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86 Skamanche [MJ]

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Where to Start.


I have been chasing The Jeep Comanche 4x4 down since I have owned 5 Jeep Cherokee's from 88 to 95 because I have always wanted one. It has taken 10 years to get my hands on this Comanche and I ain't letting go.


Year: 1986

Make: Jeep [AMC]

Model: Comanche

Trim: Custom

Body Style: Pickup Truck

Transmission: Ax-5 [Asian Warner]

Engine: 2.8l v6 [GM]

Drive: 4wd

Made In USA: Toledo, Ohio

Historical: Titled in Oregon State with 155,557 back in 2017.

Current Miles: Exempt 

Current Miles that matter to me: 183,779 in 2020.



Carburetor: Rochester Varajet 2se 2 bbl

Spark Plugs

Spark Plug Wires

Engine Oil 5w-30


Brakes: Front & Back



Corner lights replaced

Tail lights replaced

LH Driver Door Handle [Outter] replaced

Key Locks Replaced 

Paint/ Minor Body Work

Radio/CD player needs to be installed

Door Speakers needs to be replaced


Transmission Swap

Engine Swap

Transfercase Swap

Bench Seat to Bucket Seat Swap

Wire Harness Swap to 91 - 95 


bigger tires

re-gear/swap axles


      So one of my best friends bought a Comanche that was sitting at motel where I live close too. He did all the proper restore stuff to this old girl. But drove her into the ground. About six months later I received a call stating that he wanted to trade of he would take $800.00 for this busted down jeep in his yard. I didn't think anything of it. Until he called and asked me to come over... So I did. Next thing I know is We're talking about mods to happen in the future for his 86-MJ if I buy it from him.


       He tell's me what he wants for it so I gave him $400 up front and told him that I have a amp/subs sitting in my jacked up XJ that I will trade him for this old truck. It wasn't until today 8/25/2020 when I get a call saying that he wanted it off the property and I could pay an extra $40 to have him tow strap it down the highway to my house.

I am a Jeep guy, my instant answer was simple. "No"." I will be there with the parts needed and I will drive it home". Well, guys I did just that. I drove this MJ 120 miles to my house in another small town with a limp clutch. And parked it in the driveway.


       I have yet to get it into my name and would like to register it here so, I was asked to do this off the facebook page. I love this rig. But the engine and transmission has to go. 2.8l v6 with a Ax-5. I am not a fan. Some help and tricks would be nice most of my other rigs run a 242 L6 Chrysler and Ax-15's I have read a lot and I would like to give this old girl a run for my money.  This rig has some problems like the clutch is very touche so to speak.


       Not sure if there is air in the hydro clutch but I have to put x amount of weight on the clutch and put it to the floor.  I have to push/pull the stick to get the truck into 1st, 2nd, 3rd but 4th is pretty easy. I can't get her into 5th gear.  Reverse works. She has an issue with dying if I remove my foot from the accelerator. But that can be adjusted on the carburetor. Interior is almost all original it's a maroon red with black dash bezel. The shiftier boot housing is grey so it's not original. I am currently waiting for the Historical records to come from Oregon. It does have a dealership hidden winch in the front bumper. Yes, it does work. I was surprised as much as you guys. 


     This isn't a hard project to replace parts and put it back on the street/trail. Most of the hard stuff is done. Besides this isn't work to guys like us. We do this because it's our passion. I always told my brother that I would own a Comanche. Too bad that he passed away in May of this year. He would of been excited to ride in this rig. It was a dream to drive this down the hwy in my town. I have yet to give this thing a name and will be doing so after I drive her around. I will try to keep an update on what happens.



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I have the 86 trim X 4x4, same color same engine but an automatic but no winch. Like you I had to wait over 10 years, 16 years to be exact to get my comanche. cd8a48c75df3b6e03526e7aefe067773.jpg

1986 Jeep Comanche X
4WD GM 2.8L V6
Front: Stock Dana 30
Rear: Stock AMC 20
Los Angeles CA

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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  • 1 year later...

