Rust-Free 2WD: 1986 Jeep Comanche XLS

Not another time machine reference?! Yes, sorry, but this 1986 Jeep Comanche XLS is a ____ _______. This is the example that you’d want if you’ve been looking for this exact spec Jeep. It’s on Craigslist with an eye-opening asking price of $10,500 or best offer and is located in Ocean County, New Jersey.

This is an unusual one being 2WD. I automatically think of all Jeeps as being 4WD, like thinking that all Subarus since the beginning have been AWD, but this Jeep is rear-wheel drive. Another unusual feature is that “this is the earliest known Comanche to exist. It is vin number #831. That is the 831st Jeep built in 1986 of all the models.”

Another somewhat unusual feature is the long bed – although at seven-feet it’s only a foot longer than the six-foot box. The Comanche was launched in 1985 for the 1986 model year and it was meant to compete with small Japanese pickups that were becoming more popular in the US. AMC made them until Chrysler took over in 1987 and 1992 was the last year for this model. I often wonder why Jeep doesn’t make a pickup anymore.

This Comanche has the XLS trim which was a couple of steps above the base model, but it wasn’t lucky enough to have a name – like Pioneer, Chief, Laredo, etc. The tan carpet is a little surprising, I would have guessed that it would have red carpet with the rest of the interior being red. The seller says that there is no rust on this Comanche, being a Florida vehicle for the last 31-years.

This is GM’s LR2, 2.8L V6 with only 115 hp. AllPar refers to this engine as “troublesome” and in 1987 an inline-six with 173 hp was available. A four-cylinder Peugeot diesel was available at launch but was followed up by a 2.1L Renault diesel – neither was available after 1987. This truck has 61,000 miles on it and it sure looks like it hasn’t led a troubled life. I think Jeep would sell pickups like hotcakes if they started making them again. Have any of you owned a 2WD Jeep?

Fast Finds


  1. 71 MKIV

    prolly not tan carpet, it was red carpet that has faded, like all Chrysler’s of this era did.

  2. Eric M.

    I had one very similar, the six was gutless. Mine was two wheel since also. One under hood fuel leak, and it went up in flames… End of that jeep… The s even foot bed was useful while it lasted…but I’d never buy another one.

  3. hearsetrax

    @ Eric M

    “best projects start with something and I feel sorry for your loss”

    I heard tale of a Jeep Crate engine avalible from walmart

    this jeep looks like the other great jeep project 2 me =^)

  4. JCW Jr.

    I have a 87 Comanchee 2wd. 4cyl 5 speed short bed. I (gasp) bought to flip. It tapped a guidrail on Lf. So fixing and going to upgrade interior since it is now chepo model and do a nice daily driver repaint. Suprise for Pa. minimul rust. Really thinking about a 4.3 5 speed conversion and maybe add the frt.axle to make 4×4. I know lot of work just to flip, but you have to have some fun.

  5. Mark

    Why is a Gm engine in their not a Jeep or Amc or Mopar engine?

    • racer99

      The early Cherokees and these trucks used the 2.8L GM motor as the upgrade from the 4 cylinder before going to the 4.0L straight sixes (BTW the base 4 cylinder was also a GM product). These are pretty gutless compared to the Jeep 4.0 versions. I had one of these with the 4.0 and 5 speed and it would pull just about anything (towed a full size long wheelbase chevy van on a trailer 40 miles with one) and the 4.0L drivetrains were just about indestructible.

      • Scott Staff

        Base 4 cylinder not a GM product. The 2.5 4 was AMC all the way. The later 4.0 was based on it. Often confused with the iron duke but different animal.

    • Rob

      Had a two door Cherokee with the 2.5 Iron Puke in it. They used GM as a supplier to save costs of development and engineering.

  6. KevinW

    I had an ’86 Cherokee sport 2 door with the 4cyl.- 5 spd. It was a great car that got awesome gas mileage and would do amazing burnouts! I drove all over Texas in it and would still have it if it wasn’t for an idiot in a new Dodge dually that ran into me head on! Totalled it out, and because of no airbag, I actually bent the steering wheel, impacting it with my chest! Oh yeah, it was 2wd also.

  7. Sam

    I was in Berlin Wisconsin a few years to purchase a vintage Ariens mower. The seller had a Commanche with the Renault diesel…over 200,000 miles daily driver.

  8. Sebastian

    I recently bought an 89 Comanche 2wd with the 4.0 in CT and surprisingly it isn’t rusted out but it’s been a blast restoring it.

