Banana 'manche project - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 22 Old 04-03-2019, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Banana 'manche project

The Banana 'manche project

I bought this jeep a few weeks back as an unfinished project. It's a 1989 Jeep Comanche short bed. The truck started its life as a Renix 4.0 with a 5-speed transmission.
The previous owner started the '97+ conversion but never finished it. I bought the Comanche "as is", along with another, parts Cherokee.
The deal was too good to pass up.
The jeep was bought and kept in Florida its whole life, so it's very solid. There are only a few, very little spots on the floor pans with some rust showing, but it's a quick fix, so I don't really worry about that.

Quick plan for the build:
- newer engine, automatic transmission, and wiring harness swap
- 3/4 ton axles (8 lug ford HP dana 44 and full float dana 60)
- 35" tires
- new paint job (yellow)
- front clip and interior swap to the older style
- fuel cell
and a lot more...


Here are some pictures of the jeep when I got it. Of course first, I went thru all the stuff that was on the bed of the truck and all the additional parts that came with the deal.


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post #2 of 22 Old 04-03-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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I already have a bunch of parts waiting to be installed on the Comanche.
Axles are getting new 4.10 gears. Both axles have trusses. For the front, I went with TnT XJ/MJ swap kit with a high steer track bar mount, and on the rear dana 60, I just welded a simple, plain truss.
As soon as the axle come back regeared, I will start putting them back together. Everything in the axles is going to be new, all the bearings, seals and bolts.
Front axle is going to get a LockRight locker, warn premium hubs, Yukon Chromoly axle shafts, high steer arm, RuffStuff diff cover, new spindles, ball joints etc.
Rear axle is equipped with a factory track lock differential, so I'm going to keep that for now. Other than that it's getting all new bearings, gears, seals and steel diff cover.


I also found a Comanche specific topper/camper locally, and it's in very good condition. I'm going to paint the same color as the jeep will be.


img_1472.jpg

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post #3 of 22 Old 04-04-2019, 10:09 AM
chris87xj
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This is worth watching.
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***Chris***

"You can set my jeep on fire and roll it down a hill,
But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."


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post #4 of 22 Old 04-04-2019, 09:16 PM
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Nice. Looking forward to following your build.
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post #5 of 22 Old 04-12-2019, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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I spent the last week fixing some rust problems in the cab an engine bay. Everything is nicely patched, sprayed with ospho and is waiting for some anti-rust paint next week.*

There were about 10 little rust holes in the cab. About golf ball size. I think Comanches tend to have rust on the floor pans. This is my third Comanche, and they can be perfect everywhere and have rusty*floor pans...*

Also, I think the rear sliding*window was poorly designed. They were leaking like crazy and Comanches*were rusting behind the front seats. Mine don't have rust on the back of the cab, thankfully.*


img_1586.jpg


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post #6 of 22 Old 04-12-2019, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Few of the missing pieces for the suspension came in. New factory leaf springs (they flex more than lift leaf springs). I'm doing a spring over the axle, instead of the factory under the axle set up. That and some custom leaf spring hangers should give me about 6.5" on the back. I already have 6.5" front Clayton Off Road springs.*

And some fox shocks performance series to go with it. Should ride pretty nicely *



img_1551.jpg

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post #7 of 22 Old 04-13-2019, 11:11 AM
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Came real close to picking up a 2wd 88 MJ a few weeks back to swap in a 4x4 AX-15 and 231 I have around. This build looks like you have a solid plan going for it


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post #8 of 22 Old 04-14-2019, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
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Came real close to picking up a 2wd 88 MJ a few weeks back to swap in a 4x4 AX-15 and 231 I have around. This build looks like you have a solid plan going for it
I never have a solid plan for my builds haha
I always change stuff as I go, but this one is going to be nice.
Stay tuned for more

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post #9 of 22 Old 04-17-2019, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Today, I started cutting the metal!
I "trimmed" the bed to clear the new 37's. I'm also planning to make a nice rear bumper that will be low profile, go around the corners, and won't take away any clearance. In order to do that I cut the rear lower section of the bed, leaving just a little bit of lip to make it look cleaner. I think it looks much better now.



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I also started working on my new seats. Since the jeep came without seats, and the XJ seats from the donor won't really fit I had to make something. I had these Mastercraft Nomad seats since forever and thought they would look cool in the 'manche. However, considering the fact that I'm 6'4", the regular "bolt-on" brackets won't fit, I had to make my own. These are going to work just fine, and I won't be touching the roof with my head. I also made the sliders for them (not pictured).


img_1713.jpg

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Frame stiffeners from T&M Fab came in the mail the other day. I will be welding them after the jeep is painted.
I was looking for the dedicated Comanche stiffeners for a long time, and I saw these on Instagram. Decided to give them a try.
The problem with the Comanche is that they are the same as the Cherokee, to just about the middle of the cab. After that, they are completely different and regular Cherokee stuff won't fit without a lot of modifications.
This is the full set that goes from the very begging of the jeep to the very end (front, mid, and bed section)
So far, they look good, we will see how they fit...


img_1714.jpg

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post #10 of 22 Old 04-20-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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I finished cutting the bed today. It looks like crap now, but once the proper tires roll in, it's going to be badass.
Also, since the axles are really wide (full width) I will probably make some kind of fender flares, to cover some of the tire.


img_1732.jpg


I couldn't resist and put the topper on the Comanche to see how it would look. It already looks good, but it will be much better all painted the same color.


img_1728.jpg


Also, the rusty spots in the floor are fixed, sealed and the floorboards are ready to be painted next week.


img_1743.jpg
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post #11 of 22 Old 04-22-2019, 09:06 AM
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Cool build I'm putting an nsg370 6 speed in my 89
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post #12 of 22 Old 04-29-2019, 12:27 PM
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Absolutely gorgeous.
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post #13 of 22 Old 05-05-2019, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Cool build I'm putting an nsg370 6 speed in my 89
nice!

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post #14 of 22 Old 05-05-2019, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Some progress from the past few days, on the Comanche.


The floor is done. All welded, sealed, and painted.


img_1761.jpg


Front fenders are cut to fit the 37" tires. I want to keep it low, so had to trim a little bit more than it normally would be.


img_1799.jpg


I took the bed off, sanded it for paint and fixed some little dents. While I had the bed off I pushed the Comanche outside and clean the rear frame and the bed from all the dirt and grime. The frame on that Comanche is just perfect. There is not even surface rust on it. I was kinda impressed.


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I also sanded and painted the engine bay. It was sprayed with an ugly black primer that was peeling off. Now it's nice and black. And looks fresh too. The engine bay is ready to install the engine!


img_1925.jpg

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post #15 of 22 Old 06-29-2019, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Not much progress on the 'manche. It's getting ready to head out for some new paint next week. I had to fix a lot of dents, rust holes around the rear window etc.
It's a lot of work, especially since the jeep has every panel in a different color, and only God knows how many times it was painted before...
When it gets back from the paint, I can actually start doing the fun stuff, assembly!

For now, I just came across a great deal on a brand new Trail Gear steering assist, and just couldn't pass the opportunity.


img_2762.jpg


Also scored a set of JK Rubicon axles, complete with e-lockers, so that's what I'm going to use on this build.

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