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SCRAMBLER EXTREME - Rock Crawling Jeep CJ-8

Posted in Features on May 21, 2003 Comment (0)
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As the owner of Extreme Gear Off Road in Orangevale, California, Scott Arentz has built a number of notable trail rigs for serious four-wheelers. What he wanted to build for his own off-road adventures, though, was a Scrambler that would take him through the toughest terrain and give him a chance to experiment with some of the ideas he had for transforming the trusty CJ-8 into a trailworthy rig.

For a stock frame and body, Scott turned to J&W Jeep Recycling in Antelope, California, which set him up with everything he needed. To put things in motion, Scott had the body and frame bobbed to shorten things up a bit and help prevent body damage on the trail.

With that set, the crew at Extreme Gear began setting up the suspension and axles. For the frontend, a reverse-cut Dana 44 was salvaged from a '77 Ford F-150 and then equipped with 5.13 gears, Warn shafts and hubs, CTM U-joints, and an ARB locker. A Dana 60 resides in back and is outfitted with 35-spline shafts, billet housing ends, and another ARB. The custom four-link suspension was designed by Extreme Gear and bolted in place along with Sway-A-Way coilover shocks with 16 inches of travel.

This unique suspension system retains the rear leaf springs for greater trail stability. For brakes that will stop the rig at any angle, Scott went with the proven Explorer disc setup on the rear and GM disc brakes on the front. For rims and rubber, he opted for American Racing 15x10-inch bead lock units with Super Swamper SX 38x14.50R15s.

Wanting a powerplant that would move all that rubber, Scott went with a '94 Chevrolet 5.7L LT1 engine with performance headers and a chip. The transmission is a '91 Chevrolet 700-R4 automatic unit with a billet shifter from Lokar. Backing this up is an Atlas transfer case with a 4.3 ratio. The combo puts out an estimated 400 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque.

Before finishing off the remainder of the exterior, Scott took the CJ to Genesis Auto Body in Orangevale and had it paint the Scrambler '01 Chrysler Purple. Once the paint dried, Extreme Gear built a custom set of front and rear bumpers and then installed a Warn 8274-50 winch, 130-watt lights, IPF 80/110 headlights, and a set of street rod-style billet taillights.

Last but not least came the most unique feature of this rig: the external rollcage. It took some time for the crew at Extreme Gear to design and build, but the 'cage provides excellent protection for the occupants and is completely removable for future work.

Finally, all that remained was the interior. Auto Meter gauges were installed in a custom stainless steel dash, while a Tuffy console and glovebox were added for greater security. Scott had the bed and cab interior Rhino-lined for water protection and sound dampening, and then he installed a set of seats borrowed from a Toyota Paseo.

This one-of-a-kind Scrambler may be 20 years old, but it has never looked so good or been so capable. And with all the time and attention that Extreme Gear lavished on it, the old CJ might make it another 20.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/Hometown:Scott Arentz/
Orangevale, CA
Year/make/model:'81 {{{Jeep Scrambler}}}
Engine: '94 Chevy 5.7L LT1
Transmission:700-R4
Transfer case: Atlas 4.3
Frontend:Reverse cut Dana 44
Rearend: Dana 60
Ring-and-pinion: 5.13
Suspension: Custom four-link
Wheels/tires: 38x14.50R15 Super
Swamper SX/15x10-inch
American Racing rims
with bead locks
03074wd 01z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Front Passenger Side View
03074wd 02z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Front Passenger Side View
03074wd 03z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Under Carriage View
03074wd 04z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Front Drivers Side Suspension View
03074wd 05z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Front Bumper Headlights View
03074wd 06z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Front Drivers Side Wheel View
03074wd 07z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Interior View Dash Board
03074wd 08z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Rear End View
03074wd 09z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Passenger Side Climbing Rocks View
03074wd 10z+1981 Jeep Scrambler+Drivers Side View

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