'86 Grand Wagoneer build, wife's rig

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Bertha is her name and she's the '86 Grand Wagoneer that my wife has owned since '95 - their relationship is older than ours :)

We've been making strides over the last 2 years to get her trail ready and a little more reliable. It all started with a set of tires that she won at a cruiser raffle of all things - 33x10.5 BFG M/T's. We installed a 4" suspension lift from BJ's Offroad to make 'em fit. This also necessitated a little fender trimming in the rear.



Somewhere here in the middle we bought a used tranny (TF727) and had her rebuilt and acquired a NP208 transfer case that needed rebuilding. We decided to rebuild the 208 ourselves and it was pretty straight forward. Surprisingly it was in great shape and all we had to do was disassemble, clean up and reassemble.



Then we upgraded the carb with an Edelbrock Performer 1406 and matching intake manifold. I think she shed about 100lbs with this improvement. The old intake was boat anchor. In the process we desmogged her and got rid of a lot of unnecessary vacuum lines and bean cans.
OLD STUFF

NEW STUFF


She went on a couple wheeling trips and did pretty well on the trail.



Then we had an incident at Mountainside involving exploding driveshaft yokes. :doh:

Tom Woods to the rescue!

 
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Now were up to the point where we need to consider the interior. The old carpet was super thick and super absorbent...so as expected we found lots of cancer.




The grinding ensued

and continued

and continued

Had some help with new sheetmetal from the guys at ACC.

And ACC finished off the floor pan with Herculiner.



Added some new seats from Summit and reused the old motorized brackets from the stock seats to make 'em adjustable in 6 different directions.



That pretty much brings us up to speed on her for now. We are having a donor engine AMC 360 rebuilt at the moment and the initial diagnosis on it was not good. Hoping the rest of the teardown proves it is still a worthy block.
 

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You have no idea! I tried talking my wife into a 60 series a few times and she wouldn't hear it. Bertha is kind of amazing though...she's been stolen twice and recovered both times, and the last time we found her abandoned only about a mile from our apt. She knows how to "act up" when being mistreated :D
 

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Well you're not the first to say that, but at the beginning we had more cruiser friends than jeep friends to ask advice of. Thanks for the kind words.
 

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Anyone have experience with rebuilding a AMC 360? We had one at our rebuilder's shop that was donated to us and it turns out that the donor let it sit in the elements too long. The cylinders are pitted too deep to rebuild. So we're going to remove the one in our running rig (which means wife carpools with me for the next month) and send it out for rebuilding.

The first question that came up was what kind of camshaft do you want to put in it. I've heard Summit's kit is ok 'cept the rockers are shyte. Edelbrock has a kit but haven't heard much testimony. Other names that were gleaned from an AMC muscle car site mentioned Crower, Comp, Elgin and Melling. But I have no off-roader's experience or testimony to back any of these options up.

This will be a daily driver but we want to get the most out of the 360's power on the trail. She's running dana 44's with 2.73 gears and 33" tires. No plan to upgrade gears unless absolutely necessary.
 

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Thinking we might just go 350 small block at this point...details to follow.
 

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The 350 small block is rebuilt and on the stand now. Got all the accessories off and working on clean/prep for powdercoating. ACC is doing the work and we are "assisting", to offset some of the labor. Turns out we needed to get a 6 cylinder torque converter for our TF727 in order to use the Advance Adapter plate. The downtime is stretching out now, because the current AMC360 is barely running. We were hoping she'd be running up until the weekend we performed the swap - but its not turning out that way. Project goal is to have the swap done by month's end.
 

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Put in almost a full 8hrs on Saturday cleaning up remaining parts, installing new injectors, and bolting accessory brackets. Still gotta chase down some heater hose connectors, get a new alternator, measure for motor mounts. Next few weekends should see major progress.

Oh and the old 360 is still running. We found a burned spark plug wire that caused the rough running and also caused the failed Emissions Test. Retested and passed! That will be the last Emission test we'll have to do on her (1986 is the magic number this year).

got some shiny pics...
IMG00058-20100710-1158.jpg
IMG00063-20100710-1603.jpg
 
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FYI, will have the AMC powerplant up for sale very soon. Who needs a practically new Edelbrock 1406 Performer carb and matching intake manifold? Probably less than 5K miles on it.

List includes:
AMC 360 engine block - needs rebuilding
TF727 - needs rebuilding
NP229 - works perfectly fine in 2WD, needs rebuilding for 4WD.
 
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Nice work... but better than a 60. Im still driving my original ,your rebuilding quite abit of your jeep. I do like your work though. good luck. MIke
 

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Thanks for the encouraging words gents. We will pull the tired, old AMC 360 this weekend and drop the Vortec in for measurements. Then finish the motor mounts and bolt her in for good. Wiring and exhaust will be the following weekend. Can't wait to hear this new powerplant roar!
 

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More delays. Turns out the A-dapter Kit that Advance sells for the 350SB-TF727 doesn't actually work without finding a rare Jeep V6 torque converter. On top of that AA changed the design slightly and did not bother to update the instructions that came with it. The Jeep part number they list for the proper torque converter doesn't exist. Looks like AA picked the one dog of a motor/tranny combo that Jeep ran for a few years to do a kit for instead of the more popular AMC360/401 motor to TF727 tranny that most Waggies and Chero's had. So we got to wait a week or more to get a custom torque converter made. Not feeling the love for AA right now.

We've heard all the arguments for going ahead with a 700r4 tranny, but we got too much invested into this tranny/tcase to abandon it at this point. Maybe in a few years when we've dogged it out a little we'll upgrade to a tranny with OD and a beefier tcase.
 

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OK, so we ordered another stock torque converter to place back in the bellhousing and take measurements. While in there we decided the stock tc might work, and I'll be damned, if it didn't work out! So after all that - 2 weeks wasted - hours on the phone with AA and local transmission shops, it turns out we should have just kept our original tc and just bolted everything back together. No thanks to Advanced Adapters, I must say. But the reman tc we picked up had its issues too - one of the welded nut blocks was off by 1/8", so we had to knock it off and reweld back on.

At the end of the day, we got the engine bolted in for the last time (crosses fingers) and the new ceramic coated exhaust manifolds too. Next up is the wiring harness and the engine accessories, water hoses, etc...at least another couple weeks' worth.

 

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Only minor progress on Bertha this weekend. The alternator, AC compressor and PS pump got installed. We started to plug in the wiring harness and realized we have a lot of unnecessary plugs. ACC suggested that we see what Fuel Injection Specialties could do for us and Brian gave them a call. After telling them what we were trying to accomplish, it turns out that the main ECU on a GM 1-ton truck has an anti-theft mechanism in it that needs reprogramming in order to work for our swap. So we boxed up the ECU and the entire wiring harness and shipped it off to San Antonio for reprogramming, and useless-plug-elimination (smog, wiper motors, washer fluid pump, other misc stuff). They'll tag all the connectors and leave us only what we need for this truck.

In the meantime we'll work on the exhaust system. Maybe even get the tailgate window working again.
IMG00159-20100828-1746.jpg
IMG00160-20100828-1759.jpg
 
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