Cheap Restoration Project: 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Jeep Grand Wagoneers are typically seen as completely restored or preserved examples, often commanding a fairly sizable price tag. In this case, a used car dealer has one up for grabs that didn’t live a life of luxury, apparently used as a plow truck. This isn’t surprising, considering these trucks were just any other used Jeep at one time before becoming the collector’s items that they are today. The listing calls it a restoration project, but also notes that it’s had some decent dollars spent on it in recent maintenance.  Find it here on Riverside Motorcars’ website for a measly $1,250.

The seller doesn’t highlight any rust issues, but you have to wonder given these Grand Wagoneers do have a tendency to rot out when not kept out of the slop, and plow trucks have an even higher attrition rate due to the levels of abuse inflicted on them (typically). However, I don’t see why the seller would have spent the money they did on some deferred maintenance if it was a total rot-bucket. Some of these recent dollars include a new starter, battery, muffler, power steering pump, and radiator. The wood paneling doesn’t look too rough and the paint simply looks sun faded. Bumpers front and rear appear to be tweaked.

The interior definitely needs work but looks better than I’d expect for a plow rig. The driver’s seat will require upholstery work and the floor-mounted controls for needs to be removed or re-installed. Frankly, I can’t see anyone using this for a plow rig going forward, so I’d just yank the apparatus and maybe sell it for a few bucks. It looks like some trim is missing on the door panel and the armrest is beginning to show the effects of years of elbows resting on it. Overall, it could be a lot worse inside considering how the Grand Wagoneer has been used and stored for the last few years.

The backseat is more tired than I would expect, unless this Wagoneer has been used for hauling yard debris and making dump runs. I can’t tell if that’s mold on the seats or if the pictures were taken through dirty glass; either way, a deep cleaning makes sense to me. The seller has also listed a much nicer Grand Wagoneer that’s been recently exhumed from storage, so I wonder if this one was from the same collection and used as a beater in case spare parts were needed for the one that got special treatment. Regardless, it’s pretty hard to get into a running Grand Wagoneer project for much less than the asking price, but I’d want to see the undersides first before calling it a deal.


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  1. Walter

    From personal experience living much of my life on the snowy east coast, there will be much to be done on the underside of this Jeep. I had a Dodge Ram 50 w/70K that I used to snow plow with (family and a couple neighbors, not commercially). Underside so rusted, everything was a chore to work on. This one may be better relegated to stay as a site plow truck rather than a resto.

    Like 5
  2. XMA0891

    A Grand doesn’t buy you much these days… Unfortunately I’d bet not so much a deal, rather someone knows they’ve got a problem that needs unloading… “Plow and rigging For Sale $1,250; free Wagoneer included.”

    Like 10
  3. bobk

    Agree with the two previous commentors. I would just add the following. Every truck that I’ve ever seen that was used regularly as a snow plow had it’s frame tweaked to one level or another. Not saying “don’t buy it”, just saying to anticipate some level of frame work.

    Like 2
  4. Karl

    Boy is this rig a gamble! The wagoneer was never known for their ability to deal well with abuse, you put a big blade on something like this and it’s living a life of nothing but abuse, I don’t care how careful you are. Just the weight of the plow hanging on the front is causing issues with the front suspension. I would expect a lot of rust and heaven only knows about the drive train? I have plowed a lot of snow in my life and we never even thought about anything under a 3/4 ton pickup preferably with a solid front axle! I would not touch this if you needed a dependable plow truck!

  5. Michael

    As a long time snow plowing Colorado mountain resident, I agree completely with the comments above. A snow plow can really tear up a passenger car or light truck, and this one looks like it has way too big a blade to boot.

  6. Kenn

    Entire front end mechanisms also take a beating when vehicle is used for snow plowing, including the springs. Plow and mounting equipment could bring in the neighborhood of $800 if still works. (Paint the blade).

  7. Karl

    Kenn I would guess the blade, mounts and hydraulic controls are likely worth more than the vehicle,IF THEY ALL WORK?

    Like 1
  8. Jonathan Q Higgins

    This thing has been listed for about a year. I had some interest but not enough to go look at it. The fact that no one has bought even for home plowing might tell the story of condition

  9. Dennis M

    I was am AMC/Jeep factory rep for 20 years, parts and service. We loved the snow plow guys! They were always breaking something, especially in the drive train. XMA0891 has it just right!

    Like 1
  10. bone

    Its in Connecticut, so theres plenty of rust – If this has the AMC 360 in it theres definetely some value in it , but thats about it.

  11. Stevieg

    I love me a cheap plow truck, and I love me a cheap Jeep! But if this has been for sale, by a dealer, at this price for a year, there has got to be some BIG issues! Hard pass from me.

  12. Carrie Makijczyk

    So- I happened upon this article while researching what to look for on a wagoneer undercarriage… when I pulled the article up, I was shocked to see that picture because that vehicle is at the same dealership as one we currently have a deposit on- the “other” wagoneer this article mentions. The other one looks clean but I want to know where specifically to check for rot and major rust. I’m worried that it’s been played with and covered up because it looks too good to be true. Can anyone help with directing us?

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