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I found #24 sitting on the lot a Don-A-Vee Jeep in Bellflower, CA the first week of Sept 1989.  My ship (USS Paul F. Foster DD-964) had just returned from a WestPac a few days before and for some reason I found myself driving through the Bellflower area enroute from Long Beach to Irvine where we lived at the time, and spotted it sitting on the lot!  What timing.  It clearly was destiny.


They were closed but I was back as soon as they opened next morning checkbook in hand.  Paperwork shows that the truck had 21630 miles and cost $7995.00 BEFORE  taxes, fees, and nonsense, which jacked it up to $9388.60.  Which is why I just buy cars from individuals now... I haven't been in a dealership since 1992 when I bought a brand new Cherokee Laredo for the wife, the only new car I ever bought.


The original owners manual shows the original owner's name, address, and is stamped as being delivered from  Pasadena AMC/Jeep/Renault  1951 E. Colorado Blvd.   Date of first use Sep09, 1987.   Date on my contract is Sept02, 1989.  Pretty bizarre it's so close.

No idea why someone would have traded this puppy in after 2 years but I'm SO glad he did.


So now in all it's radiant glory in the California hills, the Street Comanche shows unmolested since delivery from the dealer.  Even the Centerlines are still on the truck at this point.


Yes the image quality is poor.  No I am not a photographer.  And this is a 30yr old picture scanned so not superb.


Set2 -lf1.jpg





I just love the Webasto sunroof.  When you crank it open the back pops up, then the whole thing slides backard.  Ends up looking like a "wing" on top of the cab.  Very slick.


The caption at the top of the window read:  "If you can't crank it, yank it."   And oh, did it crank.























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Indeed I made a variety of changes soon after acquiring this little gem.

Quickor, back in the day, made a "drop kit" for the Comanche. The kit consisted of shortened springs for the front and a couple of blocks n' straps for the back. So I dropped it.

But I didn't care for the blocks. And it still wasn't handling like I wanted. It needed "tweaked".

So I bought brand new factory OEM Rear Leaf Springs for a Metric Ton.  
Heaviest duty spring kit available for an MJ.   Not gonna lower it though right?   WELL...

I pulled the leaves down nearly tight with shackling kits. So that fixes the height issue AND with the springs pulled tight that puppy drifts SOOOO nice on a highway full of twisties... I'm not Jackie Stewart but without a doubt, the best handling vehicle I've ever driven.


As I exercised it in the hills of Bonny Doon, Boulder Creek, and along the Skyline Highway above Stevens Creek, toward Palo Alto and beyond, I proved to myself something I'd always heard.

Centerline Racing wheels are not designed for highway use.




That's what the dealership put on this one originally.  They were a true split-rim design and CONSTANTLY leaked air from the seam.

I was driving it "spiritedly" through the curves, sweepers and doing some occasional drifting ;-) along the upper reaches of SR9 above Boulder Creek and those wheels would not stay sealed.

But I understood that they were never designed with that kind of driving in mind.  They're a straight-down-the-track wheel used in the wrong application by the dealership because they looked great!



So as you can see in this image from the mid 1990s, #24 got a set of smooth dish American Outlaw wheels soon after I acquired it.    HEY. I'm old enough to recall when Baby Moons were hip and looked soooo cool even on painted wheels, so don't make fun of my old Outlaws. :-)    I just love classic, clean styling.



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A view of the cockpit.  It's funny now looking at all the out-dated technology cluttering the cockpit.

This truck was delivered sans radio from the factory, so I had a cassette player in the dash with this external disc player on the requisite "Scoche" mount, CB Radio, scanner, Hurst shift handle on that pathetic BA10/5...




No A/C.  It's hard to find newer vehicles delivered without A/C from the factory any more.  If you look real close at the control panel, you can tell there are no AC settings.  I've not noticed it being a problem.  Throw the sunroof open, drop the windows, and all's well...


And I've never had to service, recharge, or replace ANY failed A/C junk either.  That's saved me thousands over the liftetime of the truck. 




And now, finally with about 170k on the clock and having never been driven on salted roads, she's been seriously violated as the resurrection is underway...


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9 hours ago, fiatslug87 said:

Are you still in the SF Bay Area?

not since 1990.


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Fast forward 30 years and it finally begins... this serves as the build log now for #24.

Some of the notes are irrelevant details for most but will help my feeble mind recall at least some of the thousands of disassemblies I'm going to do in this process.   It's kinda funny how this project finally got started. 



Having pondered the process for the last 30 years, one might think that as specific start date and at least a target time frame had been planned.


Bullet pointed lists...


Outlines of myriad questions that need answers...


Gandt charts to track progress...


I mean all manner of organized project management.


.... yeah, right.... 


However as Casey reviews the work in progress, on Thanksgiving weekend 2017, I finally managed to get the truck pulled off the pad and up to the garage...








It's looking pretty aged as it sits right now.  Ancient chrome valve stems are all leaking so can't keep air in some of the tires.


























She's shedding the stainless cladding.  So that double sided 3M tape is good for about 30 years!


Not too bad when it hasn't been protected from the elements much at all.















Once all settled inside the garage I think the poor thing was confused by being enclosed like that for the first time ever.




The beast has been sitting outside in the weather for most of the last 30 years frankly.





The sunroof has been ever so slightly leaking for a while, hence the plastic on the roof.



But essentials are there.... like those oh, so scarce taillights.



And of course I have a few sets put aside; cleaned, polished and ready for use.  Or trade perhaps...





Never having had a garage to speak of, the truck has gone with us from car lot to carport and from Cali to Tennessee.





There it again rotated in and out of the weather or a barely protective carport for 15 years or so before traveling to Indiana on a trailer. (...ever grateful to brother-in-law Cecil for that....)




Noting here the American Racing Outlaw wheels. I'm thinking a more open pattern with more cooling for brakes will be in order.




Once in the Hoosier state it took up residence with some tractors, implements, and other gear in a half open barn on a family member's farm for some time.




Eventually I pulled it over to the house where it's been sitting a couple of years now; out behind the house on a parking pad next to the sheds, as shown in the first image.






So the paint has faded and the clearcoat is pockmarked or gone most everywhere as is visible in this image of the engine bay cover.



Exposed primer can be seen in various places around and under the truck.









Sadly there's even algea growth on the side of the truck that's been facing north, adjacent to some white pines and hidden from the sun.


There are even lichens or some fungus looking thing growing from the crevices on the flares!


Kinda looks like it's been kept up on the Meister homestead or perhaps Carnuck's.





Meh, maybe not.

Not green or lush enough for a NW US rainforest.




The GOOD news is that none of that matters!  It's on it's way to previous glory with a few...uhm, improvements and touches that I'll make but that list is subject to change as time progresses.

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I always craved a set of Centerlines. And still love the original Outlaws, had them on my 2nd owner 1987 F-350.

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Nice to see some updates on 24, Steve. Thanks for putting this together for us!

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Starting with disassembly and discovery of the interior, it's pretty obvious that time has taken it's toll.  Many foams are dust, perforated vinyl on the seats is split in places there are chunks out of the steering wheel (?) and it's pretty clear there's been a mouse or 3 in the thing.  


Mostly found fecal evidence in the speaker box with all of it's handy fiberglass insulation and of course it smells of mouse piss.

But I did find that somehow the fools had dragged insulation up to the glove compartment and had started a nest but abandoned it.  But still made a mess in the glove box as well.

So I'll be tearing out everything to bare metal on the interior followed by lots of disinfectant wiping and cleaning.  

Hopefully they've not eaten up the dashpad but I won't know until it comes off.

In the meantime I've stripped the doors as they're going to be overhauled.



Now I don't mean to be a jerk, but this might make my fellow Hoosier's a bit jealous.


These are some images I shot of the INSIDES of the doors as I disassembled them and began looking at options for upgrades.



To the left is a picture inside the drivers door at the door bottom and the inner side of the outer door skin.








These doors are PRISTINE!
A little dust is all that is there.  

I found that the doors even had a half hearted attempt at sound deadening in the form of a small sheet of material maybe 8” x 14” stuck to the inside of the door panels.  


In the image to the left you can see the black rectangle stuck to the inside of the outer door skin.

Above is looking down from the beltline into the interior of the door.  Showing part of the manual window crank mechanism.





On the left is the drivers door, front lower corner.

But not one bit of evidence of rust starting.


As you can see, the doors are pretty empty and make a heck of an echo chamber.


I will be doing a great deal of vibration mitigation and sound control during the reassembly of the doors and interior irrespective of any sound system installation.  Hood, firewall, floor, doors, roof, cabback, etc and further.  When the doors close on this I want you to think you've gone deaf.












Having taken the door panels off, it's pretty obvious that these doors haven't been much molested since 1986. 


Looking closely you can see the Oct '86 stamp in the plastic above the speaker cutouts.  


The only modification done on the doors were the addition of some speakers many moons ago.  They've long ago been removed.










It's pretty cool to actually see “behind the scenes” a little bit as I proceed through this process.  


Noting here that the factory logically paints just what is needed.


Primer is noted throughout the inner door panels, with color sprayed around the door frame, and the face of the inside of the door, leaving the inner door panels coated some paint but mostly just overspray in the center and inside the doors.


564716957_DoorInside-Right-01.jpg.f0b1d84857a645a1f0ad5d45fd4eb872.jpgAlso note the bracing / bracket added to the door for the support of the armrest as well as the silver galvanized brace in the center of the open area.

These braces add strength and stability to the door and the upper one creates a solid base for the attached arm rest. 

Yet a large opening can be created by removing those braces allowing for example, the somewhat large window lift mechanism to be installed.


Again one can see the small black “acoustic control” panel inside the door.



So far, this has really been a joy.  Things are coming apart relatively easily due to the lack of rust.  I'm appreciating more and more the things that were done right in the design and building of these quite remarkable vehicles. 






Kudos to AMC / Jeep engineers.  But having never been driven on any salted roads has certainly been a HUGE benefit and points out just how destructive that crap is. 


Now I need to get the solenoids, motors, tracks etc, to add the power windows and power door locks that this MJ never had.  

Yep!  That's right.  This MJ came with manual mirrors left and right, manual windows, and manual door locks.  Radio delete and no air. 

Just a base Comanche.  The Archer Racing  folks are the ones who made it anything more.  Oh and all us Comanche lovers!


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1549788402_Seatbottom.jpg.485a8dc5abb6927dd7cb84fd368885b5.jpgThis was a surprise.  The seat bottoms are fairly rusted up in spots.


That seat cover hook is obviously pretty cheap steel, but the rust on the painted frame perplexes me some. 


I guess the lesson is that simple dampness over time will corrode as well as any salt spray.





In the process of gathering for the project I've found that there are zero NOS pieces of these interiors obtainable from any source that I've been able to find.


If anyone does know of NOS interior components, do please share.







There are some parts that I expect are just going to be nearly impossible to find intact and may need to be fabricated in some way.


I thought this Locking Headrest Cylinder would be one of those. 


Parts list I have references x4

p/n 3500 9926


It's pretty obvious that they are NOT the same part used 4 times since one side locks and the other does not. 


At least mine don't all lock.

So no clear p/n at the moment for those.

Here's a picture of what seems to be a good pair.  




Seat_Headrest_Lock-02.jpg.ad42b96ed810f07c7c8db6b7e057a625.jpgBut this one is broken with the release collar missing.  If one looks closely at this photo a small metal lever can be seen across the opening at about 5-6 o'clock. 


That sits in a notch on the headrest support post, to keep it  from sliding up/down.  It moves back when the collar is rotated so that the headrest can be adjusted up and down.


But right there at about 4 o'clock you can see the end of that metal tab sticking out.  

Without the little collar on there, that could cause a nasty cut.

I'm pretty dead set on a snow white interior.
While it will have some red accents, I'm not sure Blood Red would compliment Colorado Red  or my white seats...



HOWEVER, ComancheClub.com member  schardein  has resolved that problem!  Swapping to factory buckets last year, he had to dig up some of these as well and scored at the yard.  He still had one that was pristine so that problem is already resolved.


The Seat Back Release trim is broken on both seats.  Crumbled would be more accurate.  Both just fell apart in many pieces as I pulled the seats out of the truck. 


Parts book said:

Item 13  p/n 3500 6735 Gasket, Lever
Item 14  p/n 3500 6863 Bezel, Back  Lever, PAR.

Oddly I don't recall these being 2 different pieces when removed.  Maybe they are different options for different years.

I was a little stunned that they would just crumble on the ends like that...
I was thinking they would look excellent in chromed steel or polished billet… But the cost...
I wondered how many of  these I wouldn't find before I bought a 3D printer…, shoot if you're gonna spend money...



Well I didn't have to wonder long.  It's ComancheClub.com to the rescue!


Strokermjcomanche  has access thereto and offered these to members on the site.  SWEET!

These seem very robust compared to the OEM's.  

I'd consider these an upgrade from OEM.






Right seat recline lever p/n 3500 3686.  For some reason mine's missing.  These too would be nice created on the 3D printer.  Or in chromed steel or polished billet as well…  don't think it will take long to come up with one of these... oh BEN?...:brows:




978446584_Sideductvents-01.jpg.3ff6c58dbeae7c4723f38abfedc8099b.jpgAir Exhauster p/n 550 7673

I'm baffled.  These are located on the sides of your cab under the plastic B-pillar .  They're exterior vents for cabin air flow.


They have thin rubber flaps that act as a 1 way valve more or less, which allows air to flow through and out of the cabin but shouldn't allow hot/cold air back in.

As you can see, over time, these rubber flaps have actually MELTED…. ?

I really had no idea that rubber would just disintegrate like that. 


I've watched tire tread dry rot and peel off the tires sitting around exposed to the elements.  That takes about 10 years.  It was this truck that shed those skins…  





This looks all “melty” but isn't sticky to the touch.  At least not any more.   Seems to have thickened on the edges where it's “melted down”… bizarre.


I'll get some thin 1/16” rubber sheet and will recreate those flaps.  Shouldn't be much of a problem.  But it seems really weird that they were like that.










576790351_Interior-SeatBeltrustchews.jpg.44fe28801017c1fa66d352be4dc0db14.jpgContinuing with Interior topics of interest....damned mice again... chewed this belt some.... I hope they choked.


** SAFETY TIP !! **


I did have a close look at the seat belts on this as I've run into something before with belts that's worth mentioning in case someone actually reads this.


On the interior belt, at the anchor points on "the hump" of the floorpan, those plastic covers that hide the anchor and belt ends…. those also hold dirt, sand, etc. which cuts nylon threads very effectively over time.


I discovered when pulling apart one of my many SJ's that the seatbelts were really dangerous, having many of the sewn threads frayed or fully separated. 


In a hard hit, they may well have failed.


I tried to find the pictures I had taken of those but can't put my hands on them.


But it's something to consider especially if you get it nasty inside off and on like most wheelers will.  I ended up replacing them with some better shape take-offs from one of my various SJs. 




And RUST? ...on the stinking buckles?  I just HATE the idea of loosing the OEM AMC logo buckles on these… might need some rework instead.  I might not keep them but SOMEONE wants them I'm pretty sure.  I'll have to see what I can do with those.  Damn you'd think we'd lived on the beach or something.



1122874938_Interior-B-PillarLeft.jpg.ad2f35fb30eea6edb491c56ead45855b.jpg Of course it looks like the mice have been having a field day in this insulation. 


What was I thinking?  378499860_Interior-B-PillarRight.jpg.6f1b004b34894957f2213c02c5ffcbbb.jpg


Many years ago I must have thought this would work for sound deadening. 


Boy was I stupid.


Lots of trails in it.




















Predictably I have discovered that #24 has not escaped the Achilles Heel of all vehicles.



I looked up at some point and noticed this mostly on the right side of the roof.


Which of course leads to why and the inevitable answer, moisture.  It just HAS to have been wetter in there than I thought it was.


This image was shot from left side across the rear of the cab roof.  Not much on the left side but the right side is pretty rusty.















This is the view across the front of the roof from left to right.


Pretty obvious which side was “wetter” I suppose..

















This is the front of the cab roof on the left side.


Nothing remarkable at all there.


So looks like some scuffing and rust protection will be due in days coming...























Having pulled all the carpet out finally, the reason for the rust is revealed.
...remember that rusty seat bottom... and the rusty seat belt... all making sense now...




As you can see under the carpet there is a pad that I presume is heat protection from the catalytic converter.  That pad holds moisture like a diaper.


It's got a thin plastic cover over that white material and that doesn't really allow for any air flow through it.


I suppose if it's driven regularly, the floor heats up enough to keep condensation at bay.

But this truck has been exposed to the elements and has leaked, maybe generated some condensation, and none of it has had any way to evaporate.

Though you can't tell in this image, the felt pad is DRIPPING wet and small puddles of water sit in every dip and depression on the floor pan.

I don't recall ever finding the carpet wet to the touch.  I did know that the sunroof was weeping moisture inside and put a container to catch the only occaisional drip I'd find, but I never really noticed any outward signs of it being significant other than the one seat anchor on the passenger side being very rusty.  The drip pan never retained any water from one check to the next so I did expect some dampness but I never imagined it would look like this.







Admittedly not great images but as it turned out this was pretty ugly. 




Not only a victim of being poorly stored and a leaky +30 year old sunroof.




The floor pan has several spots eaten through near the firewall and along the upper uniframe brace.










1132146172_RUST!EBrakecable.jpg.3e67da9c6b82c62838df8498021a31e8.jpgThe EBrake cable is pretty nasty.

If you look closely at the cable, the outer housing is eaten up pretty badly.

This is going to need a replacement.

If I need to count on an Emergency Brake, I don't want to have to wonder or worry about whether the cable is gonna snap from being rusted through.

And I HAVE had to drive with just an E brake before.  Believe me it significantly reduces your braking ability.


Back in the day we all called them emergency brakes.  Indeed they were originally designed to be a backup mechanical braking system. in the event that the hydraulics might fail.


Believe me, it's great to keep your ride from rolling away on a slight incline.  But it ain't no EMERGENCY brake I can assure you.  Parking brake for relatively flat terrain is a much more realistic description.








Rear of left side floor is not nearly as bad.


Just needs some clean up and treatment.


All the seam sealer is moldy and cracked where it's thick.


It's all coming out.














649256239_RUST!Rightfloorpan-01.jpg.45dc6c0780dba911d57caa75475a5487.jpgThe right side of the cab is a little better actually but doesn't look it.


With the carpet fully removed it's not pretty.


The felt under the carpent was actually  dripping with water.


Indeed close scrutiny reveals a puddle of water standing in a low spot.


Noting the black mildew / mold on the body filler along the right side there.









The image on the left is the rear part of the right side floor pan.

Showing a heavy black mildew/mold on there.

Copious amounts of Lysol have been applied but all that seam sealer is coming out.




















Soaked diaper full of rust,

the felt is full of rust and all wet...


I would never have believed it of THIS MJ.


There is once again the proof of the value in the admonishment Pete has so strongly tried to impart to all those on ComancheClub.com.


Whether prince or pauper...


Pull your carpets before it's too late!





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On now to some matters of the exterior....

On the same train of thought as above, perhaps MJ lovers should pull their windshield trim and clean out the garbage...

547567485_Checkhereforrust-01.jpg.76b028709fcfeab07e96e46f06bd7c72.jpgThis truck has been outside here for maybe 5 years.


There were common white pine trees around 3 sides of the property when we bought it.


They look great from a distance but are really kinda nasty, junk trees.


Prone to disease they also make a holy mess of the yard, clog up gutters, and can screw up the pH of flower beds and/or gardens.


Something I HAD thought of was keeping the drain holes in the bed free of needles, catkins, and other debris so I didn't get some percolating swill to eat through the bed.

What I had NOT thought of was what's going on under the trim.800961163_Checkhereforrust-03.jpg.cb2fad8f22719b8814f67fef67ff2601.jpg


The images show the lower windshield / cowl panel where I've removed the trim already and all the crap that was UNDER that trim.


There is a fairly deep catch-basin under that trim below the windshield.


Be careful cleaning it out as there are studs along that basin for the window trim clips to mount on.

I would think this to be a prime spot for prospective buyers/owners to check for rust.


If you get wet toes and/or failed electrics… might want to check here.



Better yet a catch a leak that's gone undetected and is rotting your floors out!






1843726737_SkirtsDown-01.jpg.e8b3f83e008c9995289577a8e831cd23.jpgMy stepson Scott helped me keep things moving for a while while he was here disassembling, inspecting, and kicking ideas around.


We put the front in the air and he pulled the front bumper and skirt so we could see what if anything needed serious attention under there.


I've got a new steel bumper skin to put on it as I'd mounted some towbar brackets to the front of the other bumper. It was very practical at the time as it occasionally needed to be pulled short distances and moved around once in a while, but hadn't run in many years.


The new one has fewer holes which my body & paint pro Jeff will appreciate.







656006619_SkirtsDown-02.jpg.8c67ca83f9c838b669804f18c9908579.jpgI'd like it to do this after it's built… 


yeah... pop a wheelie like that….  LOL


Sure does look funny without skirts and flares.

I really wasn't sure what I would find once I dropped the skirts off this puppy.

I found a fair amount of dirt/mud had accumulated behind the polished stainless strips on the sides of the truck but not one sign of any rust.

Must have been good factory paint!

This image is of the front of the left fender showing everything behind the flares and skirts and it's perfect.

Once the puzzle of removing the fender flares was sorted out they came off rather nicely.





Even the rear of the wheel opening on the front fender, a common rust spot, is clean as a whistle as noted here.


And it's the same on the right side.

Notice too that frame paint remains mostly intact.



The only rust is on the cheap steel brackets they mounted the skirts with.  I'll be cleaning and coating all those.



I think I'll make some improvement there.

They don't need to be stainless, but they do need at LEAST to be dipped in RhinoLiner or something TBD…







NOTE TO SELF:   FLARE tips tacked at front and back with 7mm hex self tapping screws.



Once the puzzle of removing the fender flares was sorted out they came off nicely.



And it's a good thing they did as it seems the Rear “Inner” flares for the MJ are not available from Crown, OMIX ADA, or anyone else for that matter.

Retaining brackets yes, plastic Inner Flare, no. 


Since the MJ is the only thing to use them, we're pretty much screwed for new ones at this point in time to my knowledge.


3D printing those may be/become an option?...to be continued....


Mopar OE Front Inner Fender Splash Shield

These still available for the time being.  Which is good as one of mine was just trashed.  For some reason one side was brittle but the other not really brittle yet at all.  Some stiffening in areas, but still quite serviceable.

I grabbed a pair of these online at www.morris4x4center.com

    Right Side    55175008-M
    Left Side      55175009-M

For the rears, I found these on Amazon.com

Aftermarket Rear Inner Protective Shield, 6ft bed

    Right    55006176
    Left      55006177


As for the flares themselves, Crown seems to have a master kit 5AGK but that contains only the green highlighted parts for the Cherokee, but nothing for the larger Comanche rear flares.

There are Crown part numbers for them but no stock anywhere that I was able to unearth at time of research.

    5AG29JX9  Left '89-'92 6' bed, outer panel, flat black.
    5AG28JX9  Right '89-'92 6' bed, outer panel, flat black.
    5AG24JX9  Right Rear '92-'95 Cherokee
    5AG25JX9  Left Rear '92-'95 Cherokee
    5AG30JX9 Right Front '91-'94 Front for either
    5AG31JX9   Left Front '91-'94 Front for either

For as many of these XJ / MJ platforms as there were out there I'm really a bit stunned at what we CAN't get any more. I'd buy 2 complete sets of NEW MJ flares if I could get my hands on them.

One just for the parts rack in the shop since they seem to deteriorate pretty readily, are easily damaged, and otherwise aren't available.

It seems odd, that a front header as complicated as the dips, bosses, nooks and crannies are,....we can get those, even if only in a composite plastic resin

But something seemingly as simple as the flares.... sigh








Additional images inside the wheel wells...




Showing the inner fender bracket which supports the center of the fender well cutout.

Still shiny paint under there!















Here's the bottom of the fender panel where most vehicles in Indiana would be well eaten up or rusted away.


But it is solid metal there!



You'll see people driving some old car or truck around here every once in a while with a fender flapping because the bottom of it has rusted away.














Here is a shot facing back to the inner fender/door jam area.


Nothing but grey primer, paint and some dirt.


The front inner fender liner on one side was completely toast.

Brittle and just shattered to the touch.

The one on this side was still quite live.Curious…


Shocks are rusty but still have a lot of paint for being 30 yrs old.















Lower fender side rail showing again just how perfect the metal still is on these vulnerable places.



















And a look toward the front of the right fender well.

All the paint still shows on the brackets etc underneath the inner fender liner.

All the rubber of course must go. Sway bars, control arms, etc, I'm replacing them all.

I'm still trying to decide if Prothane or just rubber.

I've used Prothane in the past and LOVEd how it made the XJ drive.

But they squeaked and squeaked miserably the entire time we had it. I was never able to relieve that major irritation.

So I'm really on the fence.  I REALLY do not want a squeaky piece of crap sounding truck.


But I do remember that steering and suspension on that XJ felt so much more “live”.  Crisp and tight…

There must be a way to keep those from squeaking… more homework…





Here is what's under the pretty urethane rear bumper cover of a Street Comanche.

All they did at Archer was mount some clearly shop-made 2” angle iron brackets, bolted on the C Channel and covered it with the bumper skirt!

4” C Channel steel… I suppose that's a bumper, but 2” angle-iron brackets?

Minor energy suppression is about all those things are good for.

This would NEVER be legal on a passenger car.

Pickups got a pass in the past on some of those bumper requirements and every state is different so it might have been street legal in all 50 in 1987.


I hope it doesn't become an issue when it's time for tags....just another unknown for now.  I'll put a "real" bumper if they want for someone to inspect it but...all unknown nonsense to worry with later at this point.  It's old enough now I can register as an antique and get a pass perhaps.  :shhh:












Something else I've noticed in discovery are a number of spots where old seam sealer/putty is dried, cracked, missing.




This one is on the left side of the engine bay, firewall/fender junction.













This one is on the right side of the engine bay.

















And then there are these door hinges.

They're welded on but then puttied too it looks like.


I pulled some of it away that was loose in this hinge.


It's still somewhat flexible but well aged.


So will need to fill these spots.


My body/paint guy says this is generally used to fill small gaps to seal out moisture and avoid hidden rust as much as possible.


Also helps spread the load for the hinges.


One thing for certain, I'm not UNwelding the hinge blocks.


Some heavy bodied sealer ought to resolve.




This is along the interior cab floor, driver's side, left side behind the seat.


There are more areas like this on the right side of the cab too. 


All the seam sealer seems to be drawing and cracking open.  And as I progressed and pulled out the sealer, indeed there were areas of surface rust starting in those holes.


All covered in carpet but I'll fill those in anyway along with a few others noticed.


It'll be BETTER than factory when we're done with it.  My buddy only uses 3M and other high quality stuff.



589666759_HeaterControlAssyissues-01.jpg.c47f45ea00aa5383722fdd456d232852.jpgBack now to the interior and yanking the dash after having yanked the rest of the trim, carpet, etc.





Not gonna dump a lot of pictures of that process.  There are videos and images aplenty on line it seems. 


I just followed the screws, working first on one side, then on the other until I got the dash completely disassembled and removed.

Taking the heater control assembly out… it's never a good thing when there are pieces laying loose in the assembly…

The good news is, this isn't the original assembly.




I pulled this from another Jeep somewhere along the line, probably one of the SJ parts trucks, who knows how many years ago, and stuck it in there with the idea that I would eventually put A/C in it.

Apparently it was a piece of crap.



#24 was a factory A/C delete so there were no A/C markings or settings on the face of the original assembly.  So it would require the A/C specific assembly to actually support adding air.


This must have been right on the verge of breaking up when installed and time took it's toll.










As these images show, all of the mounting points are broken for the switching assembly mounted to the top of the main housing.


So that went off to the trash and I dug the original out of my parts bins.


It seems to still be like new.


















However this blower motor switch connector sure isn't!


It's a melted piece of crap.



I'll be looking for a replacement for C235.


And it makes me wonder about the switch itself.


What does that thing look like inside after all that current/heat through it?


I think that'll just be on the replacement list.

And this is just a heater blower.  There is no A/C.




Seems like a poor selection of materials for this connector housing.  Wiring seems to be fine.  Insulation isn't melted back away from the connector.

I hope whoever spec'd this went to work for Fiat.

This is one of the reasons you'll see vehicles burning on the side of the road… poorly spec'd materials.










This image is just to remind me that there were nice little foam pads under the wire keepers in the inside of the dash.


Assuming that those are for noise/vibration control.


Nice touch for a “truck” assembly if ya ask me...












Pulling the dash completely apart has been a good idea as there are lots of issues hidden within.703399984_Interior-VentDuctfilthrevealed.jpg.e044b35b221b4531a4c40d35785a0caf.jpg



It appears that the ductwork is filthy inside and clearly could use a good cleaning.









1230225161_Interior-VentDuctcrushrevealed.jpg.bd669c05820c2ac4508a01b0da08af06.jpgBut then it might have been a little cleaner if air had actually been able to flow through those ducts.

It's pretty disheartening to see that someone didn't give a crap at all about these ducts being crushed.  I mean... that sucker is FLAT!



Toledo, I expected better from your autoworkers up there…


It's not like they are paid minimum wage and no benefits for these jobs. 


It's unsat


IMHO as a citizen enjoying the freedoms endowed, you have a responsibility to the public to do a GOOD job everyday.  But... there ARE just SOME days I guess...









As I disassembled, I found many components have broken tabs or cracked mounting points.

Notice over on the right side of the dash, the vent trim there isn't pulled down tight where it should be.

The screw holes don't quite line up.
















Once I pulled the trim off, I could see that the mounting point on the far right side of the dash, which is part of the instrument panel/glove box housing, is broken.


And the trim is now slightly warped / twisted.

I'd kept a sunscreen on the truck to keep the UV damage inside to a minimum.

But it didn't cover a little section on the lower right of the windshield.

With the trim loose having nothing to hold it in place ...it got heated enough to warp I guess.

Damned thermonuclear radiation...





The center mounting tab for the dash trim piece is broken and will be need to be repaired.


I'll get plenty of experience with the plastic welding kit I picked up.


























Also the right side of this defroster vent.

Another of many plastic repairs that will need done.

I want a solid rebuild and plan to fix or improve things everywhere I can.
















So I thought I'd take a break from disassembly and experiment a bit since it's early in the process.



I set up a jig … just a board, some strapping tape and wedges…. then used a heat gun….to ease the warp out of that inner dash trim piece.


I have played with these techniques in the past so was pretty sure I could resolve this minor twist.

I have metal shapes that fit on the heat gun to diffuse or concentrate the hot air flow.

Those can help BUT they can melt the crap out of your trim in a hurry.  Plastic will seem to heat up slowly and not be “bending” then become a molten blob an INSTANT later. 


Clearly, you don't want that.  :doh:    You want to "convince" it to go back to the shape it was, not try to force it quickly.





A damp rag and a spray bottle of cool water will help control where it gets, how hot it gets and for how long.

But it can cause warpage.


If you've not played with reshaping plastic trim, I HIGHLY recommend practice heating and “overheating” on some junk trim first to see how the plastic reacts and how you can and cannot manipulate it.  How long it takes to make it move without going to jelly. 

Patience is key.







All that being said, I basically just heated as needed, pulled strapping tape snug so it was twisting back the way I needed it to, and let it cool.

I repeated the process several times heating, pulling a little tighter here, loosening some there, reheating and readjusting the pressure points…and it finally came out looking a lot flatter.

This is the ”before” shot... my finger is just barely touching the top of the trim.






And this the after...

Took out a ½” rise on the right side.

I'm not attempting a Concours level restoration here…  or am I?  ...  anyway I think that it'll pass.


And it should go back on nicely and look great once the repair is made to the mounting flange.




So back to the interior....











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Once I'd pulled the dash facade, gauges, etc it was time to unravel some of the spaghetti pit of wiring before starting to remove the dash housing.


C204 Instrument Panel Harness → Instrument Panel Indicators.






It's both entertaining and humbling to see what idiotic crap I've done to this poor vehicle in the past….



For instance, this green wire.


I don't even recall what it goes to at this point.



But it sure doesn't look to be factory.






It's loose and can be pulled out of the connector very easily and seems a significantly different gauge than the others.     



So I chased that back out and under the hood to see where it was going.  Seems the green wire Pin15 goes to the Washer Fluid Level indicator & switch in the engine bay.


It must have gone wonky at some point and was replaced.



I don't recall it at all.  I'll need to pull the log and see what that was all about.







Then there is this poor frayed out pig on Pin 8.  It's sad I was ever so careless maintaining this truck.  But kids and responsibilities will redirect your priorities for sure.

Anyway it must have been functional.

That was me. Function over form.  If duct tape will hold it, why bother welding it.  Don't fix what ain't broke…


I think I've come to a point in life where, I'll do better with it this time around.  :dry:

This Grey/RD runs to C257 Brake Warning Switch.



It lights the Brake Warning Lamp to warn of unequal brake pressure.  Nothing vital.  :L:



I'm not sure where C257 is just at this time but am presuming that is monitored via the proportioning valve.

I've got tons more images of connectors and wires and the references to chase them down.

Some connectors I've annotated as to where the wires go.
If someone needs a diagram or images of specific stuff, just let me know and I'll do what I can.



One more of particular interest.  This is the C177 connector to the High/Low Dimmer Switch mounted on the steering column.

As you can see, at least one pair of wires is pretty crispy at the connector. 


Insulation browned and pulled back from the lug.


Guess which wires run the high beams… wait... didn't Pete say something about adding a relay for your headlights?  LISTEN TO HIM!  :brickwall:



What bothers me about this and the C235 connector is that these kinds of junctions is that I BELIEVE ...recalling from BEE days in the Navy, that once overheated, these connections can become more resistive, creating more heat, etc.  So while the connector body isn't “damaged” I think it would be a good idea to reterminate those wires in the connector. That could be a trick as these connectors aren't always readily available.


If anyone has a tip on where to find these other than say DigiKey or McMaster-Carr, Allied Electronics if they're still around.  Or maybe Crown or Omix ADA.

I'll have to dig around.



I found this “dust” on the panel housing below the headlight switch.

I checked it out THOROUGHLY and it's not cocaine so…

Appears to be ceramic dust...the disc on the left next to my thumb is ceramic and has a resistor wire mounted on it to adjust the dash lighting. (dimmer)

For whatever reason it seems like little pieces come off the ceramic disc as the dimmer is rotated.


I guess that makes the replacement list as well.











So onward to disassembling the dash.

I'm not going to dump a bunch of images.


1505138057_DashRemoval-02.jpg.5b31ef0b0e7d4235ae91b39794e3565f.jpgIf someone wants to see something specific just let me know.



There are plenty of places online to find videos, etc of how to take the dash apart if one needs that detail.

It's pretty easy if you're a fair shadetree.

The only messy part is keeping track of the connectors.

But now that I've done it, I noticed that it would be pretty hard to screw up reinstallation of the harnesses.

Almost every connector on the I/P Harness is different!


But the devil is in the details so I'm documenting most everything anyway...















Shown here is the defroster vent assembly behind the dash. 


Note the brain box lower left peeking around the edge of that plate.





2067349177_DefrosterDuctAssy-03.jpg.2841aea7a68f547159138c98a90f4297.jpgIt sits on top of the heater plenum (oval opening)




Then a firewall sound/heat control panel…


Nothing too remarkable BUT for the wad of masking tape…?

Kinda curious…my best guess is that the assembler stuck it to that black foam&rubber sound/heat control material and then set the assy in place on the plenum and pushed it against the tape to hold the assy in place while the screws were run in.

And your guess is as good as mine.









There a couple of other small sections of sound/heat control material on the firewall directly behind the instrument panel as well shown here.








Oh and I found that the left defroster duct was almost totally smashed shut.

1525247131_DefrosterDuctcrimpLeft-01.jpg.12627fc83e5084b893c66fa2d718684d.jpgSimilar to the right dash duct, there can be barely any flow at all through that.

Was probably the same jerk that stuck the duct in the other side and crushed it flat as a pancake too. 


