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This 1989 Jeep Comanche Build Was A Dream Come True

Posted in Features on September 16, 2015
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We've all been there. We had a dream and a plan for the rig that was tucked behind the garage for a few years gathering dust, cobwebs, and spiders. Such was the case for Dave and Vicki Sulkey of Tomken Machine in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Their 1989 Jeep Comanche pickup had been in the "dream" phase for a number of years. However like many of us, work, life, and family obligations came first. After the 2014 Easter Jeep Safari, the Sulkey's decided it was time to make this dream come true. So with some creative budget rearranging and the list of modifications getting longer by the minute they started the build of "Minnie".

As the owners of Tomken Machine, all modifications were done in-house, which helped the budget a bit. The lift is a 6-inch Tomken long arm kit, with custom coils up front and custom leaf springs with an additional inch in shackle length in the rear. Bilstein shocks were used on all the way around to allow for plenty of flex.

To allow the use of tall tires and help keep the center of gravity as low as possible, the fender wells received some trimming. Tomken steel fenders were also added front and rear. The 35x12.50x15 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ's on Pro Comp rims tucked in nicely.

The additional body and undercarriage protection, including the undercarriage and transfer case skidplates and rock bars, are all Tomken products. The Tomken Carnage front bumper carries a 9,000-pound capacity Ramsey winch, and a Tomken Streamline rear bumper with a receiver and D-ring mounts protects the back end of the Comanche.

The old Peugeot tranny was yanked out and replaced with an AX15 five-speed, and a NP 231 transfer case was added. While the build was under way, Dave's father had a great idea that they might as well rebuild the engine. The 4.0L inline-six was pulled and rebuilt with a 0.030 overbore. It then received a custom exhaust that exits through the bed in front of the rear tire on the passenger side.

The stock Dana 30 front axle was left where it was but upgraded with 4:88 gears, and an Eaton E-Locker was popped in for traction duties. The rear axle is an 8.8-inch Ford with disc brakes, 4:88 gears, and a limited-slip diff.

To jazz up the exterior, a custom Tomken grill, LED light bar, Burn Out Blue metallic paint and a sweet Extreme Digital Graphics American Flag decal make the body beautiful. The PSH Signs custom rear window sunshade added the finishing touch to the exterior decoration. A custom rollcage that was assembled and welded inside the cab highlights the interior modifications, which include custom seats with four-point Corbeau harnesses, a custom switch panel built into the center console, and a CD radio.

Able to conquer trails ranging from the challenging Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the high-desert red rocks of Utah, this little truck isn't just another pretty face—It's built to wheel. The takeaway here is to clear the cobwebs and evict the spiders that have taken up residence in your dusty dream rig. All it takes is a little blood, sweat, and tears and a very understanding significant other to make it a reality.

Vehicle: '89 Jeep Comanche
Engine: 4.0L I-6
Transmission: AX-15 five-speed
Transfer Case: NP 241
Suspension: Tomken long-arm kit, custom front coils and rear leaf springs, Bilstein shocks
Axles: Dana 30 front with 4.88 Eaton E-Locker, Ford 8.8 rear with 4.88 limited slip
Wheels: Pro Comp
Tires: 35x12.50x15 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ
Built For: Rocky trails

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