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Author Topic: Comanche Budget Build (pic heavy)  (Read 10333 times)
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frAnkin_ruBi
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« on: February 24, 2017, 12:56:46 PM »

So I've always been interested in Comanches but never thought about owning one until a couple of months ago. I was browsing around for a cheap jeep to fix up and use for a daily and stumbled across a comanche for sale instead somewhat locally. I know a thing or two about jeeps and figured a comanche was pretty much a jeep cherokee pickup version. So I went out and bought it that night not know any detailed issues or history of the truck, just what was posted online. My intention was to build/fix it on a low budget and make it reliable enough that my wife could drive it, and that we can also take a 300 mile road trip with no problem.

The first challenges were to figure out why I lost 3-4 gear on the way home the night I bought it and second was why it was running way too rich, also not idling right. While I suspect that the trans filter might be clogged or a solenoid is sticking, I did buy spare parts to replace them when I drop the trans. Now with the engine idle/richness, after familiarizing myself with how a RENIX jeep works, I quickly found out that the vacuum port on the TB that's supposed to connect to the MAP sensor was plugged, and the line missing entirely. So the MAP sensor was not getting any reading and telling the ECU to dump as much fuel as possible. Went to NAPA and bought some vacuum lines and brass adapter plug to add back to the TB.

So this will be a continuous thread with progress as I complete it. So far the plan is to get the drivetrain as reliable as possible and have the following things done to it.

So to start, here is the comanche the day after I bought it, pretty basic.


Next I drove it to work and had a little fun on the forklift, wanted to see how much (or little) flex it had before I eventually lift it.




Next I found a $20 dash bezel to install as the comanche was sold without one. The interior looked much better once this was installed.



So after I replaced the TPS, IAC valve, and connected the map sensor, I next decided to start working on the rust. I bought a pair of floor pans off ebay (still haven't started that yet), but I was unable to find a long bed or bed panels for the comanche cheap. So I sourced some 16 gauge steel and began peeling off the layers upon layers of bondo and fiberglass to get to the cancer that will get cut out.




So ya, there were layers and a lot of them. After figuring out that I'd be there all day with a flap disk trying to peel off a cake, I took a screw driver and started to take off chunks at a time.




This eventually revealed the body rot this thing suffered and the attempt to address it at one point or another. At this point I realized that the stock fender flares will never work on this again and I'll be building some fender flares from DOM 1.5" tubing at some point in the future.


Next I started to cut the affected area which revealed that at some point someone attempted to weld rust together with some pieces of metal as filler. All that crap had to come out.





Now here was where I started to challenge myself with welding sheet metal that my welder was too powerful for. Started to burn through the edges but figured it out after a bit.

Not my best work, but functional for now and will get touched up once I fab up some flares. Also did the cut and fold for now which again is temporary.


Next was the passenger side, which wasn't too bad. After learning from my mistakes on the driver's side, the welds on the pass came out much better.




So at this point I found myself a donor cherokee. Most of the body panels are dented, but can be fixed pretty easily. First thing I did was swap the wheels from rusted steelies to alloys.




Then last weekend I started to get a bit more aggressive in the build. Started off my removing the entire front clip of the comanche and laying out what I needed from the donor car.





Next I went to pick to following from the donor.
-Front fenders
-Front grill, lights, and harness
-Driver and passenger front doors
-Front seats
I did forget the door strikers, seat belts, and center console. Hopefully I can grab them this weekend.



As she sits today, waiting for some new doors and floor pans.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 02:51:41 PM by frAnkin_ruBi »

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 12:57:05 PM »

So started to tear into the interior this Sunday and man was it bad. The pics should explain everything. lol.

First got the bench seat out. Soaked it in PB blaster prior but the bolts still didn't budge. Tried some penetration spray from work and they came out with ease.


Cut a section out of the driver's side floor to reveal not one, but 2 license plates "patching" the floor.


Then basically ripped out the rest of the floor which also revealed the passenger side floor which was "patched" with vinyl tile, galvanized sheet metal, and expanding foam.




