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Jeep Comanche Build

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Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 6/22/2015, 10:27 pm

Hey guys I've been on the forum for a while, mostly just reading up on things and went to a run a few years ago in my old YJ. Anyways, I picked up a 1989 Jeep Comanche. It's got the 2.5l with a 5 speed tranny, 2wd...(soon to be 4wd) Florida truck.

I'll post pictures later on when someone reminds me how to do it

Plans for the truck are as follows:
-Swap to 4wd
-4.5 or 6 inch lift in front and SOA in the rear
-possibly going to upgrade rear axle to a Ford 8.8 if I have the money left after the 4wd swap
-Most importantly I want to get out on the trails with you guys by the end of summer. Any comments and tips are appreciated, constructive criticism is welcome too


I had been looking for a Cherokee to use as a parts vehicle to swap the 4wd into and it was much more difficult than I had thought to find a wrecked or rotted 4 cylinder 5 speed one, I mean come on we are in New England it shouldn't be too hard, today I found a tranny, transfer case and front drive shaft all from a 2000 Cherokee that was in a rollover and the guy wants $200 for it so I'm heading up to Maine Wednesday night to pick those up, then it's onto my search for a front axle. Not sure if I want to look for a Dana 44 yet or just go with a Dana30 but I have some time to think about that.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Tonellin on 6/23/2015, 8:21 am

I think you posted pics on facebook right? That thing is CLEAN - I'm jealous

What is the ultimate goal for tire size? I understand wanting to go 44 front but people charge so much for them around here it's insane...you could build an HP30 and be happy with it
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rob Cote on 6/23/2015, 8:53 am

YES!
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  dongalonga on 6/23/2015, 11:26 am

Can't wait to see this build!
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 6/23/2015, 12:43 pm

Yes I did post pictures in the FB group, I forget how to on here unfortunately. For now because I have a limited budget I will be going with either 33 or 35s depending on prices, I'm going to be getting them off Craig's list once I have the swap done and smooth out any issues between that and the lift. I just figured if I can find a dana44 for a decent price I may as well get it and put it in now since I'll have to put an axle in anyways but I'll probably go with a HP30. I'm gonna have plenty of questions I'm sure while doing this swap, it'll be the first time I've done it, haven't worked on many jeeps mostly old bmws and rx7s. Picking up the 4wd parts in a few hours I'll try to get some picture's up!
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rob Cote on 6/23/2015, 12:58 pm

Rjcinelli wrote:I forget how to on here unfortunately.

The image has to be hosted somewhere. Preferably not facebook because a lot of times it gets blocked based on your privacy settings. Try imgur or something like that. If your host doesn't provide a copy-able link directly to you, then open the image, right click --> copy image url. Then come here, in your post there's a link just above the text box you're writing in that, if you hover over it with your cursor, says "Insert an image". Click that. Then in the first box of the small window that pops up, right click --> paste. Repeat this process for each picture. It sounds wordy, but it's really simple.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 6/24/2015, 12:28 pm

Thanks Rob I'll try that out when I load some pictures onto my computer! So I found a set of axles off an XJ for $200 they are both complete, an HP30 front and Chrysler 8.25 rear, gear ratio is 3.55 though. I think I know the answer but I'm hoping for a different one, I'm assuming this gearing would not be tolerable with 33s or 35s? Is it worth it to pick them up though and re-gear it? I've never regeared before and would be a little timid trying to set the gears appropriately.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rob Cote on 6/24/2015, 1:01 pm

Is that stock TJ (non-Rubicon) gearing? Or somewhere right around there? If so, 33s are not unmanageable. I still use 5th gear. But from what I've read 35s are not much fun.

You need some specialty tooling to re-gear, but it's not impossible. If the axles aren't in a vehicle, it might be more reasonable to pay someone to regear them (i.e.- a professional).
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/24/2015, 3:38 pm

Rjcinelli wrote:Thanks Rob I'll try that out when I load some pictures onto my computer! So I found a set of axles off an XJ for $200 they are both complete, an HP30 front and Chrysler 8.25 rear, gear ratio is 3.55 though. I think I know the answer but I'm hoping for a different one, I'm assuming this gearing would not be tolerable with 33s or 35s? Is it worth it to pick them up though and re-gear it? I've never regeared before and would be a little timid trying to set the gears appropriately.

If you plan on daily driving it with the occasional wheeling trip, then you could definitely make those axles work for you. But if you plan on making it a full-time wheeler, I would say an 8.25 is not the way to go. Here's some pros and cons for the 8.25:

Pros:

-Starting mid-1996ish the 8.25 bumped up from 27 spline to 29 spline, 1.21" axle shafts, which people on many forums say will hold up to 33s (or larger) locked. Your safest bet is to be sure the axle is from a 1997-up Cherokee to ensure it has the 29 spline shafts.

-The axle tubes are pretty beefy and have a 3" diameter.