Not much of a big writer.


If a man doesn't fear death, then He shall never live. -unknown

But let's get it.


So back in 2019 I bought or so traded a set of Subs/amp to a 16 year old kid. :roflmao:[who knows me as his mechanic because I am always playing with JEEPs] so to speak And isn't into the JEEP LIFE #Comanche, #Cherokee.:banana: But knows that I owned around 7 to 13 Jeeps at that time between 71 to 03 that being Cherokee's, CJs,  J10, J20, Wagoneer, Liberty [Non Diesel], Grand Cherokee [ZJ], G.C. [WJ] But I am known as the The Jeep Mechanic. With all that being said I didn't ask to be put on a pedestal.  Let's FFwd to today, That MJ sits in my yard and I am here writing up a build of the plan and I want to take you guys on the journey with me. More because I honestly think, that a cocaine addiction would of been cheaper. but let's not fool each other.

Step 1: Acquire a MJ: 1985 to 1992 Jeep Comanche preferably part-time four wheel drive.

1986 Jeep Comanche MJ 4x4 

Due to where I live, we see lots of snow, rain, and most of the things in the North West like animals like the famous death by suicidal 1000 lbs elk at 55 mph. And as a Volly Firefighter safety means everything that being at a car wreck, aid call or fire.  So please use the proper safety equipment like glasses/ goggles and gloves if you do anything that could be hazardous to your health.

Step 2: Engine Replacement: Research what are the possible engine/transmission/ t-case swaps available to yourself and or budget.

The Current issue with the 2.8l v6 LR2 is it's a very weak engine poor oil circulation and all the emission stuff didn't help it during 1986. Besides what torque you had went straight to the transmission. So upon discovery that it's best to pull the motor and swap in a 3.1l/3.4l because both happen to be based off the little POS but are better. I am still throwing the idea of fuel injection around with a stand alone system from a v8. Let's be clear I could swap Mercedes OM617, Dodge 5.2l/5.9l,/4.7l/4bt or Chevrolet 3.1/3.4l/4.3l Vortec/ 327, 350, 383, 400, 6.2l turbo diesel, possible mild built 5.3l Third Gen LS, Ford 4.0l v6, 302, 351, Toyota Tundra 5.7l:roflmao:I really wanted to see how y'all think bout that Redneck Idea...  

As for myself I have a huge list that could be obtained via junkyards[friend's back yards] /Facebook Marketplace 

Step 3:  Start by removing the parts/ components that make this rig a Jeep.

"This is always the hardest part for me. Because someone assembled this truck to what they ordered and I am here about to completely remove the hard work back to a blank platform in order to put time, money, blood, sweat and tears into making something for myself out of someone's dream truck".


Step 4: Remove Drivetrain: The Engine/Drivetrain/t-case. [Save the NP207]

Step 5: Remove interior happens to be Porno Red [Without braking the plastic clips and or loosing the screws I might be swapping it out with the Tan Interior from my 95-XJ or Grey Interior from 91 to 94 XJ].

Step 6: Remove stock 2.8l Carburetor the fuel delivery system from the engine and throw the Rochester Varajet II from the nearest bridge.

Step 7: Remove Stock Axles: Pull both Dana 30 [HP] & Unicorn AMC 20 [Front Axle is being replaced with a 1971 Ford Dana 44 Open Knuckle Kingpin Just swapped from drums to disc brakes.] As for the AMC 20 I will be doing a full truss kit to fix the known issues with the housing. I could also swap the rear end to a C8.25 from a KL or 9.25 from my 1969 Dodge Sweptline W100, I have other projects that are donating parts to build this Skamanche.

Step 8: Remove The Rest of chassis harness Pull all the remaining electrical from the chassis [also includes the bed/tail light housings and existing Ramsey Winch and Factory Fog lights.]Might be adding the 1991 to 1995 Jeep Cherokee XJ wire harness with the Stand alone Fuel Injection system from a Chevrolet.

