Re: What to look for when buying a Grand Wagoneer??
Tom - Great Choice! I now own two. A '90 (grey with vinyl roof, wood grain and sun roof - DON'T buy one with a vinyl roof, they develop rear pillar rot from the roof gutter drain hoses), and a newly purchased white '91 with NO woodgrain - special order at the time. I have completely restored the '90, and use it all the time. I'll detail some basics I have learned:
1) With the AMC 360 V-8 and stock 2-barrel carb they get @ 8-10 mpg. They have between a 16 and 20.2 gal. tank - stock, so you make a lot of trips to the gas station. Don't let the tank go below 1/3
2) Check for inside floor rot, frame rot around the gas tank and protective skid plate,in rear trunk and rear hitch area,from splash-up. There is a neat skid plate/frame repair piece available from grandwagoneers.com for this problem. Saul is great, and has a lot of buying info and products available on his site. RUST IS THE PRIME ENEMY OF THESE TRUCKS!
3) Check for rust around all fixed windows and windshield. If any, they should comeout and be reseated.
4) They start hard, and idle rough, unless the carb is rebuilt properly, and the timing advanced A LITTLE. Run mid-octane if you do this, or the engine will ping (detonate).
5) Dry out carpets if damp from body leaks caused by faulty door gaskets. Replace door gaskets with fresh ones.
6) Check all motors - front seat, window, rear view mirror
7) Exhaust systems (stock) can be a bitch, if you need new headers. The Jeep replacements need to be rebent, or they will stress the whole system,and the headers might crack, or the tail pipe shake loose (this happened to me twice!)
8) Clean door drains
9) Check tail gate power window. The glass usually needs to be reseated and adjusted, and the hinges oiled-up.
10) '89-'91 had rear wipers. They all get screwed up. The motors are no longer available, but I believe Saul has them new (see above).
11) The AMC v-8 is nice, but prone to valve guide wear and possible collapsed valve lifters (my '90 is going to need a top end job soon).
12) Other people discuss various emission, vacuum and engine quirks/problems - I can't improve on their advice.
13) The windshields are prone to leaks, even when professionally installed - look out for water drips.
14) The aluminum inner threshold covers are prone to corrode, and are no longer available new. Replace those screws with stainless!
15) The leather/corded upholstery is gorgeous, and has a Rolls-Royce feel (my Dad had 3), but the cheesy woodgrained interior door trim pieces are prone to pop out,and tear your clothes.
16) Oil pressure should be @60-70 lbs. @ speed and & 12 lbs. at warm idle (more or less, going by my memory.)
17) Make sure the selec-trac 4 wheel drive works - my '90's didn't, and that was an $800 bill!!
Well, it's late here in Boston. Hope this info helps. They're great trucks,and handle like a dream, turning on a dime, at speed. Good luck finding a nice one (get a '90-'91 if you can) Keep us posted on your results - Chris