'86 Comanche Long bed, Slow build...

1stDeuce

Explorer
That looks great. Good to see it up and running, you had a major project going. What's next doing an extended cab Comanche? My brother and father both bought new '87s. Loved them just found it hard to get comfortable, I always wanted the seat to move back further. One had buckets and the other bench and they both felt the same.
If I remember correctly, wasn't the firewall modified in '87 to allow room for the long 4.0.

Jim
Next... bed rack/ soft topper to hold the RTT. And Monstaliner in the bed. The firewall on the 86's was indeed not the same as 87 up, and you have to beat it to fit a 4.0l. That made the 3.4 v-6 a much easier swap.
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Any updates to this truck OP?
Wow, I owe this thread an update!

I built a bed rack and mounted a RTT for the summer. We took it camping several times and it was awesome.

I was getting convinced that it had a head gasket issue, but a different radiator cap seems to have fixed that.

My wife drives it daily and it really is working well. I'll find some pictures from camping this summer and post them later.
 

Andrew_S

Observer
Damn too bad photobucket killed all your pics, I would love see them.
You weren't kidding that timing chain is looooooose!
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Damn too bad photobucket killed all your pics, I would love see them.
You weren't kidding that timing chain is looooooose!
I'll try to get them migrated to expo soon, but in the meantime, there IS a workaround for some browsers!!
Search "photobucket hotlink fix". You'll see apps for Firefox and Chrome. (If you're not using one of those two browsers, you need to start.)
All you have to do is find the app, click the "install" button, and voila, pictures show up!
Enjoy,
Chris
 

Mitch502

Explorer
I'll try to get them migrated to expo soon, but in the meantime, there IS a workaround for some browsers!!
Search "photobucket hotlink fix". You'll see apps for Firefox and Chrome. (If you're not using one of those two browsers, you need to start.)
All you have to do is find the app, click the "install" button, and voila, pictures show up!
Enjoy,
Chris
You, sir, are a saint.
 

Andrew_S

Observer
I'll try to get them migrated to expo soon, but in the meantime, there IS a workaround for some browsers!!
Search "photobucket hotlink fix". You'll see apps for Firefox and Chrome. (If you're not using one of those two browsers, you need to start.)
All you have to do is find the app, click the "install" button, and voila, pictures show up!
Enjoy,
Chris
Frig Thank you so much! I had no idea that fix was out there.
Seriously wicked build. Absolutely love the tan/black colour scheme. Comanches are so rare around here now.
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
It's been a while with no updates. Wife and I are developing a property, so the Comanche has seen little use for the past couple years, mostly just sitting under the awning of the pole barn we built, waiting for better days. I have been watching for a TBI 2.8L S-10 that I can rob the complete fuel injection and the accy drive off of. Drove 2 hours for an '88 that would have been perfect a few weeks ago, but it turned out to be an '86 instead. Not what I needed... I also called one day too late on a diesel Liberty that had overheated and was being sold cheap. It had just gone to the junkyard the day I called, which makes it fairly expensive, in addition to a complicated swap...

We haven't been having much "fun" lately, so we decided earlier this week to take it up in the mtns to see some colors this weekend. I've been doing a bit of TLC this week in prep for that.

First off, the radiator has been leaking at the top almost since I installed it. I added some stop leak for now, and it seems to be holding reasonably fairly well. (Radiator is a nice looking $100 welded aluminum special from ebay... Won't make that mistake again...) We'll pack some extra coolant, but I doubt it'll give us much trouble, as it doesn't leak bad anyway.

