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Restore current `85 Wagoneer, or buy new one??

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  • Restore current `85 Wagoneer, or buy new one??

    I bought an `85 Grand Wagoneer last week for $1000. It is an AZ vehicle and all-original (except for rebuilt motor at 99,000 miles and cheap re-paint a few years ago).

    I bought it for my wife since she totalled her car the week before and we needed something for a couple of months until I get an insurance settlement(settlement is due to an accident I was in a year ago).

    So, she drove the Jeep for a few days and decided she doesn't want a new SUV; she wants the Wagoneer restored .

    The question is; should I put at least $7-$12k into restoring this one, or buy a cream-puff Wagoneer?

    How much would a really nice Wagoneer go for?

    This one is pretty straight, but the seats are a little rough, headliner is falling down, tranny is slipping, motor now has 74k miles on it and truck has 175k miles on it. So, it will need everything; motor gone through, tranny re-built, transfer case, complete repaint, most of the interior done, etc.

    I have a friend who is a body guy who will re-paint it and change the color to a dark blue(including door jambs) for $600.

  • #2
    How handy are you with a wrench? You can pull the tranny and have a shop re-do it. Same with the motor, or you can rebuild it yourself. Also, how much time do you have?

    Any "cream-puff" FSJ you buy for $10K will need stuff gone through, too. So add some more $$ on top of that price. I personally like it when *I'M* the one who's gone through it. That way I know it's done right or I know who to blame. <g>
    Ethan Brady
    1987 Grand Wagoneer, slightly longer than stock.

    Don't mess with me. I once killed a living hinge.


    • #3
      Better the devil you know ! (You buy a "cream puff" you don't know what was done how it was done and stuff will still break)

      Mike D.
      Home of ADHD project list

      1977 J-10 Honcho 360-T15-D20
      1977 Cherokee WT 360-Th400-NP241 true-trac(s)
      1979 Cherokee 4 Door 258-T-18-D20
      1981 Cherokee Chief WT 360-727-NP208
      1972 K20 Suburban 350 SM465 205
      And the other stuff that gets driven


      • #4

        Not sure I would call them creampuffs, but he sure does ask and get some crazy prices for his Jeeps. Although, I can't say I would not buy one if I won the lottery. Nevermind, I never remember to buy a ticket and I would have a better chance getting struck by lightning.
        1979 Cherokee - Built 401, NV4500, Dana 300, 6" BJ's Lift w/ Bilstein 5125 Shocks, Goodyear Wrangler MT/R 35X12.5R15, Front Brake Upgrade w/ GM 2500 Calipers & EBC Pads, Rear Disc Brake Conversion, Z&M Jeeps Dash Insert w/ VDO Series 1 Gauges, Tad Rack, Ramsey Hidden Winch w/ REP8000, Hydroboost, CS140

        1967 J3500 - Making plans


        • #5
          If the motor was already redone once then don't worry about it right now. Just take care of the other stuff that needs fixing right away. More then likely the transfercase would just need some new fluid. Fix that one since it's the one that she fell in love with. Just wish that my wife would fall in love with mine.
          1988 Grand Wag, stock for now


          • #6
            Originally posted by crazydog
            Those prices are insane.

            I would fix up your current GW. Hell if the body is clean then the mechanics are a pinch. Change all the fluid and filters and go from there.
            87 J10 258/4 spd


            • #7
              Anyone remember the thread where someone bought a "cream puff" on eBay and it ended up having newspaper spraypainted black stuffed into the frame? Keep the current Wag, make it yours.

              87 GW "Big Bear"
              76 J20 project "Ox"
              90 GW parts rig "Velma"
              77 J10 parts rig "NoMo" (as in "no more Jeeps, Corey!")
              94 YJ "Coop"

              88 GW "Hercules" (had to sell in '08, curious who has it now)
              83 Wag parts rig "Shaggy" (used to build Herc, then scrapped)
              73 J4000 (had to sell due to PCS in '07)
              75 Cherokee "Jerry Lee" (sold in '13 because I'm an idiot)
              74 Cherokee "Dino" (used to build Jerry Lee, then scrapped)


              • #8
                I vote for rebuilding your current wag. If the body is straight and the engine already has a rebuild under it's belt then you're 2 steps ahead of most people. The headliner shouldn't be too hard to do yourself and you can save some money that way. Carpet kits are easy to install yourself and you can have the seats re-upholstered to like new condition or find some used seats that are in good shape. Get those things done and detail the heck out of it and you'll be surprised how much of a difference it will make.

                I also agree with Mud thrasher on the fluid's. Check and add fluids where needed and make sure your problems aren't just a simple lack of regular maintenance.

                The biggest benefit to doing the work yourself is you earn a greater understanding of how the systems work, you know the quality of parts and maintenance put into it. buying another wagoneer in seemingly good condition is a toss up. unless you buy from wagonmaster which like Chaka pointed out is really expensive.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the great replies!

                  I just installed a CD player, new speakers, wipers, air cleaner, fluids (tranny fluid is new but smells horrible; will need new tranny ASAP), and have an appointment for it tomorrow to have alignment done and suspension inspected.

                  I have a `77 Suburban that I have been wrenching on lately and am getting tired of doing stuff.

                  I'll likely just farm out most of the stuff I hate, like interior and electrical.