New proud member, will need your help with my 72 commando

Discussion in 'Jeepster Commando and Commando Tech' started by KeyserSoSay, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. Sep 3, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    So, I'm a pretty handy guy and am in the process reviving a 1983 E350 (4x4) school bus/van.

    Building La Tortuga: 1983 Ford-Collins E350 4x4 ShortBus - Expedition Portal

    I definitely didn't need another project, but have always had a crush on Jeepster Commandos, and my son will be driving age in about a year. So when I found this 1972 commando (AMC 304, TH400, Dana18 TF), for a very fair price, I had to pull the trigger. We'll be building this truck together over the coming year. Truck is stil at the previous owner's and it will be a few weeks before I'll lay hands on it.

    I had a Toyota FJ40 when I was a teenager, but I'm pretty flat-footed when it comes to jeeps, and was hoping this is the spot to find some friendly help without getting hammered on for newbie questions.

    The first of many newbie questions, what axles are on this truck? What wheel size, Is it a 15", 5x4.5 bolt pattern, or 5x5.5, or some other. I'll try to post a couple of pics if it will let me in my first post, thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


    IMG_0361.JPG IMG_0359.JPG
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  2. Sep 3, 2017
    homersdog

    homersdog Tulsa, Ok Sponsor

    Tulsa, OK
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    Welcome from Oklahoma! Looks like a great project, should be a really strong Jeep. I think it should have a Dana 20 T-case not an 18 unless someone changed it.
     
  3. Sep 3, 2017
    Walt Couch

    Walt Couch sidehill Cordele, Ga. Sponsor

    cordele, Ga.
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    Welcome aboard from Ga.
     
  4. Sep 3, 2017
    Daryl

    Daryl Sponsor Sponsor

    Bonney Lake, WA
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    Welcome. Dana 30 front, Dana 44 rear most likely 3.73 gears. As said above probably model 20 tc not a model 18.
     
  5. Sep 3, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    10-4, the previous owner indicated it's a dana18, so if that's the case it's possible the axils aren't even stock (since they've been spring-overed, they might have been replaced). Having said that, I've already found locally another TH400 and Dana20 (straight out of a 72 commando) for $350, so I think I'm going to buy that combo just for good measure. Are there any significant differences in the dana18 and dana20 in terms of how they bolt up and U-joints, etc? It's pretty widely held that a Dana20 is good TC, but I never heard of a Dana18, what's the zeitgeist on those?

    Are the Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear concidered pretty capable for a truck this size? I've got a Dana 44 top pinion in my van and 60 in the rear, and some folks tell me the 44 is a little light for that rig. I'm not looking to make this jeep an extreme rock crawler, just a daily driver for my teenage son but I want it to hold up to a little off-road mischief.

    Trying to get more info out of the PO, I bought this on an EBay auction, and I don't think he's as thrilled with the sell price as I was- hope he's not too cranky about it to deal with.

    Thanks so much for those who've taken the time to help me. It pains me to be such a newbie and have to ask grade-school questions in public. But there'll be plenty more to follow.
     
  6. Sep 3, 2017
    Twin2

    Twin2 wasn't me Sponsor

    Virginia Beach, VA
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    welcome from va . as to ebay . most will honor the agreement . and hope for the best
     
  7. Sep 3, 2017
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    If it were mine, I would buy the '72 TSM right away. There's lots of good info there - here is a thread about TSMs: PSA - Which Manual Should I Buy?

    The 18 dates back to WWII, and was dropped in 1972 as obsolete, though all Jeepster Commandos (C101 and C104) got the 20. The 20 was introduced in the 60s. The 18 has both outputs offset to the passenger side. Power to the front and rear axle goes through the intermediate gear for all modes. The 20 has the rear output inline with the input, and the intermediate gear is idle when in 2WD high (NB 2WD low is accessible, with gear reduction from the intermediate gear but the front axle disconnected - but it's not marked on the shifter). Jeep sold the 20 as the "silent" transfer case, because it is quite a lot quieter than the 18. The 20 is more durable; the intermediate gear bearings of the 18 wear out just from normal operation. The main complaint about the 20 is its low range ratio is not as deep as the 18 (2.03:1 to 2.46:1, IIRC). Unlikely it's an 18, unless you have an offset rear axle. Driveshaft angle will be rather severe with a centered axle and an offset output; the C104 wheelbase is longer than a CJ, but so is the TH400.