Next on the list was balancing the tires. The Comanche was my first go at using heavy airsoft bb's in lieu of balancing. Honestly, it never worked out well, at least not on the front. With the tires unbalanced, there was just a tiny bit of shake at speed, and around 45mph, a bit of a shimmy in the front. After the bb's went in, the imbalance at speed did go away, but the front end shimmy got WAY worse at 45. Not quite full blown death wobble, but pretty close.
IMG_20191004_102435.jpg

Using my HF tire changer to break the bead (Just about all it's good for if you're working with LT tires) and tire levers to pry it up outside the wheel, I sucked out the bb's with a shop vac. I popped the bead back on the rim and aired up the tire. Repeat 5 times... I'm bubble balancing them for now, using a balancer I inherited from my father, and a collection of wheel weights gathered over years. While I know for a fact that solid axle Jeeps prefer a dynamic spin balance with weights on both sides of the wheel, I'm hoping this gets me close enough for now. I am splitting the static weight requirement in half and using half on each side of the wheel so I don't further induce an out of plane imbalance.
IMG_20191004_102521.jpg


Close enough!
IMG_20191004_103115.jpg


Lastly, the spare tire winch that came with the truck has a broken cable guide and I worry about it chafing through the cable. I got a good winch from a friend who built up his Comanche for rock crawling, and I'm swapping that one in.
IMG_20191004_103200.jpg


We'll load up tomorrow morning and head up for an overnight. I'll get some pictures for y'all... :)
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Oh man, I keep forgetting to update this thread.
Our trip went well, though it was a bit cold at night up along the continental divide. No issues with the comanche, aside from the clutch occasionally not releasing completely, and only releasing right on the floor. More on that near the end, but here are a few pics of the trip...

Colors not to bad. Well, it's Colorado, so there's really only one color; yellow...
IMG_20191005_154011.jpg

Campsite for the night. Man I love the wild wild west, where you just find a place to pull off the road and it's a campsite... :)
IMG_20191005_174426.jpg

IMG_20191005_181850.jpg

Did a little mountain biking and hiking too on this trip. Got to cover all the bases. :)
IMG_20191006_110454.jpg

IMG_20191006_160416_1.jpg


Colorado certainly does not disappoint. For those interested, this trip took us north of Dolores Co on 145, up Hillside Rd (FR436) on the north side of the Bear Creek Drainage. We drove that up to the end, hiked around a bunch, and then came back down. A bit farther north on 145 we took Roaring Forks Rd (FS435) up to the divide, then that north to Hermosa Creek, and doubled back. On the way out, we ran the dead end to the south and mountain biked to the end and rode a loop, the name of which eludes me, but it was TOUGH. :)

This trip revealed that the radiator is still leaking, and I should replace it. The leak is right at the top, where the fins plug into the top tank. I could mess with JB welding it, but a new radiator is $100, and JB weld may or may not hold with all the heat cycling...

It also got annoying having to release the clutch and step on it again because it wasn't letting go. The slave and master have both been replaced, and I've bled it in every possible way. It just feels like crap still, and I'm sick of it. Just ordered a few parts to fix it, since it's going to be our base camping rig for EJS this year. Or one of them, anyway, as my brother is coming out with my nephew.

Bellhousing.jpg

I'll pick up a complete external clutch/slave for a newer XJ and hope it fits the current clutch pedal. I'm not sure the pedal assy changed much over the years, but I'll know soon enough.
This should fix the soft clutch once and for all.

The short list of things to do before EJS:
Bellhousing/clutch swap
Replace cable driven speed sensor and put a VSS box on it to cut the signal in half
New radiator
Looking for a D35 lunchbox locker, but no biggie if I don't find one.
 
I did the swap to my 1993 XJ with the 2.5. So far it has been just fine since the swap.
There are a few things you will want to do, and not want to do on it.

Buy the Advance adapter's line kit. It costs a little more up front, but totally is a great piece of kit for your rig, and will make replacement of cheap China components easier in the future.

Your gonna need the bearing shaft retainer for the new throw out bearing. I did not see one in the parts you got off of ebay? PM me and I can get you a link to the guy I bought one from on ebay myself.

DO NOT BUY the Crown hydraulic kit with the ""stainless steel line"" for it. Mine was kinked when I got it, and leaked.

DO NOT BUY the LUK clutch kit. They use a plastic throw out bearing, and mine is already starting to make some noise with less than a year on the clutch.

