Guilt Is Forcing Me To Fix My 1985 Jeep After 18 Months Of Neglect

I haven’t even thought about my 1985 Jeep J10 since I wrote the last article on the old Jeep truck back in November, 2015. Yes, that’s 18 months ago, and yes, I feel horribly guilty. So, to stop feeling disgust every time I look in the mirror, it’s time for me to to give the old Wagoneer With A Bed some love.

If you asked me what my favorite Jeep in the whole wide world was, I’d probably tell you that question is impossible, and shame on you for even asking. Then, as a concession, I’d give you a list of five or six. Among those five or six would definitely be the Jeep J10, basically a truck version of the Jeep Wagoneer, and one of the most beautiful trucks ever built.


But if I love the J10 so much, why, then, have I neglected mine for a year and a half? What kind of monster am I?

I’ve got a couple of reasons. One, I blew up my red Jeep’s engine, and since that was my first car, I just had to fix it. Two, I had two Moab project basket-cases that totally consumed my life. And three: parts for this Jeep J10 ain’t cheap, and I’m a cheapskate.

And while the last problem still exists, and I recently cracked my other Jeep Cherokee’s cylinder head, I can’t in good conscience sit back and watch my J10 rot in my backyard. Plus, just look at this bench seat; it’s yearning for me to sit on it.


Now that the weather in Michigan is somewhat bearable, I went out and took a look at the J10, and it actually looks much better than I expected. Perhaps all that wrenching on a 1948 rust-bucket has caused me to look through a new lens, but boy this J10 seems to have a rock-solid body.


The 258 cubic-inch inline-six turns over just fine, and actually runs. But it sounds like death, though not nearly as bad as the sound that comes from my trashed four-speed manual transmission. So I have to rebuild the transmission, and I’ll have to tune the engine a bit. But after working on a Jeep that had three wheels already in the junkyard, I’m feeling more confident than ever.


The Jeep J10 project is back underway. Expect updates in the near future.

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio