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ThatJeepGuy

OMG The Crewcab 6x6 Comanche

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So it is time, its time to take a stab at the build i've had on my doodle board for some time now. A functional 6wd crew cab jeep comanche. As with most of my projects/builds, this will be a slowish progress build followed with lots of pictures so please be patient. Like others have done i'll be using a cherokee front section and MJ rear (94xj and 89 MJ for what its worth).

I'm saying I'm taking a stab at this build because its by no means gonna be a super clean when finished. I'm no body guy so with that in mind i'm shooting for per-say a 10-15 footer. I have minimal invested thus far into these vehicles and parts and off course will be needing a few things but i'm comfortable with what i have to get started.

This is my rendering thanks to microsoft paint. I guess the key highlights to be shown/mentioned here:
- Full rear door
- All 6 wheels will be driven. The rear tires power will be split via a divorced tcase that has multiple outputs
- Bed length will be withing dimensions of a long bed (using a short bed though)

 

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The deal to this MJ was that it was heading to scrap - it was loaded on my trailer with minimal parts included (no axles, bed, door, interior, suspension) for a quick $100. I later sourced the original bed as it was not included for an additional $100.

 

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The deal behind the donor XJ is a pretty simple one as well... I posted looking for a cheap/free XJ and thats exactly what i got - A free XJ shell struck with the typical frame rot in the rear by the leaf spring mounts. I apologize for the tree in the way though its prolly for the best because the rust is pretty bad out back.

 

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So for now we'll just focus on the MJ donor.

Dragged it outta the backyard. the bed is sitting funny because its missing the front bed frame mounts. something i will source or recreate at a later time

 

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The initial tear down was pretty easy. Bed wasnt bolted down, the doors were cut off the body, there was almost no interior. The engine removal was a little messy/sloppy but overall went without issue. If your wondering whats going on with that rear frame? The P.O had this thing setup with king coilovers for a dune monster! There used to be a tube system mounted off the frame to secure those kings. Ultimately i figured this would only benefit my build purpose as it opens up the work space for what i have in store for suspending those 2 rear axles.

 

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The lines were drawn and away we go! Using the sawzall to take care of the drip rail/interior support and then the rockers through unibody to trans tunnel and also the majority of the trans tunnel for that matter and keeping things nice and straight went with the 4.5" cutoff grinder for the roof. These cut lines are Far forward from where i need them but for the time being i'd rather have more material to play with as I'm sure when it comes to mating the 2 halfs - Id rather have it and not need it than Need it and not have it there.

Btw, yes i did pause for a breif moment to wrap my head around the sacrifice i'm making... Yes this is what i want to do! Let er Rip Tader Chip!!

 

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Whoo! This is gonna be a real big project. I can't wait to hear and read every juicy detail as you go!

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After tidying up some i decided to get a handle on this XJ donor. Got it knowing it was rusty but dang, this thing is toast! Atleast the ford 8.8 it was sitting on turns out to be a 4.10 LSD axle. Which is terrific as thats what i was leaning towards for gearing. The only bust is now i'm on the hunt again for another cherokee shell.

 

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I suppose in the meantime i can start playing with this 6x6 setup.

Here is the key to my plans for making both rear axles drive. This is an NP200, comonly found in old M715s or M37 military trucks. Picked it up for a cool $60 a little ways back.

 

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How could i resist? Threw some tires on the 8.8 and snuck it outback

 

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We ended the night with a quick teardown and inspection of the unit and to my surprise its looking pretty good! Dirty oil but all the splines and clutch teeth on the gears and hubs were in great shape. Some rust pits on some of the gears but they won't bother me much. Only issue is a single thrust washer had split. So the search begins for its replacement. I'll be taking the case into work and cleaning/blasting it so expect some pretty paint shortly
 

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So here we are, the only broken part in this tcase. Also happens to cost $60 to replace! Thankfully a good friend of mine happened to be travelling through Billings Montana which is the location of TorqueKing4x4 who sells these parts and many other tcase parts. Check them out! Dude saves me some shipping and making a vacation trip to MI means i get a personal delivery.

 

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Hot tanked, blasted, painted and touched up the gears, now we're ready to re-assemble... Well almost, The replacement thrust washer won't be here till this weekend and i also happened to forget my micrometer for measuring shims. So a few more days and then i'll be getting after it. Overall -for now, I'm only replacing that thrust washer and the 6 oil seals (4 yokes and 2 shift shafts) Its about $110 in total. Realistically it could use new bearings but for now i'm just gonna learn the setup and then later after its all together and functioning proper i'll back in and make everything right.

