1977 Jeep Wagoneer from North America


I miss it, but I would never buy another jeep


Torque converter seized, 30k miles.

Transfer case chain stretched and slipped, 50k miles.

Extremely difficult to start if it had not been used for 2+ days. We lived with this problem when we had the vehicle, to this day, I have never encountered it in any other vehicle and I am still at a loss as to its cause.

Severe rust in front and rear quarter panels after 5 years.

Tailgate literally rusted into pieces, power window seized.

Starter motor replaced at 57000 miles.

Air cond. lost freon at 50k miles through a blown line.

Blows a water pump every 25k miles.

The Jeep was purchased NEW with several manufacturing defects, including a leaking exhaust manifold, non - functional interior light, blocked rear quarter panel drain holes (they filled with rainwater), defective carburetor adjustment and a fuel leak that only occured when going around faster left turns only.

General Comments:

My parents purchased this car new in the summer of 1977, and in 7 years it had rusted and deteriorated astonishingly quickly, even though mileage at 58000 miles was quite low.

It was poorly assembled and had very poor rust resistance, even though it received the dealers rust proofing package.

It functioned very well, for the most part. It came factory equipped with the 401 cid V8 (complete with forged crank and bags of horsepower)

The acceleration was extremely strong. The Quadra trac transfer case had an advanced for the day full time 4wd with a limited slip center differential. which was great in snow and the limited off roading I did with it. It was so good we never bought snow tires for it, just used summer radials (not even all season tires!)

The seats were comfy, the body was tall, boxy with great visibility. The handling suspension and brakes were somewhat better than average for a light truck. We appreciated the way it was roomy, but relatively compact, especially when compared to the huge Chevy Suburban, which was the only serious 4 door SUV competitor at the time.

Manoeverability was great. The overall body design and dash layout were largely unchanged since 1963. These days it looked retro funky, but back in 1977, it just looked a bit out of date.

I traded this vehicle in on a 1984 Jeep XJ (Cherokee) a move I regretted ever since. Except for gas mileage the older jeep was better in every way!!

One final point, the dealership in Toronto Canada was very dishonest. This truck came from the factory with optional aluminum wheels which my dad did not want to pay for. The dealership replaced them with base steel wheels - which had worn out tires on them!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th July, 2007

31st Jul 2007, 07:11

In my family we had several Jeeps Cherokees and Wagoneers - 2 '77s, 1 '78, 1 '81, and 1 '82. All were fantastic four wheel drives, but they all had various problems. The worst was rusting out as you mention. Luckily for us only one of them had weird electrical/starting problems like yours had. All did have very strong engines and transmissions - 4 of ours were 360 automatics, and one was the 258 straight six with a 4-spd stick.

Anyway, these were great vehicles in design, with the best four wheel drive I've ever used (we also used to drive ours all winter and off-road with smooth radials like on a car). But they were problematic in terms of quality.