  9. mark

    I had 2 of these. Bought a new 1986 model. Long bed, 4 speed, 4 cylinder 2 wheel drive. Many years later I bought an 87, short bed, in line 6, auto, 2 wheel drive. Both were great trucks

  10. Howard A Member

    Nice truck, but, for me, 3 strikes agin it right off the bat. 2 wheel drive( totally useless in snow), that “boat anchor” 2.8( Believe me, I know) and no extra cab. ( after having an extra cab, I’d have nothing but. That little space behind the seats is not an extra cab) These Cherokee’s, I felt, were better than the previous ones, but there were some lemons too. I almost bought a Cherokee, this era, the engine, a 4.0, puked on the way home from the dealer. Hello credit union? Stop payment IMMEDIATELY!!!

  11. Nils

    I had a 87 Red Sportruck. 6’bed, 5speed, 4.0 2wd. Loved it. In the 17 years I owned it only wished twice that I had 4 wd. Replaced the clutch at 160,000 miles.
    Was starting to break down and costing me more money as it got older, which makes sense.
    Some drunk driver rammed into the rear one night while it was parked. No one hurt. Whew. The Jeep still ran but due to it’s age and high mileage it was declared totaled. Sigh. A few years ago some one saw it in a salvage yard. Was so tempted to buy and restore it. But time and money were not there.

  12. J.R. Harris

    I have had my 87 since 87, no problems. I don’t drive much because it would be totaled if wrecked. Lot’s of fun 4.0 high out put , fuel injected, header, only 5 speed option w/this engine in 87.

  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Like a mid engine Corvette, the rumors about a new Jeep pickup continue.

    • michael gaebelein

      There will be a new Jeep pickup in about a year and a half.. Grand wagoneer in about 2.5

  14. David Wilkinson

    A friend bought one of these new in 1986. A few days later we used it to pick up a $25 ping pong table from the want ads. The seller had a sloped driveway which we parked in and then moved the ping pong table next to the bed of the Comanche ready to lift it in. My friend was in the cab with the door open when suddenly the truck rolled backwards for some reason. The edge of the door caught the front edge of the ping pong table, which slid down the driveway a few feet until it hit a crack and stopped. The cab door bent forward and sprung the hinges to the point where the door almost touched the front fender and the door wouldn’t close after that. An expensive trip to the body shop was required to make the door right. The ping pong table didn’t seem like such a bargain after that. My friend’s luck didn’t improve– that truck was repossessed within a year because someone he’d cosigned on a loan with defaulted and they came after him.

  15. Car Nut Gig Harbor

    I’ll never understand why the Jeep Comanche was discontinued when it was. I thought Jeep had a great companion for the XJ Cherokee. I would’ve bought one if I could’ve gotten it with a 4.0 litre six cylinder engine and automatic gearbox.

    • AMX Brian

      It’s because Chrysler owned Jeep then and didn’t think it was wise to continue producing a truck that compete against it’s Dakotas.

  16. wayne

    I worked for an AMC dealer for a short time when these came out. We all went to the vehicle intro in Sacramento. After the indoor dog and pony/rah rah show we were escorted out side for a ride and drive. They had a course set up in a dirt lot with a couple of humps in it. After some boring time standing there watching everyone putter around. Our dealer principal put out $50.00 for the fastest time. Being an ex-pro rally driver. I jumped in full speed and won the $50.00. However I did spoil everyone else’s fun. As at the end of my run I landed right next to another truck just leaving. (Hump at the end!) The AMC people had no sense of humor and pulled all the keys when they found out that there was money on the line. Those were good times!

  17. Brendon

    My dad bought one of these when they first came out. He brought his home in November of ’85, so it too likely had a low VIN. It was a base model which didn’t even come with carpet, but it had 4wd. It was a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder AMC engine with a 4 speed manual, and fuel injection, which I believe was new for AMC. It was black, with tan interior, and little else. I think it came with an AM only radio, too. It was slow, very slow, but the bed was just big enough to haul around our ’82 Honda Odyssey. He had it for 12 years or so and it got him through the upstate NY winters. Good truck, just slow, and small.

  18. TC

    I had a long bed 2 wheel drive ’86 Comanche. I got it from my then brother in law who had blown the 2.8 L. I ordered a long block 2.8 and with a little help from my friends, installed it. Super plain. Black w/ red bench seat, no radio. 5 spd. I was in my early 20’s and dated my now wife in it. I had red rims and mud tires. She still married me anyways. Find memories

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