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Author Topic: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build  (Read 6953 times)

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Offline amarshall

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You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« on: September 07, 2016, 10:29:34 PM »
I've been lurking and soaking up the knowledge for a few months, so it's time to start a thread for my project.  I had been searching for a cheap Jeep Cherokee, but getting frustrated by the sad and rusty options available.  A little nudge from a buddy, and suddenly that 1988 AMC Eagle wagon on a certain auction site looked pretty good!

A few clicks later, and I'm winning the auction.  I tell my wife not to worry, there's no way I'll win with my lowball bid of $786. Less than 24 crazy hours later...uh honey? Guess what?  Luckily she has a great sense of humor and tons of patience for my projects.

Here is the Eagle as it was delivered a couple weeks later.



Passenger side doors are strangely faded, perhaps some previous damage and a poor quality respray.



Interior is grungy but very complete.  Driver's seat has some tears but nothing too bad.  A steam clean should do wonders.  you can't tell but of course the headliner is hanging down, only held in place by the dome light and side trim.



Hey, check this out!  It's repaying me already!  I think we're down to $785.16 easily!



This cracks me up!  The company that hauled it was very careful to note any previous damage.  This looks like they were hauling a porcupine!



My wife's only request was "For goodness sake wash it before you put it in the garage" so I took it to a car wash near the house (no tag or registration yet) and they loved it.  One of the guys was rattling off the specs from memory.



There was one casualty from the automated car wash.  The Eagle emblem came off the right front fender.  The driver's side was missing already.  Oh well, we can fix that!



All in all, a very solid car.  I've been slowly chipping away at maintenance for the past couple months.  Rockauto has become an addiction, and I'm having a blast working on the car.  It's so much easier to work on than most other things I've owned.  Very simple, other than the crazy vacuum lines under the hood.

I'll post more soon about the stuff I've done.  I've already been learning a lot from the forum, but I'm really looking forward to sharing the project.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 07:48:36 PM by amarshall »
1988 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
Currently seeking:
  Seat cloth  for 1988, red/maroon/burgundy interior - just enough for patches

Online amcfool1

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 11:33:46 PM »
hi, welcome and congrats on the Eagle. The vac diagram should be on the cowl. Looks intimidating, but once you get it, you got it! good luck, gz  ps, post an engine pic

Offline vangremlin

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2016, 11:51:55 AM »
Congratulations on your new Eagle and a great price too!  I can tell you're have a ton of fun working on it!
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Offline amarshall

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2016, 12:29:58 PM »
Thanks for the welcome, guys.  Here is an engine shot, as requested.  Many of the vacuum lines are rerouted, so I'm not really sure where to start.  Still has the Carter carb, but it runs pretty well.  I may not dig too deeply, as long as no problems arise.



The most obvious thing that needed attention was that radiator.  I took it out and the cooling fins literally crumbled to dust when I touched them.  I thought about doing a CJ7 radiator as I've read on the forum, but in the end I went with a more expensive bolt-in option to save myself some trouble.  But look how nice it is!



While the radiator was out I put in a new thermostat, upper and lower hoses, and flushed the system.  Of course the car fought me a little, and now I know all about heater control valves.  The original one was frozen and I couldn't get it to work loose, so I ended up putting in one of the plastic versions from a Cherokee, I think.  The HVAC controls aren't sending vacuum to the valve when switched to cold air, so I'll have to figure that out eventually.  Being in South Florida, turning off the heat is a "must have".



I also replaced all the belts - scored these at RockAuto for 1.58 each.  I can't believe their prices.  For about $150 I ordered everything I could think of and I'm slowly working my way through the big "Box o' Fun".  I've got all the suspension bushings, filters, gaskets, plugs, wires, etc that should get me set to go.



Now that I've spent time underneath the car, I'm amazed how solid it is coming from Pennsylvania.  The only rust I can find is on a body seam in the driver's footwell, and that's not bad enough to worry about.

The biggest thing I am worried about is the AC (need it in South Florida!) as the condenser looks as bad as the radiator was.  The system isn't working, though I have no idea why.  The HVAC controls are suspect, as well as the conpressor clutch.  And who knows if there's any pressure in the system after 28 years.  I really just need to find an AC shop and let them handle it.

Other than that, I think I can manage most of the work myself.  The goal is to build a reliable "overlanding" rig that will allow cross-country travel on forest service roads, etc.  I'm hoping to do a small lift, with slightly bigger tires.  Nothing too crazy, not going to go solid axle in front  or anything like that.  Of course, project cars are a slippery slope and things tend to get added along the way.  We'll see what time and budget permit with this one.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 07:49:48 PM by amarshall »
1988 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
Currently seeking:
  Seat cloth  for 1988, red/maroon/burgundy interior - just enough for patches

Offline mudkicker715

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 04:52:04 PM »
Sounds like it should be an excellant cruiser when done.



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Offline Prafeston

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 06:23:20 PM »
Killer deal man!
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Offline Nate Campbell

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2016, 09:03:35 PM »
Great Eagle!!
Nate
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Offline amarshall

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 11:16:48 PM »
I'm now working on the brakes, going through the whole thing for safety.  The park brake cables were all seized, and looks like somebody got frustrated because the linkage from the front cable to the rear was snapped.  Running new emergency brake cables wasn't too bad, though the service manual calls for a very specific adjustment tool which I don't have of course.  I got it pretty close and will test it out when I get back on the road.