    Factory wheels are 15" diam, 5 by 5.5" pattern.

    The 30 front may be a little light for really big tires, but there aren't many (if any) better and cost-effective options. The open 30 is a major upgrade over the closed 27 used through 1971. The rear flanged 44 is a good strong axle, but you can break anything if you abuse it. This vehicle is much lighter than your van, and these axles work very well for most owners.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
    KeyserSoSay likes this.
  8. Sep 3, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    Wow, thanks, exactly the kind of deep knowledge I was hoping for here. Already paid for the price of admission. What I may do is slow my roll a little until I can get hands on the truck and get it home, then ask better questions.

    It's hard not to get ahead of yourself when you buy something new that's outside of your wheelhouse. Definitely going to buy the TSM today!

    I've got no worry that the guy will honor his deal, it's just that he's less friendly and available now that the auction is closed (low). I just haven't had the chance to talk to him about it outside of short e-mails.
     
  9. Sep 3, 2017
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    [​IMG]

    20 on the left, 18 on the right.
     
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  10. Sep 3, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    Thanks, real helpful. I'm leaning towards the notion that the PO is just mistaken. He provided a link to some pics he has on photobucket, and one of the pics gives a shot of the TC. I could be wrong, but seems pretty clear to me rear DL is in
    Inline and not offset behind the front DL. Good to know.


    Photobucket
     
  11. Sep 3, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    Just closed the deal to purchase the TH400 and Dana20 on Craigslist here locally, so even if it's an 18 in there now, I'll start off with some options.
     
  12. Sep 4, 2017
    Bowbender

    Bowbender I'm workin' on it! Sponsor

    Northern Minn.
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    Welcome aboard! I had a '72 Commando a few years back, should have kept it (we all say that....:D)
     
  13. Sep 5, 2017
    commanlerwrangdo

    commanlerwrangdo Member

    Cleveland, Ohio
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    Welcome to the forum from Cleveland Ohio. As a possessor of 4 Commandos, you will see that driving one is a load of fun. Each of mine has it's own personality though. I'm getting almost 18 MPG in Peppy, my 67, right now with the accelerator pump broken. I've put almost 2 thousand miles on Peppy this summer with it being 50 years old this year. Have made 6 freeway trips, each around 50 miles in length in the last week. I've seen people slow down to snap a cell phone pic! They were probably wondering what Jeep it is!:sneak:
     
  14. Sep 6, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    Thanks for the warm welcome here. I feel like I'm a little premature in starting this thread as I won't lay hands on my Commando until the 16th. I have always loved the Commando and there is an early model 1950's car-like Jeepster (converted to 4x4 off-road running gear) I see around town here locally that I've always had a major crush on.

    I'm coming to learn and understand that Jeep purists don't like the 72-73 bullnose models because they lack the classic Jeep nose, but I actually think the bullnose of the 72 is a VERY cool all steel no-chrome design and about as handsome as they come from that era. I can't wait to get my hands on it and get my son invested in building his skill set and sweat equity into his own vehicle that will be worthy of his pride when we're through with it.

    Speaking of turning heads, I can certainly relate. Our current project is a 1983 FordE350 4x4 school bus that runs 36" tires and is painted OD green. I've never left the house in it without getting honks, smiles, waves, pictures, fingers pointed, and some conversation about it.

    Hoping my son and I can tag-team and keep both projects moving forward over the coming year. My kid is 14 and eligible for a driver's permit in about 6 months, and I aim to have the Jeep roadworthy, reliable, and prettied up a bit by the time he can drive it. I expect we'll document that here as a build thread as that progresses.


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  15. Sep 8, 2017
    Pack Rat

    Pack Rat Old Timer

    I live in a...
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    Welcome from Canada. As far as the 72/73 being unliked you're probably just talking to the wrong people ;). Bought my 73 just after it turned 11 years old and have owned it ever since. Of course between then and now I've added another Bullnose and a couple of Jeepsters because you can't really own just one :cool:.
     
  16. Sep 14, 2017
    Nekaf&Jeepsterdude

    Nekaf&Jeepsterdude 1968 Jeepster Commando, 1951 M38a1C

    The Netherlands
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    Aug 22, 2016
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    Welcome from The Netherlands, I look forward to the build!
     
  17. Sep 14, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    Got my ducks in a row, gonna go pick up the Jeep this weekend and see what I've got myself into. My Dad lives nearby the seller and is gonna help me out with a flatbed and then we'll be welding on a tow bar for the longer haul home. Can't wait!

