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CapitalCityPioneer

1988 Comanche (Barn Find Project for a new Jeeper!)

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Hey forum-goers! Welcome to my build post.IMG_20190609_143727.jpg.24f0c44413c38931c00ceab728b71a44.jpg

 

I recently bought my first jeep, truck, and project vehicle... And let me tell you I am very happy with it. The details will come after a short little intro. This picture --> is my first with the truck.

I am from Washington, DC, and grew up around all the little ricer cars. My first (and still my daily) car was/is a 1997 Acura Integra GS-R. The little thing is awesome, crisp, smooth, and best of all, fast (just like a jeep!.... wait). For 18 year old me, I got a steal on it and I love(d) it. But part of me always wanted a jeep. My first car almost was a 1994 YJ. So close. Ever since then, 2-3 years later, I've wanted a jeep. This project started officially June 5, 2019, sitting in my college class and finding the Facebook Marketplace post for less than a mile from me a "1988 Jeep Comanche Regular Cab".... In the heart of Washington, DC. I mean, to get the truck out of the guys yard we were blocking traffic on a major commuter road! Insanely cool and convenient find.

 

 

So, the details that you're waiting fIMG_20190605_160710.jpg.bcfb2ef9f35c22cbcc768f00736fd33a.jpgor, along with pictures, if I can figure out how that works...IMG_20190605_160633.jpg.e093ef780a4b9e45b50e5b02b0055d1a.jpg

- Its a 1988 Jeep Comanche Pioneer short bed.

- I believe it originally had the straight 6cyl 4.0l, but it now has a newer and rebuilt 6cyl 4.0l, unknown mileage (maybe around 140k?)

- 4 wheel drive

- 97+ converted.

- Still unsure of many details, but this will be updated as I dig deeper and deeper into the project.

 

These pictures are how I was introduced to the truck, taken the day I bought her.

 

The truck is literally starting from ground zero. The frame is claimed to have 0 rust. I have not thoroughly inspected this yet, but so far it certainly seems that way. The guy I bought it from found it on a farm. It had been sitting in the barn, unused, for at least 10 years. You can see the farm use tags on it, and the rear bumper is bent down, so I certainly believe this is definitely the history of it. It came from the little town of Onancock, Virginia, according to the title. The previous owner (PO) had tore the ENTIRE truck apart piece to piece, and painted the interior of the engine bay and primed the outer panels, and even rhino lined the bottom. Currently most of the hard work has been completed in the engine bay, but I still need to once over everything. The IMG_20190605_160649.jpg.449921deb08bf6d097769c0cad1e1582.jpgengine distributor was replaced/converted to coil rail. These are all the details I can think of to start out with. Stay tuned for all the updates!

 

 

I hope to update this as much as possible, with all the details I can, along with pictures and video!

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Good luck and welcome to the addiction!

 

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I like your sense of adventure!  Are all the "bits" under that tarp in the bed? 

 

Looks like the previous owner was on their way to a +97 conversion front & rear.  They already modified the opening for the driver's side taillight.

 

You have your work cut out for you.  Have a blast!

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2 hours ago, NHMJXJ said:

I like your sense of adventure!  Are all the "bits" under that tarp in the bed? 

 

Looks like the previous owner was on their way to a +97 conversion front & rear.  They already modified the opening for the driver's side taillight.

 

You have your work cut out for you.  Have a blast!

They are somewhat all there. Some little bits are missing, the PO told me to hit him up over missing pieces. Currently I know I'm missing the door handles haha.

Yep, one side is converted for the tail light already. But I kind of prefer the Comanche so much more, sadly the things are impossible to find for a reasonable price! The entire inside and such is converted, power everything.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

 

So onto the good stuff! This is the first bit of the project. I can not thank Vakarian enough for all the help. The truck is currently at his house.

 

Getting the truck onto the flatbed trailer... This was up a hill, and without a winch. So we chocked the trailer, disconnected from the truck...

IMG_20190609_092848.jpgGetting the trailer ready

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We used straps to attach the axle to the truck, and pull it up. This was a fight, because the steering linkages were all gone, so the wheels wanted to go whatever way they could.IMG_20190609_113118.jpg.8e94c8fcc03f47eade0267c6553b322b.jpg

After a lot of wheel kicking and yelling, and the truck ALMOST going over the front! The truck was successfully strapped down to the trailer and headed to Vakarian's house.

IMG_20190609_133240.jpg.ffc93e47b8b5591ee9b4c98d6a03cac4.jpgIMG_20190609_140729.jpg.36735864fd941cf5811a34a10b3dcee1.jpg

The truck made the 60miles safely, but was embarrassed that it was at it's new temporary home!

