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Discussion Starter #1
You guys that did the Jeep Commander Camp were in the Magazine. you'll have to look very carefully for it. its at the top near the beginning. only one picture and about 5 words.

807 Posts
what magazine? The JPFREEK magazine? or is there another one out there that has been discussed on the forum?

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Yeah, that's mine and Crz's from when we did the pre-run back in April.

I had sent the information in in May or June, hoping to make it in the August issue... looks like I was a bit late.

2,788 Posts
We might have to send them the pics of the trip itself. I don't have time right now, but may do it at a later date.

45 Posts
Check out the June 2015 issue of JP Magazine. There's a 4-page article on my Commander!

1,585 Posts
Check out the June 2015 issue of JP Magazine. There's a 4-page article on my Commander!
Very cool, surprised you didnt post some pictures of it.

Page 81+

The Commander was not
Jeep’s most popular model,
either in total sales or aftermarket
support. It is still a Jeep though,
which means that even in stock form it
can out-wheel nearly anything else in
its class. When someone t-boned David
Baltz’s Jeep Cherokee, he decided to
upgrade to a more modern Jeep and came
home with this ’06 Commander. He put a
mild lift on it and headed out to the local
trails near his home in Albuquerque, New
Mexico, but the other Jeepers looked at
him as if he had two heads. Rather than
be discouraged, David took the opportunity
to build a unique Jeep with the help
of James Morris of BDR Fab.
The Commander is based off of the
WK Grand Cherokee and uses a similar
Unitbody structure, so some of the
components transfer between the models.
David strengthened his Commander’s
Unitbody with rocker guards and a transfer
case skidplate from 4xGuard. The
rocker guards have taken a beating over
the years and have performed admirably,
but they are about ready for replacement.
Up front, a custom skidplate from
BDR Fab protects the steering and front
suspension components.
Speaking of suspension, the 2-inch
lift that David originally installed was
not on for long before he upgraded to a
4-inch Superlift kit with new steering
knuckles and strut spacers in front. The
Superlift kit addresses the rear track bar
geometry and front and rear sway bars to eliminate any weird handling quirks. Old
Man Emu struts are used in the front and
FOX remote reservoir shocks were added
to the rear for improved damping on the
trail and on the pavement. The lift creates
enough room for 285/70R17 (33-inch)
BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2s on
17x8.5 MB TKO wheels.
David’s Commander came from
the factory with a drivetrain most Jeep
owners would kill for. The 5.7L Hemi V-8
breathes through a K&N air filter but is
otherwise stock and doesn’t need much
help to belt out 345 hp. It is backed by a
Mercedes five-speed automatic with a
3.9:1 Frst gear for excellent crawling and
a 0.83:1 overdrive that keeps the rpms
down on the freeway.
Behind the transmission is the the
factory Quadra-Drive II system, which was
an option on the Commander and Grand
Cherokee. Short of a Wrangler Rubicon,
this is the most capable factory offering
from Jeep. The fulltime NP245 transfer
case has a 2.72:1 low range that works in
conjunction with electronic limited-lip
differentials in the front and rear axles.
David hasn’t seen a need to change this
system, as it works very well. The factory
IFS frontend and Chrysler 8.25 rear axle
have been retained with these limited slips
and factory 3.73 gearing. Body and Interior
One of the first things you notice
about David’s Commander is the colormatched
bumper from BDR Fab. The
front bumper was built to maximize
approach angle and holds a Warn
Xd9000i winch in front of the grille. The
matching rear bumper wraps around the
corners of the Commander for complete
protection and has a 2-inch receiver hitch,
attachment points for d-rings, and holds
a Hi-Lift jack and shovel. It also positions
a fullsize spare high enough that it will
not hit obstacles on the trail, yet remains
The other thing you might notice is
how hard this XK has been wheeled, with
scratches down both sides of the vehicle
that were earned in places like Moab and
the Rubicon. Inside, it is all comfort, with
heated leather seats, three sunroofs, and
satellite radio. The third row seats were
ditched for a custom storage box that
David built to stow his tools and spare
parts. With the second row seats folded
flat there is even enough room for him to
sleep inside the Commander, as he did at
the King of the Hammers.
Good, Bad, and What It’s For
The Commander allows David to
drive to the trail with the cruise control and
heated seats on and still wheel hard when
he gets there. The front CV axles seem
to be the limiting factor, and while he has
considered doing a solid axle swap, he can
change out CVs in less than half an hour
now. “And you can buy a lot of CVs for the
price of a solid front axle!” he adds.

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Link still doesn't work.
Should say
There was a problem previewing this document.

You have to download since its such a large file. (its the whole June issue in pdf)

Let me try something else.

Interesting how they list the transmission as a Mercedes 5 speed auto. AFAIK the RFE545 was a Chrysler trans, probably confused it with the NAG1, unless for some reason the trans has been swapped. Is this the case David Baker?

If not swapped, the gear ratios mentioned are incorrect.


Gear Ratios:
1st 3.00:1
2nd 1.67:1
2nd Prime 1.50:1
3rd 1.00:1
4th 0.75:1
5th 0.67:1
Reverse 3.00:1

5G-Tronic (W5A580/Large NAG)

Way to go Harry Wagner :)
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