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I haven't had a build thread for a few years so I guess its time to start a new one. New on the forum but by no means new to the Jeep community. My most recent builds:


Project Poughkeepsie (SOLD) - https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/project-poughkeepsie-2001-anniversary-edition-build-thread-3527642/




Project Daily Driver (290k miles and still kicking) - https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f177/another-daily-driver-xj-build-98-classic-1375527/




I've been overseas for the last year and have been planning a Comanche build. First things first, I needed somewhere to work on Jeeps. I lucked into a house with a huge 30x40 shop!




Next I found a low milage (140k) SWB Comanche with a rust-free body and a dent-free bed (it had a bedliner in it!). I love buying Jeeps in the south... no rust! Dragging it home:






Into the garage:




I also found a totaled '99 XJ as a donor for parts. It looks pretty rough but only has 123k miles! AW4/NP231/4.0L ect. 






Stripping the MJ down:




97+ mock up:




Brought the XJ down to TX from CO. All of the vehicles in one place for once:




More to follow!

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The tear-down continues:










After the drivetrain was stripped, I pressure-washed everything yet again. Following that I stripped the suspension and axles:




Before I could weld in some T&M Metal Fabrication stiffeners, I had to repair the one spot of uni-frame damage at the driver side bumper mount. I cut a section out of the donor XJ and welded into the MJ. Knowing that the stiffeners were going in over the repair, I just did a quick butt-joint instead of overlapping or doing something stronger. With the stiffeners the repair will be way stronger than it was from the factory.
















Starting to burn the stiffeners in:





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I plug welded all of the holes then did a 2" stitch around the edges. No instructions with these stiffeners but I think this is probably the strongest option. 






I seam sealed around the outside to help keep moisture out. 




Lastly I sprayed everything down with self etching primer to keep the rust away until I can get everything painted.




Then I took a break from the welding to clean the garage. Its been a mess since I moved in and it was nice to finally have room for activities! 




New tool box. Craftsman stopped selling the drawer foam that you can cut tool shapes into so I transferred everything over from my old box.




I found all of my quadratec magnets... I've made a purchase or two over the years...



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  • 1 year later...
On 11/13/2019 at 10:39 PM, Pete M said:

send me a PM with a name/address and I'll send yours out. :L: 


PM sent! Thank you!


I guess it's finally time to update this thread... its been over a year. Unfortunately the MJ took a back seat while I spent a few months in Europe for work... twice. Covid killed most of the usual fun but I did manage to make a friend somewhere over Spain :laugh:!




Sometime during the spring I added yet another Jeep to the fleet. I guess I'm a sucker for half truck half Jeeps. I also sold the orange XJ and the Ram. I'm down to a Gladiator, a SRT WK, and the MJ... for now:




I took a break from the MJ to build a quick WK for my parents. 2" OME w/ 32" KO2's and some Gladiator Sport wheels:




Ok fine, enough excuses, back to the Comanche content... I'll rewind to where I last left off. After fixing the drivers side frame rail and adding stiffeners, I moved on to stripping down the '99: 








XJ door strikers welded in with the correct backing plate behind and retained just like the factory XJ so its fully adjustable:




Firewall mods:








Notch Flares being test fitted with some 37's. I plan to run 37's but not this setup:






What a pain to install... But they're the best looking flare IMO:




Bondo to form a perfect edge:




5.9L ZJ hood vents complete with factory drip trays:








Then it was time to start sanding... I wish I had taken it completely down to metal but thats a story for the next update... We'll see how motivated I am tonight.




Well thats about when things went... a little off reservation. I had planned a nice moderate build like my previous blue XJ (Project Poughkeepsie) but after helping a friend stuff a LS1 into his C10 pickup and hearing him go on and on about how easy it was to do... My moderate build went off the deep end:





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It turns out PSC is literally down the road from my house... so stopped through their amazing facility to grab a big bore XJ/MJ box:




I then plated the x-member with some 3/16" steel:




Complete with some 1/2" bolts and tabs welded onto the inner frame rail stiffeners:




Just enough room between the PSC box and the opposite frame rail for a winch! 




Unfortunately Warn was slow with drop shipping me the winch so I moved onto the next project. I decided to do a mesh grill along with a HD front facing camera to go along with my double DIN Alpine head unit (theres a reverse camera hidden under the tailgate handle):










After that I stripped everything down for paint. I really don't have pictures of the prep process but it was a month or two of sanding, body work, and lots of dust. Next I turned my shop into a giant paint booth. Plastic up the middle to force air to move up and around (one shop door had filters and the other had filters and fans):










I threw some sandable primer on and reblocked everything down followed by some sealer:




Next it was time for color. Let me start by saying that my original plan was to paint it "Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat" (ARH) a Jeep color used on WK's. But after I decided to stuff the LS1 into it my Dad recommended I do something bright. So after much debate I finally settled on another BMW color (the blue XJ was Yas Marina Blue). Its an extremely gold color called "Austin Yellow" (B67). It came out ok for a garage paint job. I did have some lifting on the roof and tailgate (very slight in a few crevices... hence why I wish I had taken the entire thing down to bare metal) and the clear reacted with the basecoat in a few places where I put the first clearcoat on too thick. Luckily most of the imperfections are on the roof where they won't be seen or will be covered up by lineX on the bedside rail caps. Regardless it came out pretty good.












Under the shop lights the color has a green hue but in the sunlight its more gold:




Next I threw a few parts on to get an Idea of what it'll look like:






After that I let everything sit for a few days to ensure the clear had cured before starting to bolt it back together:






New glass front and rear. The rear is a CR Lawrance rear double slider. I love the functionality but its not a great fit. Oh well, there really isn't another option:










I then cut and buffed the hood/fenders/flares... I still need to finish the rest of the cab. I started with 1500 grit, then 2000, then moved onto the 3M perfect-it system with all 3 compounds and pads. excellent results! 










