My First Jeep - A 71' Commando Learning Experience

Discussion in 'Jeepster Commando and Commando Tech' started by Luke V, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Aug 20, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    I picked up a rusty 1971 Jeepster Commando a few months ago (First Jeep) and intend to get it running well in stock condition, have fun with it and go from there. It has the Dauntless V6 and all the other stock drive train that goes with that. The previous owner said the motor was rebuilt 10 or so years ago and an HEI distributor replaced the old one. It has old tires that leak, a radiator that pisses and more rattles than can be counted. It does run and start, but is rough and definitely needs a carb rebuild and many, many other things. Four wheel high works, but I can't get it into low gear. It has warn locking hubs that spin easy and freely. The interior is trashed and only the speedometer works on the dash. Should be a fun and interesting project and I should have pictures up shortly!


    Note - I was posting on JeepForum.com, but I think this forum may be more suitable site so I think I'll move it over here if that's alright. Also, I am very new to forums...
     
  2. Aug 20, 2017
    homersdog

    homersdog Tulsa, Ok Sponsor

    Tulsa, OK
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    Welcome from Oklahoma, yes please post pics this sounds interesting.
     
  3. Aug 20, 2017
    75 DJ

    75 DJ Member Sponsor

    Des Moines, IA
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    Welcome!
     
  4. Aug 20, 2017
    Walt Couch

    Walt Couch sidehill Cordele, Ga. Sponsor

    cordele, Ga.
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    Welcome from Ga.
     
  5. Aug 20, 2017
    Twin2

    Twin2 wasn't me Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    welcome from va . yep we like pictures
     
  6. Aug 20, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    Here it is after it was towed form the previous owners place:

    upload_2017-8-20_14-56-40.png upload_2017-8-20_14-57-1.png upload_2017-8-20_14-57-35.png
     
  7. Aug 20, 2017
    FinoCJ

    FinoCJ 1970 CJ5 Sponsor

    Denver, CO
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    Was that the one for sale near woodland park? Like it.
     
  8. Aug 20, 2017
    Dauntless1971

    Dauntless1971 Member

    Bend, OR
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    I got a chance to see your post on another forum. It appears to be moving along very well.
     
  9. Aug 21, 2017
    Twin2

    Twin2 wasn't me Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    another pull pin accessory . original paint and still running stock rims . I like it . jeep looks good
     
  10. Aug 21, 2017
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    That looks darn good! Awesome! When you said "rusty" something completely different comes to mind. Buff it out and drive it!

    Re the low range, take the shifter apart, clean and lubricate. The U-shifter can be very balky when it's worn out (typical), but they will perform much better if you remove all the old, hard grease and clean the linkage. This is the same shifter as used in the '74 and earlier Wagoneer, so look here Jeep® 1974 TSM online at figure 8-15 for a diagram of the shifter parts.
     
  11. Aug 21, 2017
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! Sponsor

    Washington DC.
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    looks great!
     
  12. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    I Picked this one up in Fruita Colorado, not sure about the Woodlands one
     
  13. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    True, I guess rusty in terms of a more arid/desert vehicle. Thanks for the diagram! I am going to dive into that soon. I'll get this forum caught up
     
  14. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    Thanks for the welcome guys. I'll get this forum caught up and go from there. I've viewed a bunch of threads on here and the knowledge on this forum is amazing, I am glad I found it. I know I'll need plenty of help on this Commando and this thread will give me a good way to track the build and keep me from rushing and making mistakes

    Ill start with the carb. It is a Rochester 2G I believe and had was extremely gunked up and had very bad gas in it. When I looked at it before purchase the engine would barely run and needed starter fluid. Needless to say, it was in dire need of a rebuild, but my buddy and I wanted to start it up and do a short cruise around the block before taking it apart. Long story short, my buddy sprayed starter fluid every where and the engine caught fire (Outside of the carb). We had a fire extinguisher ready and quickly put it out. It was good we put it out, but unfortunately a bunch of fire extinguisher gunk made its way into the carb.

    upload_2017-8-21_8-6-6.png
    Gunk all around the outside
    upload_2017-8-21_8-6-52.png
    And a bunch on the inside

    upload_2017-8-21_8-7-38.png

    So, I ordered a carb kit from Mikes Carbs, tore it down and rebuilt it. Replaced all gaskets, accelerator pump, spring, replaced main jets (I forget the size off the top of my head - this is why I need a forum to make me right down what I have done/used) checked the float level and cleaned every nook and cranny. I do not have sonic cleaner or anything, but feel it cleaned up nicely.
     
