Monday, December 15, 2008

Jeep Comanche - A Forgotten Jeep

Last year I was talking to a friend and she casually mentioned that she had seen the "weirdest thing" on the way to work. A Ford pick-up truck that had a "Jeep nose and tailgate" on it.


My first thought was "Hmmm, that is weird", but I've seen some amazing and not so amazing bodywork done to vehicles and nothing surprises me anymore. I've seen a Volvo nose on an old Toyota Corolla that was very well done. I've seen a BMW nose on a Honda that looked like it would fly off the car at any speed over 20MPH. A Jeep nose and ass on a Ford would not surprise me. I just couldn't figure out why someone would do it.

Then it dawned on me... She hadn't really seen a Ford with Jeep parts, she had seen a Jeep Comanchee. Although she is extremely knowledgeable about cars, it didn't surprise me that she didn't know what it was. The Comanchee is a forgotten Jeep.

The Comanchee was based on the Cherokee, with some modifications to the suspension and a subframe to hold the cargo box. Introduced in 1986 it was available with the same basic engine and transmission combos found in the Cherokee. It was available until 1992.

Available with 2WD or 4WD, long-bed or short-bed, it had all the considerable virtues of a Cherokee. Most (unlike the one shown in the ad above) were sold as very basic vehicles, with vinyl seats (bench or bucket), manual windows and locks, a basic instrument cluster, etc. But, given that everything in front of the cargo area is standard issue Jeep Cherokee, you could turn a Comanchee into a really nice vehicle by scouring junkyards for parts from a high-end Cherokee. Everything is either bolt on or would require very minimal modification. Used Cherokee parts are very inexpensive.

The Comanchee also had the two big vices of a Cherokee; rust and poor gas mileage. Avoid extremely rusty vehicles as these are NOT typical pick-ups with body on frame construction. Rust, especially along the rocker panels, is structural and will need to be repaired properly. That's an expensive proposition, unless you're handy with a MIG welder. Like the Cherokee, it's best to avoid the early V6 models. It's just not a good engine. Go for a 1987 or later model with the bulletproof 4.0 inline 6.

What got me thinking about the Comanchee was a listing I saw this morning on Craigslist. This is a terrible ad with little info and a crappy picture. But, if you're curioius and want to call on it, you can click here for the link.

For more info on the Comanchee, check out this Wiki article and jeep-comanchee.com.

** 11/09/09 Update - Click here to see on the coolest Comanche I have ever seen **

3 comments:

Mloudenbeck said...

There is only one (1) "e" in Comanche.

Pim said...

i have a 91 Comache eliminator it jumped out of 4H and is stuck in 2H I can get it to go in 4H N or 4L linkage under car is fine ...any thoughts

comanchemty said...

I have an 87 comanche . Bought it in 89 . Have loved this truck from day 1 . I've had several and have never had a problem with rust ay all . The I 6 has tremendous power potential .