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Newbie here... How difficult to learn to work on these?


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So, yeah, as the subject line says, I am a newbie here, but have been reading and lurking for a while. I stumbled onto Comanches when looking for a car for my kid a while ago, and kinda fell in love, and now via a friend of a friend, have a chance to buy one.  It needs work (likely a lot), and while I got a garage, tools, eagerness to learn and ambition, don't have much experience!

 

Question is: how realistically difficult is it-- if I take the slow, steady, do-it-right method-- to be competent at restoring my own? I am not naive, and respect the skills and expertise needed. But I also know, everyone's gotta start somewhere... and where would a Comanche rank in the difficulty ranking of an option to cut your teeth on?

 

The one I am looking at runs decently enough, no real significant rust; though parking brake is shot, maybe a steering leak, and definitely needs plenty of cosmetic work. Its an 86 with 198K. Owner wants $1200 and seems in range of stuff I am seeing out there.

 

Looking for wise advice before I possibly buy it to keep me from getting in over my head!?

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It’s a 35 year old work truck. This is when trucks were still built to be worked by there owners. Most everything that you would want to do (save for a complete restoration) could just about be done in a weekend. Welcome to the club. 

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Here's my take on your questions of ownership:

 

The 86 you're looking at is a Renix, so you'll need to understand that you're not getting an ODB-II system.  This means that you'll need to become familiar with a multimeter if you're not already.  Troubleshooting is a bit more of a challenge than with newer cars that have a system of almost doing it for you.

 

You say you have a garage, tools, eagerness to learn and ambition--CRITICAL TRAITS to have, my Brother!  Exactly what I was hoping that you'd include in your message. 

 

Man, I didn't know much at all when I bought mine.  This site has a lot of very knowledgeable people and most have dealt with nearly everything.  Most are eager to take on a challenging issue that you may present.  Pete has organized the site well, so knowledge and experience here are relatively easy to find before you toss out a basic or very common inquiry.  If you have the cahonas, like to take on challenges and feel rewarded when you pull them off and dang it, I must say it...if you have the budget to take on a Comanche, then you're already one of us.

 

If you hadn't already seen these major 1st-to-do items, check out Cruiser's tips here:  http://cruiser54.com/.  Pete M immediately grabbed me by the shirt collar when I joined here and insisted I do the headlight relay retrofit with his famous slogan, Swap in a relay harness for your headlights before it's too late!!  

 

Go buy that thing and get us some pics on here asap.  We're all dying to see what your floorboards look like under that carpet and whether or not you're grill is upside down.

 

Welcome to the club, my friend.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:iagree:if you have enough eagerness and ambition you can do dang near everything on it. And if you are stuck the club is incredibly helpful hey we made a thread 9 pages long on how to get a screw out LOL. welcome to the club

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Go get it!  Definitely a great vehicle to learn on.  As mentioned above these were designed to be serviced so everything is pretty easy to get to.  I personally learned how to work on vehicles with the XJ/MJ platform and wouldn't trade it for anything.  The best part is that these vehicles are super reliable overall and you can do almost everything with a simple socket set.

 

It's good the rust is minimal, be sure to pull your carpet out sooner than later to inspect the floor pans, they will be rusty even if you can't see it from underneath.  You'll want to get them cleaned up and get the rust there stopped before it eats the pans away entirely.  Rust there moves real quick.

 

Also know that you have a wealth of knowledge available to you here on the club.  If it's not already in a post somewhere, post up and youll get the answer you are looking for.  Be sure to start yourself a build thread as well so we can see your build as it progresses.  And most of all welcome to the club! :waving:

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V-6 or 4 cylinder? The '86 V-6 is a GM product, and not highly thought of. You say no significant rust, can you see the floors? Floor coverings commonly hide rotted out floor pans.

 

But as said above, these are pretty simple trucks

 

I paid $1200 for my '87 4.0 inline 6, visible metal floor pans with no rust, cranking not running. I did have a little time to check it out, so I knew I had a fuel delivery issue.

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Between here, cruiser54 and youtube; easy if you have the time and willingness to learn. If it's not a primary vehicle even better as they are fine to wrench on in your spare time. As BeatCJ said v6 is meh at best. Also really need to check the floor boards for rust to know what level of rust you are getting into. 

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I got my Comanche around a year and a half ago, when I was 16. I’d had a deep interest in cars from my dad, but no experience. I’ve used my MJ to teach myself how to work on cars. It will be a learning experience, better than any other you could have. With all the different people on here and all the experience and knowledge gathered, diagnosing and fixing your problems should be easy. Through the club, you can get just about anything done, especially with all the legendary old timers around like Cruiser, Eagle, and Pete.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Dammerung said:

I got my Comanche around a year and a half ago, when I was 16. I’d had a deep interest in cars from my dad, but no experience. I’ve used my MJ to teach myself how to work on cars. It will be a learning experience, better than any other you could have. With all the different people on here and all the experience and knowledge gathered, diagnosing and fixing your problems should be easy. Through the club, you can get just about anything done, especially with all the legendary old timers around like Cruiser, Eagle, and Pete.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

same except it was a couple months ago 

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10 hours ago, coolwind57 said:

If you hadn't already seen these major 1st-to-do items, check out Cruiser's tips here:  http://cruiser54.com/.  Pete M immediately grabbed me by the shirt collar when I joined here and insisted I do the headlight relay retrofit with his famous slogan, Swap in a relay harness for your headlights before it's too late!!  