    Thanks for kind welcome here so far.
     
    75 DJ likes this.
  18. Sep 18, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    I picked the jeep up and got her home without any problems- except maybe the 8 different hornets nests in the hard-top that was stored behind the barn. I was really surprised at how small and light the jeep is, and the tiny little drivelines almost made me giggle. I love that it is dead simple and as bare-boned as a vehicle can be. It's hard to keep any interest in my van now that this little gal is sitting in my driveway.


    Trip was two phased. Flatbed 80 miles to my Dad's shop, then tow-bar welded for 210miles home. Both legs went as smooth as goose-poo.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Jeep does run, but with my limited abilities I can tell that fuel delivery is going to be at the head of the line to address. the truck idles well once warm, and screams when you've got your foot in the gas, but it's the transition in between the two that give you trouble- is this a specific symptom of anything (my instincts tell me it needs a carb rebuild). I'm assuming that sitting in the woods has not helped the fuel system any- I'm torn between just adding a tank full of fresh gas or just starting out by dropping the fuel tank and cleaning it out. But the PO says the fuel tank is a recent replacement, and it does look pretty fresh. I'm a little embarrassed to ask because I simply haven't looked that closely yet, but what type of fuel pump does this truck have, is it a mechanical pump on the engine, or is there a pump inside the gas tank? If fuel is going to be my first endeavor, seems prudent to start off with a fresh fuel pump too.

    I'm pretty sure it will need the carburetor either replaced or rebuilt. I've scanned a few threads here and have gleaned this is a Motorcraft 2100 2 barrel, is that correct (for 304 V8)? I'm leaning towards a rebuild kit as the entire purpose of this jeep (in my mind) is to train my son how to maintain and restore his machine with pride and passion, and a carburetor rebuild seems like the perfect place to start. The threads here have indicated that the NAPA part # MPF 3965A carb kit is the correct one, but that number seems to not exist anymore. NAPA website has a couple of different two-barrel kits labeled as "Chrysler" carb kits (versus a Holly or Carter kit), [CRB25761, CRB25832A, CRB25499A] I also remember seeing timgr giving the advice to make sure and get the kit with a two stage power valve, but that may have been specific to the other thread. Any help on a identifying and locating a rebuild kit would be appreciated. Should I also be concerned with replacing the float while I'm at it?

    the power steering is not working. The PO indicated that the PS hose gave out, and he subsequently took the PS belt off. Also, the PS pump is loose on it's mounts which I've not investigated closely yet. Regardless, there is going to be major work there and I expect I'll likely start with a new PS pump. I remember seeing that 1972 was a transition between an inferior PS system and a Saginaw PS, and also skimmed much discussion about Saginaw PS conversions for this age jeep. I'm not sure which of the two I have yet, or to what degree that discussion applies to this jeep, but was hoping someone could catch me up a bit with a thumbnail of that discussion.

    I've seen that some folks have installed a tilt steering column in this age jeep, and was wondering if there is a specific tilt wheel that might be optimum for such a conversion so I could keep my feelers out. Also if there is a good thread on making this conversion I wouldn't mind a link. I'm not sure to what degree such a prospect would be considered heresy on this site (classic conservationists versus hot-rodding schools) but I do like the idea of my son being able to adjust the wheel to fit him the most safely.

    It does have an spring over conversion, and the PO says it was done properly with the proper pinion angles. It does not have any sort of sway bars or ladder bars installed, and that is going to be a primary focus for me. I'll probably build a 3 point ladder bar for the rear, and will have to look at how best to address axle wrap in the front. Any thoughts or guidance here? It does not seem that the status quo is the safest thing to turn your teenage kid loose in.

    there are a few small spots of steel that will need to be replaced including the rockers, but on the grand scale, the steel is in great dry shape. Lots of elbow grease is in order though to smooth this body out. My kid is about to enter the Mr. Miyagi Do-Jo of Karate Body Working... Sand on.... Sand off....
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
    commanlerwrangdo and Walt Couch like this.
  19. Sep 21, 2017
    KeyserSoSay

    KeyserSoSay New Member

    Edgewood New Mexico
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    No-one? Carburetor kit? Power steering? Steering column?
     
  20. Sep 22, 2017
    homersdog

    homersdog Tulsa, Ok Sponsor

    Tulsa, OK
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