-The ring gear (8.25") is close to the size of a Ford Explorer rear end (8.8") and supposedly isn't prone to failure (but keep in mind everything can be broken in the right situation).

-Aftermarket parts -- like lockers, chromoly axle shafts, diff covers, etc. -- are readily available.

Cons:

-Gearing. 3.55 will be absolutely atrocious with your four-banger, and a regear will be essential. We've got factory gearing (4.10) in our four cylinder YJ trying to push 33" MTR/Ks and our five-speed transmission is only really a five-speed tranny going downhill or on perfectly flat highway. Still decent performance off road but not ideal for any sort of daily driving. My Cherokee has the factory 3.55 like the axles you're looking at, but it (and the Cherokee those axles came from) has the 4.0 pulling it down the road. Even with the 4.0 my Cherokee has problems turning 32" mud terrains on hilly roads (again off road performance was decent).

The other gearing issue is that the deepest you can go in both axles will be 4.88s. That would be the case with any factory Jeep setup, but it's something worth noting. I was always under the impression that the deepest you could go with an 8.25 was 4.56, but apparently 4.88 R&P kits are available. The lower the gear ratio (higher numeric value) the more prone to failure the pinion becomes. If I remember right you will also need a new carrier going from 3.55 to anything lower than 4.10s.

4.88 is purportedly the perfect gearing for 33s on a four cylinder Jeep with a five-speed tranny, but if you do step up to 35s you'll be under-geared with no way to fix that. Regears are not cheap, and at that point if you're in there you might as well upgrade/replace everything (shafts, seals, possibly bearings), which is more cost. And just ask Ryan how fun gears are to do own your own.

-The 8.25 is a C-clip axle. This isn't a complete deal-breaker in terms of sticking away from it, as the 8.8 is also a C-clip axle, except...

-The 8.25 comes with drum brakes. Drum brakes flat out suck. Off road they trap water and other gunk, and in the event of a snapped axle shaft they will not keep the shaft from sliding right out of the axle housing like an 8.8 with disks would. I replaced all of the internals on the drums of my 8.25 (the driver side had bent mechanisms) less than a year ago and already it seems they may have failed again. This points to a bigger problem in my case, but still...drum brakes suck.

-Comanches were spring under axle (SUA) while Cherokees came spring over axle (SOA). This could work for you since you plan on lifting it, however you will get somewhere around 6"+ doing that, which means you'll have to lift the front around the same, and at that point a long-arm lift is a must. That brings a whole other mess of things you need to do.

In order to bolt up the 8.25 in a factory SUA configuration you'll have to cut off the spring perches (and possibly the shock mounts also) and re-burn them onto the axle. Not really a big deal if you have the means to do it, but for someone like me who doesn't have the welding equipment to do that it would be a detraction. However, burning on new perches lets you set the correct pinion angle which is a plus.


I know that's a lot of crap I just threw at you but hopefully it helps. Overall the 8.25 is a solid axle (no pun intended) and mine has just shy of (or is at) 300,000 miles on it and looked pretty much pristine the last time I was in it. Your biggest issues will be regearing and spring location.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/24/2015, 3:58 pm

Update to my last post: just re-read that you're planning to go SOA in the rear so disregard all my mumbo-jumbo about the difficulties of spring perches and all that. The long-arm stuff still applies though. I have no idea if sticking with SOA makes the 8.25 a bolt-in application or not but I'd imagine it would.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 6/24/2015, 4:03 pm

THOOPY3 wrote:Update to my last post: just re-read that you're planning to go SOA in the rear so disregard all my mumbo-jumbo about the difficulties of spring perches and all that. The long-arm stuff still applies though. I have no idea if sticking with SOA makes the 8.25 a bolt-in application or not but I'd imagine it would.

I will still have to grind off and re mount the leaf spring perches, I guess the width for where the leads are on cherokees were different from each other, or that's what I read at least
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Jake on 6/25/2015, 10:51 am

I've got an 8.25 from my '99 Cherokee sitting in my garage, 3.55's though. $75.

33's on 3.55's wasn't the worst thing. Honestly I don't notice as much of difference as I was expecting to when I went to 4.10.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/25/2015, 11:06 am

Jake wrote:I've got an 8.25 from my '99 Cherokee sitting in my garage, 3.55's though. $75.

33's on 3.55's wasn't the worst thing. Honestly I don't notice as much of difference as I was expecting to when I went to 4.10.

You have to keep the motor and tranny in mind though. Anything four cylinder with a five-speed from Jeep was factory geared at 4.10...just to turn 28s. Dropping a four cylinder down (up) to 3.55s and jumping up 5-7 inches in tire diameter will make it a complete slug. At that point you'll need 4-Lo just to take off from a stop sign. You'll also be putting a lot of strain on the motor as well. The 4.0 does a decent job of masking under-gearing, but the 2.5 not so much.

