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Unread 03-08-2012, 08:19 PM   #1
87warrior
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Junction City, Kansas
Posts: 1,598
1986 2.5L Comanche "Heavy Four"

Ever have an impulse buy? I thought I needed another project, drove to Iowa....
.....and ended up dragging this home:




Interior... with 3/4 cluster!


1986 Longbed 2.5L/AX5/207 D30/35
It is rusty, it is crusty and it doesn't run.

My goal for this truck is to build a solid, comfortable, daily driver and a work truck. Since it will see a fair amount of salt on winter roads, I wont spend any time trying to 'save' any removable parts from rust.

The plan
- Luk clutch kit from Carolina Clutch (the AX5 that came with the truck is internal slave)
- Install transmission and transfercase
- Replace motor mounts and transmission mount
- Replace control arms/bushings with lightly used TJ arms
- Replace shocks with lightly used Monroes from my '92
- Install buckets and console from my '99 donor
- Pull and replace or clean the carpet
- Patch floor boards
- Repair headliner
- Install 'Fey' rear bumper
- Replace TRE's and Tie-Rod with V8 ZJ
- Upgrade to V8 ZJ Progressive rate front coil springs
- Upgrade trackbar to a used RE1600 with TRE at frame mount
- Upgrade to Hell Creek Metric Ton rear leaf springs

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Unread 03-08-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
Irongrave
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looks like a cool project I personally would love to build a 97+ comanche or a truggy off a comache cab good luck with it
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Unread 03-08-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
87warrior
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Naturally the floor pans are rusted

Pulled the moldy, flimsy, wet headliner, well as the bench and wet carpet.
Passenger side isn't bad at all:

Driverside isn't as bad as my 92:


The driver side does have holes in it, primarily around the firewall/floorboard seam and one in the back corner.I will also cut the sheet metal of of the donor and do a 'patch' fix.

A good friend of mine picked up the truck and hauled it to his shop. He will be welding in new floors/patch panels. I am not looking for a pretty repair job, just something sturdy that will keep the dirt and water on the bottom side of the cab. Pulled with his sweet Dodge. Truck didn't even realize the MJ was on the trailer.


Pulled the fenders:

Being an '86 it took me a while to figure out how the fender/header panel mount which is quite different than my '92 or the '99 XJ.

My buddy notified me of some possible scrap material I could use for rockers from an old cultivator in a pasture. 2x4, 1/4" box steel. Perfect! After torching it out and putting out the grass fire which was inevitable, a section was cut down to size for the truck.


The patch work of repair. I had initially only cut a few pieces out of the donor. Since nothing is ever easy, there was very little solid floor to weld to. I had him leave a small opening into the frame rail so I can treat it with POR15.



Had another snap of warm winter weather so I primed the new floor and sprayed with under coating:



I also mounted the Fey bumper I had bought for the '92 a few years back.


Sprayed the rockers as well:
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Unread 03-08-2012, 08:42 PM   #4
87warrior
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At one point I had deemed the seats out of my 99 donor garbage. They were dirty, grimey and were filled with a stagnant ciggarette stench. I couldn't even get any local folks who were looking for bucket seats to take them!



I brought them home from the farm to try and clean them up. First I hosed the seats with a garden hose. Then I mixed a bucket of HOT dish soap and water then scrubbed the seats with the soapy water mix with a small nylon brush. Rinsed with the garden hose and vacuumed. Repeated the process 2-3 times then let them air dry for a week. These seats are better looking that what is in my Rubi and only smell like fabric.

Installed in the truck:



Finished my center console mount and got it installed.


Yay! Cup holders! This truck is going to have a real comfy interior with a sub-par body.
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Unread 03-08-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
87warrior
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I spent some time drilling out the crossmember mount in the frame and on the braces. The extra crossmember braces on the 86 are actually welded to the frame. And wouldn't you know it, all of the bolts were snapped.

My tools of choice


Drill bits
-15/64
-9/32
-11/32
A 10-1.50 plug tap (this is the same tap you need for the rear frame bumper brackets)
And of course, oil

Since the bolts were all snapped, I had to pick up some replacements.


