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Squirrelly Dan: Coheed's 86 Custom

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Bored on a Sunday afternoon and figured I should finally start a thread for my truck. Some may remember I was working on my grandfathers 86 XLS a few years ago. Multiple factors led me to abandon that as project but soon that will be made into a trailer. With abandoning that truck I wanted another MJ. I found myself an 86 Custom, 4wd, 5spd, with a 2.8 and a clean title at the beginning of last October. This is how he arrived to me on 10/5/19:









10/12/19: Drove out to meet @Blaine.D and bought a camper top off him as the truck will eventually be a camping truck.






10/19-20/20:  Replaced the idiot light cluster with the 3/4 cluster out of my grandfathers truck, fixed some very botched interior wiring, replaced 2 fusible links, and swapped the bench for the buckets I had.




10/23/19: Made new battery cables and grounds out of 0ga and used marine terminals on the battery. Also stripped the header panel and fenders so I could swap on the semi-straight ones I had.


10/26/19: Changed what appeared to be the original air and fuel filter, swapped oil and coolant sensors for the 3/4 cluster, installed Cadillac 4-note horns, installed my decent fenders and tow hook style bumper brackets.






11/1/20: Replaced headlights with brighter Sylvania's


11/9/19: Removed the heater vacuum valve, replaced bad rad cap, installed metal vent visors


11/16/20: Took a trip to the mountains.





12/7/19: Replaced corner light and turn signal housings with good used, swapped trim and swapped in chrome 10 slot grill




12/26/19: Swapped shocks for Gabriel Guardians I had lying around for forever. Installed headlight relay harness.


12/28/19: Cut the rot and expanding foam out of the driver floor. Temporarily used some sheet metal until I can weld in new floors.




12/20/19: Bought a Brahma topper off Facebook cause price was right and I didn't have to repair fiberglass cracks like the other topper.



Between then and March I just kept driving it, straightened the back bumper as best I could, installed a tach, and bought some YJ gamblers. Also installed Belltech 6400 shackles and V8 ZJ coils with an extra isolator bringing the truck 1.5" front and 1" rear over stock.









3/7/20: Bought an OE grill guard off a guy on FB.




3/31/20: Bought a set of 235/75r15 Falken AT3W's and had them installed on the Gamblers. Replaced the belts.




4/10/20: Replaced the original radiator and hoses with new hoses and good rad from the parts truck. Also put on new heater hoses and super flushed the system.





6/9/20: Replaced all steering with new V8 ZJ Moog components. Replaced track bar with stock Moog replacement. Replaced badly leaking steering box with good used off the parts truck and a JCR brace. Did a pretty decent home alignment.






7/1/20: Replaced rear driveshaft u-joints. Removed front DS until I can rebuild it.


7/6/20: Scored headlight harness with fog light wiring, rear speakers, cab vents, window trim, and an OE slider from a JY truck.


8/26/20: Drove 45 miles one way to work and heard a snap upon entering the lot. Turns out 2 lug nuts were just completely missing and the rest had backed off. The snap was either one or two of the remaining studs just snapping off. DOH!!!





9/4/20: Replaced the studs and swapped all the lug nuts on the truck with new. Turns out the brakes are original too :beerbang:





9/20/20: Bought 5 more gamblers and had a good one swapped for the one I jacked up.


10/1-3/20: Built a camping platform with the help of a co-worker and the amazing woodworking shop we have. Frame is just pressure treated 2x4s, top is 3/4 OSB with about 7 coats of poly. The drawer was made with the cut off from the OSB. Simple fork mount for my mountain bike so I can lock it up. Hopefully it's less likely to be stolen if they have to get into the topper.








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10/11/20: Drove to WV to pick up this high rise cap so I'll have more room.PXL_20201011_151006893.jpg.da5279f01d0e976ac526d8eb9ffdc68b.jpg






And that brings us to now. Recently my s/o of 8 years and I split (mutually and we're still friends), so my plans for most things have changed. My eventual plans for the truck are a 1.9 TDI with an AX15, 231, 3" lift with metric ton springs, 31's and 4.10's (which I already have). We'll see how quickly this will happen. 


The more immediate plans are getting ready for a road trip to Colorado in late April next year. I'm turning 30, will be single, and have always wanted to travel out West. I have a job where I get 3 weeks of paid vacay a year so I can afford to take an 11 day trip.


