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RowerJim

Where do you start? Brand new to the Comanche world!

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Just received an 86 2.5L 4x4, manual, longbed from my wife's grandfather. He used it as his daily driver and felt it was just time to pass it on. Luckily, I'm the only grandson-in-law or grandson in the family so I just picked it up from him a week ago. Overall, it is in great shape as far as I can tell, but before the wife and I take it out on some adventures I want to make sure we don't end up stranded. There have been a few issues that I have found so far namely, the lights to illuminate the gauges isn't working and some issues with a door opening and closing, but beyond that everything "seems" fine...until it isn't.


Again I'm brand new to the Comanche world so please keep it light on acronyms. Hoping for some guidance on where to start. It feels a bit like trying to eat the elephant even going through the current topics in the forum. I've found a few but then it goes down a rabbit hole. Thanks everybody for your patience with a newbie.

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Welcome. Nice of your wife's grandfather to keep it in the family. My best advice is to drive it somewhat regularly for awhile until you get a sense of how reliable it is -- or isn't. It's now 33 years old, so unless the grandfather did it recently, my suggestion would be to start with a good round of preventive maintenance: replace all hoses and belts, flush the brake system with new brake fluid, inspect the brakes, etc. Don't start driving it to work unless/until you see that it's reliable. Try to use it as much as possible each weekend.

 

Are ALL the dash lights out? Maybe they're turned off. The headlight switch rotates, and rotating it acts as the dimmer. One end of the rotation (sorry, don't recall which way) is OFF. Try rotating the headlight knob.

 

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after fluids and rubber bits, I would do the electrical.  Cruiser's renix tips are like the first link in the link in my signature.  do them all.  especially refreshing and adding grounds. :L: 

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also read through the "most important tips" thread at the top of this forum.  :L: 

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Let me say: Welcome to the addiction! And with that, here is some advice in addition to what the gurus have said:

 

1. Read all the threads you can. Even if it doesn't make sense or seems like a rabbit hole, read through it. The more you learn the better off you will be.

2. Do your own work on the truck. It takes some gumption and tools, but is more than worth it in the end result. No more wondering if someone else "did it right".

3. Just drive it for a while. No lift kits, no bigger tires, nothing extra. Get used to what is there first, and fix EVERYTHING that is wrong as you find it. Changes come later.

 

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the truck!

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To Eagle and Pete,

 

Thanks for the advice and order of operations. I'll be sure to do the preventivite maintenance and drive it around for a while to see what else might break along the way. Like JustEmpty was saying a lot of the forums right now aren't making a ton of sense purely based on the lingo. Just gotta keep reading through and hopefully start to catch on. As for the dash lights, I did read through the forums and tried out the twisting of the knob for the dimmer, as you'd expect no luck there. For now, just looking to get them working no upgrades planned immediately unless a replaced bulb takes the same work as an upgrade. As far as I can tell I already have the "nicer" dash with the tachometer, just no lights!

 

JustEmpty,

Thanks for the advice on doing the work myself. I'm going to try but then I'll just have to wonder if "I did the work right". hahaha

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1 hour ago, RowerJim said:

As for the dash lights, I did read through the forums and tried out the twisting of the knob for the dimmer, as you'd expect no luck there. For now, just looking to get them working no upgrades planned immediately unless a replaced bulb takes the same work as an upgrade. As far as I can tell I already have the "nicer" dash with the tachometer, just no lights!

 

Fuse panel is under the dash, above the driver's left foot. Check all the fuses.

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Also check the fusebox for any signs of damage and the area above it for any signs of wetness. It happens to be located directly below the clutch master cylinder. If that leaks, then you'll have corrosive brake fluid all over the plastic fusebox and the connectors inside. This caused severe electrical problems on my own manual '89.

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The dash light bulbs could simply all be burnt out. It's a little more to swap them than someone who has little mechanical knowledge may be willing to undertake, as you need to pull the cluster out. 

But I would be suspect of that switch as well. It functions by a wiper on a resistive coil of wire, which by nature gets hot, and more heat cycles will cause it to warp, corrode, etc. If the contacts are wearing they'll start to get really hot, as in setting on fire, because they carry the full load of the headlights. In addition to changing the switch, once you've looked at the switch to make sure it's okay and not melty, and once you've got more familiar with the truck it's a good idea to throw on a relay harness: 

This is what my switch looked like when I changed it... You don't want that. 

YLTLSN5.jpg

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do the relay swap for your headlights :L: 

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I just got an 88 4.0 long bed and I'm in the same boat.

A lot to learn. 

I have a question if someone could help...

What engages the electric fan and why would somebody bypass factory wiring to hook up a hot feed to the fuse box?

Seems to be the only modification on my truck.

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The electric fan is triggered by a thermostat on the radiator.  When the coolant temp reaches 195* the thermostat switch closes completing the circuit.  This then activates the relay that will power the e-fan.

 

Since you have an 88, there is the complete factory wiring diagram available on CC.  See Pete M. signature for the DIY link.

 

Edit:

 

The e-fan is also triggered when the AC is turned on (assuming you have AC).

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7 hours ago, gogmorgo said:

The dash light bulbs could simply all be burnt out. It's a little more to swap them than someone who has little mechanical knowledge may be willing to undertake, as you need to pull the cluster out. 

