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I wish I would have done this years ago for this truck. There would definitely be a lot more pictures that have been lost on old broken phones documenting progress. 

This is “Minche”. Mini Manche. Definitely not a wheeler. Lol 

1988, 228,xxx miles, SWB, Pioneer, 4wd, Renix 4.0, Peugeot BA10/5, NP231, welded Dana 44 Disc brake conversion, D30 1pc axle conversion WJ Knuckle swap, 3:07s 31” M/T Baja MTZ P3s, Custom fit XJ long arm kit 

Warn 9.5 CTI winch

entire exterior has been “monster lined”, (roll on truck bed liner)

Previously owned By a CC member interestingly enough. 

I was a tow truck driver in Renton, Wa for 5 or 6 years. This Comanche was parked at one of our apartment complexes that we would impound vehicles from, for months not moving. I finally got the call for the “Jeep truck” and knew exactly where to go. 
I went and impounded the truck and it sat at our yard for 28 days without anyone calling about it or trying to inquire. It went to auction and I was lucky enough to take it home. 
 We had a guy through the tow company that had a mobile key making truck. So lucky I didn’t have to replace the ignition or door lock cylinders. One phone call and $50 I had a working set of keys! 

I got the truck with a D35 rear and Vacuum disconnect front axle on the stock short arms. I remember my first “wheeling” trip was a trip up to Snoqualmie Pass to see how she did in the snow. Alone with no winch.  The truck wasn’t doing very good and had Balding tires on it. It was all I could do in “4wd” to get turned around. Well later come to find out that the snow had bumped and disconnected the vacuum front axle hose. This lead to me immediately welding the D35 and doing the 1pc front axle conversion. 

The welded D35 lasted into the next summer and decided to back out half of the ring gear bolts while doing 70 down the highway. What a noise that is! Luckily I was able to make it home. 

While searching Craigslist, I sourced a Factory Comanche Dana 44 that luckily had the atrocious 3:07 gear ratio so no             re gearing was needed. Welded up the spider gears in the Ol’ D44 and have been running it since with no issues. 
As I do with all my Renix Vehicles, I almost immediately did the “open coolant upgrade” with new Napa radiator, upper and lower radiator hoses, heater hoses and a high flow FlowKool water pump. 
I can’t say that I “notice a difference” with the new high flow water pump but the truck has never overheated. But I’ve also installed $30 Napa pumps on wheelers that have never overheated too. So to each their own. 


I also received matching front and rear Cast Riddler differential covers for Christmas from my Wife. I definitely suggest them. Great fit and I’ve beat the crap out of them over the years. 

Looks like the rear cover has definitely had an easier life than the front. 

JB Weld high power neodymium magnet experiment. 
This is more than 4 years submerged in gear oil. Seems to be holding up great. Definitely caught some shavings. Will be doing this to future diff covers that don’t come with magnetic fill plugs. 


This all happened in 2016-2017 and I’m going off memory. I’m sure I’m forgetting lots of stuff but that’s why I’m doing this now. 
2017 - Hunting trip was one of my best to date. Did dent the bed by the drivers side tail light but it happens  215D9BD8-9A9A-4F19-B38B-0601D3483A18.jpeg.ae297c78ac6b871047a940111ab5da23.jpeg781DB265-84A1-4A14-9EB7-E1A120DA6638.jpeg.4898ef55465ef49f1ed1c30d10d31f4d.jpeg


My fiancé and I took in our 3 year old niece who had been homeless her whole life, living in tents and motel rooms with her Heroine addicted parents. She wasn’t “house broken” at all. Didn’t know how to use a toilet, toothbrush or fork. It took my wife over 3 hours to fully brush out her hair after multiple baths. We set out to legally adopt her and had our first experiences with DSHS, (Washington state Child protection service) what an absolute joke this agency is. Opened up what turned out to be the most intrusive, 3 year long, can of worms ever. I’m sorry to those of you who know. 