Hard to imagine it's just carelessness in assembly, perhaps a different ducting material should have been spec'd due to the tolerances.  

I guess I'll find out upon reassembly if there is reallly room to run the ducts without them being crushed flat.  In any case this kind of nonsense causes new car owners to HATE their new car… and you can be sure that the dealer isn't in any rush to rip the dash out to resolve some customer complaint that “it doesn't blow air right”.  So the problem remains, the owner hates the dealer and bashes the brand....  because someone didn't give a crap or something was spec'd wrong or no allowance was made in design...etc., etc.












With the plenum removed, the firewall pass throughs for the blower motor and hoses are revealed.










So as of the 1st of May 1st 2018... here's where it stands…5 months and the interior is nearly stripped and ready for sanding and rust prep.

This project is gonna take a long time to finish.


I plan to take some time off work to work on prepping the floor and ceiling of the cab for some rust removal and abatement.

That should be followed up with pulling the motor so the engine bay can be prepped for paint.

Of course that's the PLAN. 

Meanwhile there are 2 oil changes due, an 04WJ throwing codes and the Merc has puked up multiple A/C issues and needs to have essentially every component replaced.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

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All nuts and bolts. One step at a time and you'll fall in love all over again 💕 

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I'm in love with my car, got a feel for my automobile.... Dedicated to Johnathan Harris, boy racer to the end  :comanche:

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.... and SO we fast forward 2 years from the last update to my old site...

As some of you know, my wife passed from cancer May 2019 so progress has been slow for many years then stopped for a while. 

Now this April 2020 I began working actively once again on #24.


As we left off, the cab was pretty much stripped, but still had the motor and a lot of incidental stuff attached, and I thought I'd just prep the cab and make it ready for the bodyshop.   As it turned out it didn't work out that way.





BUT that doesn't mean progress hasn't been made.... the garage is EMPTY  for the first time in many many years and #24 is out to the body shop!



Jeff and crew picked her up on Memorial Day weekend.


As noted in this separate post:  Rusty Floor in #24  I found some holes in the 1010984846_Tothebodyshop24May2020-03.jpg.b3455d55ccbbf6fe2e8a78259cf17f38.jpgfloor pan and bought a new piece from Rock Auto and did a lot of thinking and staring at seams, and body parts involved in that specific issue. 


In the end I opted to let Jeff do the pan replacement.  Its not the best call for me to do it, not cost effective and not time efficient. 


And he's replaced a few floorpans over the years and is ready to get to work on it.  When the man is ready, one had best light a fire...


Now I have an hour's drive to his place to work on it when I can get out there and I seem to be forgetting to take a camera with me in all the tools and stuff I'm hauling back and forth. 



But I'll get some pictures later this week.  I should be over there on Friday.

He's got other projects and life to deal with like all of us so it's not an every day, all day thing working on #24.

I should get a pic of his 4x4 Nova.  It's stunning.


But having yanked the motor and other kibbles 'n bits, I do have dozens of random images of things connected to the motor, connectors that are going to need to be dealt with, brake lines, fuel tank, lines front to back etc. but it's nothing very revealing.  Just visual notes in case I need them.  Most will probably never be looked at again.  But I can't trust memory.  If someone wants to see a picture of somethingI probably have an image of it.


I've pulled off the gasket around the back glass successfully, and then CUT the butyl all around with some soapy water and a box knife on a 45 from the inside and got the glass out of it INTACT.  My friends, that was some tough cutting.  We tried a guitar string and broke a couple of those before just going for the knife.  But it worked.


The windsheild was no problem it was broken anyway.   Used my multivibrator tool to cut the butyl right out on that one.  

It's much easier if the glass is already junk.  :laugh:


Now I've got to get to work with polishing this rear glass and trying to get out some of the scratches on the exterior.

I'll do some before and after shots when I get started on that.


Had to order a new sunroof.  The old Webasto XO3 Spoiler sunroof is no longer supported of course and the new ones don't have the same shape in the corners.  Tigher radius.  or is it radii?  :confused:

So I ordered a new Webasto Hollandia 300.  Major upgrade to the old one.  Old one hand cranked, but this one is motorized and has a roller sunshade to pull if you need to cut the sunshine.

Just got it today and will take the template to Jeff on Friday so we can see what needs to be "adjusted".  He's not thrilled about the idea of the sunroof, I think he's concerned that we many have to weld in some material due to the shape difference and on that flat roof, he's real concerned about it staying smooth, no warping.  I've known him since we were kids in school, and folks that's been a while, but he does superb work and is SUPER picky it being smooth, flat, etc. so I love that.  But... it's already got a hole in the roof, we gotta mitigate that some how. :laugh:


So I've been over to Jeff's and all the brake lines, fuel lines, all wiring, all glass, literally everything is stripped except the suspension at this point and I've broken loose all the nuts so that'll be easy to come apart.  Get this... I used NO air tools to disassemble the suspension nuts/bolts.  How does that happen on a 35+ vehicle with 175k on the clock?  For sure again the No Salt factor has been key.  Truly I am in love with this truck.


Jeff's had nearly finished welding the drivers side floor pan as of a few days ago and was getting ready to pull the bed off so we can powerwash the underneath and prep that for coatings. 

So I guess this is what you call a frame off restoration.  ??  I dunno how you take the frame off a unibody so this is about the best I can do.


We've already discussed and he'll be shooting Eastwood Heavy Duty Anti Rust 32oz (Amber) into all the frame rails front to back.

Inside them now it looks really good.  This will ensure they stay that way for.... long after I'm dead.

Here's the marketing blurb on it...

Heavy-Duty Anti Rust's spray-on brown wax film sticks to bare metal or painted surfaces. Won't crack, flake or peel. Will self-heal if scratched. Use inside doors and rockers, where painting will not be required. Forms an air and water tight barrier which prevents and slows rust. Product can also be used to protect fresh machined surfaces and bare metal parts during storage, and works great to seal body seams that are inaccessible.



So that will be great BUT.... there is this problem.... I found out that the fuel sender is trashed.


The fuel turned to turpentine long ago and all the rubber has turned into a stiff goo...


I had to slosh a little leftover fuel around and wiggle and loosen this quite a bit before it would even come loose at all.


