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Project “CommuteChe”


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Hello everyone, first post on the Comanche Club. Long time looker. I’m not even sure this is where I’m supposed to do this. 
“Project CommuteChe”
This week I decided to drag my $200 junk yard find 1991 2wd HO Comanche out of the bushes at my house and finally show her the love she deserves. I’ve tried in the past to get her going again but never really put any effort into it. I am not an electrical person at all and it seemed to be an electrical problem. I did give her a very thorough pressure washing and she cleaned up a little bit but still looks like a junkyard find. Can’t complain about that mileage though!

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The Ignition switch and headlight dimmer  switch were unbolted and hanging down by the brake pedal. The Ignition lock tumbler was obviously screwed with by someone who didn’t know what they were doing and needed replacement. I also found that the fuel pump ballast was cracked and inoperable. 

 

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First thing, let’s make her crank. So I  threw a known good battery in it and tried to crank her over, nothing. This is using the old ignition switch hanging down by the brake pedal not knowing that It grounds to the column. 
I needed a new ignition lock cylinder anyway so I went down to the local Napa and got the fuel pump ballast, ignition switch and lock cylinder. Installed the lock cylinder with new keys and bolted the Ignition switch and Headlight dimmer to the column. Still no crank.

 

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Ok, jump the starter. It Cranks! But with no spark. Pulled the #1 plug just to see. Something else is going on, must be that pesky Neutral Safety Switch I’ve been hearing so much about. So I remove the NSS and disassemble to inspect internal components. Doesn’t look too bad but wasn’t great either. Cleaned up and reassembled the NSS. Still won’t crank even with jiggling the shift lever. 

 

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Well, let’s bypass the NSS with a jumper wire. Cram a piece of safety wire into the appropriate hole in the connector and... nothing. Still won’t crank. Must be something else. Checked all fuses again and all were in good shape.

 

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I was watching different YouTube videos of people diagnosing no crank symptoms and one guy opened his under hood fuse box where the relays are at and I remembered I had a few extra relays out in the shop from visiting the junk yard. 
First I swapped the “Starter” relay with the “auto shutdown” relay and nothing happened. So I replaced both the starter and auto shutdown relay with the junkyard relays. She fired right up.

 

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Burning the at least 8 year old fuel that was in the lines and having not run in god knows how long she started up pretty rough. Had to keep my foot on the pedal because she wouldn’t idle but eventually she came around. I had already siphoned  the junk fuel out and put in a couple gallons of fresh gas. As soon as the fuel line was clear of junk gas she was purring like a kitten. The oil filter has a date of Manufacture from 2014 so I’m assuming that it’s been sitting since late 2014 or 2015. The engine oil is very clean like it’s just been changed. 

 

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 I still need to reassemble the steering column and put the steering wheel back on then start to address all the other interesting “modifications” the previous owner had made. I’ve found multiple wires stripped of the insulation. Some 1/2” long, some up to 2” long for whatever reasons. Hopefully with some time and money, I’ll be able to get her back to her former glory. Or at least kinda close. I am looking to make this my commuter vehicle (CommuteChe) to try and keep the miles off of my other vehicles. I drive 50 miles to work each way and it racks up the miles fast. Would way rather be doing it in style with an awesome older truck that you rarely see on the roads. I’ll keep posting my progress as it happens. Thank you for your time. A big shout out to my buddies Robbie and Jeff for the electrical diagnostics help! And a very special mention to my beautiful wife. The very first thing she said was to check the fuses and relays. 
And won’t let me forget it. 

 

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I cleaned up your post a little bit for the PC viewing folks so it is pleasant on the eyes. Not your fault by any means though if your on the iphone or mobile. 

 

Looks like a fun build though. Shame the rear bumper is a bit tweaked. Oh well, alot of heat and a BFH will make it look new.

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Just a quick update for a couple days worth of after work progress:
I have been going through the engine bay and trying to fix most of the wiring mess the previous owner left. Not too bad but.. annoying. Bought some loom and heat shrink to start the process of taking apart the harness connectors and running heat shrink down the wire to the damaged wire insulation. 
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This is for the O2 sensor that was ran basically across the top of the exhaust pipe. I believe the insulation melted then it was stripped back. I tried to make the wire break by a few fairly aggressive snake maneuvers and short tugs. It survived so I put heat shrink on it. Rerouted the new loom away from the exhaust. I found a few others but not as bad as the O2 sensor. Cleaned up a little rats nest that was made by the previous owner next to the coil behind the alternator.

