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1986 Comanche 5.3l Vortec Resto-Mod


NAXJA Forum User
Thought that I would document my build as much as possible since there isn't a whole lot of MJs left. I've used this forum for a while and have gotten some great info so I thought I would finally contribute finally.

I've been tiring to get a Comanche for three years now and finally decided to pull the trigger on one. Its a stockish 1986 (AMC) longbed 2.8l 4x4. Decided to go with
the longbed because I go camping frequently and could use the space, also I personally think they look better then the shortbed when you lift them. Currently has a 2 inch rough country lift on it.

The plan is as follows;

-5.3l vortec swap, CARB certified (the 2.8 is knocking anyways)
-4L60E Transmission
-Undecided on t-case, but needs to be driver side drop
-97+ XJ dash, doors, seats, center console, brake booster, and a few other
odds and ends
-Going to using the 5.3 donor car wiring harness for the engine, trans and
lights and will be tying that in to the 97+ dash harness (probably wont use
any of the MJ harness.
-Still figuring out what I'm going to do for the computer (could use some
help haha)
-Dana 44 swap front and rear
-Long arms in the front, SOA rear, with around eight inches of lift
-37 inch tires (the reason for a lot of lift)

Since I'm gutting it for the swap I'm going to be doing the best restoration I can (time and money allowed) the plan for that is as follows;

-Strip the entire rear frame, underside of cab, and engine bay to bare metal.
-Paint rear frame, underside of cab, and engine bay with POR 15 rust
protection/engine enamel
-Rip out carpet/headliner
-Repaint interior with POR 15 rust protection
-Repair the rust holes in floorboards with new sheet metal
-Weld in XJ seat mounts
-Weld in mounts for five point harnesses (thinking about making some sort if
an internal sports bar but don't want a full cage)
-Replace all weather stripping/seals
-Redo rear slider window tint and install a lock (its missing)
-Spray on Lizard Skin thermal and sound insulation on floors, firewall, doors,
roof, ect.
-Apply dynamat over the lizard skin insulation (really want to minimize
road/engine noise)
-Put in new heat molded carpet and new headliner
-Rewrap sun visors
-Repaint the MJ (thinking of painting it Pontiac 1966 nightwatch blue irid)

When all is said and done I plan in daily driving this since my commute for work is only 20 minutes


The night i bought it.


Interior was actually in okay shape but I really want the updated dash and power windows/locks

2.8l gone! Crazy how much evap stuff there was

Mostly stripped

Red-necking it to make it easier to strip and repaint the bottom of everything.