Since my afternoon was short, I didn't address the floor rust issue this time. I did go ahead and stick in the seats from the donor car to realize that I will need to fab up seat brackets for them to work. Sitting the way they are rose the seats 4" which is too much for me. Stay tuned.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 08:43:55 AM by frAnkin_ruBi »

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 12:57:15 PM »

Update 3/26

Saturday was perfect to resume work on the comanche. While causing myself some stress by trying to rush install the new gauge cluster, I broke the speedo clip, and also need to troubleshoot why the tach, and oil sending unit don't work (yes the correct one was ordered for the new gauge).

Anyways, only had time to repair the rust on the driver side and still need to add seam sealer, then POR15 it, followed by line-X.

First started off by taking out the PA floor plates that were screwed in. They revealed how bad the rust was underneath, and how badly injured I could have been if my leg fell through the floor.



Next vacuumed up as much as I could.


Then I started to take pliers and pull on as much as I could.


Next, cutting the affected area.


Followed by some test fitting and trimming of the new floor pan.



Then welding it all in. NOTE: If you are welding inside of a vehicle or near fuel lines, make sure you take any precautions to not catch your vehicle on fire. Even though I had as much as a could shielded (in addition to a fire extinguisher by my side), I almost caught the entire interior on fire. Luckily the first method to put out the flames with my fire blanket worked.


Final product before I add the seam sealer.


I'm hoping next weekend I'll be able to finish the passenger side before swapping the doors and wiring them up next. Stay tuned!


4/20 Update

Got around to replacing the floor on the passenger side and also begun fabbing seat brackets for the 2001 bucket seats I took from my parts cherokee.

As you can see the passenger side is far worse than the driver side was. Luckily no fuel lines in the way this time.


Mocked up a half-cut. Then tacked it in place.



Then did the other half-cut. Such a relief to not be able to see the ground from inside the cab anymore.


Added some seam sealer to clean things up.



Then moved on to the seat. I cut off the front and rear brackets from the driver's side part of the bench and tried to tack them to the rail on the 01 seat. Unfortunately it's not wide enough, so I had to weld on an ear to extend far enough so there are 2 anchor points. The back part (don't have pictures yet) won't fit at all since the seat adjuster mechanism is square in the way. So this weekend (hopefully), I'll be fabbing new brackets out of 14g steel to get the back of the seat anchored in. Then reinforcing the front bracket ears for a permanent seat.


Next I'll be stripping the floor and giving it a healthy coat of POR15, followed by some line-x. Stay tuned.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2018, 08:47:43 AM by frAnkin_ruBi »

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2017, 12:57:23 PM »

Update 5/21/17

So I found some time this morning to swap out 1 of the doors with the upgraded ones I took from my parts cherokee. Installation was pretty good until I realized I forgot to get the striker plates. So the door is ratchet strapped for the time being until I pick up and install the new striker plates.

Much more of a PITA to remove the door from the Comanche vs the Cherokee



So long ugly burgundy, manual windows and locks, and split frame glass...


Test fit the new doors before bolting it down.


All bolted in and ready for it's striker plate, followed by custom wiring to get the power windows, locks, and mirrors to function.



UPDATE 7/16

Yes it's been a while. Since it's the busiest time of year for my company, I've been unable to keep up with this build as quickly as I originally wanted. Anyway, finally got around to coating the entire cab floor with POR15. That stuff gets everywhere, but is super effective. The cab looks a hell of a lot better.




After 3 coats of POR15, I got the interior panels back in. Still contemplating painting/staining them black.




UPDATE 11/06
With my first child ready to be brought in the new world in about a month, it's been a little hectic trying to get anything done the Comanche. But rest assured that progress is still being made.
Last week I was able to score a nice set of 90 XJ seat brackets on ebay and finally get the driver seat permanently installed before the rain we had this past weekend.

Lovely new brackets.

Bye Bye 2001 XJ rails

Bye Bye 1990 XJ frame brackets

Hello to a little customization!

Seat finally home!


This weekend's plan is to get the passenger seat permanently installed, and to finish up the wiring of the power windows/locks. Then get this thing prepped and ready for paint!


Update 12/27/2018

I know it's been a while since I've updated anything, but I really haven't had the chance to work much on the Comanche this year. It's still waiting to get painted and that should be done in the next month.

So far the only thing since the last time, is I've had the fuel pump replaced, along with getting the bed off completely to POR15 the whole underside, and cut the rear fenders.