But I would be suspect of that switch as well. It functions by a wiper on a resistive coil of wire, which by nature gets hot, and more heat cycles will cause it to warp, corrode, etc. If the contacts are wearing they'll start to get really hot, as in setting on fire, because they carry the full load of the headlights. In addition to changing the switch, once you've looked at the switch to make sure it's okay and not melty, and once you've got more familiar with the truck it's a good idea to throw on a relay harness: 

This is what my switch looked like when I changed it... You don't want that. 

YLTLSN5.jpg

 

Alright, here is the dumb question. How do I change the bulb without tearing the whole dash apart? I took a peak underneath the steering column and up towards the gauges and just saw a solid mess of wires with nothing that looked clearly like a bulb I could just pull and replace. Is it possible to replace the bulb without having to remove the bezel and gauges?  Thanks again

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Welcome, read up on some of the history of the comanche. You find it’s helpful. Know that you are driving a piece of Jeep history. They’re getting harder and harder to find. You have come to the rite place to figure out some of issues you may encounter. Lots of helpful people here with allot of knowledge. Your going to fall in love with that truck. Its ok we all have.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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7 hours ago, RowerJim said:

 

Is it possible to replace the bulb without having to remove the bezel and gauges?

No, it isn't. The bulbs twist into the back of the cluster. It's why it's a little more advanced of a project than your typical car owner is willing to undertake, not so much because it's difficult, but because you need to dig deep. 

Ditto on the headlight switch. There's a button under it that you push, while you pull the knob all the way out, and then you unscrew the nut the knob slides through. I want to say you need to pull the lower dash panel (the trim piece that goes all the way across, that the ashtray lives in) just to get at that button, but I'm not 100% on if it needs pulled or not. 

But in both cases, it's just a matter of finding all the screws holding down the bezel and cluster, and removing them. There should be some write-ups in Internet land somewhere – everything you're doing for both will be the same as an XJ Cherokee. 

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15 hours ago, RowerJim said:

 

Alright, here is the dumb question. How do I change the bulb without tearing the whole dash apart? I took a peak underneath the steering column and up towards the gauges and just saw a solid mess of wires with nothing that looked clearly like a bulb I could just pull and replace. Is it possible to replace the bulb without having to remove the bezel and gauges?  Thanks again

THIS THREAD goes through the entire dash removal. You will not need to go that far, just do the first couple of steps. It gives you locations of screws and tips on how to remove some pieces. Again, you do NOT need to remove the entire dash to replace cluster bulbs, so don't read the article and feel overwhelmed. Its actually not that bad to remove the cluster itself.

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In the above link you only need to look at "Dash removal" steps 6, 13 & 14 for removal of the panel. There are two ribbon connectors that have to be removed, one can be seen in "Dash removal 6" step 4, the other is in the middle behind his hand. You have to squeeze the top and bottom to release the clips, kind of a pain in the a$$. BTW, there are about a dozen bulbs.

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If I remember correctly I also had to remove the speedo cable from a stud down by the lower control arm on the outside of the truck to get enough slack to unclip it from the backside of the cluster. Just follow the speedo cable from the transfercase (transmission) up the framerail and you will see the stud I am talking about. Remove the nut and pull the cable off the stud and push some of the slack into the cabin.

 

Shouldn't be too bad and it will start giving you a good understanding of your truck and where things are and how they work. As other members say "Jeep On".

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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 11:00 AM, JustEmptyEveryPocket said:

If I remember correctly I also had to remove the speedo cable from a stud down by the lower control arm on the outside of the truck to get enough slack to unclip it from the backside of the cluster. Just follow the speedo cable from the transfercase (transmission) up the framerail and you will see the stud I am talking about. Remove the nut and pull the cable off the stud and push some of the slack into the cabin.

 

Shouldn't be too bad and it will start giving you a good understanding of your truck and where things are and how they work. As other members say "Jeep On".

I have seen some others mentioning the need to remove the speedo cable. That is the one part that is still intimidating me a little bit but with all the links and step-by-steps provided, I'm going to go for it. I agree it seems like a good project to help give me the understanding of the truck and how it works. Hopefully, starting to dig in will give me some more confidence for the next project.

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Mine did the same dash lights out thing after I got it, turns out thge fuses had corroded just enough to loose good connection. I just wiggled the fuse and they start working again. It got to the point where I could just put my left foot  up gently on the fuse box and they would work again. I would start there. The advice from the others is also good. Pete and Eagle (and others) do a lot for everyone here and we are grateful for them.

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Welcome! 

You said your now MJ which is your Jeep has 4x4, leave a small shovel couple of tools and and a jacket behind your seat and forget about it. You can thank me later, how I know? It takes 5 minutes to dig your self out with a shovel, it takes you 30 minutes with your bare hands. Welcome again. 

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On 1/15/2019 at 5:31 PM, MobilJoe1 said:

Welcome! 

You said your now MJ which is your Jeep has 4x4, leave a small shovel couple of tools and and a jacket behind your seat and forget about it. You can thank me later, how I know? It takes 5 minutes to dig your self out with a shovel, it takes you 30 minutes with your bare hands. Welcome again. 

Luckily enough, my wife's grandfather who gifted us the truck already had the shovel, a jack, and a few other tools behind the seat ready for us. Looks like I'll be needing to pick out a jacket. Thanks.

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Have a look underneath both driver and passenger side floor boards for rust. These trucks are notorious for rusted out floor boards.

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