I married my lovely wife in Long Beach Washington August 3rd 2018, 3 hour drive and 120 miles in Minche while towing my J20 Galdiator truck bed trailer on 38’s. (Gladius) 
No run ability issues and I even got to recover a Semi truck stuck in the sand! 
I used to have a video of it but this picture is all that remains. 


Meanwhile, I had been amassing parts for a free to me, used XJ Long arm kit, along with a WJ knuckle swap, Timing chain, oil pan gasket, exhaust manifold and gasket, RMS, oil pump, freeze plugs, Cap, Rotor, plugs, wires and motor mounts. 
I needed to get all this work done before our Hunting Trip in Mid October. But after our Late July, week long, annual crabbing trip, followed by our wedding over the first weekend in August and then our week long honeymoon after the wedding to Hawaii. Gave me all of September to get the project done. No problems. In theory. Lol. 
We went on our Hawaiian Honeymoon, it was awesome, got back and immediately started to tear into Minche.  Throughout the week, after work, I got the engine all torn apart, timing chain off, oil pan off, oil pump off, intake and exhaust manifold removed, also tore apart the D30 anticipating a smooth swap. 

Friday night, August 24th 2018, literally less than a week after we got back from our honeymoon, I got to make the worst phone call of my life. I had to call my sleeping at home new wife and tell her I had been shot twice at work.  Something I sure never thought I would have to do. It’s really interesting talking to your most loved one while rapidly gushing blood out of 4 fresh holes in your body. Reassuring her on the phone that I’ll be ok when I honestly had no idea at the time.
Holy crap did that really throw a wrench in the gears of my plans. Lol. For being shot twice, I believe I’m just about the luckiest person. I was only in the hospital for 6 hours. The bullets didn’t break any bones or hit any vitals. Still hurt. A lot. But definitely could have been way worse. Suppose I’m here telling the story so yeah. 
Now I have this pile of parts to be installed on my torn apart truck. A VERY concerned wife, A full bottle of pain killers, a non functional left arm (Bullet entered in 3” above elbow and exited out of bicep.) and two more fresh Bullet holes in my torso. (Entered in my lower right back and exited underneath my right arm pit.) And no patients for sitting around healing. Unfortunately It took probably 2 weeks for me to be able to get up and get back to moving around “comfortably” as possible. “Luckily” the idiot who shot me had loaded full metal jacket 9mm rounds that just kinda passed through. 2 bullets, 4 holes. Shot in the back for asking someone to pickup their McDonalds garbage I watched them throw out of their car in our work parking lot. Shot at 4 times. Only hit twice. 

Exit would under my right arm pit. 


entrance wound, lower back, above my butt crack and right an inch or two 

Entrance into my left tricep. 


exit out of bicep. 


So back to my Mid October deadline for going hunting. Now only 2-3 weeks away. Determined, One handed, and, um, on some pain killers, and weak “good sided”  I managed to replace the rear main seal, oil pump, timing chain, reinstalled the oil pan with a new blue fel-pro gasket, freeze plugs were fun, I definitely remember smashing my fingers. Some how got the intake and exhaust manifold reinstalled with a new gasket. And motor mounts. Now on to the D30 WJ knuckle swap. And custom made to fit long arm kit install. Lol. 

 Ever try to fit 15” rims over a caliper made for 16” rims? The majority of time went into grinding calipers to make fit into the 15” rim. Lol. I could only hold the grinder so long before I started to get sore. 
 New ball joints were easy enough, I have a press tool.  I had already welded the needed unit bearing spacer onto the knuckles and the unit bearings fit right in. Installed and moved forward a new Rubicon Express track bar mount, I had all the appropriate tube and tube adapters along with heim joints to complete the steering. I also used WJ front rotors and drilled in my 5x4.5” bolt pattern. Didn’t go with the sporttrac rotors.  It was all going surprisingly smoothly until I got to reinstalling the wheels. Those Abonko calipers are huge compared to stock. 
I ground and ground and ground on the calipers until I was getting uncomfortable with how much material had been removed. 

