Right here in this column is where some other editors would play cruel jokes on the readers with some cockamamie April Fool’s joke, story, or something else. Let me tell you, I really did think about it. I mean, I’m the guy who came up with the “International buys Jeep” headline that a lot of readers bought “hook, line, and sinker.”
That said, I’m going to be boring and not mess with you guys. Instead, I’m going to lament the loss of my last Comanche. I like the little trucks; especially the ’91 and ’92 model years, but they are getting harder to find. It took me 6 or 7 years to find mine. I was actually looking for a ’92, but I decided I need to stop being so picky. Like most of the other Comanches I’ve had, I got the ’91 as a shortbed 2WD Eliminator model. I just prefer getting them that way. They are super easy to convert to 4WD using junkyard parts, and I find the 2WDs are generally less beat up than the 4WD ones.
By the time I was done with it, it had a stroker engine in it, 35-inch tires, front and rear Dana 44s, a rear spool, and a front pneumatic locker. Not only was it a decent build, but the truck was reliable too and got decent mileage for a brick on wheels. So, why did I get rid of it? Well, it was as built as I was going to make it, and it wasn’t really any good for tech for the magazine. I swapped it to someone for a four-door 2010 Wrangler Unlimited in hopes that the little MJ would get more use at its new home. The Wrangler was a burn victim that I looked at as a clean sheet of paper. It was OK. I still had my trailer and my M-715 if I needed to haul or move stuff.
Then, the engine in the M-715 started eating more oil, and I didn’t want to rebuild the gas engine. But that’s OK because I had a friend with a ’96 Ford F-450 with a Powerstroke he was looking to get rid of. Of course, I’m perpetually broke, so we figured out a trade for that too so I could put the Powerstroke in the 715. Of course, the only thing I had that he wanted to trade was my trailer. But even that was OK because the M-715 still was running fine, and I’d have at least one thing to haul parts in.
Then, right about the minute the trailer left my house, the 715 started smoking like a cropduster and mileage dropped from a miserable 6 mpg to a truly horrible 4 mpg. No big deal because I had the Powerstroke to swap into it, right? The only problem is the diesel engine was 7 hours away from a now-dead or dying 7,000-pound green truck. So in one month, I went from two running Jeep trucks and a decent trailer to zero trucks, no trailer, and a burnt-up Wrangler. Man, some days I really wish that Jeep hadn’t killed off the pickup line in 1992.
For this issue, I decided some basic kind of fab tech would be a good idea. So, we have a trail welder review, tech on how to cut metal, and guides on how to outfit your garage so that you can start fabbing at home. The Disposable Hero is back, and we rebuild the Spicer 18 for our garage-built flatfender. Thanks for picking Jp for all your Jeep tech and entertainment.