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Newby here-Am I on the right track?

Discussion in 'Jeepster Commando and Commando Tech' started by Superduty Commando, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Sep 3, 2007
    Superduty Commando

    Superduty Commando Resurrecter of junk...

    Northwestern...
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    Sep 3, 2007
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    I have recently drug my old Commando out of the pasture and plan on getting it back into shape. It is a 1968 with the 225/400 automatic. I have had this for about 19 years, so I suppose it's about time!
    In searching for parts, I came across a 1972 "bullnose" with the 304/auto in it, and snapped it up on ebay. It will come home next weekend.
    I have looked through many of the previous threads on this site, but was hoping some of you could verify a few things for me.
    From what I read, the 72 should have Saginaw power steering, which I would like to put in place of the manual setup I have now. Will the longer wheelbase of the 72 present a problem in swapping into my 68?
    Also, if I add in a few leaves to the 72 rear springs (not sure from what, yet- most likely a car) can I get a small lift that I can live with, or will it get too stiff in a hurry? I was thinking about two extra leaves, and maybe making some boxed extended shackles about 1 1/2" longer than stock. I don't want to go crazy with height, but i have visions of running 31x13.50 super swamper sx's on 10" rims. I want it to look agressive, and not to have rubbing issues. Naturally, I plan on putting the heavier axles from the 72 in as well.
    Lastly, has anyone grafted the front wheel well flares from a set of bullnose fenders onto the tub of a Commando? They seem to follow the same basic shape of the rears, and have a larger opening. I have lots of reconstruction to do on the tub anyways, and thought this might be a neat way to gain some tire clearance.
    Thanks in advance for any help and advice!
     
  2. Sep 3, 2007
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    You should be able to swap axles straight across.

    The '72 steering is Saginaw, but using a Jeep donor doesn't get you anything more than a passenger car donor would. Fairly sure the frame bracket won't fit with the earlier frame - the frame design of the '72 is way different, and the xsec of the earlier frame is smaller, so the bracket won't fit in to the earlier frame. The steering pump will be usable, and maybe the hoses. You'll need PS brackets from a Buick - the AMC brackets won't fit.

    Save the bullnose PS frame bracket if you don't use it - somebody with a CJ from that era will want it.

    You may be able to use the steering column from the '72, though I'm not sure it will be of any benefit.

    Don't know about springs. AFAIK there's nobidy making lift springs for these vehicles. You may have to have springs made. Some of the Jeepsters have a single leaf in the rear, so that obviously won't help with lift. I don't think that adding more Jeepster leaves will change the ride height much, since they are already pretty flat, so to keep the ride soft and profile low.
     
  3. Sep 3, 2007
    Pack Rat

    Pack Rat Old Timer

    I live in a...
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    Yup, PS bracket on a BN is completely different. The 68, if it hasn't been changed has Ross and it will probably have the narrow front springs. You could use the steering column but the intermediate shaft is longer because of the longer wheel base so you would need to deal with that.. Also the angle of the column is different and the hole where it goes through the floor is different, even between Jeepster depending on the type of steering. You'll want to keep your floor shift.
    Are you going with a one piece front driveshaft? You'll have to change the pinion flange on the front diff as the 27 used the small U-joint yoke. You would also need to change the front yoke on the transfer case unless you just swap out the whole engine/tranny/tc from the BN. Probably easier to go a one piece front shaft than trying to find a small U-joint yoke for the front diff.
    Hellcreek is making Jeepster lift springs, not sure what they have available as far as different height. Don't know if they have them for the narrow front spring or not. Rear shouldn't be a problem.
     
  4. Sep 4, 2007
    countryboy

    countryboy New Member

    Central Illinois...
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    Jun 22, 2007
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    Welcome to the forum. Someone could really use that bracket, like me.
     
  5. Sep 4, 2007
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member Sponsor

    Falcon, CO
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    Alcan will make you custom springs as well. I have a set of 3" lift springs for the '72 Commando on order and they will be here by the end of the month.
     
  6. Sep 4, 2007
    Superduty Commando

    Superduty Commando Resurrecter of junk...

