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Unread 09-10-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
Registered User
1997 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ann Arbor
Posts: 9
Jeep Grand Wagoneers

Hello All

I have always loved the looks of the Grand Wagoneers and I am starting to look for one to purchase. If there is any advise you can give I am all ears. Why a Wagoneer? First is the looks. I also love the big body size. Living in Michigan, the winters are getting worse. Im not looking to haul anything with it, although that might be an option. Just looking for a big safe, beautiful truck to just be able to get in and go.

So with that said: what should I watch out for?
Are they money pits?
How is the gas milage (driving an E350 right now)
How is the handling
What is a fair price to pay for one.

I am REALLY new to this truck. I just found that they have Wagoneers with Rino grill (absolutely beautiful)

I am O.K when I comes to mechanics but I dont want to be under the hood or under the truck every other day.

Thanks for you time.

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Unread 09-11-2014, 01:46 AM   #2
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1976 FSJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 132
I suppose how much work you want to do will depend on your budget. You'll want to try and find a west coast unit as most (all?) of the ones in your neck of the woods will have had to contend with salty roads and at least 2 decades of rust causing environs. These trucks are based on 1960's tech, which is both good and bad. If not upgraded, they are all carburated (most with 2-barrel). A well tuned carb runs great. A poorly tuned or dirty one runs like crap, is hard to start, and frustrating. You have this winter thing, so cold starts in the winter can be challenging for off-tune carbs. Carbs in general have a harder time in extreme cold. That said, they do work just fine when tuned correctly. There are numerous FI upgrades out there, and do-it-yourself guides too. Again, your budget may dictate how much and how fast.
The Grand Wagoneers (80's vintage) will have TF727 transmissions and 90% will have 360 V8s. The engines are simple to work on, 1960s tech. If you have Smog tests in your area they sometimes struggle with these. If not, no worries, you can take all the emissions junk off and get a slight boost in power and simplify your under hood.
Grand Wags (again 80's vintage) will have part-time 4x4 transfer cases. There are 2-3 depending on year and configuration. Axle gearing is a bit high (I think 3.31 pretty much across the range) but still useful.

They can be money sinks, but you can get ones that are very nice too. They are all going to be 30ish years old with all the good and bad that age brings. They are durable rigs that are super reliable...if you give them what they need. You'll get 10-12 MPG depending on carb and driving style. They tow very well. The simplicity means they are very easy to work on when you need to and the community is great. Hope this helps!
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Unread 09-11-2014, 03:42 AM   #3
"Positive.....I think"
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1990 FSJ Wagoneer 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Grand Haven Mi, USA
Posts: 1,083
Finding one locally may be tough. If you find one in Mi that is rust free, it will be pricey. They can be reliable if a few upgrades are installed (ignition, fuel system, vacuum refinements). I drive mine nearly everyday (except winter) with a combined fuel mileage over 13 mpg. Search the SE for a rust free rig, check around the gas tank for rot, beware of dodgy fixes under the hood such as wires hacked and spliced. The Chrysler era rigs I belive to have better electric systems (87-91), and I would personally avoid the 70s Quadratrac only due to parts availability for the t-case unless you expect to swap the case. They do handle well for what they are. The Rhino grill can be installed on any FSJ without much fuss.
"I like fun" Edd
Clawed: 90GW, TFI, Streetfire, 3"lift all spring, 31"BFG ATs, working RKE, Edel2131, Holly 1850, mild cam,
05 Renegade OME 927, 947, top plate, JBA 4.5s
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Unread 09-11-2014, 12:35 PM   #4
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1997 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ann Arbor
Posts: 9
Thank You

For all of your advise. I will continue to look and kick tires as much as possible.
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Unread 09-11-2014, 04:44 PM   #5
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Carpentersille, Illinois
Posts: 21
The rust, in this neck of the woods (I'm in the NW Chicago suburbs) is the real killer for these things. The above advice is spot on. Upgrade the ignition with either one of the available HEI distributors (the distributor/cam gear interface can be problematic sometimes), or the TFI mod. The fuel issues are best solved with fuel injection, or if that's out of the budget, a good rebuild on the stock 2 barrel, or even upgrading to a more modern 4 barrel carb will work. Stay away from the 84/85 models, they have a vacuum disconnect on the front axle, 86 and up are ok there. The 86 comes with the NP228, which has an open diff in 4 hi to allow for full-time 4wd, the NP229 has a viscous coupler for a true full-time 4wd.

83 and earlier gets you a Wagoneer (no Grand available then), 3 different models of Cherokee (4 door, 2 door Narrow Trac and 2 door Wide Trac) and the Gladiator/J-trucks which lasted from 62 up through 87 in various size, capacity and trim levels.
His: 1999 TJ Sport
Hers: 1987 Grand Wagoneer
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