Buy a brand new Flywheel, as you can not just have them turned. The Flywheel has a concave surface on them, and your clutch will not last. I had a clutch put in my jeep in Mancus, CO on my way to Ouray, and it never worked right from the get go. The shop that did the clutch just resurfaced the flywheel.
It did get me home to Southern CA, and gave me time to get all the parts together for the swap however.

Buy all the small parts you might need for the swap; new clutchfork clip, new clutchfork pivot, new clutch fork.

Also buy new seals for the front & back of the AX5. Be prepared to maybe replace your rear main seal as well. I did, as well as my oil pan gasket.

One other thing that got me when I was ready to bolt up the starter, was that it would not bolt up.
The 1994 and up bell housings used a different starter, so you will need to buy one of those.

On page 4 of my build is the swap if you wanna see what I did?
There is also a parts list in there of everything I bought to do this swap.

 
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1stDeuce

Explorer
I did the swap to my 1993 XJ with the 2.5. So far it has been just fine since the swap.
There are a few things you will want to do, and not want to do on it.

Buy the Advance adapter's line kit. It costs a little more up front, but totally is a great piece of kit for your rig, and will make replacement of cheap China components easier in the future.

Your gonna need the bearing shaft retainer for the new throw out bearing. I did not see one in the parts you got off of ebay? PM me and I can get you a link to the guy I bought one from on ebay myself.

DO NOT BUY the Crown hydraulic kit with the ""stainless steel line"" for it. Mine was kinked when I got it, and leaked.

DO NOT BUY the LUK clutch kit. They use a plastic throw out bearing, and mine is already starting to make some noise with less than a year on the clutch.

Buy a brand new Flywheel, as you can not just have them turned. The Flywheel has a concave surface on them, and your clutch will not last. I had a clutch put in my jeep in Mancus, CO on my way to Ouray, and it never worked right from the get go. The shop that did the clutch just resurfaced the flywheel.
It did get me home to Southern CA, and gave me time to get all the parts together for the swap however.

Buy all the small parts you might need for the swap; new clutchfork clip, new clutchfork pivot, new clutch fork.

Also buy new seals for the front & back of the AX5. Be prepared to maybe replace your rear main seal as well. I did, as well as my oil pan gasket.

One other thing that got me when I was ready to bolt up the starter, was that it would not bolt up.
The 1994 and up bell housings used a different starter, so you will need to buy one of those.

On page 4 of my build is the swap if you wanna see what I did?
There is also a parts list in there of everything I bought to do this swap.

Thanks Dusty!
So my '86 actally already has an external slave, it's just really hard to get to, being on the top right of the bellhousing. It's also french garbage, evidently, as most people with '84-86 XJ's can't get it to work worth a crap.

The input stub on my trans is like the later external slave inputs, with a collar for the throw out bearing to ride on, so I'm hoping I won't need that.
I also have a brand new Mopar clutch/slave for a TJ, and I'm betting it'll work fine on the comanche, with perhaps a little tube massaging.

I'll probably still not replace the clutch, since it was fine a few thousand miles ago, and the flywheel was new at the same time when I put it all together.
I'm guessing that even my current throwout bearing may work fine, as the clutch fork appears identical, just pivoting from the opposite side...

I did not think about the starter... I believe it bolts to the engine on my setup, so hopefully worst case I can make some room for it in the bellhousing... ??

I'll look at your thread for some inspiration, and to see what you show about the starter...

BTW, do you realize that I live in Mancos, CO? :)
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Well, life gets in the way. We've been building a house coming up on two years now, and we're still not done...

We never ended up going to EJS a few years ago, and so the clutch never got the attention it needed... the Comanche runs to town once in a while, and on an occasional forest service road around here. I have considered selling it, but my wife still objects.

