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Old Blue - 89 Base Comanche

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Last week I spotted a clean looking Comanche on a dealer's lot and bought it on the spot without even driving it first because I didn't have a lot of time and he said it ran good. I have done business with this dealer before and always been satisfied, so why would he lie? The asking price sounded right, so I wrote him a check without bothering to negotiate. Today, I drove it for the first time - all the way home on my 55 mile one way commute on mostly country roads with spotty cell phone coverage. Oh yes, it has over 213,000 miles on the clock. Am I naive or what?


Anyway, the gas gage indicated 1/4 tank, so I drove it to the nearest gas station and filled it up. It took 16 gallons and then the gage said full. A quick check of signals and lights indicated everything worked but the backup lights. I accidentally discovered the horn works as well. The transmission shifted fine and all syncros worked flawlessly on both up and down shifts without having to double clutch. There is a little engine noise under load and I couldn't determine if might be an exhaust leak or noisy valve-train. In any event, the 4.0 seemed peppy and I averaged 65 MPH all the way home with the truck driving and stopping straight without wandering or pulling. It even had a decent ride and handled well with the newish Toyo all terrain snow tires on every corner.


When we got home, there was still some daylight, so the dog suggested I take a few pictures while he took a crap, so I did.


Oh yes, the dog is particular where he goes, so we put the transfer case in 4 Hi and then 4 Lo before driving out by our fallen down barn. I wasn't sure if 4hi was working, but the Comanche came alive in 4 Lo -- idle seemed to increase to where it would be too fast for crawling, so we shifted back to 4hi.


The pillar courtesy lights work, both of them and the speedometer, odometer and idiot lights all function (including 4WD indicator and e-brake). The jack is in place behind the seat and secured with the proper strap. There is an after-market JVC cassette stereo loosely installed in the dash that actually sounds pretty good and some crappy speakers behind the seats. It doesn't look like anything was cut up however. I can't believe that seat has 213,000 miles on it.


I notice the driver's floor was wet under a worn through hole in the otherwise nice floor mat. This will require further investigation and may be the most immediate issue if there is substantial rust, but so far, this is the only evidence of rust I can find. Rust repair and prevention will be high on the project list.


I like the stock wheels and appreciate the newer, matched Toyo tires, but will be looking for a 3 to 4.5" lift and fitting a set of 32" KM2s on 17" rims.


There are some other cosmetic issues: missing driver's side door lock and a couple of dents on the passenger side and bed rail.

The engine compartment looks complete and relatively unhacked. It looks like the shocks were replaced recently, which might explain the nicer than expected ride.


I bought it the day it came on the dealer's lot, so it hasn't been detailed or washed. This truck appears to be a genuine survivor that was used (a lot!), but not abused. The dash pad is uncracked and pliable except for a small spot on the glove box door.


Finally, my immediate plans are to fix any cancerous rust issues, cherry the body and respray Old Blue in the original color. This will be followed by linex in the bed, the lift, a front winch bumper for my extra M8000 and maybe one of those new Hanson rear bumpers and some fabricated rockers.


Pictures in following posts.

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Sorry the pictures don't show up inline, but I am having some problem with the submit process not recognizing the size of a couple of the images when I use the img tag. It doesn't tell me which pictures, it just says no can do.



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Ok, I took a LOT of time weeding out the bad photos so everyone can enjoy them. They are 1064,7, and 8. I deleted these photos and the other ones worked. I had to put an "IMG" code in all of them so remember to do this the next time and enjoy!! Nice pictures by the way!!!








































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  • 10 months later...

Well, after months of planning, dis-assembly and ordering parts, the Comanche is getting painted and put back together. It finally got warm enough this weekend to paint (70F in the shop today with the natural gas space heater). Here are some pictures of the last three days progress.


Friday: Finished trimming the front fenders for new OR-FAB winch bumper and ARB snorkel.



Saturday: Treated minor rust in repaired floor pans with POR-15:




Saturday: Final prep for paint.