I also dropped the rusty fuel tank. The fuel pump was manufactured in March of 85. I think I will go ahead and get a replacement on the way. I am also going to use the tank from my 92 since it is rust free.

I decided to forgo mounting the 97+ doors on this truck. I did not feel like trying to remove the door hinge bolts and fight with the inevitable rusted bolts....

....so, I notched the fenders for the rockers, mounted the fenders and installed the 97+ mirrors on the 86 doors



I can't wait to pull the cap!!!! Never been a fan of caps. I will put it in storage, not scrap it. I could see the cap being very useful someday.

While its an oxymoron, I had to touch up my cut marks, would hate for the fenders to rust.......


The goal for this truck is to make a comfortable, safe, daily driver out of a truck that should have been scrapped while doing the minimum. I will not skimp on safety, but I will let the bed continue to rot. You get the picture
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Unread 03-08-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
87warrior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irongrave View Post
looks like a cool project I personally would love to build a 97+ comanche or a truggy off a comache cab good luck with it
I am also doing a 97+ conversion on another MJ It will be like factory new once done. I will use this 86 has my work truck and daily driver.
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Unread 04-14-2012, 08:02 AM   #7
RJsJeep78
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'88 comanche "brother"

I understand the love/hate relationship with the Comanches.... picked up this "project truck" for my son, since he needed something that would be dependable & we've all heard the sweet talk about the inline 6.. so far it's had the radiator jerked out (the '88 design of the radiator SUCKS!) and replaced with a '92, new battery, new plugs, new filters everywhere, new fuel pump, new power steering pump, new thermostat, new brakes, the seats replaced (went from bench to w/two Cherokee buckets), jerked everything out of cab & repainted w/primer, reworked all electrical harnesses (Man, these are the price of GOLD.. couldnt find them anywhere, had to scavange,& lucked up)... the little guy is finally on the streets, purring but still needs stuff. Got an oil leak, probably needs the gasket, and now the transmission is cutting up... oh, well, my son & I are spending a LOT of quality time at Pull-a-Part! lol! Best part? ... insurance is $10/mo!!!
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Unread 06-12-2012, 01:00 PM   #8
87warrior
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Not much has happened to this poor truck since the last update. This is primarily due to the fact that my wife and I bought a house and I started a new job.

....but alas, I am back at it with a goal of one month to get it driving. Yep, that is right. This will be a push through June. Now that she sits in a garage, attached to the house, I think it may happen.

My first order of business was to get the fuel system squared away. So I dropped the tank, replaced the pump and strainer then tested the sender. I also replaced the fuel filter and all rubber hose and bought new fuel tank straps. At this moment I am saving the stock fuel tank. It was rusty, but I did not find any holes. It is 1/2 finished.

Since the truck was somebody else's project (or problem) I keep finding out I obviously did not get all of the nuts and bolts that were removed. It was missing the starter bolts and bell housing bolts. Finding the bolt sizes for these are just about impossible. Here is a reference list of the bolts I purchased.

Starter
- (2) 3/8-16x4"

Bell housing to block
- (2) M12x1.75x45
- (2) M12x1.75x50
- (2) M12x1.75x90
- (2) M 8 (unknown)

I ordered, received and installed a starter from Advance Auto with a lifetime warranty. I also checked and.changed the oil and installed new Champion spark plus. I inspected the piston tops and cylinder walls to the best of my ability.

It was then time to address the battery hold down on this truck (and the worn out battery from 2004). A rubber bungee cord is the only thing keeping the lead brick in place. I obtained a good used battery from my father who needlessly replaced the battery in his Silverado.

Used a generic battery hold down I found at the local farm supply store. I think it will work just perfect.



