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Old 02-18-2004, 11:47 PM
Wagoneerlover Wagoneerlover is offline
350 Buick
Join Date: Jan 18, 2004
Location: Maryland suburbs
Posts: 1,456

Hello all I have just purchased a wagoneer and this one is actually my second one. I am trying to find out just how reliable the amc 360 is. I have read many post and some members say that the 360 is not reliable at all and they are afraid to let thier sons, mothers, wives and daughters drive them. other members say that the rigs hold up forever. What is the verdict? are they reliable or not? mine seems to operate fine but that could be due to the fact that I replaced almost everything and rebuilt the engine. My brother is considering buying a rig but we dont want to get another if its going to fall apart on us in two days. If the rigs are not reliable what do I do to get it into good reliable shape? (some of you have said that the emmissions equipment is the cause of the unreliability. if this is true how can I remove or bypass some of the emissions stuff to make it more reliable?
88 Grand wagoneer AMC 360 all stock
89 Grand Wagoneer AMC 360 (Deceased)


1. Electric Radiator Fan 10/15/11
2. Cs-144 Alt 10/1/11

All completed long ago (cannot remember when)
1. TBI
2. New fuel tank
3. AW-4 Transmission
4. Aluminum condensor
5. Custom Gauge Panel
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:29 AM
grimgaunt grimgaunt is offline
Master Mechanic
Join Date: Aug 06, 2002
Location: close enuff to Denver, but far enuff from the people
Posts: 929

tough, low tech engines that will run a long time even with critical issues. Usually the rebuild time is when it becomes economically impractical to feed it oil to cover the leaks and burning, not because it decides to stop running.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:20 AM
skid2964's Avatar
skid2964 skid2964 is offline
Bleedin' Gasoline
Join Date: Jan 27, 2004
Location: Brandon, Mississippi
Posts: 1,652

The 360 engine was used in Jeeps for over 20 years, thousands were produced. No inherently un-reliable engine could have a record such as the AMC 360. They are still successfully used today in every performance category from off-roading to drag racing. They are good engines.

[ February 19, 2004, 07:20 AM: Message edited by: skid2964 ]
"it has the BUMPSTICK FROM HELL in it"
'79 Cherokee W/T (Golden Eagle) - 455 Pontiac "Ottawa Chief"
'95 Cherokee Sport 4x4
'95 Ford F150 XL
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:24 AM
joe joe is offline
Join Date: Apr 28, 2000
Location: PNWet, USA
Posts: 22,392

It all depends on how well it's been maintained. The 73 J4000 w/360 I sold to a friend is still running fine and it's got over 175,000 on the clock. It's never been rebuilt but does have a new timing chain. Do a compression check on one you intend to buy. If it reads good then it should run quite awhile but buying any 20+ year old used car Jeep or otherwise is a crap shoot at best.
"Don't mind me. I'm just here for the alibi"
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:29 AM
Al Johnson Al Johnson is offline
Master Mechanic
Join Date: May 29, 2002
Location: Cotton, MN
Posts: 1,039

As with the majority of engines, it's not the internals that will strand you in the boonies as much as the accessories and such. Things like the alternator, ignition, fuel supply system, carburetor. Not very often the engine will throw a rod or bust a crank without letting you know plenty in advance that there's a problem coming.

So, with that in mind, I'd say the Wag is as reliable or unreliable as the maintenance that is done on it. If it's regularly serviced and kept in good tune, with attention being paid to all the stuff that wears and ages, it's as good as anything. But, if the only time the hood gets opened is when it's obvious that something has gone wrong, then it's gonna let you down.

My $.02.

Now running! a 360 GW engine in my Wrangler. Former owner of \'78 Wag with 401 and \'84 GW engine donor, RIP.
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Old 02-19-2004, 01:47 AM
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mdill mdill is offline
Gone. Not Forgotten.
Join Date: Nov 22, 2000
Location: Richfield MN
Posts: 7,076

The 360 AMC is no better or worse than any other
engine from the big three. Take care of them and
they will take care of you. Any swap engine even
done by a pro will likely be more unreliable than
the 360, not because of bad work but because Jeep
did the engineering and had many 1000's of Jeeps
to work out any bugs and details.
Chevy swaps are popular and can be a good chioce
but not for reliabily, or that they are better engines
what Chev does have is a vast sea of aftermarket
support and many no adapter tranny choices.

For the best $/mile the AMC will beat a swap in
hands down. Last a long time if kept in tune and
oil changed.

Mike D.
Home of ADHD project list

1977 J-10 Honcho 360-T15-D20
1977 Cherokee WT 360-Th400-NP241 true-trac(s)
1979 Cherokee 4 Door 258-T-18-D20
1981 Cherokee Chief WT 360-727-NP208
1972 K20 Suburban 350 SM465 205
And the other stuff that gets driven
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:18 AM
carrotman carrotman is offline
Gear Head
Join Date: Oct 21, 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 716

The 360 engine works great. Have over 1/4 million miles on mine. The problems I had were with the non-AMC parts such as the distributor and carb. And my wife insists that we take the Jeep.
76 Chief, T18, 3.54, HEI, Carter AFB.
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:10 AM
maximage maximage is offline
Join Date: Feb 18, 2004
Location: Sparta, WI
Posts: 114

My 85 may be getting retired to a parts truck soon, but not because of lack of reliability of the Ol' 360! 286,000 on that engine, and it still runs just as good as the one in my 84 with 90,000. Doesnt even burn oil much(a little until warmed up). It's body however isnt so lucky. Wisconsin winters have taken a large toll with the cancer factor.
Rob Milton<br />84 Grand Wagoneer- The project<br /> AMC 360, all stock for now<br />85 Grand Wagoneer- The rust bucket<br /> Currently driven by my wife- was purchased with the \'84 as a parts rig
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:19 PM
janie's Avatar
janie janie is offline
Dexron Impaired
Join Date: Aug 11, 2001
Location: Mallards Roost, TX
Posts: 8,270

Any motor will be as good as you want it to be. Please bear in mind alot of these rigs have been beat to near death.

More so with the J trucks. My rig has the 360 with God only knows how many miles. When I purchased the truck 9 months ago, it had not been taken care of. At all.

She still fired up. The motor now has received some much needed attention. Compression is excellent and as far as engines go, I couldn't be happier.

Please remind me of this, when she decides to puke a rod. [img]smile.gif[/img]


79 J-10 "Peso"
360 TH400
Rust...going away
He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. Faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:48 PM
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89grand 89grand is offline
Resident ***hole
Join Date: Feb 23, 2003
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 5,667

I've got 150k on mine and it runs great. I've never been afraid to take it anywhere and I've taken it to some pretty remote areas with nobody in sight for miles. I do maintain it well too though. Do regular maintenance and look for things that might be failing and replace them before they do and you'll be set assuming the motor was in good shape when you got it.

[ February 19, 2004, 06:50 PM: Message edited by: 89grand ]

1989 Black Grand Wagoneer, BJ's 4" lift, ProComp ES3000's
31x10.5x15 BFG AT KO's,MSD 6A,TFI upgrade,360,727,229,2.72 gears.
2006 Dodge Magnum R/T
2000 Jeep Wrangler
1988 Cadillac Brougham
1966 Dodge Monaco 500 383
1965 Pontiac Tempest 326
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