Author Topic: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project  (Read 59249 times)

87Warrior

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1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« on: August 01, 2010, 01:24:03 AM »
January 31, 2009
I picked up a 1992 Comanche. It has the 4.0 HO, AW4, NP231, Dana 30/35, AC, PB, PS, and even a CD player. As far as I could tell, the truck was generally untouched, just driven 185K miles.



This truck suffers from some major body rot around the rear flares, cab corners, rockers, floor pans, and doors. Initially I had planned on doing some small repairs to the truck and driving it.  However, now my plan for this truck is to build it as a stock 1999 MJ (if Chrysler ever built one) with some tasteful modifications and drive it for another 185,000 miles!!!!

I spent a little time getting a loose rendering done of what my ultimate goal for the MJ is.


- 4.0/AW4/242 (2-AWD-4H-4L)
- Dana 30/44 axles with 3.55 gear ratio
- Rebuilt stock suspension with V8 ZJ front coils to level it out and JKS swaybar disconnects
- Rubicon Moab wheels with an aggressive 30" tire
- Black flares
- Full on 97+ conversion (harness, drive train, interior, doors)
- Jeepsticker's "Comanche" door sticker
- SkinnyPedal's IPF/HID headlight conversion
- Tinted side and back windows
- K-State tag up front to support my alma mater

The only thing that my be different would be a tougher front bumper and tow hooks.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 11:55:40 PM by 87Warrior »

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 01:32:47 AM »
The Donor
After months of searching, getting close then coming up with nothing, I picked this beautiful donor up from a little town near Columbia, MO.

1999 Jeep Cherokee
- 4.0
- AW4
- NP231
- 8.25
- Cruise
- 155,100 miles
- New 235/75r156 tires
- New AC system
- Rolled on its side into a ditch
- Exhaust cut right after Catalytic Converter
- Shot front axle outter shaft u-joint




I worked with the donor, thinning down the wiring harness for the MJ to make sure everything works 100% before I take it all apart to shove in the truck.



Image of the vitals:


I was able to get my grubby hands on an XJ Infinity stereo system for the Jeep. Comes with the factory CD player, amp, harness, and speakers. I have always liked factory Jeep radios, and their sound, over the misfit aftermarket options. I will have to get creative to get all of it shoved in the MJ.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 01:36:06 AM by 87Warrior »

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 01:42:58 AM »
The Bed
I picked up a new RUST FREE bed/tailgate and cab corners from a comancheclub member. This is the bed I got:


The inside of the bed was not painted, just had the factory paint pulled off. I am going to use the UPol-Raptor spray in bed liner for this. The UV protection is primarily why I am going with it.






I decided to prep and spray that shiny red bed with bed liner. I used the U-Pol Raptor liner kit. It comes with 4 quarts of liner, hardener, an air gun to apply it, and it it UV stable... all for about $130.

I worked on prepping the surface. Generally all you would need to do is scuff, clean, and spray. This bed has several to the metal scratches and scrapes, so I sanded them down smooth, masked the bed and sprayed the areas with self-etching primer as suggested by the U-Pol instructions.



Then I started with the bed liner. I was very nervous about doing this since I have never used an air gun to apply any sort of paint. Luckily it was a piece of cake. Dump 250ml of hardener into a quart of liner, shake, screw it to the gun and apply between 40-70psi of pressure. The more pressure, the finer the texture. Set the regulator to 70psi and went to town. Be sure to wear some sort of mask, the fumes are insane. I applied two cost of this stuff, and still have a 1 quart bottle left for touch ups later on down the road.

After the first coat:


The texture is very nice. I ran the gun at 70psi wide open and got a nicely textured, hard as a rock finish. It is just a touch more textured than plastic drop in liners.



Once it was well set up, not tacky to the touch, I removed the masking to see how well I did at taping. Not half bad. Also took the opportunity to hang the tailgate and set the unit in the garage just in case it tried to rain. 




I replaced the chrome/black 4.0 badge with a vinyl cut out for a smoother look and added a 'retro' style 4wd in the same.

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 01:47:18 AM »
The Truck
It was time to pull the drivetrain out. Decided to take out the 4.0/AW4/231 as one piece. Used our John Deere 4210 loader to pull it out, worked great!



Some MJ nudes:




Then I gutted the interior:


My next step was getting the XJ dash fitted. First I used a spot weld driller to remove the 3 brackets from the firewall. Then I started testing out how the XJ dash will fit. Need to get the top of it mounted securely. I was surprised how little effort this took. Just needed a couple new holes drilled and she was up and in place.



Dash to windsheild clearance.


