Jeep Grand Wagoneer

chrisbuickchrisbuick Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Jeep
Could anyone help me with info on the old style Jeep Grand Wagoneer. While I know they're ancient designs, they appear to be fairly plentiful here in Eastern New England. I need a reasonably priced SUV of that size, priced well under $10,000, for use in central New Hampshire, and I've always liked the looks of these vehicles. Are they pieces of junk? What was the last year they were made? ('91?) How reliable is the drive train, etc. They don't seem prone to rust. If anyone has experience with these, I'd appreciate your input. Many Thanks - Chris


  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,655
    I don't have any experience with the old style Wagoneers, although my uncle had a '76 Jeep pickup, which was the same basic design. I remember it had an AMC 360 and a 4-speed manual...a Borg-Warner, I think. From what I remember, the bed rusted out seriously, although the cab and fenders weren't in bad shape. We went around to a few junkyards looking for a bed, but what few Jeeps pickups they had were just as rusted out. It was a very sturdy uncle used it to go off-roading sometimes, and his friend who owned it before him used it on a farm, where it served alot of off-road duty. I used it one day to pull up some azaelea bushes in my grandmother's front yard ;-)

    I believe their basic design dates to the late 60's, which means their sheetmetal is thick. There was one for sale at a local park-and-sell lot a few months ago, for something like $2500 or was a late 80's. Sitting inside it, I'd guess they're a little bigger inside than the current Grand Cherokee. It was very comfortable, too, and the interior materials seemed of a good quality, if a bit out of style. This one still had an AMC 360, which is of the same heritage as the old AMC 304/360/390/401. It was an auto, which I'm guessing by this time was a Torqueflite of the strongest trannies ever built, and often seen behind everything from the Chrysler/DeSoto Hemi's of 1957 on up to the 440 big blocks and even 426 Hemi. God only knows about the rest of the drivetrain or other mechanicals though, as AMC/Jeep used all sorts of parts from just about anywhere they could find them.

    I think it would be neat to have one, just because they seem so sturdy and an SUV should be. I've got no need for one though, so I'll have to be content with window shopping!

  • bigm1bigm1 Member Posts: 10
    Had a '79 Jeep Cherokee which was the same as the Grand Wagoneer with 2 doors and a more spartan interior.

    Loved the vehicle. It was just the right size - smaller than today's giant SUV's and larger than the compacts. Also wasn't as high which made it easier to get in and out.

    Ran the thing to 90K and sold it to a friend. He ran it up to 160K until the tranny gave out. He didn't believe in maintenance though.

    I'm not that mechanically inclined, but did all my own maintenance. Very simple mechanically with lots of space in the engine bay to work. AMC 360 engine was strong and didn't use any oil. Many AC/Delco parts in it which made parts cheaper and easy to get.

    Weak spot - RUST. It is heavy metal, but very prone to rust in Minnesota. This affected not only the body panels, but things like the rear window mechanism (raise and lower the rear window). Radiators are weak, but not expensive to replace. Simple shocks and brakes. U-joints need to be lubed and have fittings on them. I had Quadra-trac and it needed to have fluid changed periodically with special Jeep fluid. As I remember, the A/C was a Delco unit. Tranny was a GM.

    Overall it was very reliable. Always started in the cold. Couldn't get stuck. However it had lousy gas milage. If I was towing - 10 mpg. If I wasn't towing - 10 mpg.

    I've had 3 SUV's since then. It was by far my favorite.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I sort of go along with bigm1, although I'm not quite as optimistic about the reliability. Big, sturdy, clumsy, and a gas hog, but very useful in spite of all that.

    I'd consider one, but I sure wouldn't pay a lot of money for one. You can buy some very good used modern SUVs for $5K-$6K these days.
  • chrisbuickchrisbuick Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the info guys. Mr. Shiftright - What modern SUV's would you specifically recommend? I really just want to get something reasonably priced and reliable. I prefer GM, such as GMC Jimmy or Chevy Blazer. But, the more recent (10 yrs. old) seem to still be in the $10,000+ price range here in snowy New England. Any suggestions? I already have plenty of restoration projects ('49 Buck 56S Sedanette, '33 Buick 56S Sport Coupe, '48 Diamond T 201) I would like to find something I could drive with as little worry as possible. Probably an impossible task. I see from your profile you restored a Morgan. I had a '59 +4 four seater and a '61 Drop head coupe in the mid 70's. They were fun, but impractical on Boston roads. Too many frost heaves! Likewise, I have had a '61 XK150 Coupe, a '66 E-type coupe and 1 '65 3.8S Saloon (unfortunately not 4 speed).I no longer am interested in English cars, (but I still keep thinking about that '48 Bentley Mk.VI slowly rusting away near my house, over by Harvard! I am nuts!) Chris
  • harry0harry0 Member Posts: 42
    Chrisbuick. Check out www. They sell completely restored Grand Wagoneers. They also ship everywhere.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    My advise...Don't do it!

