Gawynz Manche Thread


Ogden, UT
This is Manch.



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.




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.


33s vs 45s :cool:

A little bit of rubbing... ha

So that's it for now. Thanks for looking. :beer:


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.


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.



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


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



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


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.