1990 Comanche Build - The Wilderbeest

Overland History

Wanderluster
Great thread! Your attention to detail reminds me a lot of my build thread, as I see you also used Seam Sealer around the edge of each tacked-in floor pan!

Do you plan to keep the stock steel wheels?

Following! :)
 

agamble

Member
Did you end up putting anything on the new shocks to stop them from rusting?
I haven't put anything on them to prevent rust. It doesn't rain or snow very often where I'm located so I'm fortunate in not having to deal with very much road salt. For the rears I'm not overly concerned as they're not very visible and I don't know how many people are going to be crawling under my jeep to view them. The fronts, which are more viewable I've always had success on keeping them rust free by routinely washing them. But I'm always open to suggestions if you have a method that's effective.
 

agamble

Member
Great thread! Your attention to detail reminds me a lot of my build thread, as I see you also used Seam Sealer around the edge of each tacked-in floor pan!

Do you plan to keep the stock steel wheels?

Following! :)
Thank you, I've read through your build thread a several times, very clean build. I like how each modification appears thought out and has a practical function. I used the Seam Sealer both inside and outside of the floor pans.

I'd been wavering back and forth on which rim to go with on the Jeep. In the past I’ve leaned towards an aftermarket rim for a more modern look and taste and was thinking of going that route. The only drawback is that with the backspacing of most aftermarket rims they'll stick further out from the fenders and get more mud/debris on the vehicle, which really isn’t that much of a deal breaker. So here I was I already have five matching stock rims, do I want to buy five matching aftermarket rims? While driving around I noted not many XJ's running the original stock rims, and a few eBay searches didnt returning very many results for the stock rims. Then while I read through Overland History's build thread and seeing how nice that Jeep looks nice with stock rims I decided to keep the original rims and freshen them up a bit. I tried to keep the paint as close as possible without custom mixing for ease of touch up if needed. Closest match I could find was Rust-O-leum metallic silver.

How the rim looked when removed from the Jeep.


Any refreshing job is all about the prep work. Started by removing the rust with 120-grit sandpaper. After a good sanding vacuumed the debris from the surface and re-sanded with 400-grit to smooth it out yet give the paint something to bit into. The 400-grit sanding was followed with another vacuuming of the debris and finished with a wipe down of denatured alcohol to get a nice clean surface.


To keep the the paint overspray off the tire I've seen overlapping of playing cards between the rim and tire used or tapping. I started using playing cards and quickly realized I didn't want to take the time to place all those playing cards in rim, I took about 3 minutes and taped it up. The first coat was a light coat mostly to get some coverage on the rim.


After about 10 minutes from the application of the first coat a heavier coat was applied making sure all of the surface was coated. Letting the heavy coat dry for about 20 minutes a second heavy coat was applied. While the paint was still semi-wet the tape was removed and it was left to cure over night.


With successful results on the practice rim the other rims were then painted as well.
 

agamble

Member
With the tires refreshed, attention was given to the bed. Here is what it looked like, looks pretty good right? What the picture doesn't show is there's a 2 inch layer of dirt under the carpet and 40-lbs. of dog hair stuck to the everything that is in the back or the maybe 4-5 years worth of dirt, debris, and oil that had fallen/spilled behind the weather guard box that has formed a concrete like substance in the front of the bed.

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The goal was to free up as much bed space as possible while giving the bed a refreshing. First punch list items included:
  • Spare tire was put in the correct location under the bed of the truck. When I cleaned up the rear undercarriage I repaired the tire carrier to get it working again.
  • Carpet and carpet padding was a removed and set aside. Not sure if I want to put it back in again or not. It may be nice to have when camping as extra cushion, but will hold a ton of dirt and/or mud. Thinking a rubber matting of sorts may be a better alternative.
  • Milk crate and other odds and ends were also placed to the side, pending further organization.
  • Weather guard box was unbolted from the bed and set out in the garage where it too underwent a make over.
This shot is after cleaning and prepping the bed. The first 20-30 minutes was spent with a wire brush, picking tools, and a flat head screw driver removing the hardened dirt and oil in the front of the bed. Having removed the concrete like material it took another 30 minutes with a wire wheel to remove loose paint, remaining dirt and oil from all of the beds surfaces. Then the real fun began once that was done, 3 hours of sanding both with an orbital sander and by hand to remove the surface rust found in various spots of the bed and scuff up any remaining paint. Once all the sanding was done the shop vac was used to remove loose debris, and to complete the prep work, a wipe down with denatured alcohol. Looked much better, the bed was actually white again.