    Those things are mechanical nightmares!

    They also get HORRIBLE gas mileage!
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,655
    But I'll probably never do it. I'm surprised at the prices that place wants for the things. The last time I saw one advertised was for $2500 at a local park 'n' sell lot, and it was in pretty good shape.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It's a quick ride to hell, really. It'll nickel and dime you, quarter you and dollar you--it never ends with those things. I think the best Jeeps area CJs and military myself.
  • chrisbuickchrisbuick Member Posts: 3
    Gentlemen - Thanks for your answers. Basically they confirmed my suspicions about the Wagoneer. I've just returned from Western New Hampshire, and the snow banks are 7 feet high!. Mud sesaon is going to be awful. Maybe I'll get a Jeep CJ, and leave it at the house for winter use. My '93 Astro AWD did OK in the snow (fully loaded). A lot of people up there drive old Blazers and Broncos. How are they. I want something rugged and not too fancy, for mud use, especially in the Spring. Thanks for your help. Chris
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARMember Posts: 872
    Last winter, I convinced my wife of how useful it would be for me to have a pickup truck as a 3rd vehicle, especially since her aged father could use it to haul his lawnmower and such (rather than lifting it into the trunk of his Crown Vic). Feeling the need to strike while the iron was hot, I found a good clean '82 F350 w/automatic and working air that was well within my budget, so I grabbed it up as a "place holder" until I could find what I really wanted.

    I actually like the truck, except it A) won't seat the 4 of us, B) isn't 4WD (which admittedly I rarely need, but it would be nice to have in our spare vehicle, if for no other reason but to justify keeping it around as a bad weather vehicle), and C) gets between 8-9.5MPG (400V-8 with CA emissions and what must be a low-geared rear end).

    I'm thinking of selling the truck, and buying a high-mileage &/or old SUV in the under $4k range. I like the old Grand Wagoneer's, because they've got plenty of room to haul stuff, and they're eaiser to work on/less complicated than some of the newer stuff. Basically, they meet all but my gas mileage criteria; but since I've only put @ 3k miles on the F350, it isn't that big a deal.

    I've always liked the Grand Wagoneer, and there's a certain classic look to them. Then again, there's something to be said for the "new" Cherokee (84-01?) which really didn't change much visually throughout its lifespan. But I'd probably feel safer in the larger/heavier G.W., even if it didn't have air bags, ABS and such.

    BTW - My truck has 160k miles on it, and I've probably spent $500-700 over the past year on rear end seals/brakes/etc, so I'm used to being nickel-and-dimed on stuff. I also like the "largeness" of the truck, and see the G.W. as having a similar "presence" on the road.

    So if you think the G.W. is really a "quick ride to hell", what else should I be looking at that would fit my needs/wants, and price range (and still be fairly reliable)? I've seen some really cheap Isuzu Trooper IIs around, but I figure there's a reason they're so cheap.

    Any guidence would be appreciated.
  • thecougarthecougar Member Posts: 7
    Get an old one they are indestructible.

    Hunter Thompson had to kill his 66 by riddling it with bullets and blowing it up. Saw an old about 63 one in Afghanistan in an old movie too. Govt agencies used to buy them way back when when needed for forestry, geologic and outdoors work.

    Very cool choice, if you dont mind water and wind leaks.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,628
    Recent SUVs are 'how much' in the northeast? Yikes. You can buy a last generation ('95-97) Chevy Blazer or Ford Explorer 4x4 here in Chicago (where we no longer have any snow, apparently) for like $5-8k easily. JGCs are a bit more, but still not outragious. It might be worth a trip to find one outside your area.
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