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1983 Jeep Scrambler - Rock Bus

Jeep Rockcrawl
Posted October 1, 2004

School Is In Session

Steve Schwing of Victorville, California, is a student of rock. Involved with the sport of 'wheeling for just three years or so, Steve watched and learned as countless enthusiasts traveled from states throughout the Union just to 'wheel in his backyard. Living a short drive from the unforgiving Hammer Trails, Steve witnessed a number of well-built rigs fall victim to the rocks and desert heat. Taking heed from these failures, he set out to build a rig that could stand up to the many obstacles a 4x4 faces.

Starting out with just the stock '83 Jeep Scrambler frame, grille, and body, Steve began the buildup by contacting Teraflex with front and rear axle specifications. The company produced a set of Tera 60R assemblies complete with 4.88 gears, ARB Air Lockers, and high-steer knuckles. Teraflex also equipped the axles with Ford Explorer disc brakes in the rear and Ford F-250 discs up front. The differentials were then secured to the frame in a spring-over-axle setup, using Pro Comp 2-1/2-inch Wrangler springs and Pro Comp shocks in each corner. A Howe steering box and hydraulic-assist steering system came next and were mocked in place so that the tie-rod and drag-link specs could be determined. Steve then fashioned a tie rod and drag link from 1-1/4-inch 4130 DOM tube and fastened them to a modified double-shear pitman arm off the Howe box.

With the axles in place, Steve finished mocking up the remaining drivetrain components using a '95 Chevy 4.3L Vortec V-6, a '95 4L80 transmission, and an Atlas 4.3 transfer case. Hard Rock Off Road in Hesperia, California, constructed a transmission mount and crossmember to support the items before everything was removed so the frame and tub could receive paint. A quick trip to Louis' Body & Paint in Victorville, California, rendered the body a bright yellow in contrast to the vibrant-blue frame. The interior of the tub further received a few coats of Rhino Lining. Once the paint was dry, Steve attacked the task of putting the whole rig back together again.

The 4.3L Vortec V-6 was rebuilt using stock components and painted a matching blue. Steve then installed the fresh mill between the rails, adding an Advance Adapters three-core radiator and Flex-A-Lite electric fan. The 4L80 trans received a Carr shifter, and the supplied Atlas twin-stick was also installed. High Desert Driveline in Hesperia created a chrome-moly long-travel driveshaft to lead forward and chrome-moly 1350 CV 'shaft for the rear.

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