I removed the MJs doors. Lets just say, 200K miles of rust made this a chore. I wound up cutting off 6 of the bolt heads due to their rusted nature.

I got the doors hung and continued to test fit more of the dash pieces


Loose striker pin attachment. At this point they keep the doors shut as I do not want to finalize their location before I get the hinges repaired.


Door stop bracket was busted, so I replaced it:



Rough dash mounting:
Still needs finalized and cleaned up -





I still have one dash tab to be retrofitted, but need to get an extra tab welded to the body.

jeepinator

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2010, 02:59:52 AM »
Dude, still so sick and an awesome idea to make a new version mj.

Nava

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 04:52:55 AM »
I love this thread for two reasons:

1.  I love Comanches.
2.  I love that you're modding it with a purpose.  Its not just "to be a sweet crawler, bro."  That your basically making a factory Jeep that doesn't exist makes it cool.  It may not turn any heads or destroy all trails, but its still cool as hell.

logikfive

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 04:46:47 PM »
I love the interior upgrade!

One thing I would HAVE to do if I picked up an earlier Cherokee or Commanche. I think I would have probably gone with all graphite instead of the two-tone, but hey it's still a very big improvement!

Only thing I notice, is you've got a 4-door window switch in the drivers door. Can you put a 2-door switch in that place or do you have to deal with 4 switches?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 04:50:18 PM by logikfive »

LiverOfSteeL

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2010, 10:34:19 PM »
Very nice!  I really like how you're paying attention to all the little details.

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 12:56:41 AM »
Thanks for all of the comments. Makes it a whole lot easier to fight the heat and wasp to do some work on it. All I got done this weekend was removing, and preserving, the brake/fuel lines.

I love red Jeeps with gray interior.  In addition the the dash and doors, the headliner, seat, and trim pieces will be gray. Since Chrysler changed their gray tint from 92 to 99, I will be painting all of the gray interior pieces with some of that Mopar interior trim paint to get it all uniform. I have some spare dash pieces that I may experiment with. That is still a long way down the road, heck I need to find a gray Dakota bench seat first.

I know this truck will not be a head turner for ordinary people. That is fine in my books. Anybody that knows Jeep history at all or has a sharp eye, will probably crank their heads, just as I do on a regular basis with rusted out MJs. My anal side has really kicked in so I have been recreating the under hood emissions tag and door sticker in illustrator, combining the 92 and 99 diagrams into one accurate representation of what is really there.

I have been kicking around the idea of installing rear disk brakes on the MJ D44. Not so much for the "hey, I added disks" mentality, but for parts availability. The MJ drums are the rare 11" version which I can not locate the shoes or parking brake cables for. By going with disk brakes I would simply use the TJ Rubicon backing plates and off the shelf parts.

Thanks for reading :)

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2010, 11:53:28 PM »
November Update
- I have removed the passenger side upper 'frame' rail and floor board. Next up is the driver side. There are still a few hidden spot welds from keeping it from coming off. Once those are free and clear, the truck will go to get soda blasted followed by a chassis coat of POR15.

AND... temptation bit me in the butt. I picked up this D44 front axle out of a 2005 Rubicon with 17K miles today. It has the 15" Vanco Big Brake kit (EBC Green Pads), ORO U-Turn steering with 7075 Aluminum Tie Rod (new TRE's), RE Track Bar, RockCrusher Diff Cover, 4:10 Gears, Alloy USA Axle shafts and Alloy USA axle seals. Has a busted front locker (typical for the rub lockers when loaded up). Figure $2500 in after market parts  :eek:




My plan is to take the ORO Steering, trackbar end, shafts and seals out of this axle and install them in my Rubi. All of the stock stuff I take out of my axle will go into this housing for the Comanche, resulting in a stout axle for my project truck...

Rubi D44 going into the MJ will contain:
- 4.10s
- Rockcrusher Diff cover
- Vanco Brakes
- Replacement locker

I will need to get the rear MJ D44 overhauled and geared to 4.10, locker included and Rubi disk brakes installed.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 11:55:59 PM by 87Warrior »

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 12:21:20 AM »
December 12 Update:
Progress has been slow and cold weather has set in. However, I managed to make some forward progress on the truck.

The floors had me slowed down. They need replaced and I did not want to do a patch job around the frame rail, so I spent a fair amount of time locating, drilling, and popping the spot welds along the upper frame support. This was done in preparation for the sand blaster as well, so the inside frame rails can be treated with POR15. It took a long time, but they came off straight with minimal deformation:


To my surprise, the inner frame is very solid with only minimal surface rust along the passenger side:



I also removed the sheet metal, doors, and dash from the MJ (again). After spending a few hours with the XJs steering column sub frame, I think I have come up with a solution to use the factory MJ parking brake pedal assembly with relocated release. I will be using a bench seat so the typical XJ parking brake handle wont work for my application. I will also be using the XJ steering column brace that is spot welded to the cowl, for proper fit and structure.