I ended up having to make 1/4” front wheel spacers to make the calipers fit. And they juuuust barely don’t rub. 

Picture really doesn’t do it justice of how tight it is but it works and doesn’t rub or make noise unless I get into some really fine soupy mud. Really didn’t care at this point because I was going hunting in this truck regardless of what needed to be done. 


Here you can see the 1/4” spacer I had to make. Not bad with a 4.5” grinder and a drill. They’re almost press on around the center “hub”. I would color all of the contact surfaces with the orange paint crayon, re install wheel, spin and see where it was hitting, then grind some more. 


This gives you an idea of just how much material needs to be removed. 


Paint that sucker black, bled it out and wow. What a difference in braking power. 


So somehow I actually managed to get most everything done enough for a test drive with like 3 or 4 days to spare. Or to get packed up.  Finally the test drive!  This thing is going to run better than it ever has! 

Started right up for the first start, got it warmed up, and went to take off, could immediately tell something was wrong. The feel of the gas pedal was different with how it would rev up. Just wasn’t quite there. 
Pull out of my driveway and accelerate, it hesitates badly through the RPM range until about 2000RPM then “clears” up and will accelerate past. I was pretty upset to say the least. Not exactly sure where to even start looking because I changed so much stuff, I  drove it around a little bit, determined that it runs “good enough” to make the close to 2000 mile, week long hunting trip and I was going to send it regardless of what happened and figure it out when I got back. 

Went on the hunting trip, suffered through the run ability issue, no problems with any of the other modifications or new parts.  WJ steering and brake upgrade is most definitely worth it. At any speed, it drives like a dream as far as steering and braking. Amazing difference especially with the D44 disc conversion.  Didn’t get a deer but definitely enjoyed the Camping trip. 
Horse Creek hot springs Shoup Idaho 



This was about it for 2018, pretty sure I got home from the hunting trip unpacked and continued on with my physical rehab and the truck sat for the remainder of the year. 


Looking back through some photos in my phone, We went on a couple of wheeling trips throughout 2019.EDA605E5-4E19-45F1-8CC7-713AA04D2F09.jpeg.532ff54fd24af708fcbc6c21315c7469.jpegC161E794-9184-471A-9B88-E38B253727AC.jpeg.5b11e6280b02a9d11625e2c1bf068986.jpeg

Liberty Wa “Lions rock”


I also started on installing rock sliders. I’m not a fan of welding or bolting rock sliders to our paper thin “frames” so I decided I was going to make frame plates, bolt the plates to the frame then weld the rock sliders to the frame plates. Probably the most labor intensive pathway but it was the one I chose. Lol. Figured it would be the strongest 
Inside frame plate. 

15D8313B-313A-4B77-B734-3ABF56877A0C.jpeg.319c49ea8d699213f9076e3b61e52b5a.jpegThen I made and bent a piece to link both inside and outside plates together. 

This is for the gas tank strap, inside frame plate. By far the most difficult plate to have mounted because of the fuel tank. 1FBCE675-934C-4039-A61A-4EBB10DFD273.jpeg.ac80cbcf71c45b2d1d18a8bd2d5490d8.jpegD0111144-7F08-4E31-B5E2-3E18D3F9C871.jpeg.3a9a3fccfb038c032db3ece3dd28ead2.jpegF510A917-5471-4EBD-8476-4376260EE642.jpeg.63af74c8ca516f29f985a2e30bc82cb2.jpeg


Real fabricator guys are probably laughing at my crude methods but hey, gotta do what ya gotta do. Lol. Made it work with what I got. 
Can’t remember what happened but I lost motivation on the rock slider project, left it alone for like a year, then decided to finish it up the next summer. BEC71C08-CC58-4C49-A2FD-C8575362B005.jpeg.26e52272e16a9a52b221c5deeb83b966.jpeg
The two middle Rock slider mounts get welded to this plate, again made an inside and outside frame plate to sandwich the frame then a bottom “skid plate” connector piece. 
This small plate is for the forward mount, right behind the front tire. I was kinda skeptical about how strong it will be because it’s not very big, and only has 2 bolts, but she holds the weight of the truck without flexing no problem. 

