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New Bullnose

Discussion in 'Jeepster Commando and Commando Tech' started by gunner, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Jan 19, 2019
    gunner

    gunner Member

    Washington state...
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Messages:
    584
    Just bought this a couple days ago and will have it at the house tomorrow. '72 Bullnose Commando. It won't have a name- just bullnose. It doesn't have the original engine or tranny (304 and TH-400). It does have a Dana 20 TC. The jeep hasn't been driven in probably 20-25 years (19 years for sure and I'm thinking a few before that). For the most part it's been inside except for the last year or two. Like all jeeps, it's suffered a bit for that but it's overall in pretty good shape. It'll need lots of TLC and I'm pretty sure a new engine and tranny.

    It currently has a Chevy 307 out of a '68 Chevelle hooked up to a TH 400 out of a 70s era truck. It's highly unlikely I will keep either as it's just too easy to go with a complete package pulled from a donor. Well, I'll just list what it has and then add a few pics:

    Dana 30 in front and flanged /centered 44 in rear (all stock)
    307 Chevy
    TH400
    Dana 20
    3.73 gears, both open diffs looks like
    Power steering (stock)
    Manual brakes and stock 11" drums all around
    Warn hubs
    SC-2 package. It's a trim package mostly but does include the sliding side windows and a pretty cool looking cigarette lighter
    Has the grill which has been newly powdercoated
    Stock seats and interior, much of it original (and looking it)
    The tires and rims are some I had on hand. Might eventually have 235-85-16s on Willys 16x5 rims
    $500+ in extra parts (dashboard, windows etc). We paid 1000 for the jeep

    It has some rot in the floor panels so I'll be fabricating and replacing 20190118_130912.jpg 20190118_133333.jpg all that, but building up the DJ taught me those skills. After that, it's just figuring out a powerplant and transmission combination. I've got some ideas and preferences but would appreciate input from forum members.

    Here's the pics so far, more once I get it home tomorrow
     
    ojgrsoi, 58 willys, Twin2 and 2 others like this.
  2. Jan 19, 2019
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Messages:
    19,310
    Woohoo! I like 'em.

    Nothing wrong with the SBC and TH400. Most of them got the AMC 304 with the TH400. The 307 used to be the least desirable of those engines; as I recall, it's a 350 with the iron 283 crank? Something like that. Just another SBC. Keeping it would be the least expensive option. The TH400 is very strong and durable, but not very efficient.

    If it were a Wagoneer, I would suggest a Gen III Chevy, with a 4L60E and a passenger drop NP241. I'm not sure there is enough room between the rails for the chain driven case, so in that case I'd suggest adapting a Dana 300. The axle ratio may be too high for a modern overdrive automatic, but you could re-gear. Not sure what a Commando would get with an automatic, maybe 3.31s, or optional 3.73s?

    Protect those rockers - they have a big sign that says "dent me" for anything but easy trails.
     
  3. Feb 9, 2019
    Rich M.

    Rich M. Shoe pusher

    Maryland
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    439
    307 was plagued by tiny valve heads, cams that easily got wiped and low compression. However, put a set of decent 1.94 heads on, a mild aftermarket cam and you have a nice package that runs on low po pump gas.
     
    heavychevy likes this.
  4. Feb 10, 2019
    jackdog

    jackdog Member

    Finger Lakes NY
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Messages:
    217
    It has the sliding hardtop windows which are rare. Probably worth at least half what you paid.
     
  5. Feb 10, 2019
    Sierra Bum

    Sierra Bum Member

    The High Sierra
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2017
    Messages:
    149
    Cool Project! How about an EFI 351 and a ZF5?
     
  6. Feb 10, 2019
    Buildflycrash

    Buildflycrash Member Sponsor

    Gulf Breeze FL...
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Messages:
    558
    Has the aftermarket parking brake, 4 of ‘em!
     
  7. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:29 PM
    gunner

    gunner Member

    Washington state...
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Messages:
    584
    Thanks for posting, you guys.

    I've been cutting out rusted floor panels in 3 areas- near tailgate and pass and driver floors. Pretty typical stuff. But the weather turned here pretty dramatically and it's tough to work in the carport now. so I'll get it down in the shop this weekend and get it near the woodstove.

    Since I last posted I pulled the engine and th400 and put them in the shop, putting the engine on the engine stand. I'm not too familiar with small blocks but they are pretty simple to figure out and I have a couple excellent resources on the island who can help thru any small block related problems.

    Turns out the engine is an original 1966 283 (PO told me it was a 307). The build date for the block is March 23, 1966; for the heads it's March 22 and 23, 1966 and the stamped number on the front of the engine, just below the pass side head is March 25. So I'm figuring it's all original parts on this thing. Hasn't been bored. Not sure of any work on the heads (heads are the 520 powerpack heads). The heads are old school and don't have any accessories holes in them but I've read where they can be drilled and tapped by a machinist. I'll have to look into that.

    The intake is a later model GM spread bore 4 barrel with an Edelbrock 1406 series Performer with electric choke. I was told it was 600 cfm. It came with block hugger headers but I am unlikely to use them as I prefer cast iron manifolds. Has an HEI distributor.

    There is some cylinder ridge on all bores, with 2 cylinders worse, but the bores look good otherwise. Not sure about the cam. It's a little bit suspect but I'll have a friend give his opinion later this week. I like the idea of a 283 (bored out .030 would make it a 287 I think). Seems a good fit to a jeep this size and with a RV cam might get me a good mix of street performance and wheeling ability. If we keep this motor, more than likely it would be rebuilt. I've considered a takeout tbi 350, and even a LS Gen III motor (as Tim suggested). Right now we are leaning towards keeping it old school (carb, HEI and so on). But that could change with research and input from others. We are looking for a decent trail rig with family 3rd car driveability and reliability. But overall I think the 283 size is a good fit (stock radiator and so on). Maybe put 5000 miles/yr on it.

    The sliding side windows I think are part of the SC-2 package. Some say that's Super Commando, some say Sport Commando. Either way, sound the trumpets!

    I'll get some more pics up. Should this thing be in a build or fabricator thread?
     
  8. Feb 11, 2019 at 1:44 PM
    heavychevy

    heavychevy Sponsor Sponsor

    Danielsville georgia
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    208
    I've ran a couple 283's years ago in cars. They are great engines. Check your compression, and if good , my advice is to hang on to it.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM
    gunner

    gunner Member

    Washington state...
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
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    584
    Yeah, at least one person has suggested running it as is.
     
  10. Feb 16, 2019 at 3:33 PM
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Messages:
    19,310
    Yep, the 283 is a great version of the SBC. Some (the earlier ones?) have steel cranks. I don't see any reason to change it.
     
  11. Feb 16, 2019 at 6:09 PM
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! Sponsor

    Washington DC.
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,273
    I like old junk. If at all possible, and only if it makes financial sense, I would keep the old power plant junk and run it! If not, go as modern as your pocketbook will allow.
     

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