 

 

Ah yes # 19!

Doing that now as we speak!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Jesse J said:

And if you are stuck the club is incredibly helpful hey we made a thread 9 pages long on how to get a screw out LOL

Man, I thought that was a joke. Made me look. It's at 10 pages now.

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8 hours ago, Jesse J said:

it wasn't supposed to be a joke lol. sure became one. garbage in garbage out

Pete has organized the site well, so knowledge and experience here are relatively easy to find before you toss out a basic or very common inquiry.”

 

 

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The only thing that would be easier in my mind is an old (by that I mean 80s and earlier) domestic full-size truck with an engine bay big enough to swim in. In most regards, the MJ is a fairly elegant mix of old and new.

 

The 86 is the worst model year, no doubt. If it's a V6, that engine is trash and should not be mistaken for the famous AMC inline 6. The 1986 6-cylinder engine is a GM product and actually made less horsepower than the 4-cylinder option.

 

The 4-cylinder is underpowered but otherwise "fine, I guess". The fuel injector for it may be expensive/difficult to find in working order if it goes bad.

 

The 4.0L engine in 1987-1992 trucks is what you really want, unless you have your sights set on this specific one.

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34 minutes ago, ghetdjc320 said:

Pete has organized the site well, so knowledge and experience here are relatively easy to find before you toss out a basic or very common inquiry.”

 

 

I think your forgetting that it was your idea that helped me out lol. wouldn't of known that if that thread didn't exist

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1 hour ago, Tex06 said:

And now you're one of the leading posters on the forum!!! :laugh:

yeah lol I don't know how that happened. with school not taking much time up in the day it's my go to when I am bored in class

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7 hours ago, Minuit said:

The only thing that would be easier in my mind is an old (by that I mean 80s and earlier) domestic full-size truck with an engine bay big enough to swim in. In most regards, the MJ is a fairly elegant mix of old and new.

 

The 86 is the worst model year, no doubt. If it's a V6, that engine is trash and should not be mistaken for the famous AMC inline 6. The 1986 6-cylinder engine is a GM product and actually made less horsepower than the 4-cylinder option.

 

The 4-cylinder is underpowered but otherwise "fine, I guess". The fuel injector for it may be expensive/difficult to find in working order if it goes bad.

 

The 4.0L engine in 1987-1992 trucks is what you really want, unless you have your sights set on this specific one.

Agreed.  The MJ/XJ series from Jeep are probably some of the BEST vehicles for a DIY guy to own.  They are robust, relatively simple, and most things can be fixed without any fancy tools.

 

It sure beats the heck out my 2014 Wrangler, which is the opposite of simple.   I unplugged a couple of connectors to measure some voltages, and when I next started the vehicle, it threw a "check engine" light and a "traction assist error" light as well.  :confused:   What a pain in the rear....

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2 hours ago, Jesse J said:

yeah lol I don't know how that happened. 


It’s called web wheeling lol and it happens when we spend more time thinking about projects than actually working on them. You’re in almost every thread with a 2 bit comment like “that’s cool”, “good idea” or “:drool:“. Nothing wrong with that but it makes for a bunch of posts with little content. 

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20 minutes ago, ghetdjc320 said:


It’s called web wheeling lol and it happens when we spend more time thinking about projects than actually working on them. You’re in almost every thread with a 2 bit comment like “that’s cool”, “good idea” or “:drool:“. Nothing wrong with that but it makes for a bunch of posts with little content. 

yeah I just like interacting on here. I wish it wasn't based by posed but by word count or something different because I look like a verteran even though I am far from it

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25 minutes ago, Minuit said:

I would. Just to see if you could write the full number out without needing to use scientific notation.

Your word count has got to be close to the highest out there lol. I enjoy your essays though. Very methodical and informative

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On 2/24/2021 at 4:35 AM, Minuit said:
On 2/23/2021 at 5:48 AM, BeatCJ said:

V-6 or 4 cylinder? The '86 V-6 is a GM product, and not highly thought of.

The 86 is the worst model year, no doubt. If it's a V6, that engine is trash and should not be mistaken for the famous AMC inline 6. The 1986 6-cylinder engine is a GM product and actually made less horsepower than the 4-cylinder option.

 

The 4-cylinder is underpowered but otherwise "fine, I guess". The fuel injector for it may be expensive/difficult to find in working order if it goes bad.

 

The 4.0L engine in 1987-1992 trucks is what you really want, unless you have your sights set on this specific one.

 

 

So, wow!  Thanks for all the encouragement.  I didn't disappear, just haven't been able to pull the trigger yet.  Mostly in-house negotiations with my wife.... but we're getting closer.  And yeah, this one is the 2.5L 4 cylinder version. Good to know about the injector. I've read that yeah, with the 86 2.5l it might limit some of sourcing of parts which on others are plentiful with xjs.  I'll follow up if/when I can make it happen.  And if not this one, I am sufficiently encouraged by ya'll that its feeling more like a "when" than an "if" I'll take this plunge.  thanks!!

 

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