Now with a good battery I could, for the first time, test some of the trucks electronic systems:
Door buzzer - Good and annoying
Radio - Good
Horn - Good
Blinkers - Good
Headlights - Good
Tail lights - Fair, blinker bulb lights up on passenger side when tails are on. Probable ground issue
Gauge
Fuel pump - Good
Sending unit - Good gauge responded to float movement

Then curiosity got the best of me. Even though the fuel system is not finished, I wanted to hear the 2.5 turn over.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ4ZRsDPZMg

It was a small achievemet.

I was able to re-finish the stock fuel tank and get it installed with new tank straps. Of course, once I got it installed and dumped 5 gallons of fuel in there it decided to leak. Leak is coming from the bottom half of the tank behind a strap. Guess the rust was too much. At least I didn't buy anything for it. Time to buy a new tank.



I also got the bell housing test fitted with the bolts I bought. Fit like a glove.

Apparently I need to figure out what size bolts hold the CPS in place as now have two zip-ties holding it in place.

And the good news. I turned the key on and off several times to let the fuel pump get gas to the motor. This little 2.5 hasn't been run since 2004 and I was expecting the worst. Instead, this is what happened:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMCDbs4I1Tw

Yeah buddy! Even with an open header it was running darned smooth.

Oil pan and flywheel have been removed so I can replace the rear main and pan gasket.
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Unread 06-12-2012, 06:39 PM   #9
pure82cj
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Sweet little truck. Good luck!
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Unread 06-12-2012, 11:22 PM   #10
Rockdrummer93
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Good looking truck! Ive got a manche project as well and love it!
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Unread 06-13-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
87warrior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pure82cj
Sweet little truck. Good luck!
Thank you. It should be a great hard working rig once done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockdrummer93
Good looking truck! Ive got a manche project as well and love it!
Yep, been following your build since it is the same as what I am doing to my OTHER MJ.....

There is just something beautiful about an MJ, even when rusted out.
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Unread 06-13-2012, 11:18 AM   #12
Rockdrummer93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87warrior View Post
Yep, been following your build since it is the same as what I am doing to my OTHER MJ.....

There is just something beautiful about an MJ, even when rusted out.
yes, yes there is my friend! haha
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Unread 09-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #13
87warrior
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Transmission install picture at 1AM, courtesy of my wife. I thought it looked pretty cool, so I am sharing it.

Why is it that the later it gets, the more crap accumulates on the floor?

I upgraded the headlights.
IPF Housings and 55w H4 HID kit


Installed the driver side ballast:


And the passenger side ballast and the HID relay box:


HID bulb fitted into IPF housing:


Testing:


Light pattern:


I didn't like the blue interior, so I made it go away.


And I just love driving this little 2.5L. CB antenna is installed. Need to get the radio installed in the cab and run the coax. One step closer to communication.



Really enjoying the truck. It found its way to our pasture near our ponds.
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Unread 10-11-2012, 10:10 PM   #14
87warrior
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I installed an old set of JKS disconnects I had laying around.....and tested her out in the back yard:



My shocks are a little short.....

Finally got rid of the mismatched steel wheels. Helllllooooo Turbine:


My wife also instructed me to go pick up some pasture rock for landscaping. I don't know how much weight it was, but the load was in front of the rear axle. The 2.5 didn't hesitate tooooo much.
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Unread 09-18-2013, 10:32 AM   #15
87warrior
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Bee awhile since my last update. The ol' 86 just keeps on a keeping on. She has turned 172,000 miles and only burns 1/4 quart of oil every 5,000 miles. Although, I do have a random miss and loss of power I can't figure out.

I did get exhaust on it:


Other than that and replacing an O2 sensor, I have just been driving it. Also took it wheeling a few times.





Just a glamour shot of the beast:


Replaced the radiator that has been flopping around in its mounts since I bought the truck. It just seemed like an accident waiting to happen, probably when I would be a long ways from home....
- Flushed the slimy brown/green gunk from the radiator/motor
- Radiator
- Thermostat
- Upper and lower hoses
- Fresh extended life coolant


This past Sunday morning I decided to drive some of the county roads I haven't been on in quite some time. The rural roads of Kansas never cease to amaze me!
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