The rear brakes aren't pretty, but seem fully functional.  I was pleased that the wheel cylinders were dry under the rubber boots, and there is plenty of material left in the shoes.  Lots of surface rust, but I'm just trying to get this functional and safe, not go into full restoration.  I'm sure that theme will repeat itself as I keep trying reminding myself that it doesn't need to be pretty.

Here are the rear brakes with the drums off.  I'm curious if anybody sees a problem that I missed.  I was tempted to dig into the axle seals and into the bearings, but I'm trying to keep it simple.  I don't have reason to suspect a problem with the bearings, other than age.  The car has about 114,000 miles.





After getting my confidence up with the rear brakes, I dove into the fronts.  Which basically means I took the wheels off, hah.  Again, the pads appear to have lots of life, the rotors aren't scored, and the calipers are not frozen.  Beyond that, not much to say.  Again, i'm curious if anybody sees a mistake or something I overlooked.









I did notice the soft brake lines are starting to crack, so I'll replace both front lines and the one center line in the back.  The system could use a good bleed also, because the fluid in the reservoir looks like weak brown tea.  But the master cylinder doesn't look original, so I'm hoping I got lucky there.

Typically I would repack the front wheel bearings, but I have read on this forum that the front hubs are a challenge and require a press.  I'll chicken out and wait until a problem arises.  The service manual is hilarious, says that the hubs are sealed and NEVER require any maintenance.  Yeah, right.  I wonder if there is a way to "feel" for problems with the bearings? I've spun them around but can't detect any slow spots or noise.

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys may have.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 07:51:20 PM by amarshall »
1988 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
Currently seeking:
  Seat cloth  for 1988, red/maroon/burgundy interior - just enough for patches

Online amcfool1

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 11:54:59 PM »
hi, in the second picture of the rear brakes one of the shoes is not seated properly up top. Brakes will not work like that!  Also, check location, there is a leading shoe, and a trailing shoe. It'a good idea also, to loosen the rear hub nut, and retorque to 250-275 ft/lbs. You may need to borrow/rent/ beg, a big torque wrench for this. Fronts look good.
As for the front bearings, this really IS a big job. They are not bearings/races in the traditional sense, but in a hub assembly. They CAN be rebuilt, but it is a pretty big job involving 4 bearings two different size seals, and two O-rings, and a press. Perhaps another day. I believe Crown just brought new carriers to market. good luck, gz

Online AMC of Houston

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 01:05:44 AM »
In the first pic, it looks like someone has the primary shoe (the one with the shorter lining) on the rear instead of the front.
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Offline amarshall

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 10:15:06 AM »
Wow, you guys are fantastic!  Thanks!

hi, in the second picture of the rear brakes one of the shoes is not seated properly up top. Brakes will not work like that!
I'm giving myself a big dope slap to the head, mostly for posting that picture.  I've already put the drums back on, but they will be coming back off tonight to make sure the shoes are seated properly.  Wow, that looks bad.

In the first pic, it looks like someone has the primary shoe (the one with the shorter lining) on the rear instead of the front.
I'm impressed you can tell which way is front and which is back from that picture, but yes indeed they do look wrong.  If I'm reading you correctly, the primary shoe has smaller contact area, I'll have to think about that one for a bit.

It'a good idea also, to loosen the rear hub nut, and retorque to 250-275 ft/lbs.
I haven't heard about this, is it a known issue?  That's some serious torque!

And thanks amcfool1 for the info about the front hubs.  Hopefully leaving them alone is the right call. 

After the brakes, I still have some other work to do on the front end, including an upper ball joint on the passenger side.  I'll also replace the sway bar links and strut rod bushings while I'm in there, they look pretty worn out and they are cheap.  I'm planning for a 2" lift, so have been reading about all the different spring options and trying to understand them.  From what I'm seeing, the Napa springs seem the way to go.
1988 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
Currently seeking:
  Seat cloth  for 1988, red/maroon/burgundy interior - just enough for patches

Online AMC of Houston

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 10:30:29 AM »
You are correct; the primary shoe has a smaller contact area, and goes to the front.
George G.
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Offline amarshall

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 10:44:30 AM »
You are correct; the primary shoe has a smaller contact area, and goes to the front.

I'll take your word for it, thanks again.  I'll double check but the drivers side looks wrong in the pic.  Rats, I thought I wasn't going to have to mess with those springs!
1988 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
Currently seeking:
  Seat cloth  for 1988, red/maroon/burgundy interior - just enough for patches

Offline amarshall

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2016, 10:32:40 PM »
After some time away from the project for family time and work travel, I'm back in the shop and working on the Eagle.  In the meantime I've rounded up some parts I was missing, and ordered some front springs from Napa that were recommended here on the forum.  I'm aiming for a 2" lift and trying to run 235/75/15's.

I checked the rear brakes to correct the issues you guys pointed out.  The right side brake shoes were seated fine after the picture was taken above.  I still need to rework the driver's side in the rear and flip the shoes to their correct positions.

In the meantime, I tried to replace the brake hoses but ran into trouble.  I can't get the old hoses off, the nuts on the front lines are rounding over without cracking free.  I'm out of ideas, unless you guys can suggest something.  I may have to take it to a real shop and make it their problem.  Ugh.
1988 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
Currently seeking:
  Seat cloth  for 1988, red/maroon/burgundy interior - just enough for patches

Offline mudkicker715

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Re: You bought what?? 88 Eagle Wagon - Overlander Build
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2016, 03:26:31 AM »
Brakes are your friends so if you cannot do it well i cannot say that a GOOD locking pliers and heat is what will bust it free.  However its done do it right, besides the brake pedal or lack of one will tell the story.



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