This year, we have signed up for the Hole in the rock trail at EJS. Since it's a 3 day ride, with two nights of camping along the trail, I am really hoping to take the Comanche so we can stay in the roof top tent. More room in the back for our stuffs and the dog too, vs my TJ. I was hoping Frenchie would lead again, as he had previously approved the Comanche even though EJS says 33's and a locker are required, but another Moab local will be leading instead. I am hoping that he too will grant us permission to take the Comanche. As flexy as it is, I think the only thing that may pose a challenge is getting up the two ledges with so much rear overhang. I don't believe having 1" larger tires or a true rear locker will overcome the limitation of the long box rear overhang... I am sure that one of my fellow trail mates would be happy to offer a bit of assistance in the form of a strap, or at least be an anchor so I can winch up...

This MJ is open at both ends, and I have long wanted to have some sort of limited slip in the rear. It presently has a Dana 35 with factory 4:10 gearing. Being an early model, it has the larger drum brakes and bearing-retained axle shafts, rather than c-clips. As Dana 35's go, this is one of the better ones... I looked into doing an Explorer 8.8 swap, but I don't really care for the discs or their parking brake, and I don't have enough power to need the larger R&P. The nail in the coffin of that idea is that a 4:10 LSD Explorer 8.8's is ~$600 in my area. They also generally have 2-300k miles on them, meaning if I do find an axle with 4:10's and a limited slip, the limited slip will still need rebuilt anyway, as may the whole axle. Adding a spacer, an adapter for the driveshaft u-joint, new spring perches, and probably brakes and seals and a budget 8.8 swap comes out in the realm of $1000. Not gonna happen...

Since my Dana 35 is good, aside from having a bit of decel howl due to a lack of pinion preload, I decided putting some sort of LSD in the axle I already have was the cheapest and easiest plan. I considered just popping in a lunchbox locker, but I worry about the little Dana 35 shafts, and I really don't care for the popping and banging that seems pretty common when they are used behind a manual trans... An LSD made more sense as it's a bit less clunky on the street, and will hopefully keep us from breaking an axle shaft. I settled on the second cheapest option, a Grip PRO helical gear LSD from Powertrax. The cheapest option was a Traclok at about $330, while I paid $400 for the Grip PRO via 4 Wheel Parts. I would have preferred a Trutrac, but they were ~$150 more, and the Grip PRO works the same and has excellent reviews. Since this isn't a rock crawler by any stretch, I think this will be fine, and I'll be curious to see how the Grip PRO works. (No, I'm not sponsored, so I'll let everyone know if it turns out to be a POS.)

When I pulled the caps off the carrier bearings, the carrier pretty much fell right out. No preload left there... Not surprising for a 230k mile axle. I pulled the pinion and checked the bearings and both looked pretty good. I re-installed the pinion and tightened the pinion nut to get a minimal amount of preload on the bearings. Pinion rolls smooth, so that should take care of the decel howl.
Cleaned up and ready for the LSD...
KIMG0348.JPG

Since this truck is 36 years old, I did take a bit of time to clean some surface rust out of the top of the axle tubes... I at least got all the chunkies out by pushing a rag through several times with a broom handle, and then blowing it clean...
KIMG0350.JPG


I pressed new carrier bearings on the Grip PRO and installed the original ring gear onto the carrier with the original bolts and a bit of locktite. Actually used a torque wrench on the ring gear bolts...
KIMG0347.JPG

I pushed it into the housing with new races and the stock side shims, and noted that it also had no preload... I checked backlash at about .001", which is not enough anyway. I added shims to the pass side pack until I had to work a bit to push it all into place. That put preload about where I like it, and I got between .004" and .005" of backlash. A bit under the recommended .005-.008", but good enough for the kind of work I do. I didn't bother to check the pattern, but with backlash in the ballpark, the pattern should be fine. :)

(Sorry, no pretty pic of the diff in the axle... My phone must have ate that pic...
I also confirmed that I would not need to do any grinding on the pinion, as the install instructions for Dana 35 units do say that some axles may need a bit of clearancing of the pinion to clear the case... This one clears, at least cold... If it rubs when hot, I guess it will self-clearance... :)

Next up, new bellhousing and a better clutch master/slave setup...
 
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