Jeepster Commando Build - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum  

Go Back   Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum > Brand Specific Tech > Jeep - Hardcore Tech
Notices

Reply
 
Share Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Jeepster Commando Build

Okay, this build is already almost two years old, but it is pretty cool and I'm sure taking my time. I'm doing it mostly by myself and am looking for comments and suggestions. I don't have a timeline, I'd rather make sure it's done right so I don't have to do it again.

My plan is to build a unique expedition vehicle. Durability is key. We live in So Cal and like to travel into Baja to camp out on lonely beaches and explore many areas of the southwest. I've broken my Jeep while wheeling in Baja and it is not a good feeling knowing how far you have to go to get home.

I'm a 'moderate' rock crawler, I like trails like Bullfrog trail in Johnson Valley or John Bull in Big Bear. I'm not a Sledgehammer, tear up my junk, kind of guy.

I like the idea of new technology in older vehicles; Several years ago, I was wheeling with some friends down at Truckhaven when I saw a built Jeepster Commando. A friend's son had built up an old Jeepster with full-width axles, 40" tires, etc. I was hooked. Had to convince myself that's what I NEEDED!

I found a '69 Jeepster Commando on CL and struggled through the registration process. Once it was titled and official, I got serious about laying out my plan:

Custom frame with late model suspension.
Spidertrax axles (saw 'em at KOH, they're just too cool).
40" Krawlers.
LS1 Power.
Coilovers for comfort.
Full cage for safety.
Fully enclosed with all the creature comforts (more on that later).

With the plan in place, I had to come up with the dough. I sold my '06 LJ for parts and started the accumulation process. So, here goes... In with the OLD, out with the NEW!
Attached Images
  

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-04-2012 at 09:03 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
The first few weekends were spent going through the new project; getting rid of things we won't be using and taking apart the body to see just what we're working with.

The floor is in bad shape. Lots of rust and panels that just need to be replaced.
Attached Images
  
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 09-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
I spent a lot of time racking my brain and researching custom frames. I spoke with Jeremy at Throttle Down Customs; really cool guy, but I wasn't sure what I wanted. Me and my buddies sat around with some adult beverages one day and started measuring my friend's LJ. Guess what? The LJ and the Jeepster Commando share many of the same measurements. The aftermarket for LJ parts is huge! Much larger than the aftermarket for Jeepster Commando parts, go figure...

Two phone calls later and I had a '05 LJ frame waiting for me at a wrecking yard in Wilmington.

A couple of hours with the plasma cutter and a flap wheel and we have a brand new custom frame!
Attached Images
 

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-04-2012 at 09:14 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Member # 115381
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Posts: 964
Send a message via Yahoo to fatboyf150
in
__________________
[COLOR="Lime"]What happens in the Cooking Forum, stays in the Cooking Forum.[/COLOR]

[url]www.facebook.com/kenneth.rivenbark[/url]
fatboyf150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
Granite Guru
 
intensebik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Member # 117578
Location: Newcastle, CA
Posts: 693
Send a message via Yahoo to intensebik
Subscribed... A close friend if building a jeepster. I'd like to see where this goes.
__________________
73' k10, 350/400, Atlas, d60 front w/ ARB, d70 welded, TrailGrappler 40's on steelies
intensebik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Up until June 19th of this year, I had the most awesome build buddy and parts chaser! My dad, the coolest guy on the planet, and the guy who is wholly responsible for my addiction to Jeeps, was called home to man the beer fridge in Heaven! I'm sure he's up there making sure everyone has a full cup and something to talk about.

I would come up with an half-baked idea and he would make the trip; Simi Valley for a pick up at Gen-Right, or down to Montclair to see the guys at Brothers 4X4! Whatever was needed, he was there to make sure it happened.

Here he is arriving with a Jeep full of Gen-Right parts. I decided to forego all of my exhaustive research and engineering calculations in favor of proven technology in the form of Gen-Right's Elite Coil-over package. I ran a Fab Tech coil-over set-up on my LJ and really became a fan of the coil-over technology. Nice ride, great articulation, etc.
Attached Images
 
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
It's probably not the smartest move I've ever made, or the best engine choice, but there is just nothing cooler than a Gen III LS engine! I HAD to have one!

