Over 25 years ago I drove a 85 Jeep Cherokee and always wanted the pickup version. Fast forward 20 years, I started searching for Comanche for a trail riding truck to explore Northern California Sierra Mountains. I had no luck, after 10 months, finding a local "clean" Comanche.
Then I found a '86 4x4 long bed on a Copart online auction in Montana. I was bidding only against one other user, who was from Kuwait. I won the bid, but was nervous as I have never bought any vehicle without seeing it, but the photos looked great. So it arrived in North California about a week later, dent free, rust free, and a clean interior.
The first step was to find everything wrong and worst, it had water in the oil. So it was not drivable, not without causing engine damage. As it has the 2.8l V6 GM engine and with a little internet research, the most common problem, causing water leak in the engine, is a bad intake manifold gasket. Hoping that was it, I torn into the engine top and removed the intake manifold. It was very apparent, the gasket was leaking water. So ordered new intake gaskets. Once reassembled, change the oil, filter and crossed my fingers that was it. So after four years, it is still running, water free in the oil. Before I could get started on all the other things broken or issues, like the big water leak from rain into the cabin, my job changed, got super busy, and I parked the truck in my garage for about a year, as I was work and family busy to do anything on it. Then for my job I moved to Arizona, just before Covid-19 outbreak. I found paint shop who mainly work on old cars and trucks. I dropped my '86 there, with an agreement, I am in no hurry, so take your time. It sat there for most all of the Covid-19 period, with a-little part being done now and then. Then two weeks ago, almost two years later, the truck was done!
Now the work begins for me to build it up as my AZ Overlander. As my dream is to use it for camping, while exploring Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern Utah.
My to do list for it now is:
1. Lights – turn signals do not blink, brake light not working now after the repaint.
2. New front Winch, mount, and wiring
3. New carpet
4. refresh Diff gear oil - front & back
5. Check A/C - not working - convert to R143a
6. Bed mount rack for pop up roof tent & trail jack
7. transmission oil change
8. pass. side window motor not working - repair
9. 2.5" lift kit w/new shocks
10. upgrade radio and speakers
11. Ball joint replacement
12. Aluminum radiator swap w/ new Anti-freeze
13. Fuel filter
14. Transmission linkage adjustment - it will not go into Park
15. Improve overall electrical grounding
So a long list of things to get done. It will slow going as it is mid-summer in Phoenix and 110 degrees in my garage daily! I will need to work early morning on the weekends when it is under 95 and quit by noon when it hits over 105, but my goal is get the top 10 items items done by mid September.