You can see Vakarian's "Trailbreaker" on the left, and his other Comanche Eliminator in the lean-to bay. (Link to his build thread! That truck is BEAUTIFUL-

And finally, my very first Jeep, my glorious MJ (sorry Spiderman, she's mine!), Made it safely back to it's temporary home. IMG_20190609_143021.jpg.dd4ff716a28c2c57cce256c6d76bbcc8.jpg

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awesome find!  :bowdown: 

 

one of the most important things is to keep water from infiltrating the cab.  every single hole should be suspect (glass seals, hvac seal, fuseblock, door gaskets, etc). 

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Appreciate that important reminder on the water Pete M. Thankfully we jury rigged the steering and was able to move it into the garage for ease of work.

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Another water issue is the wiring that runs along the driver door kick panel, if water sits in there too long you will be chasing electrical issues.  I had a major leak from the driver window and corroded all of these wires.

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21 hours ago, smokey said:

Another water issue is the wiring that runs along the driver door kick panel, if water sits in there too long you will be chasing electrical issues.  I had a major leak from the driver window and corroded all of these wires.

Thanks for the heads up!

Did you put any preventative measures in for this incase it leaks again?

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I replaced the rubber seal on the bottom of the driver window, the water was running down the window straight in the door then into the door jam. 

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UPDATE!

 

So I've been slacking on updating the thread. Stuff has been happening FAST on the truck, and my life is just so busy outside of that.... but I digress! ON TO THE DETAILS!

 

I found a lovely Dana44 rear axle on Facebook Marketplace roughly an hour away or so. Jumped on it, there were lots of comments on the post. I was the lucky buyer.

Details:

4.56 geared

Locker installed (unknown details on that currently, will update)

Disc brake converted

Truss beam welded

Leaf Spring mount points are on the top side.... Roughly a 5" lift!? Now I need to compensate on the front!

IMG_20190619_165955%5B1%5D.jpg.4b659bee65a55bb16c302ba1e30c65b2.jpgIMG_20190621_213126%5B1%5D.jpg.8ab16d03dbb0461559817f489b89aba3.jpg

 

So after getting it back to Vakarian's garage, the first order of business was to remove the Dana35 that was in it. (note on this! Upon removing the d35, it appears to have a 1:1 gear ratio inside....... This seems very wrong, but I haven't torn it open yet to look)

 

Now, upon looking at what needed to be done to install the axle, a couple of "issues" were seen:

1) the bolt that holds the center of the leaf springs together tight was too long to allow for the new axle to be installed, as that bolt would hit the axle!

2) Upon trying to test fit the axle, it was seen that the nut on the bottom of the leaf spring bolt previously mentioned was larger than the hole on the leaf spring bracket piece thing.... So some quick modification was required.

640911_IMG_20190621_2132391.jpg.1fdc785edb822ef684868c83cb7fdf5d.jpg  IMG_20190621_213102%5B1%5D.jpg.b33282b47231e1634c7ffbdb7d68eee6.jpg  IMG_20190621_232507%5B1%5D.jpg.d85ad7c0408d6ebc85eff0d88ebefa90.jpg

 

IMG_20190622_105104%5B1%5D.jpg.5966fccc693656621644acfe9435627f.jpg

 

 

Did a quick sharpie marking on the bolt to figure out the length it needed to be cut at, and took the grinder to it on both sides (pictured above before/after). Fits perfectly now!

Finally got the bracket widened, after about 45 minutes of figuring out ways to widen the hole. This proved to be much more difficult than expected. Pictured is Vakarian widening the driver side hole, so I could take a picture/video.

 

 

 

 

So after a lot of wiggling on the axle sitting on a floor jack, me under the truck and Vakarian handling the jack end, we FINALLY got it lined up correctly, and were able to throw the U-Bolts on and clamp it up. Next chance I get to go work on the truck, hopefully later this week, I need to grab washers for those nuts on the bolts, and cut the bolts down to an appropriate length (you can see in the picture that they are incredibly long haha!)

 

Pictured is the final product, plus a little cheater picture with 35" tires :brows:

IMG_20190622_113958%5B1%5D.jpg.ea16fb30e48bd7df97cdb1a4033bc3cf.jpgIMG_20190623_175646%5B1%5D.jpg.8130b33ad6b29a3e36685062a1a5c889.jpgIMG_20190623_175749%5B1%5D.jpg.0e7b086191be616a0e9d13937b7a484d.jpg

 

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

It turned out that I do NOT have a rear axle! Completely overlooked that at the beginning! So after a lot of searching, I found the general lengths required for the swb d44 equipped Comanche, at 42.25" length. So I searched and after a couple days found a 43" shaft for a steal price. Extremely lucky, need to change u-joint, but, eh, right! Should be coming in on Thursday.

