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'86 Comanche Purchasing Advice


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Goodday fellow Comanche lovers,

 

Similar to everyone here I've wanted a comanche for a long, long time. I pretty much gave up on it, because in western europe they're so damn hard to find.  I tried to settle for a post face lift cherokee, but I haven't had a lot of luck finding a good one in that category either. They're plagued by rust, high mileage(even for the 4.0) and owners who want more for it than they're worth.. I even tried a WJ, but the 4.7 is just too hungry for gas and the Insurance/road taxes are simply too high for someone with a part time job.

 

Believe or not, I found a comanche for sale. I've been talking to the owner and he's willing to part with it. It came from the Sunshine state, so rust is nowhere near the vehicle. It's been sitting in his garage for a while now since he's been trying to sell it.

 

Problem with it is, it's an 86. All my research on cherokee's was on the post 91 models. I know the np231, the 4.0 HO, the gearboxes all by heart. But I've never even seen an 86 cherokee, let alone a comanche. I simply don't know a lot about them. I've done some research of course, jeepforums are always incredibly helpfull and abundant in information, but I'd still like to hear any tips you could give me.

 

It's a 2.5TBI, 4 speed manual with command-trac Tcase. My impression is that it'll be a dana 35 in the rear with (hopefully) 4.10, or maybe 3.53. Front is Always D30 on the comanche's I believe? The nice thing about it is that it has fhe stock. roll/lightbar. I hear it's tinfoil material, but it'll make a good design to rebuild with thicker piping.

 

My plans for it:

 

I want to give it the facelift from the 97+, most importantly the 4.0, ax-15 and the ever rare np242. I know the tunnel/firewall needs modifying but I saw someone took Thor's hammer to it and that worked, so I'm not to worried about that. But what about transmission mounts? Will the crossmember of the ax-15 fit on an 86? will the 242 fit on an 86? I have acces to every form of welding, but I don't know anything about fabrication. I wouldn't even know where to find steel to use, that's how experienced I am. I'm really betting on plug and play upgrades, like the 96+ brakes, ZJ rear discs, Hella H4 lights and so on. I'm not afraid to pull the engine, it actually sounds fun. But hacking into a chassis might be above my head. Also, motormounts, do they need relocating?

 

It'll get a moderate 2-3'' lift, with at the most 30'' tires(with hopefully some moab wheels). It has to be a super reliable DD to get to school and work. This will be my first car, I want to be armed with information before I sink into a moneypit(No, not every jeep is a money pit per definition!)

 

Any insight is appreciated, even if you tell me to stay away from 86's. Thank you for reading this far.

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if they are that rare, I say buy it.  :thumbsup:

 

but I also vote for keeping the drivetrain.  the 2.5 will give better fuel mileage and has the power to move a 30" tire.  plus you can swap a 242 into it if you grab one with the 21 spline input.

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Goodday fellow Comanche lovers,

 

Similar to everyone here I've wanted a comanche for a long, long time. I pretty much gave up on it, because in western europe they're so damn hard to find.  I tried to settle for a post face lift cherokee, but I haven't had a lot of luck finding a good one in that category either. They're plagued by rust, high mileage(even for the 4.0) and owners who want more for it than they're worth.. I even tried a WJ, but the 4.7 is just too hungry for gas and the Insurance/road taxes are simply too high for someone with a part time job.

 

 

Dilithium,

 

Do I understand you and the 86 Comanche are in Western Europe???    If that is true, then you have some serious options for an engine upgrade that we in North America just don't have.  The 2.5 turbo diesel built (I think) by VM. 

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if they are that rare, I say buy it.  :thumbsup:

 

but I also vote for keeping the drivetrain.  the 2.5 will give better fuel mileage and has the power to move a 30" tire.  plus you can swap a 242 into it if you grab one with the 21 spline input.

For now that is definitly the idea, I'd just like to drive it and get used to the fourbanger. I might even like it. I'm so happy to hear the 242 will work with the standard driveline. I hear it's a much better tcase, and permanent 4x4 sounds sexy.

 

 

The 86 is not a bolt in affair for the 4.0, there are a few members here who have done the 4.0 swap. for the ammount of work it takes to get a 4.0 in a 86 you can put a 5.2 V8 in it.

 

From what I've read from other users it's the tunnel and cooling system, specifically the radiator mounts. I haven't read anything conclusive about motormounts, since the two blocks are so similar in design I hope I don't have to mess with them. The 5.2 v8(from the ZJ?) would be awesome, they're not uncommon here but the gas mileage is pretty crazy. I don't know if I want that. I'm definitely checking out your build though!

 

 

Goodday fellow Comanche lovers,

 

Similar to everyone here I've wanted a comanche for a long, long time. I pretty much gave up on it, because in western europe they're so damn hard to find.  I tried to settle for a post face lift cherokee, but I haven't had a lot of luck finding a good one in that category either. They're plagued by rust, high mileage(even for the 4.0) and owners who want more for it than they're worth.. I even tried a WJ, but the 4.7 is just too hungry for gas and the Insurance/road taxes are simply too high for someone with a part time job.

 

 

Dilithium,

 

Do I understand you and the 86 Comanche are in Western Europe???    If that is true, then you have some serious options for an engine upgrade that we in North America just don't have.  The 2.5 turbo diesel built (I think) by VM. 

 

 

Yes Sir, 2.5 TD cherokee's are around to steal an engine from. However much I like diesels too, even with the lower price per liter(quart) of diesel they're still not economical. Where I live, we pay roadtaxes by type of fuel and weight of the car. A diesel comanche would cost me about 80 bucks for roadtaxes per month, for an equivalant gas car it's significantly less. Unless I drive a certain amount of miles per year, diesel would cost me more. Not to mention how expensive new turbo's are for those engines.

 

I know western europe is vague as far as location goes, but I'm still worried about someone else snagging the car before I get to it. Once I get the comanche I can disclose my whereabouts =D. 

 

Thank you for all your replies.

 

I put in an offer, currently waiting for a reply.

 

I still have to do an inspection before I drive away with it, let's hope it's as advertised!

 

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As all of the others have said, swapping in a 4.0 isn't easy with an 86 due to the length of the engine - the firewall had to be modified to fit them after 87 and IIRC the radiator supports were changed as well. 86 is the least desirable year by a long shot, but the 2.5 is a solid motor and the AX4 isn't too bad either. For daily driver duty, you'll be fine with a 2.5 - although if I do say so myself the 4.0 makes for a far more fun daily driver. You will most likely have 4.10 gears with the D35 (although you could get lucky and find an AMC-20 under there, their covers are perfectly round) and a D30 front as you already know. Stock roll bars with lights are extremely rare, especially if it and the brackets are in good shape. Keep them.

 

You'll do well to do lots of research (as you are now) before jumping into any major modifications. CC is a very helpful bunch and we'll help you in any way you like. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and once you get it post plenty of pics for us! It's great to know just how far this club reaches. . :MJ 1: .

 

P.S. Everything people such as yourself will need to know from the start will eventually be written into an article that I'm (slowly) working on.

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From what I've read, the reason '86's are the least desirable is because of the GM 2.8L (Not an issue in your case) and they take more work to swap a 4.0 into. That and there were no short beds. As with any vehicle, as they built more and more, things were done to increase reliability, power, etc, but there's nothing downright wrong about it.

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Well it felt like touch and go for a moment there, since the owner of the comanche went silent for a few days. He finally replied to my offer today and hopefully I can go do a final inspection soon and call myself a comanche owner!

 

man, I have so much to read and bookmark before I start this project. I can't wait!

 

Thanks for your help everyone, if all goes well I'll start my own project thread soon.

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