The guys down at Turn-Key Engine Supply hooked me up; they asked all the right questions, set me up with a complete package.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-04-2012 at 09:36 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
It took me three weeks to check, re-check, and triple-check the Spidertrax Excel spreadsheet to make sure I wasn't about to make a $$$ mistake. When I called Ross out at Spidertrax to place my order, I thought it was odd when he asked me if I was sure I wanted to order the axle shafts at the same time as the housings.

Now I know why...

Until things are all lined up and set in-place, you won't know where your first cut is going to be. First $500 mistake, damn!

I didn't consider the pinion not being centered in the housing. I ordered axles based on a centered pinion, not a centered housing. When you call Spidertrax, listen to what Ross is telling you.
Attached Images
  
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
When I brought the frame home and after I stripped off all the brackets, it was apparent there was a "tweek" in it. It looked mostly like the right frame rail was bowed inward, so me and the guys from Monkey Business fabbed up a piece of I Beam and a couple of large u-bolts and straightened 'er out...

Remember when I said I was looking for suggestions and comments to help me stay on track and prevent the re-invention of the proverbial wheel? Well, my good buddy Andy told me to go get the frame straightened. Did I do it? NAW, it'll be okay...

Knowing things weren't as straight as the should be, I chose to start at the rear for obvious reasons; the rear is SQUARE, not! Should've been square but it wasn't.

Now I'm trying to keep this rig as low as possible. I'm trying to build a stock looking Jeepster (with 40" tires). You all know static ride height is based on how low you can get the front. The front is ALWAYS the limiting factor when determining how low a rig will sit when completed. I knew this but I still started in the rear. See, I need your input to keep me on track.
Attached Images
   
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 01:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Clemsonkrawler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Member # 26940
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 632
Send a message via AIM to Clemsonkrawler
Love it so far.
__________________
'12 JKU trail cruiser.
Clemsonkrawler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 07:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
Rock God
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Member # 8335
Location: Thornton, CO
Posts: 1,987
Build looks great! I'll be following this one.
__________________
Partially Erect YJ
WideJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Member # 215757
Posts: 13
I like where this is going!
Nightstr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 07:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
So here is my #1 helper. If not for hands-on, she's definitely my emotional supporter... She understands this build and is almost as excited as me to get it finished and back on the trail. Our wheeling friends have been going out without us and it's killin' us!

Here we are about to mate the engine and trans. We picked up a 4L60E from the guys over at Bowtie Overdrives. They set us up with a L-2 model and a 2200 stall converter.

The Atlas is a 4.3:1 unit.

I picked up a set of LS motor mounts from Advance Adapters, they send along a reference tool that plugs into a factory frame hole and the mounts lay right where they are. See, the late model LJ frame is paying off; less frustration, less thinking, etc.
Attached Images
   
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 07:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Now I know I've skipped a few steps, but honestly, I did not take any pictures of the front housing build. I spent several weekends making sure I got the cuts right and playing with the caster, camber, etc.

In order to set-up the front housing, Spidertrax gives the builder an Excel spreadsheet to use for all of the measurements and cuts. If followed, it works great. In order to ensure accurate and square cuts, I placed a hose clamp around the axle housing tube at my measured distance and mark. I then chop off the excess in my chop saw. I leave a small overage so I can creep up on the final mark with my flap wheel.

Spidertrax designed the Ultimate 60 Knuckles to be a garage-built press on process. A little convincing with a plastic mallet and a lot of small adjustments put the knuckle in the correct position for your desired caster and Ta/Tb distance.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-05-2012 at 07:32 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 07:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Thanks to GenRight, the front link brackets fit naturally on the frame just in front of the "Belly-Up Skidplate." I set the axle forward enough to clear the lower engine pulley and tacked 'em in.