Step 9: Remove all Parts from Unibody: Remove the the fenders, hood, header panel, doors, glass including the slider rear window. [Hopefully getting ready to fix all dents that are on the body.] Also I would rather have a short bed but I might choose to bob the stock bed. Still tracking down a set of doors to replace the broken lock system on the driver door. And the handle was broken off as soon as I signed the title. Ironic right? :roflmao:Also replacing the stock mirrors with a set from 99 to 01 Jeep Cherokee.

Step 10: Modifying Stock Unibody/ Adding Ect: Get the chassis ready for the stiffener kits add the weld in rock sliders with the long arm kit Might even mock up the new engine mounts with radiator support being modified. Neohic had the right idea with replacing the stock X in the frame and I think I will do the same. Also already have the in tank fuel filter modified for my 99 WJ and tuck for a possible tank swap. Not sure how well the stock MJ 20GAL will hold up to what I have planned for this MJ. 

[Decided to go with a 4 link kit from Clayton Offroad even use a Iron Rock Offroad adjustable trac bar kit and 1 ton steering conversion from Rusty's Offroad. 

Step 11: Body Filler/Primer: Get everything ready for body filler/ primer [Refurbish the Original COMANCHE logos for the front Fenders. Or CNC the Custom SKAMANCHE Emblems out and the Custom setup for the tailgate.

Step 12: Transmission: options: AX-15 is the desired replacement for the AX-5 but a NV3550 or NV4500 is something that I am currently looking into depending on the the engine that will replace the 2.8l v6

Step 13: Painless Wire Harness or Build a Custom Wire harness for the MJ out of a 1991 to 1995 Jeep Cherokee as I have 5 harness's laying around that I have pulled from that exact year of Jeep Cherokee just incase for a Build or Rework to 95-XJ Build.

Step 14: Install the New Glass that was pulled from my 1995 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 XJ Sport like the windshield.

Step 15: Front Bumper & Rear Bumper: I am looking into replacing the stock winch OEM bumper because if I go with a v8 the radiator uses the spot where the cross member has been removed from Ramsey to mount the RH6000 winch. I might use a pushed out version of a custom winch bumper that matches the body lines and match into the header panel. The straight tube look is okay on my 1995 XJ but I want something more custom that matches the slight curve to the Comanche. As for the stock rear bumper that will be dropped off as I am gonna want a armored rear end to match the front bumper. 

Step 16: Brake System:  Might be pulled from another 1999 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ without the ABS, I could pull the brake booster from my 1995 Jeep Cherokee as I have already removed the ABS unit from that rig. And the plus would be I have it on hand. If I am missing anything feel free to add your 2cents. 


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Pretty sure I am missing some information that is currently available here on the forum or Pete will chime in to fill in the blanks. I am also pretty sure that I will never finish this project because it's the journey that excites me.


This is my 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport SE 4x4 3.5 Lift with 265/75/R16 sitting Next to my best friends Modified 1988/93 Built Jeep Cherokee XJ 3 In Lift with 33's.91vs95_XJ.jpg.d2c409e923002b17b6a118adeb0fda82.jpg

This photo shows My Dad's 1991 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4x4 Tonto vs 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4x4 XJ Gypsy Danger

CGX Head Restraints-Outboard Seating, RR
DDQ Transmission - 5-Speed Manual
GEC Window - Left Side, Front, Sliding
JAY Instrument Cluster w/Tach
JGB Clock - Digital
MBJ Bumper - Front, Black


Build date 1/7/86

Body code JL62 

@eaglescout526 was able to decrypt the vin number for me and this is what we are starting with. 


1986 Jeep COMANCHE 4x4 with Command-Trac 


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that winch mount is rare as all get out :D  


whoops!  looks like I missed a correction in the VIN printout.  the longbeds got a 16 or a 23 gallon tank.  (the "20 gal" refers to some other newer Jeep and is a reused code.)

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Currently waiting for the truss kits to get here before I start tearing into the 86. Also I found a duel headlight 1984 Wagoneer in my area that still has everything original including the turbine wheels. I will see if I can get a photo. So there are 3 rare Jeeps in my town.

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