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Gir's '86 Mj - Round 2

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Just unloaded the new MJ from the flatbed and got it parked. Got the itch again a few weeks back so started looking for a new one. This makes my forth Comanche, and my second '86 X. An '86 may not be my first choice, but the body is only just starting to show cancer at the wheel wells and because of some other options on it I decided to grab it. The rebuilt engine with Holley and Edelbrock parts didn't hurt either.


It is a fancier version of my first X (this one has lots of chrome, roll bar, factory lights, black interior, and the engine tweaks to list a few) and has an awesome two-tone paint scheme (which for now I plan on keeping) that seems to be the reverse of all the ones I've seen in these colors.


It runs really well, sounds much stronger than the 2.8L that was in my first '86, and has a lot going for it once it warms up and I find the time to clean it up I think. Though it is still the dreaded 2.8L, so quite a ways down the road that will be replaced with something better. Probably a 4.0L HO and I'm thinking an AW4 with an NP242, plus a better rear axle. PO claims the engine and tranny were rebuilt about 30k ago when the Edelbrock and Holley stuff was then added, but he couldn't find any of the paperwork so that is up in the air. He seemed like a good guy and this was actually one of several MJs he has owned, so I want to lean towards it being truth.


Right now it is non-op since the slave cylinder is out, so once it warms back up I will fix that. It is also in need of some new shocks, already have those picked out and I'll order them in the coming weeks. Tires are practically new though, so it has that going for it. Only cancer I have found so far is what is just starting along the wheel wells and a small-ish spot on the driver side floor. The rest is surface where paint has peeled off. Inside of the bed is clean of rust, mind the finger in the photo. Fog lights and roll bar lights don't appear to work, I'll have to check bulbs and such then dig into the wiring if needed I guess. Tailgate needs replaced since it is bent a bit and the handle doesn't work well. It has a vent window only on the passenger side door, which is rusty and needs replaced anyways, so I need to find two replacements or one solid replacement. I'd like to swap the bench for buckets since I basically hate bench seats, but I have a feeling finding black buckets with a full center console will be next to impossible. I also want to swap out the solid rear window for a 3pc slider if I can find one. I know I could order a new 4pc, but after owning both I prefer the stock 3pc one. I also want turbines and have the large 4x4 door/side decals reproduced in blue to get the look I truly want.


For now though, have some pics as those speak better than words. It has been sitting in a woods for around eight months give or take, so it needs scrubbed and de-cobwebbed pretty badly. That will have to wait for warmer weather as well though and takes second place to getting it running and such.



And upon taking the driver side door panel off to get the window back up, I found this between the plastic and the cardboard of the panel. A little faded, but I'll scan it and see if I can work some photoshop magic when I have the time.


Overall not a bad way to jump head first back into the addiction, and it was basically what I was looking for other than the 2.8L. A daily drive-able project to have fun with and enjoy. And yea, a lot of pics. But I like to have them for documentary purposes to look back on.


Also as reference for my forgetful nature, I'm jotting down a plan of things to-do.

Fix clutch

Remove and flush radiator / reservoir tank

Replace all fluids

New windshield

Fix rust and repaint (rattle can flats or Monstaliner the whole body?)

Figure out the one non-functioning fog light

Figure out non-functioning gauges

Replace gauge cluster with full (tach) version

Tonneau cover, taken to have modified to fit with roll bar

Monstaliner the bed

Replace bench with buckets

Replace tailgate

Unbend bumpers or replace (I'm thinking JCR)


Rocker guards

3" or 6" SOA lift?

More to come...

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Yup, has a fuel injection kit on it (should have taken the filter off and snapped a pic). Which does bring up a good point of just dropping in a 3.4L and running with it, though I have been doing a lot of reading on 96+ 3800 engines since I hate doing maintenance on the 3.4L. Even changing spark plugs is a royal pain and the timing chain is even worse. Even been thinking about just swapping in a 2.5L.


Though an engine swap is a long ways off, for now the 2.8L is fine so long as it stops smoking. I've not had a chance to mess with it anymore than getting fuel into it and getting it semi-tuned to run better and not so rough. From lots of reading I am hoping the smoke is just from it sitting for 8 months or so and will take care of itself once fluids are changed and it gets ran for awhile.

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Kind of side-tracking my own thread here a bit, but go check out Pat's rig. He did the 3800 thing, and yes it does destroy the AX-5. Not that I'd be worried about that since I would be swapping to auto no matter what engine I end up going with in the end.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Got all my parts in and finally started putting them on. Started with the rear shocks, some Monroe Sensa-Trac Load Bearing ones. Have not driven it yet since the truck still can't move, but I gained about an inch of lift measured at the center of the flares lower edge lip. Ordered the same front shocks only without the load bearing springs, but have not put them on yet since I ran into an issue when I did the rear shocks. I was trying to adjust the position of a brake line that was wedged between the spring on the driver side shock and the frame, and there was apparently a weak spot in a bend that moved just enough to start leaking. So that now needs fixed and the lines in the rear need rerouted anyways since last time they were done the prop valve was taken out of the equation and the routing was done poorly.


At the rate I'm discovering issues, I'll have everything replaced before I get it back on the road. After taking a good look at the motor mounts in hopes of putting the new ones on today, I have also decided it would be a lot easier with a hoist because of the way the exhaust is on that 2.8 and the way it fits in the truck. Because of that fact, I've decided to just take it to a friends shop and have him do everything at once since my days off are limited and I'd like to get it on the road. Then I can start digging in with paint and maybe off-road style bumpers and such.


I will say the new shocks look really cool, so that's a plus.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A very nice looking truck, barring the surface rust. Chrome everything and Marchals to boot also make it cool. Looking forward to more updates :thumbsup:

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Not much of an update since the weather has been bad, but I did pressure wash the thing, scrub the tires, and clean the interior. I think it cleaned up rather nicely. Forgot to grab a pic of the interior and the awesome looking shocks, but I'm sure there will be many more pics later once I start really digging into it this summer.


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A very nice looking truck, barring the surface rust. Chrome everything and Marchals to boot also make it cool. Looking forward to more updates :thumbsup:


Thanks Johnny. Can't wait to produce them updates for y'all, it's already a looker in my book so can't wait for some fresh paint and sliders.  . :MJ 1: .

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Check out what I just scored...


4 NOS Mud Flaps!


Now I won't have to custom make some out of some mud flap material I have laying around. Might have been a bit more than I wanted to spend on these, but with the options my truck already has plus the tonneau cover I'm having reproduced and factory skid plates I should be getting this summer, I feel having a full set makes it worth it.

Can't wait to get them on once they arrive.  :banana:

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  • 1 month later...

Not much new really, still waiting for the go ahead to haul it to my mechanics shop once he is finished with his current project. I did recently acquire a wood grain dash though from PFCLeist so I got the chance to toss it in. Looks really good with that black interior.



I'll have to get a new switch cover for the hole and I still need to replace my clock from whatever the PO did to this one, but with it sitting in the sun and there being no clouds yesterday I decided not to do much.

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