The PSC Full-Hydro Ram mount is a Sniper Fab Works product. I saw the "Eye Win" buggy in CRAWL magazine and knew my ram mounting dilemma was over!

Remember; I'm trying for the lowest static height possible. I'm looking for around 4" of up travel and 10" down. It's not a racer, just a cruiser. Mostly dirt roads with mild twisty crawlin'.
Attached Images
  

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-05-2012 at 07:42 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 07:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
We have a roller!

I waited over six months for Goodyear to manufacture a set of 40x17 MTRs. I paid for them, called everyone in the country who would listen and finally became convinced they weren't going to happen. Robb "Gunny" Hadden, the store Manager at 4 Wheel Parts in Riverside, took very good care of me. When I was at the point of making it a roller, he spent some time looking around and stole a set of Krawlers off another order that had other back ordered parts. The Krawlers were available and another set would arrive before the other customer's order was filled anyway.

I followed a guy up in Panament a couple of years ago who was running the Allied Rock 8 beadlocks. I had polished Walker Evans beadlocks on the '06 LJ with OMF Bling Rings. It was too much and I liked the classic look of the Allieds so I went that way. I like it. Simple, clean and cool!
Attached Images
   

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-05-2012 at 07:51 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 07:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
The body came back from Andy Diaz' shop with the floor removed, blasted and primed. We had to fab up mounts using GenRight 1" body mounts and Daystar body mount bushings.

My plan is for a stock looking Jeepster sitting on 40" tires. I had moved the rear axle back as far as the GenRight Enduro gas tank would allow. I am looking for the smallest departure angle available, but with using this fuel tank set-up.

The wheel openings therefore, needed to be whittled a bit...
Attached Images
    
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
Tinkerer
 
oldtimingman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Member # 75774
Location: In a van down by the Rogue River, OR
Posts: 652
This is a GREAT build!!!
oldtimingman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Next, the floor needed to be replaced, new wheel housings needed to be built, and someone who knows how to do it needs this job!

Andy Diaz enters stage left; a master off-road car builder (what he likes to do) and show winning street rod builder (what makes his money so he can off-road) arrives to design and build a floor that looks factory! Check it out and see for yourself. Also check out the replaced rocker panels. They were goners, but now they're back (of course, now I don't know what I'm gonna do for rocker protection). Are you listening Larry McRae?

The small access door is for the fuel pump. My dad was adamant we installed one... Here ya go Pop!
Attached Images
    

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-05-2012 at 08:07 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:08 PM   #20 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtimingman View Post
This is a GREAT build!!!
Thanks Oldtimingman, we're having fun with it!
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:10 PM   #21 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by WideJ View Post
Build looks great! I'll be following this one.
Hey, thanks WildJ, I picked up a few ideas from your build as well! Especially the engine cage, I see many of your ideas floating their way into this one...

Last edited by El Jeepo; 09-05-2012 at 08:10 PM.
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:14 PM   #22 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Member # 184220
Posts: 40
Subscribed. Looks like it's going to be a sick build. Keep up the good work.
619Jeepin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #23 (permalink)
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2009
Member # 136200
Posts: 8
Great build! I would like to do a similar build in the future, but there is no way I would sell my current LJ to do it. Looking forward for the rest of the build.
steve578 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:18 PM   #24 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
Before Andy could finish the front floor and firewall, my good buddy Craig O. and I had scheduled vacation to build the cage so we brought it home and laid out the main hoops. Craig uses the Bend Pro software and built hisself a bender out of scrap he had lying around.

Before building the cage, I spent some time fabbing up some cage mounts. I used 1.75 bushings from Kartek and 3/16 wall plate and square tubing for the mounts.

The first hoop (drivers) took about four hours to plot, design, layout and bend. Once the initial plots are established in the program, the rest simply falls into place with the builder's measurements for bends. The second hoop took less than an hour.

This software includes printable templates for making the tubing notches.
Attached Images
     
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #25 (permalink)
Propeller Head
 
El Jeepo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Member # 227464
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 102
More cage pics:
Attached Images
  
El Jeepo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.