Inside plate behind front tire 


Actually got the sliders mounted!

I'm pretty sure I hold the world record for most time spent and most weight added for a rock slider job. Lol.
12, 1/4” thick frame plates, 34, grade 8, Nylock nuts, lock washers and 5”-6”-7” long 1/2” bolts, 68 fender washers and god only knows how many cut off wheels later. (4.5” grinder was my main cutting tool) They are on. Lol. And totally removable too! 

We also went on our 2000 mile Idaho hunting trip in 2019 with Minche. My wife got her first deer. I was so proud. 
Cool sign you don’t see every day.(well maybe you do, I don’t) 45th parallel, 1/2 way between the equator and North Pole. 


Horse Creek Hot springs Shoup, Idaho. We take a day just to go here on every trip, well worth the drive  it’s amazingly beautiful in person. 092EE71B-7F4A-4CBF-958C-6DCA9E0761B0.jpeg.7e5dc2b96ea220351b81ccac5c5b7319.jpeg

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Welcome to the forum!

Glad to see another WA state wheeler with a rig built for our types of terrain. Your MJ is pretty much what I am aiming for, built for Nachese and western WA snow days :L:

I'm fixin ta replace my radiator, any chance you have the part numbers you mentioned for the rad/hoses and pump mentioned aobve?


Once again Welcome!

P.S. Great score how stock was it when you got it?

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Thanks Big Mark, I’ve been around for a little while now. Glad to meet another PNW Comanche owner as well.  The picture above in front of the semi truck is the most un modified picture by me I have. At that point I have only changed the wheels and tires. 
My other nickname for Minche is “the little Billy goat” because of her low center of gravity. I can turn around on hills that make Wrangler owners pucker up to say the least. Lol. 
check out CommuteChe to see how those heater hoses look. They are long enough to be used without the heater control valve. I cut them down. 
Part numbers you were asking about. 

FlowKooler Hi-Flow Mechanical Water Pump: 1747. 
Napa Radiator: Part #: RNR NR1193A

(Radiator for 91’ HO)

Lower radiator hose: Napa P# 8333

Upper radiator hose (AC hose):

Napa P# 8334

Heater hose: Napa P# 10768 x2 

(x3 if you have the vacuum heater control valve. They’re for a newer XJ but look much better IMO 

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3 hours ago, Airborne Janitor said:

Damn that's a crazy story! I was stationed in Tacoma 10+ years ago, seems the west side has really been going downhill. Glad to hear you're doing ok all things considered.

Thanks Airborne. Yeah, it was a crazy time. Lol. I’ve lived in Western Washington all my life and have definitely seen a dramatic change in the last 10 or 15 years. I don’t even consider my hometown home any more. It’s not the place I grew up. I have been over in your neck of the woods recently in both of my running Comanches. Kept an eye out for the Comanche that’s all one blue if you squint hard enough. Never did see you. But I’ll actually be back over this weekend (post falls) for none other than some Comanche parts. 

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6 hours ago, Big_Mark said:

Thanks for the part numbers, it looks like you edited your original post, dang dude WT* is wrong with people! I swear the whole world is losing their minds..

Stay safe man

No problem I did forget one important thing tho. Coolant overflow bottle. 
Napa #7304514 (courtesy of Airborne Janitor) 





Yeah, it’s a crazy world we live in these days. I’ve just slowly been adding to the story on my original post. Doesn’t get much more exciting. Lol. 

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8 hours ago, Airborne Janitor said:

My MJ has been staying warm in the shop for the most part this winter. With the snow/slush/ice here I drive my red XJ with proper gearing and more weight in the back. Good luck on your trip, what did you find across the border?

