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1983 Jeep CJ8 Scrambler - Hard-Shell Scrambler

Posted in Features on December 1, 2003
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When Mike Starkebaum decided to build a Jeep, he put metal protection at the top of his list. After disassembling his '83 CJ-8, Mike treated the body components with Line-X - yellow, obviously. To give his Scrambler a unique look, Mike replaced the CJ grille with a Wrangler YJ grille. The square headlights of the YJ definitely provide a unique quality to the Scrambler.

Mike also had a desire for power. A custom-built 383ci Chevy engine pushes power through a Turbo 400, a 4.3 Atlas II T-case, a GM 14-bolt rear differential, and a Dana 60 front differential. A Detroit Locker locks the rear wheels, and the ARB will lock up the front wheels on demand. Both axles are set up with 5:13 gears. Not taking the easy way out, Mike narrowed the rear axle by 5-1/2 inches and the front Dana 60 by 7 inches. Horsepower and a strong drivetrain are important to most hard-core 'wheelers and Mike's Jeep certainly boasts power and strength

The Scrambler's suspension is a combination of components. ALCO 4-inch lift springs were used in a spring-over conversion, which Mike performed himself. After the springs were installed, the Scrambler was measured and Rancho RS5000 shocks were installed, then Mike built a traction bar for the rear axlehousing to eliminate axle wrap. Avalanche steering components were used with a MORE steering box brace to enable the steering box to the 42x15.50x15 TSL Super Swampers.

Mike accessorized his Scrambler with Bushwacker fender flares, a Tuffy security console, Steel Horse Super Seats, Auto Meter gauges, and a Warn 9000i winch on a custom-built multi-mount. Mike is satisfied with the performance of his Scrambler. The scars under the Jeep prove it has been tested plenty of times, and Mike plans to continue testing - and enjoying - the sun-kissed Jeep.


Mike Starkebaum/Topeka, Kansas

'83 Jeep CJ-8

383ci Chevy V-8 with TBI

Turbo 400Transfer case:
Atlas II, 4.3 ratio

Rear axle:
GM 14-bolt, narrowed 5-1/2 inches with Detroit LockerFront axle:
Dana 60, narrowed 7 inches with ARB Air Locker
Gear ratio:

Spring-over with Rancho RS5000 shocks

Eaton steel, 15x10-inch

42x15.50x15 TSL Swampers

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