist in me says no but for the purpose I want to use it for that would make a ton of sense. My skateboard buddies and I take trips all over and its nice to not section it off from the rest of the crew for those longer drives. If I were to do it I would probably still keep the sections behind the driver / passenger seats and just have a little doorway type of deal. 

Funny enough, the bracing on the current '78 Hilux it currently sits on just has a steel bar that hooks into two brackets on either side above the driver / passenger doors. Ahh, the simplicity :laugh:

 

If sectioning off passengers in the rear is the main concern, and not being able to hop into one of the front seats from the rear, I would just remove the rear window and make a good gasket between the cab and sunrader.  Then you save all of the structural integrity and can talk to each other between the cab and rear living area.  In an emergency I could see you even being able to shimmy up into the driving position from the rear.

 

Love the idea of this build.

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17 minutes ago, Pete M said:

honestly, there is so little room in the cab there's no way I could go from front to back while driving so I'd never hack the cab like the Toy had, but you could bond it to the cab and simply remove the rear window for some access.  although if you did that the heat/AC wouldn't work quite as well as factory.  :dunno:

Wow, beat me to the punch as I was typing.

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This would be so sweet! Ive been planing on starting a custom MJ camper build around July. But would love to watch you do it first, theres very little info/help I can find on a project like this.

 

This crappy photo shopped pic of my rig is kinda my idea. 

1C3A78F3-0822-47CA-8E1F-71B486351590.jpeg

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To get an idea how it would work, try climbing into the back of your truck through your rear window removed, without A: kicking the driver or another passenger in the head, B: knocking the gear shifter out of position C: Kicking the windshield or D: Nearly causing an accident by blocking the view to the right as your truck starts death wobble on a downhill 3 lane highway at 65 mph while some jackass passes you on the right at 90+ mph while hauling a boat that is easily 3 times what he could safely stop with as evidenced by his smoking brakes throwing sparks as he passes you in heavy long weekend traffic on I-90 just before Issaquah, WA and your sons just informed you that the canopy clamps were popping apart from the shaking.


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12 hours ago, DeWManche said:

This would be so sweet! Ive been planing on starting a custom MJ camper build around July. But would love to watch you do it first, theres very little info/help I can find on a project like this.

 

This crappy photo shopped pic of my rig is kinda my idea. 

1C3A78F3-0822-47CA-8E1F-71B486351590.jpeg

 

Very cool man, I dig this a lot! Yeah not too much info on Comanche campers out there although I did find a chinook one that looked really rad. But ultimately I think the sunrader shell would look so good sitting on a Comanche :)

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