My 1973 Jeepster Commando is something I have always wanted to fix up and drive, but haven't had the time. This vehicle is just 1 year older than me, and I "purchased" it when I was 12 years old. Of course I didn't actually own it at the time, but it became mine over a period of time. I learned how to drive, enjoying tearing up the dirt lot and learning all about shifting and everything else. Only now do I actually have the chance to get to know this cool little four wheeler! It has been in storage at my dad's shop many years. Thanks to the hard work of my brother and his daring cross country adventure from Kansas to California in the Jeepster, I now have mobility in all seasons - rain, mud, snow and just plain off-road fun are in store!
Be sure to visit the Jeepster Commando Video library!
As you will see in these photos, it certainly needs some work in order to become the jewel antique its capable of transforming into. Everything is working but with just a few glitches.
One of the first tasks is definitely going to be reworking the wiring harnesses and electrical systems (this task is done!). Though it may look like the back end is dragging, this is the natural appearance of a Commando. The wheel wells are more open in the front and close down in back, giving the appearance that things aren't quite right. Not shown in the photos below are the nice new tires this Jeepster now has!
I have rewired the entire electrical system. You can see a few pics of that project here, you can also scroll to the bottom of the page for wire harness pictures. Another recent upgrade is the installation of the Davis Unified Ignition HEI breakerless distributor. This thing is awesome. The engine was mis-firing, not developing power and generally not running well. Rather than start replacing parts on this old beast, I simply upgraded and bypassed the standard distributor and ignition coil system. The D.U.I ignition unit has a built in coil and simply takes 12V power from the ignition switch (single wire, no fancy stuff!). I opened up the spark plug gap as they recommended (to around 0.050" or 'fifty thousandths') and boy does it start and idle nice. Acceleration is astounding, compared to what it was before. Power is solid, responsive and pretty reliable so far. I feel better knowing the parts count is down and the ignition spark is more agressive now. As an added bonus, I replaced the Ford 2100 type carburetor with a Holley 2 barrel 7448 carburetor. It bolted right on with no adverse issues, as can happen sometimes. I didn't have to touch anything except the idle speed. I opted to stick with the standard manual choke and installed a choke cable to the left lower dash panel area. This way I can set it exactly where I want for smooth starting and idling on cold mornings.
The links below can help you learn more about the jeepster:
American Jeepster Club
Jeepster Commando Club
These pictures were taken in fall of 2006, when i installed a Davis Unified Ignition HEI distributor in this AMC V8 304 in^3 engine. the performance increase was phenomenal! the old points, cap and rotor were corroded, worn and the engine was missing horribly and not starting, not running well. i bit the bullet, bought a DUI HEI ignition (breakerless, solid state technology) and also bought a new holley carburetor. it runs like a charm now. the manual choke is a nice touch as well. no more guessing about what the choke is actually doing.
this is the american jeepster club meeting october 1, 2005
the wire harness!