Me and My Comanches dream of a warm shop. Lol. Never take that for granted. 
Going to go grab the rear slider window out of the red MJ in post falls. And see what else he has. Looking for anything off it? 

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  • 3 months later...

Last time I drove Minche, my wipers stopped working, got home tonight and decided to figure out why. Didn’t take much to diagnose. 

My little plastic pop socket had worn out on the connection to the wiper motor. 1A88D1A0-6256-40A9-963F-2BC4FB6814DD.jpeg.d3ce8067cfd6fbbf3f621e369d108165.jpeg

Luckily in the land of 6 MJs, I was able to source another wiper motor assembly. This one is actually pretty fresh! 6D92FF43-59FE-4850-B7FD-F190661ED6C1.jpeg.204d45d0cddc0fbe4953c479ad1e0dc8.jpeg

Even made in France lol. Better than China crap. Went through, greased the pivot points, re installed and completed Cruiser54s ground update. These wipers haven’t worked like this… ever! 40CBF99C-2615-4159-ACE1-B28114994643.jpeg.c660b063fbc83b52e1248b24ddc5c44a.jpeg


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17 hours ago, NorthwestMJ said:

Absolutely crazy story! Super glad you’re ok! Minche looks sweet!!!!! When I get mine done we will have to go on some kind of Comanche adventure!

Yeah definitely. Thanks. Lots of work in to the old girl. I’m sure you know all about that! Looking forward to a Comanche adventure!!!

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  • 1 month later...

Have been going over Minche lately getting ready for wheelin season. The usual stuff, checking fluids, topping off what’s needed, greasing everything, looking for stuff that needs attention.

I have been noticing a Lazy Leftward List Lately and came to the conclusion that my front coil springs are worn out due to a fat guy always driving it. They are the springs that came on the truck and I have had some spares sitting around for years now. Turns out to be Rusty’s 4.5” springs. Swapped those in, they sure made a huge difference in ride quality. Old springs were most definitely worn out. F3E4D58F-333C-467E-BAAD-9680051A78ED.jpeg.2915fdf7fa0a8e51b495f087cf3b4f19.jpeg

Spring swap only took about half an hour luckily. 


Was able to get out to Evans Creek ORV park over the weekend. Sure was a beautiful day. Had a great time with my 2 best friends. No problems popped up, Minche is ready for the summer fun. 

And just figured I’d put this in too. I’m always interested in different tires and how they perform as well as input from average people. 
Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3 (I'm running the 31/10.5/R15) 

I got these tires just before Thanksgiving, so far I’ve only had them in winter driving conditions. For a tire that says “Baja” on the side, I can’t believe how good they do in every kind of snow. Fresh 12 degree northern Idaho powder, Hard pack and Ice  on I-90 in a blizzard or sloppy slush spring time crap, they have exceeded my winter expectations. This was my first trip to actually put them on some rocks and dry dirt. Very happy with them, didn’t spin a tire once. Even had a sloppy muddy, off camber side hill spot that my friends couldn’t believe I didn’t slide down.  Highly suggest the Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ P3 




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Also, as far as an endurance test for the JB welded magnets, I recently changed my transfer case oil, believe this will be going on 5 years submerged in ATF, holding up great. E3E8F77A-7BFE-4F2B-8283-BA9FBF334EF6.jpeg.a5e41141124147e9f81e78244c51c25f.jpeg

Changed the transmission oil as well. I’ve always ran whatever gear oil the Napa guy says it takes, but recently read through an old post here on CC and a guy was saying the manufacturer suggested 30w oil so I acquired some 30w oil at work. Seems to run cooler and shift smoother with the 30w over gear oil. This is what I used. Also ended up cutting down 2, 3/8” extensions and welded them to the Peugeot drain plugs. No more custom extensions. Lol. 




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I’ve been dealing with interior electrical issues since getting Minche. Would have to jiggle fuses to get the gauges to work. Recently found out why. Lol.
Had a little rot in the fuse box where the actual fuses plug into the connectors. 

