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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks for checking out my build thread! I just picked up a 2006 Commander Limited with a Hemi and Quadra Drive II. It has 230,000 km's on it (140,000 miles). It's a daily driver that will see double duty as a family overland vehicle. I'll post plans and progress along the way. There are lots of great ideas on this forum that I'll be incorporating into this build.

Plans:
- custom fabricated front and rear bumpers with tire swingout
- OME HD lift
- 1.5" wheel spacers
- custom made roof rack
- tires
- build an overland trailer

This Commander is in great shape but also came with a number of issues that I'd like to address. So before I get around to doing the things I want to do, I need to take care of the things I need to do.

In the first week of owning it I have:
- replaced the spark plugs (old ones had to be original. the gap was waay off).
- new EGR valve and pipe gasket
- new thermostat and coolant temperature sensor
- new double din stereo
- polished the headlights

In the very near future I will be:
- replacing the exhaust manifold gaskets and bolts
- replacing the valve cover gaskets
- replacing the front differential bushing

Here is a pic of it after I first brought it home:
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
eFirst picture worthy "mod" was to install a double DIN radio. This wasn't entirely straight forward as this Commander came with the 1.5 DIN radio. So to make the double DIN fit, I had to cut the dash to make room for a double DIN radio.

Thanks to a post made by djmaro76 (http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/10-electronics-nav-discussion/18614-double-din-install.html) I knew this was possible. I welded the brackets to mount the stereo and then filled the half-circle holes with some plastic. To finish it off, I painted the center plastic trim around the stereo.

The motivating factor in doing this was two fold. First, this Commander came with a bad aftermarket stereo that really bugged me so I wanted to update it. Second, this Commander came with an after-market flip down LCD DVD player mounted to the roof and the DVD player didn't work. I wanted to wire the head unit to the screen so that I can play DVDs from the head unit to the overhead screen. I've never had a vehicle with an overhead LCD screen and it's what sold the kids on the commander... so it was important that I made it work ;)


 

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Hey bud,

I live in Edmonton. I bought mine two years ago. I have replaced the plugs, which were beyond toast, and the EGR.

So far I have added the OME springs and Rancho shocks and struts, drill slot brake rotors with new calipers and ceramic pads and 1.5" wheel spacers on 2011 Grand Cherokee wheels. I just purchased the Rough Country 2" lift. I also purchased some stainless headers to get rid of a leaky passenger exhaust manifold.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Hey bud,

I live in Edmonton. I bought mine two years ago. I have replaced the plugs, which were beyond toast, and the EGR.

So far I have added the OME springs and Rancho shocks and struts, drill slot brake rotors with new calipers and ceramic pads and 1.5" wheel spacers on 2011 Grand Cherokee wheels. I just purchased the Rough Country 2" lift. I also purchased some stainless headers to get rid of a leaky passenger exhaust manifold.
Hey Flex, glad to have a fellow Albertan on the forum.

These Commanders seem to have a very common set of issues. My old plugs were bad. I wonder if they were ever changed in it's 230,000 kms life. The sticker on my hood says the plug gap should be .045. The old ones were all around .075.

I have to attack the manifolds in the next few weeks. From what I gather the old gaskets were a single layer of metal material while the newer gaskets allow for expansion/contraction by using multiple layers of various materials? I'm going to try my luck and stick with the old manifolds but get all new bolts. I might try stainless bolts for good measure. My Commander was throwing 4 different codes when I bought it. Now I'm down to just one, a P0430 which I hope will be curred by resealing the manifolds. I can easily hear the leak on startup coming from my passenger side.

For your lift, will you be running OME coils and the 2" lift? Is that going to wreak havoc on your CV's? I'd like more than 2" of lift but I'm not willing to commit to the superlift.
 

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I had several plugs that were badly rusted. I had to play them back and forth a few times so that the threads wouldn't pile up in the heads. ALWAYS use anti seize when plugs go into aluminum heads. Several had gaps around .090.

I puchased a remflex gasket for my project. It is a thicker graphite gasket. I also purchased ARP stainless studs and bolts to replace the rust prone factory fasteners. The headers are a set of heddmans I chose because they are very similiar in dimensions to the factory exhaust manifolds. I hear the leak as well, but no code trips.

Yes I intend to run both. Several members on hear have said that up to 4 inches of lift, it will not be an issue. Rear control arms will though. The OME's and the spacers were not huge cost but the rear control arms will be due to our crappy dolar.
 

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eFirst picture worthy "mod" was to install a double DIN radio. This wasn't entirely straight forward as this Commander came with the 1.5 DIN radio. So to make the double DIN fit, I had to cut the dash to make room for a double DIN radio.

