Is it worth buying a 1985 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that needs a new engine?

jeep

#1

I’m a jeep fan, and looking at a buying a bigger car. This is for sale in my area.
Anyone have experience with Grand Wagoneers? What do you think of this one?


#2

I think it’s a vehicle whose life has been fully used up. These were not pillars of reliability when new, buying on almost 30 years old and dead is tantamount to throwing your money in the nearest manhole.

Of course, if he’s asking $100 and you’re looking for a project vehicle… naw, nevermind. This will not ever be worth anywhere near the amount you’ll spend making it roadworthy even if you get it for free. All you’re going to end up with is a worn out old Jeep not worth the tires it sits on.


#3

Aside from being an unreliable gas hog when new, add to that a dead engine (and unknown other problems) plus 30 years of wear and tear, what’s not to like?


#4

@texases, I’m detecting a negative vibe…


#5

I’ve owned one of those behemoths. It was a young 20 year old at that time. Buying one that doesn’t run is a bit scary, but they do seem to have a following among the masochistic. Here are some specs on them. http://www.automobile-catalog.com/make/jeep/wagoneer_sj/wagoneer_sj_2/1985.html

I hesitate to click on anything I don’t understand, so I didn’t look at your pix or whatever. I don’t know what is wrong with it or anything other than what has been said above.

If you do decide to buy it, PM me and I’ll let you know where you can buy new woodgrain plastic from the folks who originally made it for AMC. I think they can still knock out a small one Jeep batch at a time for about $150. (old price) It looked great on mine. In fact it was probably it’s biggest asset.


#6

Let’s see…how many ways can I say that this is a bad idea? Too many so I won’t start a list.


#7

It would have to have a pretty cheap asking price and you’d have to be willing to spend some significant resources to get it in reliable condition. But if you are prepared to do that, why not? Sus out some alternative vehicles, then price this Jeep project out, get some rough estimates. You need to consider not just the engine, but the brakes, the transmission/clutch, underbody rust issues, drivelines, axels, suspension, wheel bearings, upholstery, availability of repair parts and repair books, etc. Then ask yourself if spending that amount of money and time and ending up with this Jeep is the best bang for the buck; or instead, would one of the alternatives be a better choice for the price. If after all that the 1985 Wagoneer is what rings your bell, I say go for it.


#8

What use are you going to make of this Wagoneer? If you want it for reliable transportation, then I would say it is a no-go. As GeorgeSanJose pointed out, you may have underbody rust issues, transmission problems, suspension problems and so on. You would be money ahead to buy a Wagoneer that has a working engine.


#9

When I was a young boy one of my dad’s friends came by in his blue 1970 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. I stood in awe of that car and decided then, at age 6 or 7, that I would one day have a car just like that. 20 years later I had it, the same year, model, color, top, interior, you name it. It cost me a bundle and needed a lot of work but that car was my Holy Grail for 20 years and I had to have it.

If you feel that strongly about your Grand Wagoneer, and have no concern for the cost to repair it, then by all means buy it. If you don’t feel that strongly about it, look for something else.


#10

Whatever floats your boat. Too bad this sounds more like an anchor. It only makes sense as a hobby, and it will quickly become an expensive one. The resulting vehicle will not be worth what it cost you, and even when new these were crude, thirsty conveyances. It won’t even be fun to drive. If this is what you always dreamed of owning and are willing to put up with a lot of aggravation, this could occupy hours of your free time for a few years. If you really want one else of these suckered it would probably be cheaper to buy one someone else has sweated over. The price will look high, but it’s less than the cost of all the parts you’d need to make one as good as new.
If you’re just looking for cheap wheels, look elsewhere.


#11

This sounds like a job for Jay Leno.


#12

I love Jeeps as well but this seems to be a very bad idea.


#13

These have a following but some of the parts are harder to find from what I’ve been reading. If it only needs a new engine that can be sourced but what about the rest of the truck? They can go for a fair amount of money in perfect shape and with low miles to the right buyer. The average or rusty examples are much cheaper for a reason.


#14

This seems to be a project car at best. They usually sell for $500 to $1000 depending on condition.

The Wagoneer was not all that great when new, so you’ll be chasing all your spare time for parts once you’ve put another engine in it.

As for daily transportation, I can’t think of too many worse choices.


#15

My Brother bought a new Cherokee of about the same vintage. It had the 401 cu in automatic with “quadratrac”. He had a “mini” for the area 100+ acre ranch about 20 miles SW of Pendleton OR. It was about 8 miles from I84 on curvy gravel road with elevation changes and often severe Winter conditions. My Brother and SIL had full time jobs in Pendleton. Their Business/hobby on the ranch was breeding/showing Arabian horses towing a 4 horse trailer frequently over real mountains. Of course this was back in the day when most people purchased large trucks/SUVs because they had a use for them not as a fashion statement. The Cherokees fuel mileage? Don’t ask! Unless the OP is hopelessly in love with 1980s Jeep Wagoneers and has very deep pockets I would advise NO! An engine could be sourced from a salvage yard although that may require a search of many salvage yards. The engine will probably require a complete rebuild. Vintage AMC parts are not common = expensive. What about transmission, quadratrac components, suspension, body parts, glass, interior, and all the nickel and dime things like proper weather stripping, fasteners, paint? This vehicle could end up costing more than 2 brand new grand Cherokees! If the OP wants a similar vehicle look for a 1980s Chevrolet Suburban.