At $75 for Jake's 8.25 (good deal) you could regear it and not be out much.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 6/25/2015, 2:20 pm

THOOPY3 wrote:

At $75 for Jake's 8.25 (good deal) you could regear it and not be out much.

How much is a regear, I was looking and found prices around 1400-2000, at that price I won't be able to regear for quite some time
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/25/2015, 4:18 pm

Unfortunately that's probably what you're looking at to do both axles. I was quoted about $1600 from Steve's Jeep Country up in New Hampshire awhile back for a complete front/rear regear. We ended up dropping in a built up 8.8 from East Coast Gear Supply instead and kept the gearing at 4.10, but the axle cost basically that much anyway.

You can try and pick up an 8.25 with 4.10s, or you can try to find an 8.8 with 4.10s. Either way you'll need to burn new perches and shock mounts on there so that cost is associated regardless. You do run the risk of either axle needing work obviously in that scenario, but that's also the same with the ones you're looking at now. If you went the route of picking up a rear end with 4.10s you'd just have to worry about regearing the front end to 4.10. You'd still be under-geared but not as bad as 3.55.

Unfortunately either way you're probably going to have to drop some coin. Now I can't personally speak to driving on 3.55s with big tires, but I can't imagine it's do-able for a daily driver long term. Our YJ can barely hold 60 in fourth on the hills on 93 heading up past Methuen, and again that's with 4.10s and a pretty healthy motor pulling it.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Dave-NvincibleT on 6/27/2015, 9:34 pm

That 75$ deal gonna be around til Tuesday? I'll have an answer by then on the regear.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Jake on 6/28/2015, 2:39 pm

Most likely, I've got it listed on cl for $100, I doubt anyone will be interested in the next couple days.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Dave-NvincibleT on 6/28/2015, 2:52 pm

I got a friend who rebuilds pretty much everything for 'fun'. He may be willing to regear the axle for Rob.. If he says he will, Rob will buy It! Won't see him til Monday night tho
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Jake on 6/28/2015, 3:07 pm

Oh nice! That's really the way to do it if you can.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Dave-NvincibleT on 6/28/2015, 3:08 pm

Ya, cuz it's not like 1200 bucks hahaha
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 7/7/2015, 12:24 pm

Looking at purchasing the 6" Rocky ridge Comanche lift, soa rear with old man emu springs and spring spacers, long travel shocks, soa is bolt on, anybody know how this lift is or any opinions on it?

also should be buying some YJ or TJ axles this week with 4.10 gears

Anybody that wants to come help wrench when I get started is more than welcome to, I still need to figure out how much the rear drive shaft is gonna have to be cut, hoping to get this together soon so I can wheel it
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  THOOPY3 on 7/7/2015, 12:32 pm

If you're looking to go with stock axles I've got a D35 from my YJ for sale. Complete drum-to-drum, 4.10 gearing, chromoly shafts, Riddler diff cover. The pinion seal developed a small leak right before we swapped it out for an 8.8 but that's all that's wrong with it. I'm looking for $200 for it.

Can't comment on the SOA kit but I would be very skeptical of a "bolt-on" SOA kit. I would feel much better about spring perches being welded to the tubes.
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  Rjcinelli on 7/7/2015, 12:39 pm

THOOPY3 wrote:If you're looking to go with stock axles I've got a D35 from my YJ for sale. Complete drum-to-drum, 4.10 gearing, chromoly shafts, Riddler diff cover. The pinion seal developed a small leak right before we swapped it out for an 8.8 but that's all that's wrong with it. I'm looking for $200 for it.

Can't comment on the SOA kit but I would be very skeptical of a "bolt-on" SOA kit. I would feel much better about spring perches being welded to the tubes.

I just found a set for $200 I think I'm gonna go pick those up later today, I was thinking the bolt on was a little sketchy, but it would be very convenient for me where I don't know how to weld nor do I have access to a welder, maybe I will look into a weld on kit and pay someone to weld the perches on

*just realized I'm gonna have to weld new spring perches onto the rear axle since the Comanche spring perches are set wider anyways, looks like I will definitely be looking for someone with a welder
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Re: Jeep Comanche Build

Post  THOOPY3 on 7/7/2015, 12:49 pm

Gotcha. If you're interested the same price stands if you want just the shafts and the Riddler cover. Those items are basically what I'm selling it for. The shafts should fit all Jeep D35s up to 2002 and the Riddler cover should fit all Jeep D35s up to 2006.
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Waiting game now

Post  Rjcinelli on 7/11/2015, 3:21 pm

Ordered all the necessary lift parts and ended up getting new spring perches to weld on for the SOA in the rear. Picked up the wrangled axles two days ago now I'm just waiting for the lift parts and I'll have almost every part for this swap and lift. Just need to get to a junkyard and figure out what wiring harness I need for the 4wd. Hopefully going to have this ready for the August club run, I'll see some of you tomorrow I'll be riding passenger with my friend, it's his first run tomorrow
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