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Old 07-14-2010, 07:16 PM   #1
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Newbie Request Feedback on Jeep Wagoneer as Tow Vehicle

Newbies needing feedback. We are considering Jeep Grand Wagoneer possibly 88-90 5.9v8 4x4 as tow vehicle for a 75 Tradewind Double. This will be our first Airstream and Tow Vehicle. Havent a clue what we are doing. No technical mumbo jumbo need easy to comprehend feedback.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:00 PM   #2
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Should work
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:12 PM   #3
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2nd that.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:06 PM   #4
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They're pretty, and look great in front of an airstream, but don't do it.

I bought one to use with our '65 Safari. We put on a class IV weight distribution hitch to get it ready for a long trip. It was the most unstable tow vehicle I have ever used. Our GW was a 1991 in good shape. First, I brought it in to a front end shop, and they said that everything in the suspension was tight, so the sway and wandering weren't coming from there. I then had the steering gear box replaced, and that seemed to help a little, but it still was all over the place in any kind of wind, or when when passed on the road. It felt just barely under control under good conditions- I can't imagine what it would have been like in emergency handling.
It's possible that adding sway control might have made it more stable, but there were just so many other marks against it, like the 9mpg you get even when you're not towing, the temperamental nature of a carburetor, and the lack of power.
I sold it for what I got it for within two months, and bought an old F150. It doesn't look as cool, but it tows straight as an arrow, even with no sway control.

But that's just my opinion... I think that with Jeeps, there are good ones and bad ones. I loved my Cherokee, but I will admire the Wagoneers from a safe distance.

Brad
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:44 PM   #5
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If you have a good hitch you will be fine. I have towed a 22' Airstream with one of these and it was fine. These vehicles have a short wheel base but at a minimum you need a Reese dual cam hitch, Hensley or Propride. I used a Hensley with mine and it towed great. Remember these only have 5000 lb tow capacity.
If you decide to use an older vehicle like this there are a few caviots. Service the cooling system. Use a minimum of a 3 core radiator, 4 core and aluminum cross flows are available. I used synthetic fluids but standard good quality fluids are ok. Good tires are a must. These vehicles are lightly sprung and will "waller" around on you - think old school leaf springs.
Steering - these use a GM Saginaw system from the late 60's. These do not steer like modern cars. There is natural slop in the steering - think old school! I have found that the steering is fine as long as you do the speed limit, especially on secondary roads.
If you buy the old Wagoneer look for signs on rot on the frame next to the fuel tank just below the left rear passenger door. Dirt get trapped here.
Make sure you at least have the 3:31 axles - these was the factory tow package option. All years around from 1986 through 1991 should have the transmission oil cooler from the factory.
The Jeep will have a factory 2bbl carburator. A quick way to gain more hp is to put on an Edlebrock 4bbl intake manifold and carburetor or convert it to a GM throttle body system using the existing intake manifold. There are many bolt on kits out there for these Jeeps. I have a GM throttle body on my Jeep pickup (same engine as the Wagoneer) and it runs like a modern vehicle. It has passed emissions test with better numbers than new cars.
email me if you have any other questions. Owning an older vehicle and older trailers it helps to be mechanically inclined. You need to be honest with yourself on that question.
Here is a picture of my old combo. I sold the trailer for a bigger one but still have the Wagoneer.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:41 PM   #6
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I have a '75 J20. The 360 V8 was an adequate (we live in the Sierra foothills) tow vehicle. The 360 got cooked. So I put a Buick 455 in it. PERFECT. A J20 is a long bed 3/4 ton. However, our choice TV is the Buick convertible. The pickup is used mostly to manuver the Trade Wind around our hillside property.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:22 PM   #7
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That is fine to pull the trailer. I will post pics. The trailer is done after 4 years of working on her on and off. Could have completed the project much faster, if I did not have to work.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:42 PM   #8
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Newbie Request Feedback on Jeep Wagoneer as Tow Vehicle

Greetings LiLNomad!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLNomad View Post
Newbies needing feedback. We are considering Jeep Grand Wagoneer possibly 88-90 5.9v8 4x4 as tow vehicle for a 75 Tradewind Double. This will be our first Airstream and Tow Vehicle. Havent a clue what we are doing. No technical mumbo jumbo need easy to comprehend feedback.
Thanks
LilNomad
I towed my '64 Overlander with a 1984 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that had the 5.9 V8 with 4 bbl carburetor. From the ability to tow standpoint, it was among my favorite tow vehicles, it was slow and steady through the mountains but was far superior to the 1995 Chevrolet K1500 that replaced it in late 1995. My Overlander is equipped with the Reese Dual Cam Sway Control and it seemed to be a perfect link-up for the combination.