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Since I got this truck, the drivers side tail light was in the bed. I never really looked at it until tonight. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This poor tail light. Some fool unscrewed the two screws on the outside and proceeded to either yank or pry off the housing, without unscrewing the two on the inside behind the tailgate. 
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The two broken tabs. 

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Got a Mini Snap On pocket screwdriver red hot for some plastic welding.

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Inside of the tab. 
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Cleaned up pretty good with a little scrub from Steel wool. 
I did notice that either the electric fan was... Parted with in the past at some point or didn’t come with one? But I was out Scrounging in the garage and found a working E fan and the actual harness plug for the fan! Pretty sure this is the first of 5 Comanches that will have a “factory” fan set up. Not going to install the fan until after I change the radiator and do a Tranny flush. The pan is leaking pretty bad and I would love to get it sealed up with some all around fresh fluid. And the radiator appears to have some sort of “Stop leak” crap in it. The Fairly fresh water pump kinda confirms. 
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‘91 4.0 HO, short bed on D44s F&R 4.88,35s with Detroits, custom Radius arm, frame plated. (Manche) 
‘91 4.0 HO, short bed 2wd Auto stock (CommuteChe)

‘88 4.0 Renix, short bed, 4wd D30f D44r disc conversion, welded,long arm 31s,     WJ knuckle conversion. (Minche) 

‘87 4.0 Renix, long bed, 2wd auto, stock, 

(no name yet) 

 

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Found some stock TJ wheels this weekend on Craigslist. Pretty happy with the appearance of them. Especially for the price. And luckily, I got all 5! Unfortunately the tires are too big and in pretty bad shape. Going to need to get new rubber.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was under the impression that the valve will reroute the hot water back to the engine and not let the hot water flow through the heater core so in the summer I’m not getting hot air blown on me? 
I suppose a SoCalJeepComanche owner would have a better understanding of trying to stay cool in the summer over one in Western Washington. Lol. Every other Comanche I have had, I have eliminated that valve and gone straight to the heater core. 

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Spent some time this last weekend beating on the rear bumper and bumper brackets with a hammer. Turned out better than it was. Need to get new bumper covers. Mine are trashed. CC4B63FC-B393-4D3D-B6B1-1D7CC2F06CCD.jpeg.4ba95aa2772bc060d0678e0295bb3fcd.jpegF8DC4761-3CCA-430F-9C29-22C8A05AB507.jpeg.202d3e489ea46fdd4d68ca906d621116.jpeg2192F9A9-46C6-4EA2-B162-2FD8568DC87E.jpeg.ba50dc704c2e64ef8b6e7766a0c52bf9.jpegAB47289E-17F3-47FD-A0C1-04FD163F1BBF.jpeg.9e23a490501328d85b346f3b480dd53b.jpeg60FBEAC4-A922-457A-A3DC-D584BC18C8F0.jpeg.7499a011de7bc6ebeb0d1e6162e0ebbc.jpeg

Before pictures. Pretty hammered on. 
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Not perfect but better anyway 

 

 

 

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On 6/6/2022 at 8:31 AM, DesertRat1991 said:

 

That's pretty slick. I didn't know it was possible to get a decent bond like that.

 

Nice work.

Thanks, they support the weight of the light and it bolted in perfectly. Old dirt bike trick. Trying to make cracked and broken plastics look better on a budget. 

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Went down to the junkyard this weekend and found some good stuff. 
 

The fan and AC pump dummy pulley bracket is cracked on my MJ

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Found an un cracked one on an XJ down at the junkyard. Grabbed it for replacement.


Also grabbed this factory under hood light that I found on a different XJ. 
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 Turns out my hood was ready for the light  1C6D1675-A1A0-4559-9367-FAD9801D87E3.jpeg.f9e152b4d2d2d3af3f66f5d89919e484.jpeg

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Easy enough install. Two screws and a plug. Still need to go get a new bulb to test for function. 
Also found a decent Bumper cover that is not cracked and not too mangled up. 2A887ECE-CD84-4D0F-8641-345483A3773B.jpeg.4110f7991fb6afdb2937e36262f933ca.jpeg

 

Also grabbed some Rear ZJ springs. 

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Just a quick update:
A652A59A-877F-43D0-9BA2-BA2DB5A6335E.jpeg.368d6915342adc1ea35e8039dcb331e4.jpegTook off the Canopy. 
Still need to find a new rear window. Slider is broken. (If anyone has any suggestions where to get one in the Seattle area?)
19864C17-8DEF-4B34-A4E9-313115E0CA3C.jpeg.53c7ef6d38589242c9a6a05776dda8de.jpegThe Junkyard find, under hood light hooked right up, new bulb and it was good to go. 

