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Rebuilding/Restoring 1987 Comanche


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This is my first attempt at completely rebuilding/restoring a vehicle. I have no previous mechanic experience. I was curious if anyone would give me some advice on the process. What needs to be done first? I have drained most of the fluids. Removing the gas tank is next. But after that, do I just clear everything out underneath the hood? How do I check to see if I need to replace my engine (supposedly it has a cracked head gasket; and if its not terrible I should be able to replace it, correct?). I am open to any suggestions. I am flying blind on this one. I have checked YouTube for help, and found a few videos; but nothing showing the entire process of rebuilding and restoring. Any direction to a website or video would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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Here is where I would start:

Put the project on hold for 2-3 months. Store the truck in a dry, semi-warm spot.

 

During that time frame, dedicate HOURS a day to watching youtube videos and reading threads. Start with everything by BleepinJeep and Eastwood Company on YouTube and branch out from there. When you get tired of watching videos, start reading ALL the threads here. Epic Tech, DIY Forum, and Member Projects.  And I'm not joking, read every thread, every message, spend time with each picture. 

 

After that, figure out a budget. Think about what you want the truck to look like in the end and then figure up everything to get there. Take whatever number you expect to pay for the complete restoration of your truck and then multiply it by 2.5. That will get you close to an actual estimate although its probably still low.

 

Find local jeep clubs and salvage yards. You are gonna get pretty friendly with all of them before this is done. 

 

Finally, get to know Excel. Document everything from part numbers to receipts to install dates to how you changed the wiring harness and what you added. Record everything! Lift kit? New tires? Paint? Tools? Record it all! 

 

And all of this is BEFORE you touch another bolt on the truck. Once you get your bearings (pun intended) then you can start back on the truck. 

 

But to put it nicely, you got some serious learnin to do!

 

Now don't take me as debbie downer. I am just a realist. And this is where you realistically need to start before taking on this huge project. Please keep us updated. And start a build thread here when you know what you are doing!

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5 minutes ago, 89 MJ said:

Don’t plan on building one that is nice and done correctly for less than $5k. And that is excluding purchasing the truck. 


No kidding, I thought I would build a nice MJ for about 5K... 25K later it’s almost where I want it to be

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Seriously though, I could probably put together a parts list with costs to show what all I’ve stuck into mine. And I have gotten cheap and free parts because I have friends that are adults (I’m 16). 

 

I have more than $4k in mine excluding paint, replacement metal (it didn’t need much) and labor. 

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3 hours ago, nateppler10 said:

This is my first attempt at completely rebuilding/restoring a vehicle. I have no previous mechanic experience. I was curious if anyone would give me some advice on the process. What needs to be done first? I have drained most of the fluids. Removing the gas tank is next. But after that, do I just clear everything out underneath the hood? How do I check to see if I need to replace my engine (supposedly it has a cracked head gasket; and if its not terrible I should be able to replace it, correct?). I am open to any suggestions. I am flying blind on this one. I have checked YouTube for help, and found a few videos; but nothing showing the entire process of rebuilding and restoring. Any direction to a website or video would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!

I love my 87, but it's more stressful than a wife or girlfriend at times. Good Luck! 

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On 4/6/2020 at 4:22 PM, JustEmptyEveryPocket said:

Here is where I would start:

Put the project on hold for 2-3 months. Store the truck in a dry, semi-warm spot.

 

During that time frame, dedicate HOURS a day to watching youtube videos and reading threads. Start with everything by BleepinJeep and Eastwood Company on YouTube and branch out from there. When you get tired of watching videos, start reading ALL the threads here. Epic Tech, DIY Forum, and Member Projects.  And I'm not joking, read every thread, every message, spend time with each picture. 

 

After that, figure out a budget. Think about what you want the truck to look like in the end and then figure up everything to get there. Take whatever number you expect to pay for the complete restoration of your truck and then multiply it by 2.5. That will get you close to an actual estimate although its probably still low.

 

Find local jeep clubs and salvage yards. You are gonna get pretty friendly with all of them before this is done. 

 

Finally, get to know Excel. Document everything from part numbers to receipts to install dates to how you changed the wiring harness and what you added. Record everything! Lift kit? New tires? Paint? Tools? Record it all! 

 

And all of this is BEFORE you touch another bolt on the truck. Once you get your bearings (pun intended) then you can start back on the truck. 

 

But to put it nicely, you got some serious learnin to do!

 

Now don't take me as debbie downer. I am just a realist. And this is where you realistically need to start before taking on this huge project. Please keep us updated. And start a build thread here when you know what you are doing!

 

This is a bit harsh but not far off.  

 

Do you have any mechanical skills or aptitude?  How about tools and equipment?  Budget?  Friends that can help fill in the gaps where you lack somewhat (or completely)?  How about a work area WITH STORAGE?  (I currently have about 75% of my truck in my attic right now with the other 20% is strewn about my work space and it's gonna stay that way for another year at least).  You obviously have interest, but how far are you willing to take it? Does the thought of totally failing at some certain part of this scare you (can you deal with failure)?  Do you have the means to pay someone to complete what you find that you can't?  Do you have sufficient free time to devote to this?

 

While none of this "car stuff" is rocket science, cars do have quite a variety of systems that subsequently require background knowledge to repair them; electrical & electronics, hydraulics & plumbing, power transmission, paint & body,  upholstery, and refrigeration just to name a few.  It is a fair likelihood that you'll quickly become overwhelmed and discouraged with the project if you go straight for a complete restoration. 

 

I recommend taking a smaller "bite" to start with.  What doesn't work on the truck? What DOES work? What makes you think there is a head gasket problem? - I recommend starting with this. Give yourself a chance at a victory, then build from there. 

 

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:yeahthat:

 

That's probably the best advice anyone can give you, especially since you're in the early stages of learning.  Just taking something apart is fairly easy.  Putting it back together (correctly) is a bit more tricky.

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This is all good stuff. I definitely wasn't expecting to spend too much on it, but that looks like it's going to change. My main goal was to just get it up and running mechanically, and worry about the cosmetic stuff a little later. It would just be nice to have a working truck. I guess I'm not going for complete restoration. More of just making it look as nice as it can in it's current state. When I purchased, it had quite a few dings and dents in it. So, I am not looking for pretty; but I refuse to have crap. Meaning, I don't trash my stuff. But yeah, looks like I've got a few Youtube videos too much and some reading to do. I appreciate the feedback. If I can figure out how to track my progress on here, I will keep you guys updated. Thanks again. And thankfully, I don't have to deal with the stress of a girlfriend or wife right now. So I can focus all my stress on this truck. 

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On 4/6/2020 at 6:12 PM, Comanchejess said:

I love my 87, but it's more stressful than a wife or girlfriend at times. Good Luck! 

Ha ha....And I thought I was alone......The struggle is real....

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