And, some more stuff, I ordered the power steering lines needed (including one for Vakarian's "Trailbreaker"), along with a new clutch fan. I will eventually put 2 electronic fans that are controllable (thanks for the idea, Vakarian).

 

Stay tuned, there will be much more coming! Thanks for reading.

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2 hours ago, CapitalCityPioneer said:

UPDATE!

I found a lovely Dana44 rear axle on Facebook Marketplace roughly an hour away or so. Jumped on it, there were lots of comments on the post. I was the lucky buyer.

Details:

4.56 geared

Locker installed (unknown details on that currently, will update)

Disc brake converted

Truss beam welded

Leaf Spring mount points are on the top side.... Roughly a 5" lift!? Now I need to compensate on the front!

IMG_20190619_165955%5B1%5D.jpg.4b659bee65a55bb16c302ba1e30c65b2.jpg

-snip-

Stay tuned, there will be much more coming! Thanks for reading.

 

Did the D44 come out of a MJ or an XJ?   Did you measure the distance between the leaf spring perches? 

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39 minutes ago, DesertRat1991 said:

 

Did the D44 come out of a MJ or an XJ?   Did you measure the distance between the leaf spring perches? 

 

It came out of an MJ! The leaf spring perches were mounted the perfect distance apart for mounting up.

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An awesome gentleman from here in Maryland contacted me about a roll bar the other day. He gave me this crazy story that goes, to the best I can remember, something like this...
 

Quote

I bought my Comanche in 1987, and after buying it saw the roll bar and thought I want one of those. One of my friends worked at the local Jeep dealership, so I asked him. He told me to come by on Sunday and he'd get me one, because that's when his boss would be locked in his office watching the game. So I rolled up on Sunday, handed my buddy $100, and he tossed the roll bar in the back of the truck, and off I went!

 

He sold me the roll bar for a steal, and it came with 2 of the brackets------------ STOP! When I told Vakarian that he had some of the brackets from it, he told me people on the forums would kill me for them! I am so surprised, but I can totally see why. These ones have a lot of surface rust and people probably just chucked them, or destroyed them (or they got crushed in junkyards :() not realizing.

 

So I had to trek this thing back to the truck, and mind you I drive my little 97 Integra GS-R. So off on a 60ish mile adventure I went haha!

 

IMG_20190623_151848%5B1%5D.jpg.c37fe6e846810fbafe6c2bd360b6c63d.jpgIMG_20190623_151852%5B1%5D.jpg.b69439c1ea2c2cb6dcad3a8245609073.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me tell you, my aerodynamics were the bomb.com. I had leaves blowing in the back out through the side windows HAHA!

 

So we test fit it on Vakarian's Trailbreaker MJ, and boy does it look nice! Of course, his is a long bed and mine is a short bed, but it gets the point across well enough. The contours of the bar are perfectly matched to the contours of the MJ cab..... Very clean and nice.

 

 

                                                 1264775654_media-1561569513784-Jun_26_2019_12_531.jpg.3384222dd52d1612fcf8d681598c104e.jpg

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yeah, factory bars are just the best :D  nice score!

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22 minutes ago, RustyRodder said:

Looks good! but is that a SWB bar?  looks like it sits pretty far back!

 

Yes, OP's truck is a short bed.

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6 hours ago, WahooSteeler said:

 

Yes, OP's truck is a short bed. 

Just looks like it sits further back than mine does

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4 minutes ago, RustyRodder said:

Just looks like it sits further back than mine does

 

You are correct, it does. Long bed roll bar has longer legs to reach the wheel hump, the red truck it is sitting in is a friends, not the OP's truck. 

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On 6/27/2019 at 5:32 PM, RustyRodder said:

Just looks like it sits further back than mine does

Rusty, the red truck is the one from this thread below. My bed is filled with body panels and internal junk in general, so there's no space to model it off!

 

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I'm going to be updating the thread again this evening. But in the meantime, I need to buy oil for my ax15 and the np231 transfer case.

 

Before I drop $120 on this Redline MT-90 75w-90 for $60 a gallon...... Is there something else I SHOULD be buying? I keep seeing stuff about using 10w-30, but I'm not sure.

 

Thanks!