 

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So in the meantime i figured i'd play around with some driveline angles. Just messing around here but there will be about 9" of separation between the 2 driveshafts, represented by the 2 tape lines below. Tape line left for now is directly center between the rails while at the bottom of the pic my makeshift plumbob is sitting on the center mark of the rear most axle. Also incorporated the 1.5" wheel spacers into the measurement on the rear most axle (not the middle axle) and where i originally planned for this to be a driver drop rear case it will actually be a passenger drop rear case. Angles don't look too extreme at the moment, i suppose lets just hope it stays that way wink.gif
 

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You may also notice just in front of the passenger tires are some suspension parts. Those are coils and control arms off a newer JK that i scored for Free. Definitely going to be doing a coil sprung rear setup and with those parts being listed on marketplace so often lately and rather cheap/free if your patient, I figured i could benefit from using a "stock replacement" type part for this build.

We'll see what this weekend brings us for another progress update
 

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Here we are, back with cherokee shell donor #2. This one is the newer body style which wasn't my original intent for this build. However, it is getting a little harder to come by any usable shape 96/older cherokee bodies around MI. After scrounging Marketplace listings for the better part of last week and into the weekend it had dawned on me how plentiful the newer body xj's still are and figured i may need to be more open to the thought of running the newer style front.

So for $200 i get a good unibody with ok floors and a grand mix of good and bad leftovers. I was ecstatic to find out it still had a good trans and tcase as it wasn't discussed before i picked it up. Motor is blown which wasn't a big deal as i have a couple motors sitting around. I'll prolly be removing the drivetrain to make the shell a little easier to maneuver and also give me easy access to the underside of the floors and unibody.
 
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You can see that MJ rear waiting patiently in the garage for a new front end.
 
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Divorced tcase is also coming along nicely. I've gotten both rear outputs setup now and will be getting the idler shaft/gear shimmed up and then hopefully this weekend i can get to assembling the unit as a whole

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Linked rear! I was wondering how you'd get them both mounted up.

That a two piece rear driveshaft planned for the rear most axle?

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So this evening started off with removing that old drivetrain. Trying my darndest to not destroy anything on the way out. Although its not pictured now, there will be some body work getting done up front. As i got wiring peeled back and everything out of the way i discovered the front passenger corner was hit a little harder than just a fender bender like i had thought... I'm not too worried about the repair, it should be a simple cut out and replace with another donor fenderwell.

It was also especially tasking cleaning this thing out as much as i did - still filthy but whats left thats dirty isn't going to be used anyways. What did get removed was rather disgusting - thankfully no pictures here either. I feel its pretty important to keep this thing straight and square so some reinforcement was in order. Just a few pieces of angle iron to tie those door strikers in place.
 

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I ran a bit low on time towards the end of the night so instead of getting antsy and making some of the cuts, I called it a night and saved the surgery for another day.

I will show off my technical details - this one was REALLY bugging me. The flange/cap in green was originally part of a drum brake assy that is commonly cutoff for the case' custom application. Someone had already taken care of this for me but left an awful lot of useless metal that will likely only collect mud and dirt.

 

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So while i had the case and parts at work for some paint and prep i also knocked off all that useless metal and got this thing looking s3xy!

 

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Unfortunately didn't get anywhere on this case like i had wanted to tonight but bringing this slimmed down cap home was good enough for me. For Now.

 

I apologize if this seems rather steep paced or construed timeline at the moment. I was convinced to share my build here in CC and kinda spammed the build thread to its current date.
More to come - stay tuned

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3 minutes ago, thecodemonk said:

Linked rear! I was wondering how you'd get them both mounted up.

That a two piece rear driveshaft planned for the rear most axle?


 

Yes i'm planning on a carrier bearing setup for the rear most axle. Initially i figured i would setup the carrier mount on the middle axle but now knowing i can mount that NP200 flat, i'm siding more with setting up the carrier bearing off the frame

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Man, this is going to be epic! I think it belongs in the epic builds section for how extensive the work is going to be.

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9 hours ago, ThatJeepGuy said:

 

 

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I’m going to make a few suggestions if you don’t mind, use the front of the XJ rear door to give the rear door (door from the factory MJ) a square window. I say to do that because if you use the XJ door, it will look weird with the B-pillar vent because the CJ rear door is more vertical. 

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2 hours ago, 89 MJ said:

I’m going to make a few suggestions if you don’t mind, use the front of the XJ rear door to give the rear door (door from the factory MJ) a square window. I say to do that because if you use the XJ door, it will look weird with the B-pillar vent because the CJ rear door is more vertical. 

 

By all means suggest.

 

I'm torn between adapting the xj rear door/frame and then adding the lower corner portion to make up the difference in a full door vs the idea of going halfsies on xj front and mj rear. 

 

I guess ultimately I don't want to deal with a custom window and I haven't looked to in depth on how well a factory rear window would line up in the window track... 