95EDFE4B-E3D5-4DF0-B90D-4053F5A0822A.jpeg.5dd106454cf14b77714348a9e16bb3fe.jpegSpent some time and cleaned up the ground wires behind the dipstick. 02F1E3BF-B0B9-45D7-9883-69D09AF64E26.jpeg.aedb8a3976013904d76098a966526102.jpegUnfortunately a battery had leaked out at some point and rusted under the battery tray pretty badly. 
11CB2066-D16F-407F-95D9-9AF751BBCAB1.jpeg.3f675e84ccb18a2782910a940a53b301.jpegFirst out of 5 Comanches to actually have a factory battery hold down 

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Monday was the first day of commuting the CommuteChe. She performs flawlessly on the road and drives great. 51 miles each way, all week, she will have a fresh 500 miles on her by tomorrow. Tuesday the radiator decided to spring a leak. Luckily some super glue and a piece of CornDog stick helped me get it to Napa then Home without failing me. Installed new radiator that night and drove her to work the next day. 

Terrible picture of my CornDog stick fix. Can kinda see it in there. 
746B127B-F4AD-4367-82B3-AFBF38F034F3.jpeg.a3f8fc7a731b9b3e7f67d9938c9e62e5.jpegPretty sure the Radiator was Factory original. 
64516898-54D3-4216-B069-CDCB619E1555.jpeg.d335349d43122a2d5103539e801f0b24.jpegGoing over the Tacoma Narrows bridge.7D792289-BE37-4F73-90BD-A9BB0F7575C7.jpeg.4fddbd50893ba6c39411fa334439bf7b.jpeg

Kinda cool picture at work. 

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  • 4 months later...

Haven’t updated in a while. CommuteChe has been running strong as my daily driver for a couple months now. I’ve already put on 10,000 miles. It’s just a pleasure to drive around in a Jeep Comanche.  I got some new tires for it and they made a huge difference in how it drives. 
This last weekend, we went on the first big road trip to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. She ran flawlessly as expected and was getting approximately 15.6 mpg doing 80mph on I-90 when possible across Washington state. 
 

Found the best crossroads ever
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Unintentionally made our way into Montana for the first time in this truck! Big Sky Comanche. Right at the Mountain time zone line 

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Budwieser Loop road. (Hops fields)

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That seems a little low on the fuel mileage, IMHO. I ran my 89 4.0 5 speed 4x4 with a 3" lift and 4.10 gears at 70-75mph (also on I-90, but in WI) for 4 hours and got 20 mpg. Maybe that's just how the HOs are though.

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  • 1 month later...

I’ve had some 1/0 awg cables sitting around for quite a while now, decided to finally put them to use. A trip to Napa for cable ends and luckily the awesome mechanic at work had some cable end crimpers that he let me borrow for the project. The “home brew Jeep cables kit”. Heat shrink is expensive these days!!! 

This cable end for the fuse box, I just un crimped the factory cable end and re installed the 1/0 awg cable on the factory cable end since it’s a weird one here

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Got some decent crimps from the tool. 

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Pretty significant difference for power to starter cable. 

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Alternator output upgrade. 

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The tool: Titan 5-Ton Hydraulic Cable Crimpers 11980  Highly suggest. Under $60 on summit racing. I’ll be getting one soon. 
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Found some decent battery terminals at west marine. Easily replaceable. 

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Battery terminal covers came from Cabelas/ Bass Pro. Was able to squeeze them over the thicker cables with the help of a little dialectric grease   

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Also completed all of Cruiser54s ground upgrades. The cluster ground upgrade made the biggest difference of all. Or maybe it just tied it all together because it was the last one I completed. Incredible how much better it starts after. Fuel pump ground upgrade cut the noise of the fuel pump in half. 

Found a steering wheel horn button upgrade EC3FD7BC-3D57-4619-968F-72F691CF76C1.jpeg.bc7dcb0673155544e5201544d87a3bc2.jpeg

 

How often do you see that mileage? Up next? 234,567.8 miles! See you then! Lol. 

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Couple of different Comanche sunrises 

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Just because she’s 2wd doesn’t mean she has to stay on the pavement right? 2973606F-2888-489F-8290-464E045D0DAF.jpeg.ae2354abfcb26fc0bde01489b9daf3bf.jpeg


This was by far the heaviest load. Haven’t stacked her up like this since. She didn’t like it too much. Power was there but steering was sketchy. 
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Poor little truck. Lol. She identifies as a Metric Ton with a D44 rear. 

 

 

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