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For a bed liner I used Rust-O-leum spray on bed liner. I've used it in the past on other vehicles with good success. I've found prep work is key and if done well it will hold up well and last for a long time and it's easy to touch up and repair if and when it needs it. I applied two coats to the entire bed, with two additional coats on the floor and wheel wells of the bed. The first photo was taken just after spraying the second coat.

Before I sprayed in the bed liner I repaired and replaced a few of the straps and buckles that hold the guts of the wilderness up in the shell. As an additional aide, to relieve the pressure from straps and buckles holding up the weight of the tent, I fabricated a mount from some square tubing to hold up the center portion of the tent where they like to sag the most.

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During drying time between bedliner coats I would work on the weather guard box. It's the style of box that mounts on the side of the bed however, for my application I have it laying down in the bed of the truck. The side that was/will being laying down in the bed was bubbling and rusting worse than any other sides. A wire brush was used to remove the large rust and paint flakes from the weather box and the orbital sander was used scuff the surface to give the paint something to adhere to.

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For a more durable finish I used Rust-O-leum appliance epoxy paint.
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After shots.
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agamble

Member
I was able to get the milk crate contents to fit inside the inside the weather guard box. The box now contains the essential basics: my sleeping bag, spare tools for most any repair, a box with various tie-down straps and tow straps, pulling chain and a set of tire chains.

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The second box with a pair of tire chains is a place holder for now to keep the contents from sliding around. The ammo cans have created enough space that I still have room to pack various fluids as well.

To finish up the bed organization I also found a home for the 48" Hi-Lift and installed a fire extinguisher.
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I know that there are varying opinions on the practicality and need of a Hi-Lift. I find that if you've read the instructions, keep the jack clean and lubed, and use it safely (i.e., make sure the foot is placed securely, hence the base, keep a foot on it while operating the jack, keep a firm hand on the handle, and all body parts away from pinch points) I think they are a valuable tool when off road with multiple uses. What I don't do with a Hi-Lift is work on the Jeep, use it to hold up the Jeep and crawl under or change tires. My primary use of the Hi-Lift is to lift a wheel off the ground to get myself unstuck or, as has happened on a few occasions, lift off something that has become stuck under the belly of the Jeep or act as a counter winch in certain winching situations. If you've ever slid off the road when you go to winch back up onto the road as you pull the front or rear of the vehicle the opposite ends wants to continue sliding off, the Hi-Lift can be used to apply tension on the opposite end.

To mount it I kept it simple, its been stored in a quasi accessible location out of sight behind the weather guard box. Easily viewed things tend wander off.
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agamble

Member
Continuing work on the rear of the Jeep I cleaned and modified the rear bumper a bit. The bumper was originally designed for an XJ, to mount someone made some ~ 3" x 4" plates that were welded onto the original MJ bumper brackets allowing for the XJ bumper to be bolted on. I think it may be strong enough to use as a recovery point if needed, but I don't think I would go around towing anything with it. When mounting it, the bolt holes on the custom plates were too small. The bolts threads were mostly stripped from having to thread them through the mounting plate holes.
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The integrated hitch on the bumper made for some customization on hanging the license plate. Using two make shift brackets the rear plate was mounted into the tailgate. Allowing for the tail gate to function without smashing up the plate. Pretty slick actually. Hidden behind the license plate are the valve stems for the rear air bags. I liked the location of the valve stems for the air bags and decided I won't fill in the gap left between the bumper and the body. If I fill it I would not have access to the valve stems to re-fill the air bags, and I couldn't think of a more discreet location. But want to mount the license plate onto the bumper instead.