I purchased the Jeep used in 1993, and its preparation included new premium gas filled shocks all around, all new bushings in suspension, rebuilt radiator, transmission fluid cooler, transmission fluid change and band adjustment. My Wagoneer had been ordered with 3.90 differential gears so it adapted well to its towing duties.

The only reason that I replaced it as my primary tow vehicle was its abysmal fuel economy both towing and solo. This problem was compounded by the unbelievably small fuel tank of only 17 gallons. Solo, I was doing well to get 14 MPG on the highway and 10 MPG in town. When it was towing, it was 10 MPG on the highway and 7 MPG in town. I tried to find an auxiliary fuel tank, but had absolutely no luck finding one that would fit the particular model of Grand Wagoneer that I owned.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:53 PM   #9
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I am going to teach you somw slang.

Waggy = Wagoneer

Waggys are great trucks, they came with Dana 44's from the factory, (axles) as long as you dont load em down too bad or run bit tall mud tires they will do just fine.

If you have rear axle issues you can always upgrade to a Dana 60 FF rear.

(FF means Full floater, this is an axle that has a hub and bearing instead of a flanged axle that rides in a bearing, FF's are much better for carrying weight)

The 5.9 is a good little engine, many folks like to swap them out to a chevy or dodge small block. I think it is a worth while endeavor because AMC parts arent exactly growing on trees or super easy to find.

As far as the body goes, great body, as long as you dont have rust issues.

If you are towing I strongly recomend that you bag it. Throwing a set of bags in will help you carry the weight of the trailer, and it will keep your rear end from being too stiff as it would be with a set of addaleafs.

(bags are air bags that are really an air spring, they may be inflated to help carry more weight and level out the vehcile.)

Another thing to consider is that living in cali, there are plenty of hills, you may want to consider upgrading to a fuel injection system, or a motor that has FI so as that it will help climbing the hills, a carb that runs great at sea level runs like a big steaming pile of you know what at altitude. FI doesnt have this problem.

I am a wee bif of a jeep nut and a total gear head, if you have any more questions feel free to shoot them my way.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by MrBeast View Post
I am going to teach you somw slang.

Waggy = Wagoneer

Waggys are great trucks, they came with Dana 44's from the factory, (axles) as long as you dont load em down too bad or run bit tall mud tires they will do just fine.

If you have rear axle issues you can always upgrade to a Dana 60 FF rear.

(FF means Full floater, this is an axle that has a hub and bearing instead of a flanged axle that rides in a bearing, FF's are much better for carrying weight)

The 5.9 is a good little engine, many folks like to swap them out to a chevy or dodge small block. I think it is a worth while endeavor because AMC parts arent exactly growing on trees or super easy to find.

As far as the body goes, great body, as long as you dont have rust issues.

If you are towing I strongly recomend that you bag it. Throwing a set of bags in will help you carry the weight of the trailer, and it will keep your rear end from being too stiff as it would be with a set of addaleafs.

(bags are air bags that are really an air spring, they may be inflated to help carry more weight and level out the vehcile.)

Another thing to consider is that living in cali, there are plenty of hills, you may want to consider upgrading to a fuel injection system, or a motor that has FI so as that it will help climbing the hills, a carb that runs great at sea level runs like a big steaming pile of you know what at altitude. FI doesnt have this problem.

I am a wee bif of a jeep nut and a total gear head, if you have any more questions feel free to shoot them my way.
Wow - I never heard a better bunch of reasons go go with a Ford or Chevy! Jeeps are great IF you basically rebuild them? And still live with the short wheel base? Going out to kiss my Silverado.

