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Old 06-28-2018, 08:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Jeepster Heap build ideas

Hi, new to the site but not to wheeling. I just got my 69' jeepster commando back and wanted some suggestions and ideas about what to do with it. First off it's a roll over wreck because of a broken front axle from when my father owned it. I've sold it 3x and it keeps coming back so I've decided to build it. It has a 6" lift, 36" tires, stock axles Dana 30/35 I believe (closed knuckles), 3 speed manual, 225 v6, and basically nothing else. Body wise I have a factory front clip a cj5 tub I bought to chop into an ext. cab for it along with some other beat up parts I plan to make work. It'll be a pickup when it's done with removable top.

I'm on a tight budget figuring around $2000 for everything but the tires, not sure what the tire budget will be. I have everything to slap it together and run it if I decide to go that route with the exception of freshening up the motor. I have a chance to get a 4.3 Chevy v6 free and a cheap th400. I can't put a v8 in because of the length, and I want to keep the radiator in the front. Any thoughts on this? I want the most performance I can get out of it for what it is. I think the 4.3 is a better option based on what I've read but if anyone's ever put one in a cj I'd like to know how it went.

As for the axles do I need to upgrade or can I get away with it if I drop the tire size to say a 33"? Obviously they're a weak point but I don't know if I'm pushing my luck. Before the axle broke this jeep was launched every weekend for months like a dukes of hazard reunion.

Thanks in advance, let me know what ya think and what ideas ya have.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A set of d44s from a grand waggy
4.3 is a good choice,I would skip the th400 and find a sm465/205
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know the 465 is probably the best option but finding one around here is hard so they get pricey. I'm not a fan of automatics personally but I do like the convenience. If I keep it a stick I'll probably leave the stock trans in it unless I stumble across a good deal.
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Stock axles are 27/44. Fitting a V8 should be no problem as that was an optional engine for them as well as T400. $2000 budget won't get you very far.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Not looking for crazy and I have a ton of parts already so I think I can have it on the trail for around $2000.

The 69' commando was made by jeep kiser and never had a v8 option only a 4 cylinder and v6 option were available. 70' and up were made by AMC and had a longer nose for the inline 6 and V8's. For the short nose 69' you have to move the radiator and hack the whole front up to fit a 350.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Apparently the stock 225 Buick v6 has more horse power and torque than the newer 4.3 liter so I think I might just keep it stock and freshen up what I have.

So knowing the front axle is a d27 is it a bad idea to be running around with 36/12.5r15's or am I asking for trouble? Can it be strengthened if so? It has been run like that for an extended period of time in the past and wheeled hard too but the knuckle did brake causing a roll over on the highway. Not sure if it's related to the axle or to years of heavy abuse.
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I like your idea of extended cab/pickup. I was thinking of something simalar or stretching the body a foot or so in middle. Enough to fit a dirt bike behind the rear seats and maybe modding the hardtop to an extended halfcab.
Waggy 44s would be a simple swap. Or you can get a driverside drop tcase and go with early bronco 44/9in. (58"wide) Even f150 or fullsize bronco 44 and 9in (65" wide)
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Stock axles are 27/44. Fitting a V8 should be no problem as that was an optional engine for them as well as T400. $2000 budget won't get you very far.
no V8 in 69. the 225 can be fun. I put a new cam, dual exhaust, 390 cfm Holley 4bbl, it would break free the tires with the factory th400
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hm. V8 fits in mine

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Old 06-29-2018, 05:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So knowing the front axle is a d27 is it a bad idea to be running around with 36/12.5r15's or am I asking for trouble?
Should be fine. Iíve seen them launched every weekend for months like a dukes of hazard reunion.
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Do you know what cam you were running or at least an idea on the specs?
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Mines4x4 how are the clearances with the radiator and support? From what I've read on these early jeepster as lot of people said the radiator support had to be cut up and the radiator slid forward with a good amount of fab work to make it look clean. Not that I'm worried about looks but it seems to be an issue mounting everything.
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Old 06-30-2018, 09:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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While a V8 was never an option on a 67 - 71, there are plenty out there with stock front groups and no firewall modifications.
4.3 needs a trim job on the of the radiator mount up front.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Mines4x4 how are the clearances with the radiator and support? From what I've read on these early jeepster as lot of people said the radiator support had to be cut up and the radiator slid forward with a good amount of fab work to make it look clean. Not that I'm worried about looks but it seems to be an issue mounting everything.
The factory grill is really bulky because of where the 225 sat. Lots of room in there but it all depends on what youbhave access to. I would be totally happy with a 4.3 in mine if it had stock axles and 35s

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