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SRT Comanche build


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I've been slacking on posting here and some of the Facebook/Instagram guys finally talked into it.  I'll get the updates posted to the present status and then start updating as things happen.

 

This will start off as more or less a stock rebuild and then be modified as if I were starting with a new truck.  I'll do it in stages so that I can keep driving it instead of having a non-runner for hears.  Will be a SRT themed sporty street build when completed.

 

Here's what I'm starting with.  The red Comanche is a very solid 2.5/4 speed 2wd with what appears to be zero options.  I bought it out of St Louis with the interior partially gutted and the engine/trans disassembled.  Has been hit in the back and the front and poorly repaired back in the late 80s.  But it's a good base to start with.

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The white Comanche is very, very rusty despite how the pictures make it look.  2.5/5 speed 2wd with quite a few options.  I bought it the day after I picked up the red one.  Was a non runner with a suspected bad clutch.  A new battery, clutch master cylinder, and a welded up frame later and it was a driver.  Everything works including the AC and it has a beautiful blue interior.

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Had to get all my Jeeps together for a red/white/blue group photo.

 

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First order of business was to fix the collision damage on the bed.  They had done a terrible job and it was rotting out under the mountain of body filler.  I decided the best plan of attack was to cut out the bad parts and graft what I could from the white bed, then fab the rest.

 

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And of course as soon as I started doing fitup work a decently straight, rust free bed popped up on marketplace locally for cheap.  I still ended up grafting them together as the leftovers will likely become a scrap trailer.

 

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I finished stripping everything and gave it a good power washing while the bed was off.  No surprises there.

 

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The previous owner had a battery explode and it rotted out the battery tray area.  Also, the passenger floor had a big rust hole from a plugged ac drain line.  Easy fix on the floor with the nice Key Parts panel.  Had to fab my own for the battery area as the white truck was rusted as well.  I repurposed a piece of inner fender well from the bed chopup.

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The Downey tonneau cover I had ordered showed up.  Nice product and inexpensive.

 

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Now on to the surprise.  Found poorly repaired collision damage in the driver's front.  The unibody was tweaked and you can see where the door gaps just don't line up.  Luckily I know a very good frame guy and dropped it off at his shop for a week or so.

 

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While the good Comanche was away, I picked up another parts truck.  86 long bed 4x4 2.8 V6.  Had already been parted but I just wanted the rear window and some small pieces and parts.  I took what I needed and resold it 3 days later.  Used the money to buy an Explorer 8.8 locally.

 

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After stripping

 

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I picked up the good Comanche a few hours before the long bed one went away.

 

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Much nicer after being at the frame shop.  Everything lines up like it's supposed to.

 

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37 minutes ago, ghinmi said:

I've been slacking on posting here and some of the Facebook/Instagram guys finally talked into it.  I'll get the updates posted to the present status and then start updating as things happen.

 

This will start off as more or less a stock rebuild and then be modified as if I were starting with a new truck.  I'll do it in stages so that I can keep driving it instead of having a non-runner for hears.  Will be a SRT themed sporty street build when completed.

 

Here's what I'm starting with.  The red Comanche is a very solid 2.5/4 speed 2wd with what appears to be zero options.  I bought it out of St Louis with the interior partially gutted and the engine/trans disassembled.  Has been hit in the back and the front and poorly repaired back in the late 80s.  But it's a good base to start with.

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The white Comanche is very, very rusty despite how the pictures make it look.  2.5/5 speed 2wd with quite a few options.  I bought it the day after I picked up the red one.  Was a non runner with a suspected bad clutch.  A new battery, clutch master cylinder, and a welded up frame later and it was a driver.  Everything works including the AC and it has a beautiful blue interior.

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That aluminum radiator! I wanted one for my mj and could not find one. If you don't use it let me know I'd be interested.

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Progress kind of stalled for a while as my whole family came down with varying levels of covid.  We all recovered luckily.  Had to push out my long term camper trailer project to make room for the mess the Comanche was about to make.  Eventually this trailer will be pulled by either the Cherokee or the Comanche since both will match.

 

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Then it was the push to finish all the metal work so that we could get started on body work.  The main problem areas were the bottom of the bed and the driver's side door.  Luckily zero rust repair.

 

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I cleaned, prepped, and finished the underside of the bed while it was upside down.  Easier than way.

 

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Filled the holes for the dumbo mirrors and will be going with the smaller mirrors in the corners of the windows.  Then started the metal work on the driver's door.  What a pain in the butt, that one fought me.  But I refuse to pack panels full of filler.

 

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Then the messy process of stripping the whole Jeep to bare metal.  The 30+ year old repaint was delaminating in spots so it had to happen.