Paula
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:07 AM   #11
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Engine parts are readily available for AMC engines - I've got two!
Body parts are what is tough to find. People who swap the engines are typically people who don't know anything about AMC engines or because performance parts are readily available for the small block Ford, Chevy and Dodge engines. Performance parts are available for the AMC engines - you just have to know WHERE to look. A cam shaft and 4bbl carb will do a lot to wake up an old AMC engine and actually help the mileage.
I have fuel injected both of my Jeep engines.
When working on a post 80' model Wagoneer you just have to remember that the Engine and body were AMC, charging system was GM, ignition and carburator was Ford, Transmission was Chrysler, Transfercase is New Process and the axles were Dana or the AMC 20. Body parts are the toughest things to find - kind of like finding parts for a vintage Airstream.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:19 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses. I got a little bummed when I started hearing all the thing I would need to add to make it work.Sooooo now Im looking at a 2002 Sequoia 4.7 v8 I threw asked a few forum members and did some research appears to fit the bill for 1 or 2 + dog and the budget. Giving up on the Wagoneer, although quite cool looking would prefer actually moving down the highway rather than sittin on the shoulder looking cute
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Any comments/feedback on the Sequoia appreciated.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:18 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the responses. I got a little bummed when I started hearing all the thing I would need to add to make it work.Sooooo now Im looking at a 2002 Sequoia 4.7 v8 I threw asked a few forum members and did some research appears to fit the bill for 1 or 2 + dog and the budget. Giving up on the Wagoneer, although quite cool looking would prefer actually moving down the highway rather than sittin on the shoulder looking cute
Thanks
LilNomad
Any comments/feedback on the Sequoia appreciated.
I wouldnt be so fast to throw the Waggy under the bus, something to consider is the Waggy will last one heck of a lot longer than the yota will.

In fact 25 years from now, think you will still see the 02 Sequia on the road? nope! but bet you will see the Waggy!

With the Sequoia you will still have to worry about bagging it, you will still have to worry about getting a tranny cooler if it doesnt already have one, and I have seen what Toyota parts cost, they aint cheap!

The only thing the Toyota has in its favor is that it is fuel injected.

Things I can tell you that are the negatives with a toyota are that they are mostly a plastic car, and the body on the toyota couldnt hold a candle to the hope of being anywhere near as robust as the Waggy.

If the waggy runs good, id go for it, run it, then once you want to get a bit more oompfh out of the motor, then get the intake and cam for it, you can get them professionally installed for not too much money. Then eventually you can look at getting an EFI system for it.

by no means was what I was telling you saying the Waggy will be unreliable, part of why they were so sucsessful was that they were reliable, and they were easy to work on. I garuntee you when the toyota breaks down it will cost tripple or quadruple what the Waggy will.

I will also tell you that if you get the Waggy, and you treat it right, you take care of it, you fix what needs fixed and do a few upgrades here and there as time and money allows, it will be a rig that you can keep for decades and be proud of.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:27 AM   #14
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Wow - I never heard a better bunch of reasons go go with a Ford or Chevy! Jeeps are great IF you basically rebuild them? And still live with the short wheel base? Going out to kiss my Silverado.

Paula
Paula actually Jeeps are great rigs, that is why im spending a lot of time and money building a 51 Willys Overland Wagon. Yes, I am putting a Chevy drivetrain and a set of 1 ton axles in it, why, because I plan on doing some serious offroading and some serious traveling in it where I might outrun the parts distrubution network for a series of engines that stoped being produced in the 1980's

What killed the AMC motor was not a design flaw by any means, it was when Crysler purchased Jeep and all things jeep became powered by all things Crysler. (except the I-4 and I-6 but even those got worked over by mopar)

As far as any 30-40 year old vehicle goes, what one isnt going to need to be basicly rebuilt? I garuntee you that if you are going to use a 78 Chevy Silverado as a Tow vehicle that you are going to be rebuilding a lot of it, brakes, bearings, tranny, engine, all those things over time will need work.

As well, comparing a new silverado to a old Waggy is like comparing Farrah Fawcet to Megan Fox.
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