I bought a 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and now I’m in love

Some vehicles enter your mind like a virus, wrapping themselves around your cerebral cortex, where they every-so-often put a gentle squeeze on your cognitive processes.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/13/1987-jeep-grand-wagoneer-purchase

I can’t recall driving one in the past quarter of a century, but when I drove a big Jeep I was impressed by the steering. I’m not sure it is supposed to behave as you describe. Have you checked the integrity of every related component? Driven another example? I also don’t remember the engine being particularly underpowered, but that is definitely a shifting context. I will say that some of the cars I drove in '80s and '90s are ones that still have better steering and primary controls than the products sold by their makers today. If a Jeep SJ didn’t have bad steering compared to a manual or hydraulic power steering equipped Porsche or hydraulic power steering BMW, I don’t see how it could be as nautical as you describe by design. Yours does look like a very nice Wagoneer.

Pretty slick GW!

What’s the yellow box screwed on the floor do?

  • Jim

Had a friend back in the day who plowed snow with one of these. It was unstoppable in the winter. Full time four wheel drive is incredible. A nice inexpensive alternative is the '05 to '10 Hemi Grand Cherokee. To me, they are a bargain and do everything better, but certainly don’t have the cool factor that the Wagoneers have.

That yellow box is the speed control module! IIRC from my 18 years as a Jeep dealership mechanic, it was originally either duct taped or screwed to the top of the under dash A/C unit!

For a lack of power and poor economy, try checking the vacuum advance in the distributor. Replace it if it’s inop. Also, they are often de-tuned! On the original Motorcraft electronic distributors, the vacuum advance is adjustable. An 1/8" allen wrench into the vacuum port will allow adjustment on how quickly and how far it will vacuum advance. Try turning it 1 turn at a time to see how it reacts. If it now pings, back it off. IIRC, counter-clockwise will allow a faster advance and more of it, to a max of +10 degrees.

Also, for poor economy, test the power valve in the carb. Some have a vacuum line running off the housing back to the rear cylinders. If the valve is bad, it will leak gas through the vacuum line into two of the rear cylinders. The engine will run rough and you will find raw fuel in the line. Some have internal passages for the vacuum to the power valve, all cylinders will run rich with these if the valve is bad. The carb is really easy to overhaul, the kits come with new valves.

Hope this helps!