1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Reviews - Page 2 of 2

1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer 360 V8 2bbl from North America

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 360 V8 2bbl Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired100000 miles
Most recent distance118000 miles
Previous carJeep Cherokee

Summary:

The original is still the best!

Faults:

The usual issues, radiator, water pump, etc. I replaced all engine external components, and all is great since.

Watch for rust on the inside door panels, and correct ASAP. Interior is of high quality, expect to replace headliner, door gaskets, and power lock motors. Parts are available through dedicated websites.

General Comments:

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a American Classic.

Perfect for one who wants the best and knows a bit about older cars...'70's technology.. or has access to a great mechanic who appreciates the GW.

If one spends the time to find all the great upgrade parts and knows restoration, you will end up with a wonderful, distinctive SUV. The original, which will attract attention from so many!

Mine gets 12mpg, and runs super in Tahoe. Not that bad compared to new luxury SUV's.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th May, 2004

1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Woody 360 CID 2 Barrel from North America

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 360 CID 2 Barrel Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired115000 miles
Most recent distance120400 miles
Previous carJeep Cherokee

Faults:

Tailgate window has a little trouble going down. A new motor would make it work like normal.

Rear passenger door handle does not work from the inside. Something is loose inside of the door.

Rear passenger lock does not work with key-less entry. Something is loose inside of the door.

Headlight switch gets hot and turns off headlights. An easy fix for $15.

General Comments:

The Jeep only gets 10 mpg, but that is really good for a carburated engine. A new fuel injected SUV will not get much better.

4x4 still works great. The Woody will hammer through snow with no problems.

The body is getting rusty, but that is common. I suggest getting it painted before the rust spreads.

The engine runs great for the high miles. It is not very fast, but the woody is a very heavy vehicle.

I love this woody and have no plans of selling it. Add new paint and maybe even a rebuilt engine and you will have an SUV that EVERYBODY loves to look at. I get compliments on this vehicle every week.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th March, 2004

1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer AMC 360-2V V8 from North America

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission AMC 360-2V V8 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired110000 miles
Most recent distance140700 miles
Previous carChevrolet Corsica

Summary:

The finest vehicle I've ever owned..

Faults:

Regular maintenance and replacement items for a 140k+ mile vehicle notwithstanding, it's quite solid. The AMC 360 V8 still holds 40 pounds of oil pressure hot, the bulletproof Chrysler 727 tranny shifts like a charm, and the NP229 transfer case works flawlessly.

The two main sources of problems with the truck crop up when the Ford-sourced parts, the carb and ignition, decide to go south. The stock Motorcraft 2150 carb can be temperamental to tune, and has a mixed reputation for reliability. A small backfire usually will kill the power valve, requiring a minor, but still inconvenient replacement. Its layout is a tad complex (not unlike most carbs, though), and the linkages (choke, accelerator pump, etc.) need to be kept adjusted and lubed to avoid problems. As carbs go, I've found it to be mediocre at best, as compared to other comparably-sized units, such as the Holley 2300. At 125k, I replaced the worn stock 2150 with a re-manufactured unit, and will probably be switching to GM throttle body injection by the end of the spring, in the hopes of pulling more efficiency out of the induction setup. The key is getting it setup and tuned correctly; if you can do that, and keep it that way, you'll be set (it can be done).

The Ford Duraspark ignition works well, provided that the ignition control module doesn't go bad. The distributor is a solid design, but the module is the weak link. The stock unit went 115k, but aftermarket replacements I've found only last about 5-7k tops. Their failure is marked by sporadic stalling, and usually occurs at higher engine temperatures. Keeping a spare ziptied to the mounted one is good insurance against being stranded. Should one fail, you just switch two connectors, and you're on the road again.

Other than that, most everything else I've replaced was just a function of normal wear, rather than poor design or build quality. (The one exception being the poor clearcoat metallic paint, which was common most all Jeep and Chrysler products of the era.)

