This is officially the start to my first build thread. I have had a few Jeeps over the years but none that were built up enough to justify making a build thread.
My first Jeep that got me started down this never ending road was a ’99 Cherokee. Being new to Jeeps and not very mechanically inclined I jumped in to start working on it. Not really knowing what was out there it ended up with a 3” skyjacker lift, cragar soft 8s wrapped in 31x10.5 BFGs, and for recovery front and rear receivers.
After going through multiple tire and wheel configurations I ended up drowning it in the Delaware while trying to pull out a friend’s YJ. It ruined it, I eventually sold it, and I was out of the Jeep world.
A few years went by and I started to look for another Jeep. I happened to run into a guy who was selling a ’95 Wrangler, with the 2.5L and 173k, for a friend. He knew nothing about it but it was local so I stopped by and took a look. Again I still didn’t know much about them but for $1500 I felt that I couldn’t pass it up.
The owner didn’t think it ran anymore but after getting the title I went over with some fresh gas and a jump box and she fired right up. I drove it around the block to my Aunt’s house and parked it in the driveway.
The day I brought it home.
The driver side floor was rotted and there was no coolant but other than that it seemed very sound. I have always been a huge fan of Jurassic Park and knew that one day I’d like to make a replica. As of right now it is still mostly stock and will eventually become JP Jeep 24.
How it sits now.
The YJ is primarily used as my summer cruiser and sits for the winter so I have only put about 6k miles on it since I bought it in 2010.
On to my next Jeep I picked up. A ’97 Cherokee with 89k miles for $500 from a fellow co-worker who believed that the engine had seized up after running low on coolant. It had sat for a few years in her driveway until I picked it up.
I began tearing it down and while removing the belt I decided try a turn it over manually and it spun freely without any issue. The problem was the alternator it was completely seized and would not turn. I decided I didn’t want to keep the Cherokee even though the body and interior was in excellent shape, including the floors, I stripped it of the motor and trans to one day transplant it into the YJ. The wife wanted it out of the driveway so I gave it away to a guy who asked what I was doing with it.
Now on to the backstory of the Comanche. My friend purchased an ’88 Comanche, nicknamed the Mud Duck, around the same time that I got the XJ. It was already lifted and sitting on wagoneer 44s with 36” TSLs.
I was super jealous because I had always wanted a Comanche. During a thanksgiving wheeling event he ended up blowing the motor in it. A week later he lucked out again and picked up an ’89 Comanche that the kid sold to him for 200 because he lost the keys to it.
So now it had 2 Comanches in his possession!!
He drove the second Comanche for a couple months and wheeled it a few times. He then decided it was time to swap the motor from the ’89 into the ’88. Took about two days but we accomplished the swap and now the ’89 was just sitting in his driveway.
Here was my chance to get my hands on a ‘manche. I offered him a couple hundred for it, same as he paid for it when it was running and driving, but I knew I wanted it so it didn’t bother me that there was no motor or trans.
A few days later I rented a Uhaul trailer and picked it up.
The same day I picked up the ‘manche from my friend, the kid that originally owned the MJ told me he was also selling a very clean well running ’92 XJ for $100. I couldn’t resist so I picked that up too.
My Lil Manche, named because it’s the little brother to the Mud Duck, and its donor.
As of right now the plans for the MJ are just tearing it down and start cleaning it up.