Sunday: First coat of sealer.



Painting the canopy to match. Final color will be medium blue pearl metallic with yellow or orange pin stripes.


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John is the man! One day I'll have him paint one of my projects.

John is the man. I'm renting some shop space from him. Maybe we'll catch up to you on a trail run this year. He's really starting on some serious upgrades to his XJ now that my Comanche is almost done.

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That is sooooo nice! I want that colour on mine. Btw whats with the hole in the fender?


The hole is for an ARB snorkel that I will be putting on when we start putting the Comanche back together. Stay tuned.



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After what seemed like months of making no progress at all, it is all coming back together rather quickly and phase I should be done in a week or so. Here is what happened over the last couple of days:


Friday - POR-15 spray in bed liner kit installed with one-time spray gun. Glad I bought an extra can of liner:



Saturday - Got the armor on: OR-FAB front bumper (still deciding on which winch to get):





Saturday - Hanson rear bumper (both bumpers pretty much lined up and bolted on without issue)



Saturday - Rocky Road Super Sliders





Whats left: Reassemble and hang the doors. Replace flooring (carpet or mat?), interior trim and seat. Install ARB Snorkel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saturday: Got the ARB Safari Snorkel about half installed. Need to finish airbox modification and this will be really sealed. Also picked up some Cherokee 2 door bucket seat frames. Kinda nasty, but they should be rebuildable with a little elbow grease.


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Kind of cold this weekend so I didn't get much done. We needed more floor space for projects coming into the shop, so we set the topper on the truck for the first time since paint:



Also mounted a Warn M8000 in the front bumper, but I am not happy with the relationship of the fairlead to the the hole in the winch plate. Also, mounting the control box and lights could be problematical.



I guess I need to clean my camera lens also:




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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of small stuff to attend to, but it should be back on the road this afternoon.


In the last few days we installed the new vinyl flooring, got most of the interior put back and even had all the screws and fasteners with nothing left over. Something to be said for tagging and bagging. It doesn't seem like it at first, but it sure saves time.


This afternoon I have to install the rear license plate bracket and mount my auxiliary fuse panel to hook up the extra lights, future CB etc. The fog and flood lights are on backorder, but the wiring should be there when they arrive.


Phase II will involve a SOA lift, gears and an ARB compressor with lockers when my bank account starts to recover.


Laying down the flooring:



Bumper, winch and D2 driving lights mounted:



The money shot after seat was re-installed:




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:rock on: Nice find!!! :cheers: How do you guys find these trucks on lots. It's been ages since I have seen one on a lot here in NC. comanche.gif


Actually, they come up fairly often. The particular dealer I got mine from had a pair of 88s about a year earlier. One was a pristine Olympic edition 4.0 4x4 longbed with no dings, scratches or rust. The other was a 4.0 2WD in red with a matching topper that looked like it had never been left outside at night or driven in the rain. He wanted less than $2,000 for either of them, but I passed, so when this one came up for $1,500, I took the plunge.



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Well, I got enough done on the Comanche this afternoon to drive it out of the shop and back to the farm with no issues. Here are a few pictures after the JEEP stickers were applied to the tail gate and the rear license plate mounted:






Hangin' in the field with my Dodge PowerWagon:







Still have a few lights to install when they arrive and all the usual maintenance and small repairs to do while I try and recover financially enough to start the next phase of modifications.



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A late season snow storm Monday night (it's now Friday and the power is still out) gave me the opportunity to use the stock 4WD extensively commuting 55 miles each way this week. It seems to work well and all other systems including the lights, brakes, wipers and heater work fine also. I have a vibration around 55MPH in 2WD, but it is nothing like death wobble, but I'll have to look into that when the snow melts. Overall, I am fairly pleased.





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Well, we had 8 inches of snow yesterday and today is clear and in the 50F range. The reflective tailgate JEEP stickers I bought from Spencer, sure do light up at night. My back ordered IPF fog lights came in yesterday, so perhaps I can get motivated this weekend and get them installed.





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