Thanks to a post made by djmaro76 (http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/10-electronics-nav-discussion/18614-double-din-install.html) I knew this was possible. I welded the brackets to mount the stereo and then filled the half-circle holes with some plastic. To finish it off, I painted the center plastic trim around the stereo.

The motivating factor in doing this was two fold. First, this Commander came with a bad aftermarket stereo that really bugged me so I wanted to update it. Second, this Commander came with an after-market flip down LCD DVD player mounted to the roof and the DVD player didn't work. I wanted to wire the head unit to the screen so that I can play DVDs from the head unit to the overhead screen. I've never had a vehicle with an overhead LCD screen and it's what sold the kids on the commander... so it was important that I made it work ;)
Looking good @ngrover; nice work.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Build update (lots of parts / lift / tires )

Finally got all my todo items done on the commander. Now that the essentials are out of the way, it's all about tinkering and improving things along the way (building bumpers etc).


List of things I've done:

lower front ball joints (x2)
lower control arm to clevis bushings and bolts (x2)
front sway bar bushings (x2)
front sway bar end-links (x2)
rear bake pads (x4)
front brake pads (x4)
rear shocks (Ford F150) (x2)
rear lift coils springs (x2)
rear coil spring isolators (x4)
front struts (x2)
front lift coil springs (x2)
front coil spring isolators (x4)
passenger side exhaust manifold gasket (x1)
passenger side exhaust manifold bolts (x8)
wheel spacers 1.5" (x4)
front differential bushings (x3)
front differential gear oil (x1)
front differential oil friction modifier (x1)
rear sway bar permanently removed (x1)
air filter (x1)
spark plugs (x16)
serpentine belt (x1)
belt idler pulley (x1)
belt tensioner pulley (x1)
coolant temp sensor (x1)
EGR valve (x1)
Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires (x4)
Sony double DIN stereo (custom conversion from 1.5 DIN factory radio)
Custom fit 3D MAXpider Kagu Floor Mats, front, middle, rear (x4)



 

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Discussion Starter #10
One thing I did that I hadn't seen done before was to use rear shocks for a 2006 Ford F150 4WD. I bought them on Rock Auto for $12 a piece and they bolted on nicely in the rear. Brand/part number is FCS 342508. All I had to do was add two thin washers for the top mount because the original shocks are slightly wider on the top mount.

The stock Commander rear shocks have the following specs:
compressed length: 15.19"
extended length: 24.88"
total travel: 9.69"
bottom mount: LS39
top mount: LS30



The 2006 F150 4WD rear shocks (FCS 342508) had the following specs:
compressed length: 16.25"
extended length: 27.25"
total travel: 11"
bottom mount: LS39
top mount: LS39



As you can see the top mount is different. I looked up the specs and found that an LS30 mount (on commander) has an inner sleeve diameter of 12mm and a sleeve width of 1 7/8". Meanwhile the Ford shock has an inner sleeve diameter of 1/2" and a sleeve width of 1 5/8". The minimum compression length also differs. When I physically compared the shocks next to each other the actual compressed length differed by 1/2". I doubt it's possible to bottom these out with the OME coils.

So as you can see the Ford shock is very slightly narrower and accommodates a bolt that is ever so slightly larger in diameter. The width is easily compensated for using a washer or two. The bolt diameter is what I was worried about though as I don't want the shocks knocking on compression. When I received the Ford shocks, what I found is that the bolt is tighter in the Ford shock then it was in the old spec shocks that I took off (go figure!). I bolted them on without any modification other than two washers and have been driving around with them for a week now without any issues, knocks, sounds etc. Seems good to go!

Anyway, you might be asking, are these shocks any good at $12? Well, so far they are working great. They seem damped well so it's more a matter of longevity rather than performance in my personal opinion. On an OME lift they give that little extra down travel... and at $12 a piece, if they don't hold up then I've not really lost a lot of money and they are easy to swap out. I'll post a long term update once I've had them a little longer and flexed them out off-road.
 

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That looks good, reminds me a lot of how I had mine sitting a little while ago.
 

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Anyway, you might be asking, are these shocks any good at $12? Well, so far they are working great. They seem damped well so it's more a matter of longevity rather than performance in my personal opinion. On an OME lift they give that little extra down travel... and at $12 a piece, if they don't hold up then I've not really lost a lot of money and they are easy to swap out. I'll post a long term update once I've had them a little longer and flexed them out off-road.
I was not going to comment on this at all but as a Moderator here, I feel the need to.

If you are strapped for cash - or your on a REALLY tight budget, I can understand you trying something like this but I would not recommend this to anyone. You get what you pay for - and suspension components are not an area you want to skimp on with a 4x4.
 
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