1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4x4 5.9L / 360cid from North America
The results of crossing a Lazy-Boy recliner with a Rhinocerous
When I first received this Jeep, the tranny pan constantly leaked (black RTV silicone sealant and the right bolts solved that problem).
The brakes needed to be done.
There was a battery cut-off switch on it... otherwise it'd be dead in a few hours.
There was the phantom lock problem that drove my wife batty (still does -- I could fix it... but...).
The rear doors wouldn't open from the inside (I still like that problem! --- though my kids hate it.)
There were major vacuum problems (stuck in 4hi, though being selec-trac, that was okay).
The back window not only did not work, but it was off the mangled track (we fixed it over 3 days, cleaned motor and reshaped track, made parts from scratch, and made a new rear widow sill gasket).
The rear window wiper arm was gone (still is).
The rear window defrost was disconnected (still is).
The rear gate key switch was shot (ripped it out and modified a bolt as an interior handle).
The headliner was down all over (we later found black mold above the liner board).
The roof rack rattled like a ghost in the attic. (missing screws & nuts)
The overhead console didn't work. (water damage)
The A/C didn't work. (removed it for weight reduction)
The heater switch melted that winter (2 ago).
The cushy dash was badly hardened and rolling up at the defroster vents. (we ripped it off to bare metal)
The gas gauge didn't work (still doesn't). When we took up the rear carpet to locate the problem, we found three inches of water in the rear fender where the gas filler is.
The factory radio didn't work, & when I opened up the door panels, the rotted speakers fell out on the ground.
The windshield leaked on the driver's side.
The engine hood pull cable broke a few weeks ago (we just use a screw driver to push the flapper inward, now)
The pollution system was missing most of the parts (so we removed the rest and put a new catalytic converter on it, and THEN it passed emissions!)
Now, I could continue, but you get the point.
This was loaned to me by a dying, retired Police Chief who eventually sold it to us for 500 dollars. He bought the parts for the brakes and the tranny job; but otherwise, after purchase, I've weaned as much weight from the Jeep Grand Wagoneer as possible: the whole A/C system (which is being converted to onboard air), the smog pump, etc., upholstery, the rear seat (part-time), the arm-rest console (being redesigned), the 30x10.50 tires are still almost bald and still go everywhere we need off road, and handle exceptionally well in the snow and ice.
In spite of the aesthetic problems of the vehicle, it is still the vehicle of choice for me (and I have a 1989 GMC Suburban 4x4 (with a tow-truck push bumper) on it that's loaded - a real ego stroker to drive, as well as an Airforce 15 passenger Dodge Ram350 Bus.
I had always wanted one of these Jeep's, and, well, since having it, it has performed above and beyond my expectations, both on road and off.
It's a crying shame that they discontinued the full-sized Jeep Grand Wagoneer!
Arguably the best stock 4x4 vehicle I've ever had the pleasure of operating in all types of Inland Northwest weather and terrains.
I have owned a few different models of 4x4 trucks, and I must say that I am not so hesitant to leave the beaten pathway even in the winter, having driven this beast!
I've gotten other rigs stuck, but this one has yet to let us down... even having taken it to the same places!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th June, 2010
21st Jun 2010, 05:52
Nice review. You sound like a man who appreciates the 'rhinoceros' side of vehicles. I grew up driving these Grand Wagoneers and full sized Cherokees in the late seventies and early eighties, and even when new they did tend to have some little electrical troubles. But what amazing vehicles - nothing like driving to the top of an escarpment that four-wheeler fanatics couldn't reach, or pulling them out of mud or snow in their hot rodded rigs in a stock eighties Wagoneer with the leather seats, air, a nice stereo playing jazz, and bourgeois wood-grain down the sides. We always bought ours with Quadratrac, and we never got stuck once in two decades of owning the jolly things.