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My first Jeep / Comanche Resurrection

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My first Jeep / Comanche Resurrection

Old 04-30-2014, 04:34 PM
  #1  
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Default My first Jeep / Comanche Resurrection

I started this build about 40 days ago, it's gone a little slow but it'll get better soon. I'll start with a cut and paste from CC/NAXJA.

(03-22-14) Hi I'm Dan, I'm from Jersey, and I've always been a car guy. Was a Chevy guy in my teens, then I got heavy into VWs, then I relaxed it and just worked on cars for a while and didn't try to do anything fancy to my own. This is my first Jeep. It's a 91 Comanche 4.0 AT 4WD with a Dana 35 rear. It's not very pretty right now but the bones look good to me. I got it in Pennsylvania where it would not pass state inspection so it sat at the PO's house forever before I saw it. I'm a pro tech but I don't know how to weld yet, guess it's time I do.


The good:
- Clean title
- It runs and drives and can keep up with highway traffic
- It has a little bit of lift and came with plenty of 31s
- It has a full console with beverage holders

The bad: - Rotted out rockers and bed
- Tailgate handle is missing, tailgate isn't in good condition
- The steering is crap
- The existing lift doesn't look well done and the back end is way too low
- The blower doesn't work and was disassembled by the PO
- The engine does not appear to reach operating temp during normal driving
- The engine is running really rich, probably due to the cooling issue
- Fuel level gauge is crap
- Exhaust leaks
- 4WD doesn't work as well as I'd like it to
- Bunch of missing interior bits
- Stereo doesn't work
- Junkyards around North Jersey haven't been very good for my other vehicles but maybe they'll be good for Jeeps
- Rear bumper doesn't fit and it's rotting out
- Doors are missing limiters, not very good condition doors in general

The plan, in order of importance, I guess:
- Fix the blower and change the T-stat and WP if necessary
- Fix the exhaust bare minimum so it stays out of the cab. New exhaust later
- Fix the tailgate or find a new one
- TJ Rubicon flares, cut out the bed rot, fix the bumper as much as necessary right now
- Remove rocker rot and fix the cab
- Remove carpet, repair floor if necessary, fit new carpet and headliner
- Get the ignition cylinder replaced before it leaves me stranded
- Fix the lift and steering. SOA conversion probably. New springs definitely. Like to get a better axle in there
- Dye interior black, recover dash top with vinyl, install nicer seats, probably MkV Jetta vinyl
- Need to get a new fuel tank because the anti-slosh is crap. Doesn't leak right now but it's on its way out
- New wheels and tires. Highly likely it'll be JK 17s with 2in spacers and 33s unless somebody can talk me out of it
- Transfer case has angered Jobu, so it will need attention. Would like the later Cherokee full time switchable box if that's not crap. I'm sure someone will let me know.
- Doors need attention, like to update them to late model with power windows, locks and mirrors
- Late model front end update and a new rear bumper with late model endcaps
- New paint, probably white
- Stereo fixed sometime in there
- Somewhere in there I'd like to fit a Chevy V8 and new trans in
- Also if a rollbar finds its way into my lap I wouldn't turn it down
- Needs LED lighting everywhere

O|||||||O

(03-23-14) I didn't have a lot of time to work on the Jeep today. I wanted to try to fix the tailgate but it came to my attention that the tail lights are crap. One was out so I went to do the bulb, but I was damn near horrified to find house wire nuts used by the PO to repair existing wiring.


So that's got to go. Fortunately I have a brand new pair of wiring harnesses from a late model Silverado that I got for nothing. They have two brake/turn bulbs and one reverse, all 3047. I was saving these for my Monte Carlo, but it has perfectly good lighting and I need these now. New from the dealer these harnesses are about $40 if you were to buy two of the cheap side 25906854.


I know what you're thinking. "Dan, those bulbs won't fit." And you're right. This required minor modification of the bulb receptacles in each lamp. 90 seconds with a Dremel tool and they fit. About 1/8in needed to be taken out of one tab slot for each bulb and the ground wires needed to be extended between the bulbs. I think older GM harnesses with the reverse on bottom would probably require less wire modification, but these were free to me. I chose to modify the plastic lamp to fit because it's much easier this way than modifying the bulb sockets. I think the stock bulb sockets would still engage, but it doesn't really matter. I have no intention of selling these lamps. If I ever buy new lamps, I'll just modify those again. The trimmed areas are marked in white.


So far this has worked brilliantly. I've now got three bulbs per tail lamp and I need to join four wires per side. Total cost: about $0.50 worth of solder, heat shrink and tape, and ten minutes. Not so fast though. These lamps have been thru the last 23 years and it shows. All the mounting tabs are cracked or broken. So tomorrow I'll be going to the store for some supplies. I'll split the lamps, reinforce the mounting tabs by plastic welding some metal lock washers and replacement plastic in. The lens has a bit of cracking, so that will be addressed. Tomorrow is another day. (I ruined these lamps.)

O|||||||O

(03-26-14) ...On the bright side, I picked up a set of TJ Rubicon flares today, and I'm very exited about that.