    Northwestern...
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    Sep 3, 2007
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    Thanks for the replies! I guess I'm not sure what I will do with the steering at this point. Maybe I'll wait and see how it acts with the manual steering and go from there.
    I can't say for sure what I will do with the 72 yet- A buddy of mine wants to build a Jeep, and would want to go 3/4 ton fullsize axles, so I had better wait to think about parting too much of it out until he can look it over (or see if I can get it running!).
    I am going to do some looking around for leaf springs from other vehicles to see if I can come up with something long enough and with more arch to them to try to devise an add-a-leaf setup. Who knows- maybe I can stumble into the hot new set-up for budget building!
    Has anyone cut their front spring mounts off, and welded them back on with square tubing in between for a lift? I was thinking I might be able to get some cheap altitude that way. I would probably need a drop pitman arm, but I have seen them offered on ebay that say they fit a Commando. I suppose I should research what steering setup they are supposed to fit, though.
    My goals for the rig are to build something mostly just to wheel in, not a daily driver. So, I want it to be safe and reliable, but it doesn't have to drive perfect, just decent enough to be safe.
    Thanks again- keep the ideas coming!
     
  7. Sep 22, 2007
    Superduty Commando

    Superduty Commando Resurrecter of junk...

    Northwestern...
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    Sep 3, 2007
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    Just a quick update on how my search for an inexpensive lift is going. I pulled the multi-leaf springs from the bullnose, and measured things up and devised a plan.
    The rear springs from a 73 to 79 Ford 1/2 ton pickup are almost as long as the Commando springs, and are the same width as well. I took a set that I had saved from a 76 F-100 and cut the eyes off of the main leaf with a chop saw. I went with F-100 springs instead of F150 springs thinking they may be softer, and they are not as thick as the original Commando springs.
    As assembled, lying on the floor, they have about 2" more arch than the stock Commando main leaf does. I must add that the Commando springs did not seem to lose any arch when I pulled the lower leaves off of them.
    So, now I am debating on what kind of add-a-leaf setup to put into the pack. I am thinking that a long leaf might be best (they offer Ford add-a-leaf sets in long or short), but the set that is recommended for a 76 f100 is a short leaf set.
    I know that putting an add-a-leaf kit in will stiffen things up, but I think it will be OK, as right now I don't think the ride would be too stiff if I bolted them in as-is. The F100 springs flattened out as much or more than the commando main leaf gained arch, so they shoul be sort of soft the way they are.
    Any ideas as to why long or short would be the way to go? I used the long the long type on both ends of my 2000 Superduty crewcab, but I have never put a set of short ones in anything.
    Thanks in advance!
     
  8. Sep 23, 2007
    grumpy2

    grumpy2 Member

    Royal Oak
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    Jul 26, 2006
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    Had add a leaves on my 72 commando for maybe a month. Hated them would be an understatement. No flex, rode like a brick. Threw me all over the damn thing just going down the road !

    I don't think you need 10 inch rims for 10.50 tires. Watch the offset or your tire will be constantly on the leaf springs. Mine are on 8" rims with no rubbing.
     
  9. Sep 23, 2007
    Superduty Commando

    Superduty Commando Resurrecter of junk...

    Northwestern...
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    Re: Newby here-more suspension questions

    At this point, I am thinking of putting it all together with a set of longer shackles and seeing where that gets me- maybe I won't need to put an add-a-leaf in it.
    In comparing the front axle setups, the older Commando has an adjustable track bar on it. This appears to be factory. The Bullnose does not have one. Should I adapt it on to the bullnose axle, or just leave it off? It seems like it would be good to have- even my f250 Superduty has one and it is thirty some years newer! I figure on adapting to the wider 72 springs, if that makes any difference.
    Also, I have been taking pictures of the rear spring stuff as I adapt it. If there is any interest, I could post them later.
     
  10. Sep 23, 2007
    Superduty Commando

    Superduty Commando Resurrecter of junk...

    Northwestern...
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    Grumpy- Thanks for the reply!
    I kind of have my heart set on 31x13.50's, and I think that they would be too wide for 8 inch rims. My front end is sitting on 31x10.50's with some 8" aluminum rims right now, and they seem like they wouldn't rub. Can't put the rear ones on yet though- hits the body!
     