Here you can see the TCU (trans control unit) bracket and markings on the firewall where it will need to be mounted:


After a lot of careful measuring and comparing, it seem the HO firewall needs fewer modifications to it than the Renix era firewalls need when doing this swap. Two holes need welded shut, two need modified (steering shaft/engine harness grommet), and one needs added (above the blower motor).

Also got the AC/Heater box pulled from the XJ along with the engine harness and other under hood components.


Hopefully I can get the final fitment of the dash done in a few weeks so I wont have to drill any more holes in the firewall after the body shop gets it.

logikfive

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 05:24:30 PM »
Love it man!

God I want a Cherokee or Comanche. Too bad they are all rotten and beat down around here.  :(

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 06:17:39 PM »
Love it man!

God I want a Cherokee or Comanche. Too bad they are all rotten and beat down around here.  :(
Rotten is the name of the MJ/XJ game :lol: Anywhere you look, besides the deep south, they will be rotted out. Both of these rigs (Donor XJ and my MJ) are/were in real rough shape. Even the 99 XJ donor has holes rusted through the floor on the passenger side.

Thanks for the compliment. It is hard to get out there and bust knuckles when it is 0.

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 05:14:53 PM »
Last update of 2010 I suppose. I do apologize for the terrible cell phone pictures.

Today I pulled the heater box from the XJ and got it mounted in the MJ. This required drilling one hole to the right side of the blower motor. I also noticed the firewall is different between the XJ and MJ where the heater core and AC lines go through. Looks like another patch that will need to be cut and welded.


I also removed the steering column brace from the XJ firewall. I temporarily mounted it and the TCU bracket using a few sheet metal screws while I get everything fitted.



I also modified the aluminum steering column/brake support bracket so it would fit around the MJ parking brake studs. The parking brake pedal assembly should bolt up with minimal modifications. Then I will need to figure out the release, without cutting the XJ dash.

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2011, 12:59:27 PM »
January 1, 2011
After a bit more measuring and compounding ideas, I will be following the masses and leaving the square'ish' heater/AC box opening alone. To fill the gap at the bottom edge I will use an over sized single piece of super dense foam (material to be determined later) around the heater core and AC lines backed with some sort of barrier.

I did some more test fitting and metal work today.

99 XJ brake booster and pedal assembly bolted in place:


(booster clears the lip in front of the cowl but needs clearance cut like the XJ)

MJ parking brake pedal assembly in place with 99 XJ sub-frame:


Now that all components affected by the sub-frame have found their spots it is time to drill/mount the left hand side of the sub-frame mount. I held off on doing this simply because I wanted wiggle room. Truth-be-told, the sub-frame moved less than 1/8" since I first held it in place.

Cut the driver side firewall out of the XJ. I decided to take it out as one piece so the steering shaft hole is in exactly the right spot as well as the engine harness grommet hole. How these get attached will be up to the body shop guy since he will be welding them in after I mark their locations.

(saved the inner fender well because it is good and straight, good for somebody that is fixing a wiped out XJ)

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 09:11:14 PM »
January 10
Minor interior update

I finally got the Steering Column/Brake pedal brace finally bolted through the A pillar cab side, less the upper right bolt. The back side of the mounting hole is in an open space between panels on the back side. Will get a stud welded in place for the missing mount. In addition the MJ parking brake mechanism is mounted and moved freely in conjunction with the aluminum brace:



Here is a reference picture for anybody pondering this swap:

The green locations are the mounting holes for the '97+ steering column/brake pedal brace.
I gained access to the lower right hole via the hole were the door wires go through, utilizing a wire to hold the bolt and prevent it from falling. This bolt will be welded on the inside to prevent it from turning and falling between the cab body panels. The upper left is the mount I have not yet finished. The cowl seam comes down and prevents access as it sits. Hopefully a stud and be welded on the inside of the cab to support.

The yellow locations are the factory MJ parking brake mounts
The two mounts on the right are still being used while the third on the left has been relocated. I used a button head bolt through the relocated parking brake bracket to clear the locking mechanism, secured with a nut against the bracket, then through the lower left (green) XJ aluminum bracket and hole. You can see the 2nd nut on the button head bolt shared with the aluminum brace to hold the unit in place.

Another reference shot from the inside firewall. You can cearly see the factory MJ dash with a paper template of the XJ dash indicating how different the steering shaft holes are.