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10w30 full synthetic is the new guideline from Chrysler, but the old oil spec will also work as long as it's not the synchro eating GL-5. :L: 

 

where's that update? :D 

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On 8/1/2019 at 9:43 PM, Pete M said:

10w30 full synthetic is the new guideline from Chrysler, but the old oil spec will also work as long as it's not the synchro eating GL-5. :L: 

 

where's that update? :D 

I've been taking mad pictures, just haven't sat down to post them up. Lot of updates coming, the truck is near running....! :applause:

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So there's a LOT of updates and incoming pictures. Work got delayed a few weeks back for various mishaps coming about. Hood flipped up on my Integra smashing windshield and roof, then a rod was thrown out the oil pan of my buddies 4.2l in his Wrangler. Fun times.

 

But on to the juicy stuff!

This post will be all brakes.

-------------

So I ordered all my brake stuff, meaning calipers, rotors, pads, etc. Got a 25' roll of steel line with fittings included for $13 on Amazon, really good deal I think compared to AutoZone and the likes. My rear axle is using Grand Cherokee rotors, and 1997 Ford Ranger calipers and pads, because of the disc brake conversion.

My one mounting hole for the rear caliper was stripped, much to my dismay. My roommate came to the rescue, suggesting a Helicoil kit which I'd never heard of, and I highly it suggest if anyone runs into this problem! It is incredibly sturdy and easy to work.

IMG_20190722_170029.jpg.3fc5f5948f86b43284895c3586e9adf0.jpgIMG_20190722_170607.jpg.655dcfbb82da8e3718d90dfe32920e86.jpg

The next order of business was to mount the rubber lines I bought to run over the leaf from the caliper. Pictured is the driver side of the rear axle (d44), where the rubber line is mounted to the truss support via tapped hole. The rubber lines are the stock front lines for a Grand Cherokee I believe...

IMG_20190721_120852.jpg.d5ad9175951b8ee4811089af35916064.jpg

So next I had to run the actual hard brake lines. I can say with absolute confidence that I NEVER want to run brake lines again! Lol....

Pictured is the rear brake lines completely installed, including the steel braid from the frame to the axle to allow for the flexing, and the prop valve on the axle. Also pictured are my new Rubicon Express shocks installed on the rear. No longer can I jump on the tailgate and send the rear end up to space!

IMG_20190802_222411.jpg.e0148e33d8c23fb431abd2676fa1b386.jpg

Pictured next is the crazy bends I had to achieve in order to get the rear line to the steel braid mounting point.

IMG_20190802_212703.jpg.236d021408a385392c131d1e4799d05a.jpg

And the last brake line picture is my front passenger side line, I never got a picture of the driver side line for some reason. Also in this picture you will see the old springs and shocks, lifted for a 3.5" lift. The springs were replaced with 4.5" lift springs, and shocks are yet to be ordered (need to flex the axle and find lengths). You can also see the missing wheel stud, that had to be cut out when I first got the truck in order to allow us to roll it, as it was loose and bent.

IMG_20190802_224706.jpg.9dbe4dd4812a8e4cc2327761cdfb1a85.jpg

 

And at the end of it all, it's time to bleed breaks! Well, last night, I learned the hard way that I should have Teflon taped all my fittings. Next trip to work on the truck that will be my project lol.IMG_20190802_224706.jpg.9dbe4dd4812a8e4cc2327761cdfb1a85.jpg

 

Random information on the prop valve. I believe it came from a Grand Cherokee, Vakarian can confirm this. The front hole where you see that big silver bolt plugging is a 5/8-18 size for the bolt. I went through hell trying to find the size, and honestly the bolt in it I'm pretty sure is a 5/8-24 that I cranked in with Teflon tape because brass is soft, and I never expect to use that hole again. Oops?

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Picture of the valve is missing but the threads seemed to be 5/8-16 (fine thread) but couldn't find one anywhere. Ordered one online and the wrong bolt was in the correctly labeled package. So a 16mm drain plug was forcible cranked down with Teflon tape. Started to bleed brakes and as of fight now one line is leaking so that is the next step to figure out.

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Oh! Here is the picture of the prop valve.

19 hours ago, Vakarian said:

Picture of the valve is missing but the threads seemed to be 5/8-16 (fine thread) but couldn't find one anywhere. Ordered one online and the wrong bolt was in the correctly labeled package. So a 16mm drain plug was forcible cranked down with Teflon tape. Started to bleed brakes and as of fight now one line is leaking so that is the next step to figure out.

IMG_20190820_181126.jpg.3d9118d774610ea66d89d0c2ab013691.jpgIMG_20190820_181131.jpg.d4da705937011582e41447526ca33ec4.jpg

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