An angle grinder removed the integrated hitch to give the license plate a flat area rest against. The bumper hitch was an unneeded accessory. The Jeep has a properly mounted hitch that is better suited for towing and makes for a better rear recovery point. The height of the license plate was too tall for the bumper, If it was mounted directly onto the bumper the plate would hang below, not a big problem, other than no way to secure it other than self tapping bolts and not way to illuminate the plate. I used 3/4" angle iron to make up the difference. A strip about 1" shorter than the width of the plate was welded to the top of the bumper. Height allows for the tail gate to open all the way and still not contact the plate. To mount and light the plate I found a set of bolts with integrated LEDs for motorcycles online at superbrightleds.com that are used to mount the plate onto the bumper. The wiring was run down into the hitch receiver to make for a cleaner look. The bracket holes were elongated and the hardware was upgraded to Grade 8.
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Thank you, I've read through your build thread a several times, very clean build. I like how each modification appears thought out and has a practical function. I used the Seam Sealer both inside and outside of the floor pans.

I'd been wavering back and forth on which rim to go with on the Jeep. In the past I’ve leaned towards an aftermarket rim for a more modern look and taste and was thinking of going that route. The only drawback is that with the backspacing of most aftermarket rims they'll stick further out from the fenders and get more mud/debris on the vehicle, which really isn’t that much of a deal breaker. So here I was I already have five matching stock rims, do I want to buy five matching aftermarket rims? While driving around I noted not many XJ's running the original stock rims, and a few eBay searches didnt returning very many results for the stock rims. Then while I read through Overland History's build thread and seeing how nice that Jeep looks nice with stock rims I decided to keep the original rims and freshen them up a bit. I tried to keep the paint as close as possible without custom mixing for ease of touch up if needed. Closest match I could find was Rust-O-leum metallic silver.

How the rim looked when removed from the Jeep.


Any refreshing job is all about the prep work. Started by removing the rust with 120-grit sandpaper. After a good sanding vacuumed the debris from the surface and re-sanded with 400-grit to smooth it out yet give the paint something to bit into. The 400-grit sanding was followed with another vacuuming of the debris and finished with a wipe down of denatured alcohol to get a nice clean surface.


To keep the the paint overspray off the tire I've seen overlapping of playing cards between the rim and tire used or tapping. I started using playing cards and quickly realized I didn't want to take the time to place all those playing cards in rim, I took about 3 minutes and taped it up. The first coat was a light coat mostly to get some coverage on the rim.


After about 10 minutes from the application of the first coat a heavier coat was applied making sure all of the surface was coated. Letting the heavy coat dry for about 20 minutes a second heavy coat was applied. While the paint was still semi-wet the tape was removed and it was left to cure over night.


With successful results on the practice rim the other rims were then painted as well.
What paint did you use for the wheels?
 

PCO6

Adventurer
Great thread! I really like the work your doing and that Wildernest top is neat to see. I'll be following this thread for sure. (y)

Comanche's are fun to drive and attract a lot of attention. You don't "see yourself" driving down the road very often. Here's my MJ next to my XJ ...


I also have a "barn find" Comanche ...
 

02rangeredge

Adventurer
Great thread! I really like the work your doing and that Wildernest top is neat to see. I'll be following this thread for sure. (y)

Comanche's are fun to drive and attract a lot of attention. You don't "see yourself" driving down the road very often. Here's my MJ next to my XJ ...


I also have a "barn find" Comanche ...
man, that light bar made that thing 80's tastic, its almost a shame its off- but i mean if i had to choose the bar or a wildernest thats obvious
 

agamble

Member
going to paint the entire truck? that'd be a good looking color on it
The metallic silver that was used on the wheels or the color of the tail gate in the above photos? I have no plans on painting the Jeep. I like the roughness of the paint, give it some character and I don't feel bad when I add more pinstripping as I drive through brush. The tail gate was an extra one in better condition I had laying around.
 
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