Gawynz Manche Thread

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
This is Manch.

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It's a 1990 Jeep Comanche; 4.0 (Renix), AX-15, NP231, shortbed, with a kick ass camo(?) paint job...

I'd been looking for some time for a small, fun, 4x4 to use as a daily driver/back road and mountain road explorer/mild-ish wheeling rig. I wanted something fairly capable near stock form, small, kind of unique, and not expensive... I'd narrowed down my search to either a Suzuki Samurai or Jeep Comanche. I came across this truck in Northern Utah near the border last winter; the guy gave me a good price so I pulled the trigger and brought it home.

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I backed it off the trailer and into the shop and there it's sat ever since. I don't plan on working on this at all until I button up the changes I'm making on my buggy; I have a bad habit of getting too many projects going at once. That being said, I am keeping an eye out for parts here and there and picking them up as I find good deals. Even though I'm not going to work on this for a while, I figured I'd start the thread, list out my plans, and get your guys' thoughts. I'm pretty open on this, so if you have any cool ideas, suggestions, recommendations, stories, whatever, throw them out there.

Goals for the truck:
  • Daily driver yet capable of mild to medium level wheeling
  • Low cost, nothing too fancy
  • Simple and reliable (think solo vehicle camping trips)
Current Plans:
  • Drive Train
    • Engine - It ran well enough to pull it on the trailer but that's about it. The engine has ~186k on it, I plan to pull it and do a full rebuild to stock specs.
    • AX-15 - rebuild if required, not expected
    • NP231 - rebuild if required, not expected
  • Axles
    • Currently the truck has the stock CAD Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear. The transfer case engages into 4wd just fine but the front end won't pull, I'm guessing it's the CAD system (vacuum hose, wiring, whatever). Hoping to find a 1995.5 - 1999 Dana 30 to swap into the front and just get rid of the CAD system. I kind of liked the idea of keeping the CAD system for on-road driving, but with simplicity and reliability goals in mind I think swapping for a non-CAD 30 makes sense. In the rear I'll swap the Dana 35 for a 1995 - 2001 Ford Explorer 8.8 and add narrow wheel spacers to match the front width. A rear locker of some type ideally. I plan to run 33s so I'm thinking 4.56 ring and pinion.
  • Suspension
    • I've gone back and forth on this a lot. Here's my current plan... In the rear I want to stick with leaf springs but I haven't been able to find a lot of options for the MJ; so I'm going to give it a shot building a bastard pack and a spring over. I want to keep the truck as low as I can, while still being able to clear 33s. In the front end I'll find coils to match the ride height of the rear and rebuild the linkages. New shocks on all four corners.
  • Wheels and Tires
    • 33s x 10ish, on/off road capable, 5x4.5" pattern, 8" wide wheel.
  • Frame/Body
    • I was actually very surprised how little rust this truck has, i plan to pull the bed off the unibody and clean everything really well, repair what's necessary and paint. The hood and front fenders are a bit banged up, I may be able to fix them or just scrounge some up from the salvage yard off a Cherokee. Removable doors would be cool. From the doors back is actually really straight. Sand, prime, paint (never done this before so that'll be fun). Build some bumpers, sliders, roll cage, etc. Clean up the interior and install a decent yet simple stereo.
So like I said, I don't plan on working this anytime too soon, but I am shopping around for parts and wanted to give folks the chance to make recommendations before I buy something and then realize there's a better way.

I did pick up my wheels and tires off KSL a month or so ago! 33"x10.5" BFG K02's on 15"x8" Mickey Thompson Deegan 38 Pro 4 wheels with only a couple thousand miles on them. I was hesitant to go with the fake beadlocks... just seems kinda corny to me (no offense if you like em ha) but they actually do look pretty good and it was a solid deal.

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33s vs 45s :cool:
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A little bit of rubbing... ha
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So that's it for now. Thanks for looking. :beer:
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
I've got a non cad HP D30 housing and some TJ flairs of you get down south.

I appreciate that. I was actually able to find a complete D30 this past weekend. I'll keep the TJ flares in mind, but I can't decide how much I like that look; I was thinking it might be fun to make some tube flares for it but we'll see.
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
This past weekend I had a day with no plans so I figured I'd wander around the salvage yard, turned out to be a pretty successful day.

Picked up a clean pair of front fenders off of a 1993 Cherokee.

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Then found a complete Dana 30, high pinion, non-CAD, large u-joint axle out of a 1997 Jeep Cherokee.

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And lastly I collected a complete 31 spline Ford 8.8 with disk brakes out of a 1997 Ford Explorer.

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Does anyone have any experience running Eaton TrueTrac's front and rear? I could buy TrueTrac's for both front and rear for the same cost as a single selectable locker, and that's just the locker, it doesn't even include the cost of the compressor, plumbing, etc. Seeing as how this is a DD I don't really like the idea of lunchbox style lockers. Seems like TrueTrac's could be a solid option for this build; simple, reliable, relatively low cost, and from what I've read they do make a significant improvement in traction both on and off road.
 

I Lean

Mbryson's hairdresser
Supporting Vendor
Location
Utah
Traction improvement yes, but if you're looking for a locker they will disappoint. (they're just limited slips)
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
Traction improvement yes, but if you're looking for a locker they will disappoint. (they're just limited slips)

Agreed, they're no locker. These Torsen type style LSDs are pretty cool in how robust they are and in how they operate, kind of weird to wrap your head around. In terms of being disappointed with them I think I just need to define my expectations ha. I have my buggy, so I don't need to build another "rock crawler", and this is supposed to be a fun, reliable, low cost, DD/mild wheeling rig anyway... That being said, it's always tempting to try and go bigger/better. I'll keep kicking it around as I don't plan to buy lockers/LSDs any time soon. Thanks for the input.
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
So this project has been on the back burner, it hasn't ran since I brought it home and even then it barely ran well enough to get it on/off the trailer. As I was getting ready for Britney's B-day Bash I got fed up with pushing the jeep around shop and figured if I spent some time getting it running well enough to drive it in and out of the shop it'd sure be neat.

