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Jeep Wrangler YJ - Scrangler

Posted in Features on September 1, 2001
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John Loyd of Billings, Missouri, has built many of the fullsized mud trucks in the Ozarks 4x4 Club. But John earned his reputation as a top contender driving his red, stainless steel '82 CJ-8 in numerous rockcrawling events throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma, and more recently in New Mexico and Colorado.

John shortened the Scrambler's rear overhang by 12 inches and fabricated the classic Jeep-style fenders out of 1/8-inch steel plate with steel tube edges. Then he grafted on a Wrangler YJ hood and tailgate. The hybrid Scrambler/Wrangler quickly became known as the Scrangler.

Powering this unique beast is a '97 Chevy Vortec 350 engine equipped with a K&N air filter and a 2-inch Flowmaster exhaust. It sends ample power through a NP465 transmission with a 4.64:1 Low gear and a Dana 300 transfer case with 2.64:1 Low range. Custom 0.250-wall moly-tube driveshafts turn 5.89 gears and 44x18.50 Super Swampers on bead locks.

John drew on his experience building big mud trucks to design the suspension, steering, and brakes on the Scrangler. The rear springover Dana 70 axle uses a center-pivot traction bar. While the front Dana 60 uses a four-link coil suspension kit with Rancho 9000 shocks. A GM power steering pump with a Hayden cooler provides power assist for the Scrangler's steering and braking.

The 1-ton GM HydroBoost master cylinder directs power steering fluid to the four-wheel disc brakes. An orbital-sector hydraulic steering unit from a Massy Ferguson combine controls dual hydraulic cylinders. The steering cylinders are mounted on the front differential behind the 1-1/4-inch hardened tie rod. This arrangement allows lock-to-lock steering with no binding, even when one wheel is up in the fender and the other is hanging all the way down. If the engine dies, manual override provides emergency steering and braking.

Polished stainless steel and aluminum deck plate add to the Jeep's good looks. The stainless steel rollcage doubles as an air tank for the York compressor and ARB Air Lockers. The aluminum deck plate forms a secure storage area behind the seats. The switches, the gauges, the indicator lights, and the Line-Loc parking brake are mounted in the stainless dash.

The nicest feature of the stainless dash is the Air Locker control panel. Air pressure gauges for tank pressure and front and rear line pressure are mounted above a set of Dixon industrial air valves. When a line valve is opened, the corresponding Air Locker is engaged and the gauge provides positive indication. One of the advantages of manual valves is that there are no problems with fuses, switches, or solenoids.

At Superlift's 4xAdventure series in Hot Springs, Arkansas, John's was the only vehicle able to climb Cable Hill. Last year, John placed Second at Roctoberfest's King of the Hill Run, and he recently took Second in the Ramsey Off-Road Challenge. Though the Scrangler was built for hard-core 'wheeling, it performs well on the highway too. John's Scrangler frequently outperforms exotic, purpose-built 4x4s. John competes well, because similar to top competitors in all sports, he practices a lot - almost every weekend. He has learned when to apply the Scrangler's horsepower, and when to rely on the fast Warn 9500 winch.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown: John Loyd/Billings, Missouri
Make/model: '82 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-8
Engine: Vortec 350
Transmission: NP465
Transfer case: Dana 300
Frontend: Dana 60 with ARB Air Locker
Rearend: Dana 70 with ARB Air Locker
Ring-and-pinion: 5.89
Suspension: Custom coils (front); spring-over-axle (rear)
Tires/wheels: 44x18.50 Super Swampers/15x10 custom 11-inch bead locks

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