I ordered some Core4x4 control arms last night as he needs new ones and I plan on lifting. I'd like to swap in a 24 gal tank before the trip but I'll play that by ear. Other than that it's banking on the 2.8 not grenading.

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On 11/4/2020 at 4:43 PM, Pete M said:

everyone needs to get in a extended vaca with just your Jeep and the open road   :D 

Most assuredly.


Yesterday I swapped the headlight harness with the one I got at a JY that has the fog lights built in. At some point the main connector seems to have over heated or been pressed up against the headlight or something. Had to de-pin the connector and use a good one off a spare harness I had. Replaced the turn and marker bulbs while I was at it. The ROL lights I had on the truck where also a junkyard find so they weren't in fantastic condition. However I had a set of Hella 500s in decent nick that have been hanging out in the shed for a few years, so I swapped the ROLs for the Hellas. Didn't manage to get a daytime photo but snagged this really cool night shot.



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1 minute ago, eaglescout526 said:

That shot makes me want my brush guard more. Almost looks like that commercial with the black MJ in front of a train crossing.

That's exactly what I thought of when I took the picture.


Honestly I got super lucky finding the brush guard. Guy selling it was only a 2 hour drive and the truck it came off of was kept in a garage essentially since new.

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Got my Core4x4 control arms installed yesterday. You can see the brake lines that desperately need replaced. I've already bought YJ lines for the front and a Dakota line for the rear which should be enough for the lift I want. You can also see the dentless doors without tow mirror holes I'll swap on hopefully soon.


The control arms are made well. Heavy duty for my needs. Welds look nice and hot. The threads were taped off very well for powder coating. They adjusted well and installed with very little issue.


However truck fell of the jack stands while trying to get the last bolt to line up. I was using the jack to slightly pivot the axle and it slowly started to crash over to the pass side. I think the fact I didn't put my usual 2x6 footer under the stand and all the rain we've gotten let the stand dig in and shift. Luckily I wasn't under the truck cause the axle landed fully on the ground. No harm to me, the truck, or any tools happened so...





Also traced down two horrible sounds. The scraping I had was all the driver brake shoe adjuster hardware banging around in the drum. Somehow all of the hardware just came loose and was chillin in the drum. Picked up a new kit and bada bing no horrible scraping. The loud clanging was the clutch inspection plate only being held on with 1 loose bolt.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/26/2020 at 4:11 PM, Pete M said:

was the tire originally under the frame as your safety net before the truck fell? 

They were. However they did not do anything to catch it. The other ended up under the cross member but it wasn't supporting any weight.


No real updates on the truck aside from installing the under hood light.



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  • 4 months later...

Aside from installing a radio renewed by @Minuit (I really need to write you a review man cause I love the radio now), and reassembling my dash there's nothing new to report on as far as Squirrelly Dan goes parts wise. However I finally got to use it for its intended purpose: camping. Took a road trip from NC, to CO and camped in IL and KS along the way. Aside from the 2.8 being its usually anemic self the only real issue I had was the clutch master started leaking in CO, but for some reason stopped after getting back into lower elevations.


The trip fully cemented to things I want: A TDI swap and to paint it the National Forest Service green color. I saw over a dozen trucks out west that were that color. I had been considering it for this truck and seeing in person so much really just convinced me that's the color I want. As far as the TDI swap goes it's self explanatory. I want more power and diesel whistling noises. Also replacing my old daily with a MK6 Golf TDI and it being so fun kinda weighs the scale toward TDI over MB OM617.


Anyway onto pics:





















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18 minutes ago, eaglescout526 said:

I’ve always wanted to see an MJ in forest service green. I’ve seen XJs in that color but not an MJ. 

What originally made me want to paint it that color was I saw a picture of a quad cab J20 supposedly that the forest service had custom ordered for the PNW somewhere. Let me see if I can dig that up

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Ok, according to the dead website link it was a J300, similar but different. Extended cab not a 4 door and supposedly a Canadian FS truck not US according to this CC thread. Vintage trucks just look so cool with that color, this is a little dark but dang close to USFS green.




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6 minutes ago, eaglescout526 said:

I can get behind that. Such a shame that most of the cool rare Jeeps haven’t survived the test of time. 

There's so many sweet cars lost to time. My mom's first car was a 72 Nova SS with a 392 that got bought for like a couple hundred and I'm pretty sure it got crushed. She also had a 73 Toyota Celica GT fastback in caution yellow with a 5 speed that got totaled back in the day.

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