Started with electrical as the starter was giving me fits but it worked just fine on the bench and tracked down a grounding issue. Replaced the plugs and wires, the plug gaps were over 2x what they should be. Checked the distributor timing to ensure nothing jumped and it all looked good.

Removed the air box as it was completely filthy. Verified I was getting fuel to the rail. Put a new battery in it. Cranked on it for a few seconds and it "fired up" ha, it ran but not great... more of a sputter. Left the driver seat to look under the hood to find fuel spraying out of what seamed like 18 different locations right onto the exhaust manifold 🔥 haha. Pulled the injectors and replaced all the o-rings on the injectors and on the fuel lines to the rail, put it back together and started it, it ran better but not great, looked under the hood to find fuel spraying out of the injectors between the plastic and metal body (apparently common on this year) which I couldn't see before because the leakage was greater from the o-rings. Called the local parts store for injectors and they wanted $350 for 6! Summit wanted ~$200, and I really didn't want to wait. So off to the pic a part, hello beautiful.

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Went looking for a 5.0 Mustang but someone had already got to it, did some searching online and found another donor, was able to pull 8 injectors from a 1993 Lincoln Town Car. Bosch injector part number 0280 150 943, these are a 4 hole injector w/ similar specs to the stock injectors; was able to find many sources online where people supported this "upgrade". I got 8 injectors for $82.

Cleaned them up, put the new o-rings on them, plugged them in, and the thing ran great! ha. I was actually very surprised at how well it ran.

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DROVE it out of the shop to get to the buggy, felt good and I should have done this a long time ago, now I just want to work on this thing. Need to work on some clearancing at some point as I've only got about 10deg of steering ha.

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Hickey

Premium Member
Supporting Member
I bet you don't need to do anything else to that motor. Maybe O-rings for the oil filter adapter if they start leaking, but otherwise you've got another easy 100k left on that motor.
 

DaveB

Long Jeep Fan
Location
Holladay, Utah
Too bad I didn't know about the injectors, when we swapped the stroker into my son's Comanche we went away from Renix and I have a nice set of 4 hole Mustang 5.0 injectors that he had in his Renix setup. My son also used a set of mixed springs on his back springs, intermixed two comanche sets together. Got rid of those now that he has coils in the back.
 
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Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
35 removed. Bolt/bushing was seized so I had to cut the front leafs out.
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Cut all the brackets off the 8.8, tore it down and am in the process of cleaning it up.
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Got a few parts in, still waiting on a few more before I start putting the rear end back together. Plans have changed slightly from previous posts:
  • I'm sticking with spring under as it simplifies by avoiding a wrap bar. Also, even with the flatish stock springs, changing over to the OD of the 8.8 gives more lift than I'd like in a SOA setup.
  • Regearing to 4.56.
  • Sticking with the factory limited slip for now, replacing the clutch pack.

Should get about 4" of lift out of this plan which is where the truck is sitting in this pic.
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My plan for the next step after I get the rear end back under it is to swap the front axle in a similar fashion. Then focus on the engine and get it running well. Then exhaust, cleaning things up, and getting it road worthy to go camping/drive around town. I went back and forth on a project like this of where to start... engine first, axles first etc. and landed on this approach, any differing opinions out there on where to start? Just curious.
 

bryson

RME Resident Ninja
Supporting Member
Location
West Jordan
Too bad you had to cut up the stock rear springs. What are your plans for rear springs anyways? I know you said bastard pack, but now that your main leaf is hacked up I figured that might change things...
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
Too bad you had to cut up the stock rear springs. What are your plans for rear springs anyways? I know you said bastard pack, but now that your main leaf is hacked up I figured that might change things...

It is to bad, I really tried to save them, but I soaked, heated, and beat on the bolts to the point it was starting to bend the mounts on the frame and at that point I just gave up and cut them. The bastard pack idea was tied to my original plan to go spring over, but after thinking about it and how much height it would add with the 8.8 and the potential need for a wrap bar I bailed. I got MJ 4.5" lift leaf spring packs from Rusty's Offroad (not many options out there that I could find), given the 8.8 tube diameter that should land me around 4" lift w/ spring under.
 

crosbike

Active Member
Location
Utah
Nice to see another comanche. I built mine similar to yours but went way overboard plating the frame. Make sure the rear leaf spring shackle hanger is welded to the "frame" mine must of been attached on a friday and had maybe 3 plug welds attaching it on mine.
I went for the spring over approach in the rear and never had any issues with axle wrap and netted 4.5" of lift or so and the ride is super smooth coupled with my longarms up front, best riding jeep ive ever owned.
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
I've got a brand new 8.8 Detroit... And master install kit. 4.56s too.

I'm kicking myself that I collected the gears and install kit a while ago before seeing your garage sale items, thanks but I'm not in the market. I'll think about the detroit and let you know if I want to go that route. Thanks @Gravy.
 

Gawynz

Active Member
Location
Ogden, UT
Nice to see another comanche. I built mine similar to yours but went way overboard plating the frame. Make sure the rear leaf spring shackle hanger is welded to the "frame" mine must of been attached on a friday and had maybe 3 plug welds attaching it on mine.
I went for the spring over approach in the rear and never had any issues with axle wrap and netted 4.5" of lift or so and the ride is super smooth coupled with my longarms up front, best riding jeep ive ever owned.

Any chance you have a build thread on this? SOA 4.5" lift on stock springs on a dana 35 or 8.8 or?
 
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