 

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Then sealed everything in with two coats of SPI epoxy primer.

 

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8 minutes ago, The86manche said:

That aluminum radiator! I wanted one for my mj and could not find one. If you don't use it let me know I'd be interested.

I will likely be using the original radiator out of the white truck if it checks out ok.  The aluminum one looks out of place to me.  I will probably keep the aluminum one as a spare until I do the engine swap and then I won have a use for it anymore.  Follow the thread and hit me up when the 2.5 goes bye bye.

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I won't bore by posting months upon months of sanding.  But rest assured I have strong arms now.

 

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The Key Parts lenses showed up.  Haven't installed yet but they look nice!

 

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I wasn't a fan of the stock or aftermarket bumpers for these trucks so I was kind of on my own.  Took a chance buying a cheap scratch and dent XJ bumper and I think it came out decent.

 

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Chopped to width.

 

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Mounts built

 

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Ends capped

 

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Fitment checked

 

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But now it needs a license plate.

 

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Working dents out of the inside of the tailgate.

 

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Got the back sides of all the panels stripped to metal.  Engine bay as well.

 

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More epoxy primer on all the bare metal pieces.

 

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Cool license plate that I intend on running.

 

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Finally time for some color on the jambs and back sides of panels.  I went with the same 1969-1970 Mopar B5 blue as the Cherokee so they'll match.

 

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Looks way better in the sun.

 

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1 hour ago, ghinmi said:

I will likely be using the original radiator out of the white truck if it checks out ok.  The aluminum one looks out of place to me.  I will probably keep the aluminum one as a spare until I do the engine swap and then I won have a use for it anymore.  Follow the thread and hit me up when the 2.5 goes bye bye.

Sure thing. It looks like a good project. Love the color.

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1 hour ago, eaglescout526 said:

I might do so when this happens. You don’t know how hard to is to find Renix era parts for these engines. 

They're a little hard to find but not nearly as bad as the older SJ Jeep stuff I'm used to.  I'm constantly amazed at how much is available new for these trucks and how cheap it is.

 

58 minutes ago, camjeep3 said:

WOW. I guess you have done this kinda thing before!  Awesome work!

A couple times.  Can't afford to have it done professionally so I end up having to do everything myself.

 

24 minutes ago, The86manche said:

Sure thing. It looks like a good project. Love the color.

Thank you!

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After doing the first round of paint in the jambs I finally broke down and bought a nice paint gun.  My old cheapies are fine for solid colors but the metallic was a struggle.  I know I'm going to be doing at least two more paint jobs in my life so spreading the cost over 3 jobs makes it not sting as bad.  This new Iwata did such a better job.  I should've invested in it 15 years ago.

 

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Finally ready to paint.

 

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Base coat laid out beautifully.  That was my main concern with the old gun.

 

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And the final finish

 

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Also painted the frame before I put the bed back on.  Not after perfection, just protection.

 

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And the finished bumper installed.  Pretty proud of that one.  Looks relatively factory which is what I was going for.  It's often hard to make a roll pan that doesn't look obviously custom.

 

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And painted all the bolts separately.  Getting rid of most of the torx bolts in favor of factory style captive washer hex bolts.

 

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Its builds like these that make me jealous of the amount of detail that went into it and which is not found on my MJ. Excellent work interested in seeing how it comes together

 

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Forgot to post these.  Feel.pretty fortunate to have been able to piece together a presentable set of tailgate strap bumpers from the fleet of parts trucks, as well as nice hardware for everything so far.

 

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Next batch of color.  I wasn't able to do the whole truck at once and the miserable weather in Michigan, plus having a day job limits me to only certain weekends being suitable to paint.

 

Base coat

 

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And done.

 

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And then it looks completely different out in the sun.  Very close to the other truck, I'm satisfied with the match.

 

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And that's where I'm at for now.  Lots of wet sanding and buffing in my future so there won't be a lot of cool progress for a while.

 

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27 minutes ago, Swampy said:

Its builds like these that make me jealous of the amount of detail that went into it and which is not found on my MJ. Excellent work interested in seeing how it comes together

 

Detail isn't always needed though.  I've likely gone too far for what this truck needs to be and it'll be back to being just 'ok' after a couple years of use.  But it's fun to tinker with.

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5 minutes ago, ghinmi said:

Detail isn't always needed though.  I've likely gone too far for what this truck needs to be and it'll be back to being just 'ok' after a couple years of use.  But it's fun to tinker with.

Fair fair. I'm walking a fine line of trying to keep my trail mj as clean as possible lol

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