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Hagerty Employee

Wagoneer engine swap: The long view through Jeep project hell

There’s a certain point in which a short-term project makes the subtle yet emotionally wrenching transition to a long-term saga. Some of you may know this place as “project hell,” and it usually manifests itself when so many unforeseen issues have piled up that the original timeline has been thrown out the window and you now need a pair of binoculars to even see the finish line.


For my 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer (which is currently entering its eighth month of what was envisioned as a winter-long LS swap), Project Hell status activated in the midst of a global pandemic that almost entirely shut down the resources needed to get the SUV back on the road ...


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Intermediate Driver

  If there is an after life you have already been to purgatory. I hope it turns around for you.


serves you right for bastardizing a Mopar...

New Driver

What a great, great read. I am actually at the beginning stages of my rebuild. My second rebuild I should say. I spent 2 years on my first one. 95% complete when "stolen" from the shop along with a variety of other nice vehicles when my mechanic got cancer. He is alive but nowhere to be found. Complete rebuild on 360 powder coated and all. I even replaced every single rubber bushing, gasket on the truck. $1500.00 in rubber alone.
After several years of feeling sorry for myself after totally losing out on the very small town theft case, I just purchased another rust free 88. I have been in limbo about keeping it until I read your article because no matter what, I will always love the GW. I have owned 3 prior but never been able to drive one "happily"
I have always wanted to do the LS swap. Do you happen to have any notes and/or parts lists?
I am going to pull the trigger on the rebuild before I chicken out. That info would be great in my search for the right mechanic. I am so untrusting but I have to let it go. I was going to just do a fuel injection swap but I want to be able have as much faith in the truck as possible and EFI won't get me that much better mpg anyway.

Any help you could give would be so much appreciated.
Again, wonderful articles. I can't wait to get into a few more.


Troy Appleton