 

Something to wrap my head around and decide on i guess. I haven't set myself in stone yet with cutting so there is still time to change plans 🙃 

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I think the roof line is different between MJs and XJs, isn't it?  So won't that mean you'll have to adapt the roof of one to the other?

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Yea they are pretty different, I've been seeing and further researching different approaches to make it an easy transition and for now - time will tell when it comes down to it - I think I will try and use the xj roof and then seam it to best fit to the very back edge of the cab. Trying not to remove the structure web under the original mj roof.

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7 hours ago, ThatJeepGuy said:

 

By all means suggest.

 

I'm torn between adapting the xj rear door/frame and then adding the lower corner portion to make up the difference in a full door vs the idea of going halfsies on xj front and mj rear. 

 

I guess ultimately I don't want to deal with a custom window and I haven't looked to in depth on how well a factory rear window would line up in the window track... 

 

Something to wrap my head around and decide on i guess. I haven't set myself in stone yet with cutting so there is still time to change plans 🙃 

Also, for you bed, maybe look into taking two beds and cutting one right behind the wheel opening and the other in front of the wheel opening. Then you won’t need to worry about making sure the wheel opening lines up. That is unless you just stretch the stock one in the middle. 

 

Here is a a pic of what I’m thinking the best way to do your door would be. Not an MJ, but still relevant. Check out the rear door, except you would section the front of the XJ window opening in the front of the MJ door. 

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8 hours ago, ThatJeepGuy said:

Yea they are pretty different, I've been seeing and further researching different approaches to make it an easy transition and for now - time will tell when it comes down to it - I think I will try and use the xj roof and then seam it to best fit to the very back edge of the cab. Trying not to remove the structure web under the original mj roof.

 

I remember seeing a crew cab MJ taking the same approach as you, and the MJ roof "portion" was only the last 6-8 inches, basically cut off at the B-pillar. The XJ roof ended a couple inches in front of the MJ cut and then they fabbed in a transition piece from the XJ roof to the MJ roof, and the cool part was it created an almost spoiler-like effect to the back of the roof with the raised MJ section. I'll go down the rabbit hole and see if I can find a picture. 

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3 hours ago, WahooSteeler said:

 

I remember seeing a crew cab MJ taking the same approach as you, and the MJ roof "portion" was only the last 6-8 inches, basically cut off at the B-pillar. The XJ roof ended a couple inches in front of the MJ cut and then they fabbed in a transition piece from the XJ roof to the MJ roof, and the cool part was it created an almost spoiler-like effect to the back of the roof with the raised MJ section. I'll go down the rabbit hole and see if I can find a picture. 

 

I remembered it about 75% right. This guy cut out the top part of the MJ roof before fabbing in the new sheetmetal and the "spoiler" effect was where it met the taller back of the MJ roof line. You probably already saw this thread a while ago and/or while doing your research. I thought it was pretty slick. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, WahooSteeler said:

 

I remember seeing a crew cab MJ taking the same approach as you, and the MJ roof "portion" was only the last 6-8 inches, basically cut off at the B-pillar. The XJ roof ended a couple inches in front of the MJ cut and then they fabbed in a transition piece from the XJ roof to the MJ roof, and the cool part was it created an almost spoiler-like effect to the back of the roof with the raised MJ section. I'll go down the rabbit hole and see if I can find a picture. 

 

Yea its an epic thread on this forum. Thus the inspiration for my approach. As i said above... i'm no body guy, but i can definitely weld so i am taking the IMO easier approach and not trying to get to fancy or technical with the body work. Just simple the simple lines. As my uncle once told me - Do your best and then body fill the rest ;)

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Tonights progress wasn't a whole lot but it did feel good to get some where on this tcase!

Soo keeping in mind i've never rebuilt one of these and just relying on my ol noggin as this is similar to the trans I rebuild at work. Start with the idler shaft in the middle of the case. Pound it in there with a brass slug (super handy chunk of brass from a massive Mac diffs idler pin) and then tighten down the nut and washer on the opposite side of this photo.

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I snuck these 2 outputs in next and sealed and snug'd down the yokes. The shiny bit below the gear mid shaft is our new thrust washer -thank goodness it was the right one! Hiding behind that is a double stack of individually placed needle bearings that you then drop the gear over. Delicate work for sure! This is also the main input/output shaft of the unit, the gear is the reduction gear for low range.

 

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Tossed the 4 studs into the holes as the rest of the holes are meant for bolts. Dropped the shift rails/shift forks in only to realize as i was snugging down the fork bolts that i left my wire tie spool at work today :/ I guess we won't be finishing this tonight after all. Also notice the 3 bolt cap for the idler shaft.

 

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I have a fairly busy weekend ahead of me so i'm not entirely sure i'll be getting any progress in but if i do - you guys will know

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