The alternator has been replaced, after the stock unit went for 113k.

The radiator was replaced after a seam wore out after 124k of service.

The steering gear has developed a little bit of play, and a slight seal leak, and is due for replacement, but it's in line after almost 150k.

The fuel gauge sender unit works, but is afflicted by the typical resistor deterioration woes inherent in the ancient AMC design, and can read a little low below a half tank. It's easily remedied though, with a $40 replacement. Thankfully, the tank access plate in the rear floor makes replacement possible without dropping the tank.

Other than that, two or three minor electrical glitches spawning from either component wear, age, or mild corrosion have been easily fixed with little cost or effort. The rear window can be temperamental, but works well after being serviced properly.

General Comments:

This Jeep is simply the finest vehicle I've ever owned. It's got ample power, plush comfort, unmistakable styling, and is extremely accessible to work on.

I have found nothing that handles better in snow, and the 360 makes highway driving fun (even though fuel stops come up around every 200 miles).

Those who see past the typical gremlins that can come with older cars make up quite the cult following for these trucks, with a camaraderie among enthusiasts.

It can hold its own against any other of the more modern vehicles in its class (that have the advantage of 30 years of technology) that are currently rolling of the line, and has the added benefit of not costing $30k.

Its styling is nostalgic, complete with vinyl woodgrain trim and plenty of chrome. Finding it in parking areas is never much of a challenge. Also, the wide expanses of glass and slim pillars make for unrivaled visibility. Cargo room is exceptional, and the seats are quite comfortable even on the longest trips.

My only complaint with the truck is its lackluster gas mileage, which typically averages about 10mpg/city and 12mpg/highway when properly tuned. It's understandable, though, considering the classically square body design, and its primitive engine control system. Seeing as MPFI and mildly improved aerodynamics net current fullsize SUVs 15mpg on average, the GW isn't really all that thirsty.

Regular maintenance is essential. Keeping the sheet metal clean will stave off the potentially serious rust that plagues some older Jeeps. The AMC V8s oiling system benefits from regular oil changes, especially at higher mileage. If you keep up with it, 150-200k is not unusual for the high-nickel 360s.

It's important to remember that most of the issues that arise with these trucks are due simply to the fact that they are now at least a minimum of ten years old now, and many have more than 100k on the odometer. The design is inherently solid, and time-tested, as the platform's 30-year run went by without any major changes to the original 1962 design, but they do occasionally require component replacement when parts wear out, as would any vehicle of the same vintage would.

For the most part, the truck is quite accessible to work on, with many parts readily available. The fullsize Jeep line shares enough componentry with both the popular Jeep CJ line and other Big-3 products so that replacement parts coverage is quite good. The truck's older design and convoluted vacuum line system can make finding the right mechanic difficult, as many do not understand the quirks found in older Jeeps, and are unfamiliar with older technologies. So, knowing a little about the truck can be helpful. Quite a few enthusiast groups, such as IFSJA (www.ifsja.org), exist for Fullsize Jeep owners, and are the best sources for solving problems or answering questions without consulting an expensive and potentially unknowledgable mechanic.

I guess that in the end, if you want a truck you never have to tinker with, and can just drop off at the dealer when a problem crops up, you want something new with a warranty. But if you don't mind saving $25,000 and learning a little about the quirks that can come up, and then tackling them, the Grand Wagoneer is affordable, attractive, capable, comfortable, reliable, and an all around blast to drive. Nothing currently out on the market can compare.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2001

24th May 2001, 21:18

I just happened on your site and I agree 100% + with your ratings. Plus, I picked up a couple of useful pointers on some "problems" mine has been developing. Mine's approaching 198K and with a little TLC I plan to keep adding the miles. Thanks for the info.

19th Aug 2008, 17:25

Good review - I have a 1985 GW with 145K miles on it and agree with everthing you stated.

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 6 reviews