  15. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    There was a lot of rust on a bottom passage of the carb, but to me it looked like a coolant passage so I wasn't to worried. It is on the top left of picture below on the throttle valve body.

    upload_2017-8-21_8-17-29.png

    The kit was fantastic and had everything I needed except the power valve I ordered in a addition didn't show up. I called the business and they were happy to give me a refund. I decided to use the old power valve as it seemed to work just fine. I put everything together and put it on the engine. As soon as I cranked the motor of gas started pissing everywhere. Crap! I always have bad luck with carbs.

    upload_2017-8-21_8-20-50.png
    Fortunately, I quickly diagnosed it and did not have to take the carb off. I had used a new seat for the needle. The way it mounted in my carb does not make a seal and the fuel bypassed the needle over filling the bowl. All I had to to do was replace the seat and no more problems. Engine fired up right away and sounded much much better (I drained and replaced the gas in the tank prior to this. Also flushed the lines and installed a fuel filter). I took it out for a test drive and no stumble what so ever. This problem was solved, but the radiator was still leaking like crazy and there are a million other problems too that I get to tackle and learn from :)
     
  16. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    Thanks! I think the jeep was painted at one point - exterior is a different shade of green than the interior and door jams.

    upload_2017-8-21_8-29-36.png
    upload_2017-8-21_8-30-28.png
     
  17. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    After working on the carb I decided to tackle the radiator and brakes. Brakes were easy enough, as all i did was fill the master cylinder and bleed the lines - they work much better, but still suck. As for the radiator it needed major repair on the upper inlet and the fins below it. I took it to a radiator shop and and they quoted me $165 and were very rude. So I decided to look for a new one

    Here is the old radiator

    upload_2017-8-21_8-39-30.png



    I measured all aspects of it and found another radiator from JEGS that was blemished for $125 :). It was nearly identical, but the top inlet is on the passenger side. I was able to use steel hangers as a templates and find hoses that would clear the fan and fit the tube diameters. All I had to to was drill 4 holes in the new radiator to match the grill and I had a new radiator. It is Champion aluminum two core for a 70's or 80's dodge I believe and the jeep cooled beautifully in 100 Deg weather cruising around town.

    upload_2017-8-21_8-50-3.png


    So I started the jeep after flushing the coolant system and changing the radiator - ran like crap. How in the heck does a radiator change cause this! Nothing else was messed with. Do you see how the vacuum advance in the picture?? The radiator hose pushes on it slightly. I wasn't to worried for short tests, but little did I know that the PO had loosened the distributor bolt.... So the distributor went retarded, literally. After days of searching I discovered that and adjusted timing and the the engine ran fine again. I cannot find any timing marks on the harmonic balancer so did it by ear and vacuum. After this little debacle there is a slight tap/knock coming from the top of the motor ( It think it might be a lifter).

    Oh here is another picture of the carb gunk

    upload_2017-8-21_8-56-23.png


    After the distributor incident I went on to check it out...
     
  18. Aug 21, 2017
    Luke V

    Luke V New Member

    Grand Junction, CO
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    The distributor was clicking pretty loudly and when I pulled it apart I found that the mechanical advance had grenaded. There were pieces flinging around and some jammed down at the bottom. I removed all of the pieces and replaced the arms with new cheap looking ones. I also replaced the cap as the inside of the cap comes into contact with the rotor button was badly worn. And of course I replaced the rotor and all the old wires and plugs with the correct gap. I put it all back together and it is still pretty loud; a lot louder than my 302’s distributor on my old truck. I also attempted to adjust the timing, but with no timing marks I don’t know where I am at. I will have to get a closer look at the front of the motor to see what is going on.

    upload_2017-8-21_9-59-39.png upload_2017-8-21_10-0-11.png

    The vacuum advance also appears to work as it pulls when i put suction on the vacuum line.
     
  19. Aug 21, 2017
    masscj2a

    masscj2a Sponsor Sponsor

    Chester Mass
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    Looks great. A commando in 70 to 71 vintage is on my bucket list. Good luck and keep posting.
     
  20. Aug 22, 2017
    Nekaf&Jeepsterdude

    Nekaf&Jeepsterdude 1968 Jeepster Commando, 1951 M38a1C

    The Netherlands
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    Aug 22, 2016
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    Great Jeepster! I bought a 68 Commando last year and went to similar problems. Now I'm at the point that it runs and drives ok but could do with an engine rebuild... Good luck with yours and keep us updated!
     

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