And good gawd does that stuff stink!


So I'm abandoning the tank.  I don't trust it now and new ones are cheap and already ordered.


But as I'm discovering.... these are another one of those parts we get dissed on.


I can buy one of these for a Scambler. A Commando.  Various J trucks... but not for the 87 MJ with an 18gal tank.


dang... really?  Anyone come up with a solution?


I looked on ebay today and didn't see anything that sounded right.  23 gallon tanks and Wranglers rule the day.

But I sent an email to a storefront that had some close and got this reply... maybe we have hope?

New message from: trexautoparts111014 Top Rated Seller(9,546Green Star)


Our part # is TREXJPSU-6P4.0 but that setup is on Back Order with our manufacturer. This pandemic has wrecked havoc on the supply chain and my manufacturer is waiting on the rheostat to finish their production. I spoke with them late last week and they have an estimated date of 7/15/2020 when the unit will be available.





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See if you can get one of these? I need to buy one also as mine is pretty trashed (looked like yours, cleaned it up, new pump, and it is currently working but no fuel gauge). 

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I'm going the route of  Limeyjeeper.  Got my form filled out for  http://tristarrradiator.com  and boxing it up tomorrow I think.

Their restores look fantastic.  They didn't say I had to clean it any...  :confused:  would that be jerk-like?  or do they really care?


I'll try to do something to clean it and put it in a sealed bag but.... if it reeks I would think the USPS would have a hissy fit.

The metal where the poti clips on it is rusted away so cleaning the rust would really kinda be pointless though that EvapoRust looks interesting for some things too..


I like the idea of the original being restored vs. the knockoffs.  Though I hope MTS get's theirs right afterall too!  We need all the aftermarket support we can get.


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I pulled the rear bumper support off the other day and wanted to post the images.

If this isn't the most pathetic excuse of a bumper mounting bracket since duct tape then I'll wash your dog.  :))


This is what Archer put together to mount the C channel to, under the skin.


1 1/2" light duty angle iron!  REALLY?  The thing weighs nothing.


And the right side appears to have 2 bends in it that I presume were caused by a bump in the rear I'd taken in it once.


It wan't really enough of a tap to hurt the plastic cover and I never really looked for "damage" as there wasn't anything visible.


The welds in the corners don't look like there was much effort to make a good weld to me.  It's welded only on one side and doesn't look that well bonded.


But that kinda chaps my hide.


Wasn't much of an attempt at doing a nice mounting for the bumper boys...


I guess I'll shut up and see if I can do better. 


It's damned sure the Archer brothers don't care at this point.  :brows:


Maybe not enough room for larger material or something.  I'll have to see about it.


But that is some crappy work.

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Wow, this is amazing work you are doing! Thanks for the updates and detailed pics and descriptions. I agree with you about the frame off restoration, is it a frame off restoration for any of us when we take the be off, lol? Glad you have it in the hands of someone who is good and someone you trust. 


So sorry to hear of the passing of your wife, sorry for your loss, I know it was a year ago but hope you are doing your best. Cancer sucks! 



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88762904_WebastoHollandia321L-01.jpg.80763fed41ce37ceacf49faa58c24c6e.jpgHey hey hey got that new Webasto Hollandia 321L.... Looks to be a really easy install and the trim stuff is gonna make it look awesome! 


A little over $500 delivered.

Its a spoiler type like what was on there.


But no more hand cranking like the old roof!

This 'un here's E Lectrik...2133768047_WebastoHollandia321L-02.jpg.0d915f6f2e6121e347d8af7bafd39a83.jpg


That rubber trim piece has a slot so the headliner material will tuck right in and it should be sweet.

















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462766224_GasTank-01.jpg.83c994861e2643a2cf7040f16d06eea8.jpgI read with great interest the link about changing the fuel capacity in the tank.

Knowing my right foot and knowing that stroker's are built for performance not mileage, and thinking in terms of 3.73ish rears, it seems that additional fuel capacity would be a great idea.  If possible. 


But the trick used is essentially to put a 90degree "adapter" that extends the vent tube higher up toward the top of the tank.

In the example tank they measure the vent tube approx 4" below the top of the tank.

So raising the vent tube allows additional fuel to be added, but compromises fuel expansion. 

Depending on temperature extremes where you live and other factors, for some that's easily dealt with and irrelevant.


But I just got a new tank from RockAuto and the game has changed. At least for this one:
SPECTRA PREMIUM JP5B {#83503398} Lock Ring Kit Included
72.0" Bed; 113.0" wheelbase.


Advertised as an 18gal tank, I got it and immediately had to look at the vent.  But wow.  As you can see, this vent tube is only about 30cm (~1 1/8" down from the top!)  So not much room there to gain anything in volume.

BUT...there is this "tray" in the bottom of the tank.  It's about 1/3 of the tank depth DEEP but not all the way the length and width of the tank.

I'm GUESSING that it might be intended as a basin for the sock/float to sit in so that the float doesn't "bounce around" much? 

Or maybe to keep the sock from sucking up just all manner of garbage that gets to the bottom of the tank?


In any case I'm thinking that the volume of gas that sits around that pan and CANNOT BE PICKED UP by the fuel sock/pickup tube... is the fuel I want access to for extending my range.  Looks for all the world to be about 4 gallons if you ask me.


Anyone see anything wrong with me drilling a couple of 1/2" holes in the side of that thing, near the bottom so it can suck in more of the fuel from the tank?

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On 6/23/2020 at 8:11 PM, TheJeepNut said:

Anyone see anything wrong with me drilling a couple of 1/2" holes in the side of that thing, near the bottom so it can suck in more of the fuel from the tank?

Yeah that's the slosh pan, basically when fuel is low it will keep a good amount of fuel next to the fuel pump so it doesn't suck air when cornering or hard acceleration and all the fuel wants to move to the side or back of the tank.


It should already have holes in it to allow fuel in and out, it only takes one hole in the slosh pan and the fuel level will be the same throughout the tank all the way to empty.  Too many holes could cause the problem I mentioned above.  I would double check it to see if it has any holes in it, if it does I wouldn't add anymore.  If for some reason it doesn't, I'd add one hole, two at most and they need to be at the very bottom of the pan.

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