Here's a shot of the factory ZJ drip trays for the vents. They drain just aft of the radiator support:




2 boxes from Novak arrived! most of the conversion parts along with a brand new AX-15:




The engine bay is ready:






I made an entirely new harness from the cab back using Deutsch connectors. The harness includes the 5-wire HD camera wiring and I designed it so that each tail light can be unplugged individually instead of letting it hang while you struggle to pull out each bulb:










Lastly I found an old pic (circa 1999) of me and my HS MJ... '87 2wd 2.5L with zero options that I pained with lacquer in the driveway:




Thats it! All caught up. Next I need to get the cab and underhood harnesses figured out. I plan to piggyback the XJ computer to run the factory '99 gauge cluster but I can strip out any wiring I don't need. It'll be a few long weeks staring at the FSM wiring diagrams before I can move on to getting the drivetrain together. more to follow!

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On 12/16/2020 at 12:17 AM, SiXJaK said:

Wow. Nice build. I too have gone with the Notch fenders. They look so good in person.


Agreed. I like yours in contrasting color btw!


4 hours ago, 89 MJ said:

Looks great! You don't need to worry about losing it in a parking lot!


Thanks! hahaha, very true

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On 12/18/2020 at 4:22 PM, USN_JeepMJ said:


Agreed. I like yours in contrasting color btw!



Thanks! hahaha, very true

Thanks but ackshully I’m not done. Just test fitting. Bumpers, rock sliders and fenders only are Linex’d in stingray, rest of the truck will be painted non Linex’d stingray. Will be shaping the fender flares to contour a little better against the body and using a black weather stripping between the two.

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XJ harness is complete... let's just hope I didn't cut out anything important!




LS1 finally off the pallet:




What a mess:




All clean! The C5 Corvette oil pan is way too wide so it had to go:




Time to start replacing seals. I replaced the valve cover gaskets, timing chain cover gasket, rear cover gasket, front and rear main seals, and of course oil pan gasket along with a new Holley oil pan:




ARP 12-point stainless hardware!




All back together! New plugs, wires, ceramic coated headers, harmonic balancer:




Brand new AX-15 with Novak bellhousing adapter and GM bellhousing: 




Running to Summit Racing tomorrow to get a throwout bearing and should be ready to mate the two tomorrow! In the meantime, I started getting the engine bay ready"




I threw my Warn M8000 behind the x-member in the inverted position (so that the fairlead lines up with the upper flat face of my JCR Crusader bumper) along with a Factor 55 offset fairlead. I'll be running a second fairlead on the bumper:




Like a glove:




I mounted it as far driver as possible. There is about an inch and a half on the passenger side. Not enough for a Zeon or any of Warns higher capacity winches but perfect for anything under 22" 




I mounted the Corvette PCM and Novak tach/cruise module next to the XJ PCM. Hopefully it clears the alternator... only one way to find out! Of note, I also installed the only original MJ part that was retained besides the body... The windshield washer bottle! I mounted a new pump and drilled an additional hole and threw the XJ low windshield washer fluid sensor on. 




Lastly I installed some Hella horns and Inline Tube stainless brake lines. The brakes lines are for a 97+ XJ... the rear line doesn't quite make it to where the factory MJ line terminated but I think it should be in a good spot for the flex line to the axle. 




Hopefully getting the engine in tomorrow! 



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Figuring out a throwout bearing was a pain. I should have just ordered a Novak adjustable throwout bearing when I ordered everything but I thought an adjustable pivot ball would be enough. I was wrong. Plus it being the holiday I was unable to get one ordered in time. Luckily I have a Summit local to me and I ran there on Saturday for a McLeod 16505 adjustable GM style bearing. It has stackable discs to adjust the height. Perfect!








Next I installed a Novak external slave cylinder:




And my factory XJ oil pressure sensor on an Amazon sourced M12 to 1/8" NPT adapter with additional M12 end so that I could install the GM oil temp sensor




Then it was finally time!




Let me just say that this was not fun to do by myself but its in...




Valley cover and water pump installed:




Lastly I mocked up the front end. The bumper is good to go but the fascia is coming back off to install the wiring harness.






I'll have to get some pics of the radiator with the facia off but its HUGE and a super tight fit. With the a/c condenser installed I needed to clearance the facia a bit. Otherwise it all fits!





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I pulled the facia off to add a modified harness to the back-side for the lights. Here are some radiator pics... this thing is huge!








Here's the winch pass-through:




All buttoned back up. The wires through the grill will be for driving lights:





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2 minutes ago, MiNi Beast said:

coming together very nicely. i bet you have some hard times sleeping at night gitty with anticipation of driving it. it will be a great day when you take the first drive. :D


haha, yup... I get excited about the next step every time I get close to completing something. I'm waiting on a few more engine parts so I'll be starting on the interior this weekend. can't wait!

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On 1/7/2021 at 10:59 PM, MiNi Beast said:

mad respect for you and those that have the patience to build your jeep so miticisouly. i kinda came up the other way. :nuts:




Quick update from the weekend:


I cleaned up the old intake manifold:




Then hand painted the coil cover lettering:




It took a few coats to cover well. you can still see some red here after 2 coats:




In the end it came out looking pretty good! Much better than the red for sure:




Checked clearance with the throttle body installed. I'm going to rotate the transmission 4° upward so it'll only get farther from the hood. Just need to clearance the trans tunnel a bit where the clutch fork extends before I can do that. Plus I'm still waiting on my long arm x-member and Holley alternator + a/c bracket to tie everything together on the drivetrain:




While I wait for those parts, time to start on the interior:



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