Sourced some “new” connectors out of the XJ fuse box I recently parted out. 7ABC353C-87A7-43B9-97B0-344336B23775.jpeg.2a0e8ed24fb2ca52e2a54fa9599e6642.jpeg
Cleaned out all the disgusting black tar crap that is in the connector.

This is what I found when I first cracked it open  B7A8852A-1E80-478C-AFA2-41C301380879.jpeg.6133a81f6f1ab49786d1637895012e1b.jpeg

Soaked it down with WD-40 



Hit it with the old wire brush, small pick and Q-tip treatment for about an hour. 6525CEDA-59A6-4BF9-B99C-B7D82417C166.jpeg.507070ca49b841543290b87c697856c7.jpeg


Cleaned up pretty well. That black tar crap is terrible. 

Covered in Dielectric grease, then went to the inside for some scrubbing, cleaned it up, then covered in grease as well. 






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Ever since discovering the Rubicon express Track Bar drop bracket has an optional support bar available, I’ve wanted to get or make one for Minche. Apparently today was the day. 

Back of the track bar bracket brace plate. 



I’ve had this tube laying around for a while now. Believe it’s HREW, .120 wall stuff anyway. 4F0AB30E-158A-4F4A-B951-A80EFD2E31A3.jpeg.468e74ddbc05fe75aa7da3ff061da407.jpeg
Smashed one end flat for welding 


Tied into the Frame side motor mount. 


Turned out pretty good. It’s stronger than it was! 

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2 hours ago, Pete M said:

you're going to gusset that bend, yes? 

I really wasn’t planning on it. Just for the bracket support? Doesn’t really seem to be weight bearing. I’m 275lbs and was unable to bend it any further with all my weight on it. Buuut, now that you bring it up, maybe I will. 

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that brace is adding side to side reinforcement.  any force that is pushing side to side is likely to partially bend at that weak point instead of resisting the full force.  is it vital?  probably not since that bracket isn't entirely needed in the first place.  would I add a small rib on the inside of the bend?  yes, yes I would.  :L:  my hands (and all my weight for that matter) aren't as strong as the steering box so I tend not to use them as gauges for "good enough".  :D  (plus the tiny engineer that lives in my head is kinda pedantic.  :laugh:  )

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2 hours ago, Pete M said:

that brace is adding side to side reinforcement.  any force that is pushing side to side is likely to partially bend at that weak point instead of resisting the full force.  is it vital?  probably not since that bracket isn't entirely needed in the first place.  would I add a small rib on the inside of the bend?  yes, yes I would.  :L:  my hands (and all my weight for that matter) aren't as strong as the steering box so I tend not to use them as gauges for "good enough".  :D  (plus the tiny engineer that lives in my head is kinda pedantic.  :laugh:  )

I don’t believe the steering box side to side force would influence the Track bar mount would it? Unless it’s literally trying to spread apart the unibody. I already have a steering box brace installed to help prevent that.  
I’m out here removing the bar right now to gusset it up. Stay tuned for what I come up with. 

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offroading puts quite a bit of sideways push on the track bar mounts as the tire hits dirt berms and trees and whatnot that pushes it sideways relative to the body.  the track bar bolt holes (at the bottom of the frame) can wallow out because of it. 


but it's still better now than it was before, even without the gusset.  :L: 

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2 hours ago, Pete M said:

offroading puts quite a bit of sideways push on the track bar mounts as the tire hits dirt berms and trees and whatnot that pushes it sideways relative to the body.  the track bar bolt holes (at the bottom of the frame) can wallow out because of it. 


but it's still better now than it was before, even without the gusset.  :L: 

Alright Buddy, what does the inner engineer  think about it now? Thanks for the call out on my half @$$ work too. Feel much better about it now! Lol. 



I opted to use a much thinner material for the cap. 



Stronger than it was! Lol 

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