Fusebox is also mounted on the passenger a pillar/kick panel.

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2011, 01:07:12 AM »
The truck saw the light of day for the first time in over a year today. It was quite exciting to just move it around, after filling a flattened tire.


BTW- I really like how it sits with no weight. From my calculations, this would be a 2-3" lift.

Started to blast with my new Harbor Freight 20lb blaster and Black Diamond media from Tractor Supply. This is how it started:


It took awhile to get the blaster setup and working correctly. Used up the two bags of media and almost got the rear frame rails cleaned up. The undercoating was tough/slow going, but the Black Diamond media cut through it with two passes. I need to get more of the media and finish up the rear frame rails, under the cab and engine bay.

The finish:


This was my first pass, with the smallest nozzle so it is a little splotchy:


The finish should react well with the POR15 3-step paint process. It is a very lightly etched surface that is smooth to the touch.

Johnny Butt

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2011, 03:46:25 PM »
This is shaping up to be the best build AR has seen since that orange 2ndgen Camaro (silverC10? I don't remember the username.)

I'm insanely jealous, not only that you have the time and space to actually restore something, but also at the fact that when you're done you're going to be the owner of one of the cleanest examples of one of my favourite trucks of all time.


87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2011, 09:26:19 PM »
This is shaping up to be the best build AR has seen since that orange 2ndgen Camaro (silverC10? I don't remember the username.)

I'm insanely jealous, not only that you have the time and space to actually restore something, but also at the fact that when you're done you're going to be the owner of one of the cleanest examples of one of my favourite trucks of all time.
Thank you! The Comanche has been a long time favorite of mine, but I never expected to go this far with it when I bought it. I would have never imagined this truck would be on par with that orange 2nd gen (I remember reading that build too!).

I sure have a lot of space at my disposal, albeit not primo and 2.5hr from my apartment. Most guys would never consider even working in an old drafty dirt floor barn, let alone attempting a total rebuild. I will be hauling the truck to my folks garage to do any of the small scale painting... No dirt speckles for me!

It may seem like I do a lot of boring, unimpressive, updates... I am just trying to be thorough.

Johnny Butt

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2011, 12:02:52 AM »
Updates are updates, otherwise the thread fizzles out!

Again, great work so far.

ling427ttvette

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2011, 12:12:10 AM »
I wouldn't really call these updates boring, sure they might not be the impressive updates with sweet custom built go fast goodies, but it shows the true work that goes into something like this, which I love. All the little details like this make it a much more interesting read. That, and anyone else looking to do the same thing has a reference point to go off of.

Doing great work so far, can't wait to see more.

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2011, 11:48:33 PM »
Thanks guys  ;D

I will be buying 4 more bags of Black Diamond this week along with a screen so I can actually recycle some of the media. Might get two uses out of it. Hopefully I can get the frame fully blasted within the next couple of weeks (sucks only having the weekend to work on it). Then I will POR the frame rails and drop it off at the body shop...

87Warrior

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 11:03:50 PM »
Made some more progress on the frame.

This was in the way, so I removed it:


Some of the post-blasting-pre-update pics:





This is the worst of it. Located above the rear bumpstop location.


After some blasting, the under carriage:

(I need to degrease the rest of it. I burned through A LOT of media trying to blast the 1/4" layer of grease over the under coating)


Just how good is that cab corner... blasted until the sheet metal quit disappearing.


Cleaned up spring hanger:


Progress was quickly halted when a rain shower dampened the used media while I was in town at lunch. Just turned the media to mud. I was able to reuse some of the media I previously collected and bagged. A simple 6" strainer from the Walmart kitchen section was used to filter the used media. Worked perfect!

Since I have been getting to know every square millimeter of this truck, I have been noticing some rather bizarre things.... primarily the front suspension:

Passenger coil spring is busted... No wonder this truck never had the typical MJ driver side lean:

Bowed out to the Knuckle:


Driver Bumpstop is tweaked... almost rubbing the coil:


These issues, along with the upper control arm that is smashed on the TOP, lead me to believe this truck has been air born at some point in its life.

MiniVanMan

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2011, 11:26:23 AM »
Any thoughts about using that bed liner stuff for the frame/underbody?

Mick

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Re: 1992/1999 Jeep Comanche Project
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2011, 12:09:01 PM »
Any thoughts about using that bed liner stuff for the frame/underbody?

Quote
I will be buying 4 more bags of Black Diamond this week along with a screen so I can actually recycle some of the media. Might get two uses out of it. Hopefully I can get the frame fully blasted within the next couple of weeks (sucks only having the weekend to work on it). Then I will POR the frame rails and drop it off at the body shop...
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