All nice and clean cut now.



Just waiting to go into paint which will be a lining material. Going to go with a teal-like color.



And finally, I got the armor in from Dirtbound Offroad!! So as soon as paint is done, these bad boys will go on.



UPDATE 3/23/19
Spent the last week to a buddy's shop to get the jeep prepped, lined, and painted. It took over a week to get the right paint color and misc materials.











Just got the Comanche back and put the front back on so the neighbors won't complain. Hopefully next weekend I'll be installing the dirtbound fenders and rear bumper.



UPDATE 4/23/2019

So this past weekend I was able to get 3 out of the 4 fenders installed and also the rear bumper installed with tags so I can legally park again. A little bit of bulging from the bolts, but holds ok. Next is to start wrapping up the interior and custom stereo setup.



« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 02:47:53 PM by frAnkin_ruBi »

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 12:57:32 PM »

Reserved 4

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 12:57:39 PM »

Reserved 5

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Gr8Dain
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 03:04:32 PM »

Nice. Great job so far. I really like MJs. Had an XJ in 86 and a buddy had an MJ. We had a blast. Is this one 4x4? 

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Dain

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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 03:32:40 PM »

Nice  Jeep Wave

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Jeepsnbuses
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 04:28:01 PM »

Following, this looks very cool. Let me know if you ever need a hand! What does your community think of all the fabbing?

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 04:45:40 PM »

Nice. Great job so far. I really like MJs. Had an XJ in 86 and a buddy had an MJ. We had a blast. Is this one 4x4?  

Thanks, yes it's 4x4. I lucked out find this one being a 4.0, AW4, and NP231.  Also interestingly enough the D35 that's in it is non-c clip so I don't have to worry as much as I did and can take my time building the C8.25 Cool

Following, this looks very cool. Let me know if you ever need a hand! What does your community think of all the fabbing?

I appreciate it. Neighbors are cool for the most part. I know one neighbor hates that I use my grass as a parking lot when I work on my cars, but the others are ok. I give everyone the courtesy by not using any power or air tools until 9am Sat or 10am Sun, and I always pack it in before dark.  Grab a Wrench!

Nice  Jeep Wave

Thanks  Cheers
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 04:47:33 PM by frAnkin_ruBi »

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///BHRpowered
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2017, 08:03:38 PM »

<---- Jealous. I'v always wanted a commanche

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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2017, 08:45:59 PM »

Circling back to this I wanted to mention how much I like the newer-XJ front end on the front of this MJ. I feel like I almost see more chopped-up later model XJs (as in XJs chopped into pickups) than actual MJs with updated front ends. I really like it. If you ever want to paint it let me know, I know a guy.

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frAnkin_ruBi
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2017, 07:36:54 AM »

<---- Jealous. I'v always wanted a commanche

I never expected to get one myself, was actually looking for a XJ at the time, but this seemed like a better choice.

Circling back to this I wanted to mention how much I like the newer-XJ front end on the front of this MJ. I feel like I almost see more chopped-up later model XJs (as in XJs chopped into pickups) than actual MJs with updated front ends. I really like it. If you ever want to paint it let me know, I know a guy.

Thanks, I agree. The dated front clip wasn't cutting it for me and I wanted something a little more, and the 97+ front makes it that much cooler. Funny thing is the donor XJ I'm using will likely be chopped into a pickup at some point down the road, but that's plans for another day.
I appreciate the info. There's still a lot to get done before paint, and my wife still hasn't decided what color she wants it. But once that's figured out and the body is straight it'll go for a top half paint and the lower half will be colored rhinoliner.

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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2017, 04:14:19 PM »

man......... ive had my 'manche for 2 years and haven't gotten this far in the project yet........... Sad

i did charge the battery and drive it yesterday lol Smile

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frAnkin_ruBi
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cAshburn
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2017, 04:32:11 PM »

man......... ive had my 'manche for 2 years and haven't gotten this far in the project yet........... Sad

i did charge the battery and drive it yesterday lol Smile


Lol, sounds like the 65 Chrysler I have. Bought it from auction did an oil change, upgraded the coil and eliminated points and just drive it. Speedo doesn't work, windows leak, but rides like a couch with rough paint and rust.

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