I'm trying to get my taxes done so no real progress today. I mocked up the TJ flares with green tape and they look boss. Taillights are still looking pretty sad. Harmonic balancer is shot so I ordered that. I remembered I have a stock JK towing harness so I decided to use that with the Silverado harness to re-do the tail light harness. Keeping a list in MS OneNote of all the stuff I do to this truck so it has some accounting.

O|||||||O

(04-01-14) Finally got around to working on the Jeep again. Haven't got a lot done really. Took off the bumpers because they both need to be adjusted now, replaced later. I need to take off the badges on the fenders because the TJ flares need the space and the front fenders aren't long for the world anyway. I was thinking about putting fresh ones on the door after it gets painted. A Facebook friend found tail lamps for me so those are on the way. I haven't given up on my original lamps but also haven't had time to sit with the heat gun and fix them. I'm thinking about welding a receiver hitch to my rear bumper temporarily, until I build a better bumper.

O|||||||O

(04-03-14) Didn't get a lot done again today. Cleaned the PO dirt out of the cab this morning and the parts I ordered started to trickle in. New taillights arrived from my Facebook buddy. I ground off the parts of the JK hitch I don't need so I can weld the receiver to my bumper. Went with my bro to Autozone and picked up a cheap Grant steering wheel and some hard mud flaps since they're required by law, or at least it used to be that way. Took the tailgate handle assy off so I can start to make a new one. I'm going to cut it out of sheetmetal and bend it up, should be pretty simple. I just need to make a paper template out of the rotted out remains.

This weekend, hope to have these parts in:
Harmonic balancer
Hella #3389 license plate lamp fixtures. These are nice and big, come stock on Sprinter chassis cabs. They take a 97 bulb like stock.
Dorman hood release cable - because mine feels like it's ready to fail and I'm not going to try to save $20 by not replacing it
GM flasher button - because mine is just a rusty drywall screw
Toyota roof mounted rear view mirror and dome light
Air & fuel filters, and wiper blades
And I really, really need to re-hang the doors. Each is only attached with two bolts and there are parts missing.

I know it's not a lot but this is a budget build and I don't really want to splurge on anything yet. Even the Grant wheel was a bit of a stretch right now, it's not necessary but the stock wheel is in my lap. I absolutely need to take the carpet out soon. I don't want to do anything about the lift until I decide what I'm going to do about my axles. I'm seriously considering WJ axles. They're a little wider and I was planning on 5x5 wheels anyway so it makes sense in my head. If I do anything before I change axles, it's just going to be an add-a-leaf and shackles since that will come in under $100.

My next purchases really need to be tools though. I need to buy a welder, sheet metal brake, some body tools and probably a bead roller kit. I need to make some slip plates so I can adjust the alignment, I need to buy a bigger jack, etc.

O|||||||O

(04-04-14) It's raining and the weatherman says it's going to be cold and rainy all day, so that seems as good a reason as any to buy a welder. I just ordered my first welder, and no it's not an Eastwood like my VW buddies said to get. I ordered from farmandfleet.com a genuine Made in USA Millermatic 130 kit, now labeled Hobart Auto-Arc 130. I'm pretty excited about the whole thing.

O|||||||O

(04-23-14) I haven't posted here in a while. I haven't really got a lot done. I cleaned up the truck a bit, put a crappy cargo net in place of the tailgate, removed some dead brake lines, got rid of the spare tire carrier, changed the tires for some that are slightly less terrible, tore off the stock flares and tore out the inner fenders, took the dead stereo wires out of the doors so I can make the doors properly removable... and then I went out and got it dirty a couple times. That's what it's really all about anyway. I damn near ripped off my rear bumper - I have a longbed and a crappy aftermarket bumper - so I was thinking I might want to chop that bed and frame at the spring shackle. Or I might not. I don't know yet.

I really need to get axles though. The lower arm mount on my front axle is pretty rotten. That's the next thing, I guess.

O|||||||O

(04-26-14) I fixed my tailgate today. When I bought my Jeep, the tailgate handle was rotted off and I had originally intended to rebuild the handle with new bushings on the functional assembly and fabricate my own release handle with a sheet metal brake. I just hadn't made it a priority. So I was at the parts store the other day to pick up CV axles for one of my VWs, and I decided to take the broken Jeep handle with me so I could compare it to their aftermarket handles. Turns out a 88-98 Chevy C/K tailgate handle is about the same size, but the bolt pattern is different and the rods connect at the bottom instead of the top. I decided that was good enough for me, so I took it home. Dorman 77077 - $21 with tax. This component is a really easy install. I had to trim away a little metal inside the tailgate handle hole to fit the new tailgate handle through, but other than that it's just three holes drilled and done. The whole project was about 20 minutes. I'm happy with it so far.

EDIT: I just wanted to note that the tailgate handle was not modified in any way for this install. My goal was to use an off the shelf part as-is so if it fails it can be cheaply, easily and quickly replaced. The tailgate cutout was not modified except for trimming on the backside at the top. The hole is not enlarged to use the Chevy handle.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:32 PM
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Look forward to seein the progress on your Manche there hard to find here in jersey I'm on the shore
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:33 PM
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I had an 87 Lwb 4x4 metric ton but sold it like an idiot lol
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:09 PM
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I know a guy two towns over who has one, he immediately made me an offer to buy this one when I got it home. There's not a lot left around here.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:41 PM
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I want another one someday
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