  11. Sep 24, 2007
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    The wider springs will probably ride better.

    On the Jeepster, maybe your track bar has something to do with keeping the driveshaft away from the starter - or (likely IMO) it's an add-on. I don't think you really need a track bar for a leaf-spring live axle... later CJs can have a sway bar. Some of these vehicles have a bump stop on a long arm for this purpose.

    Of course there will be interest in your lift results.
     
  12. Oct 11, 2007
    Hurstjeepster

    Hurstjeepster New Member

    Helena, Montana
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    Some early Commandos 67 to 69? with the narrow spring packs had an optional track (sway) bar set up. Commandos were marketed by Kaiser as more street oriented and it probably helped the road handling a bit, especially with the old bias ply tires. Sway bars appaently were not available after 1970 when the switch or phase in was made to Saginaw steering gears and wider front spring packs and dropping the monoleaf rear for a multi leaf unit. Brian
     
  13. Oct 24, 2007
    RATTYFLATTY

    RATTYFLATTY I think you need a little more throttle

    Central MN
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    Oct 23, 2007
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    This might or might not help but I did use a 72 commando PS setup on a my 63 CJ5, here is how I did it. My commando had the cast alum PS bracket which is to tall for the early frame so I milled the height down to fit the frame then drilled the frame. Next I cut the cross member out of the commando and welded it into the 63 to get the other mounting holes for the bracket. I don't know if your steering shaft will snake up that far but if you can do this much I'm sure you can figure something out for the shaft routing.
     
  14. Oct 24, 2007
    trickpatrick

    trickpatrick Done? LOL

    North Idaho USA
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    My 69 has the trackbar and this is factory and normal.
    I am going axle under with wrangler front springs D30 with disc's, and the track bar will go.
     
  15. Oct 25, 2007
    Randyzzz

    Randyzzz Jeepster Junkie

    Sisters, OR
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    Sep 28, 2006
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    The track bar was standard on all narrow spring, ross steering equipped Jeepsters. It was dropped when they went to the 2" wide front springs, and saginaw steering.

    The trackbar was the first thing to go on mine (the ross steering was the next, followed by the narrow springs) I drove for about a week with the track bar disconnected, it did seem a little "mushy". But with 2" springs, and power steering, it steers like a slot car.
     
  16. Oct 26, 2007
    Superduty Commando

    Superduty Commando Resurrecter of junk...

    Northwestern...
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    Well, I thought it was time for a little update.
    My rear spring project was a bit short of my hopes. They looked like they would give a fair bit of lift, but once installed, my rig sits about level! That is with the stock shackles. My guess is that I gained an inch or so of lift, because right now my cylinder heads and intake are laying in the back by the tailgate.
    So, I did a spring-over on the 72 axles and installed them. That puts me right where I want to be, height wise, especially since my plans on the tire size has changed. I am now wanting to go with 33x13.50 Swamper LTB's on 15x10 wheels.
    Now I have to figure out the steering setup. I am planning to do a high-steer conversion. One of my friends has a set of GM Dana 44 knuckles for me, and I can probably rent a little time on the vertical mill where I used to work (I was a machinist for 8 years before changing careers) to make and install the arms.
    I am going to run the narrow front springs, at least to see how they work. If they don't seem right, I will find some Wrangler springs for it.
    As far as shocks go, I have been planning to put a set of skyjacker shocks on my 2000 Ford Superduty, as it has 3" of lift and I still have the stock stuff on it. After some rough measuring, I think the stock shocks from it will be good length to use on the Commando. Plus, they should be stiff enough to make up for the relatively soft springs.
    All in all, my simple little budget project is evolving into something more complicated, and more expensive as I go. But, it has been fun so far!
    I also need to start swapping in my replacement engine. The original was bad, and my "new" one is out of an OMC I/O boat application.:v6: I am not sure on the year of it, but I think the boat was a 69 model. As a general rule, marine applications are usually set up for low and midrange torque, so this should be a good swap for a 4x4.
    As usual, your thoughts and advice are appreciated!
     

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