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1981 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler - Aqua Adventurer

Drivers Side View Trailer
Kevin McNulty | Writer
Posted July 10, 2006

The Classic Lines of a Jeep Scrambler

There is always an aura of classiness about the lines of an old Jeep CJ. Some people would say it has something to do with the seven-slot radiator grille, others would refer to the classic American history and spirit built into each vehicle. Jonathan Hall, owner of this '81 Jeep CJ-8, would say it's a bit of each of these factors that keeps him a die-hard Jeep enthusiast who goes anywhere and everywhere in his Jeep.

Jonathan has had an affinity for Jeep as far back as he can remember. This is his third CJ, and when he was building it, he had bigger ideas for the rig than mere day trips. His goal was to build a Jeep that could keep him and his family on the trail for extended periods of time. The Scrambler is perfect since the tub has additional storage and passenger room in the back. Simplifying his build even more, Jonathan came across a trailer made out of the rear tub section of a Scrambler. All he needed to do was add some finishing touches.

The suspension is a mix of high-quality components. The OEM leaf springs were removed and replaced with Rancho TJ coil springs using custom spring and shock towers and axle brackets. Then, Currie's Johnny Joint four-link suspension components were installed. To tame the trails, a set of Rancho RS9000 Pro Series shocks with remote reservoirs was installed. The combination of these suspension components gives this CJ-8 an exceptionally highway-friendly ride and complete off-road control.

The rear axle is a Currie aluminum Rock Jock, and the front axle is a Dana 44, also built by Currie. Both axles are geared to 4.56 and use ARB Air Lockers for trail traction.

The engine was completely rebuilt by Hesco Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama. The 4.0L engine was balanced and stroked for a substantial increase in power and torque. To help with aspiration, the engine was fitted with Borla headers and a Dynomax exhaust system. A Be Cool aluminum radiator keeps the heat down, and Auto Meter gauges help monitor all the engine's functions.

The engine's horsepower and torque are transferred through a 700-R4 transmission. The torque is then multiplied by an Atlas 4.3:1 transfer case. Custom driveshafts were built by Powertrain Industries in Garden Grove, California.

Modifications and additions to the Jeep's body and chassis include an Advanced Frame Works mandrel-bent frame, custom hardtop from GR8Tops, modified TJ front fenders, and one of the coolest inventions we have yet to see for a Jeep, an electric flip-up front windshield system by Tyson Design Works in Cedaredge, Colorado. The interior was fitted with a Rock Hard 4x4 sport 'cage for safety. MasterCraft Baja RS reclining race seats add an exceptional degree of comfort to the vehicle.

On the back of Jonathan's Adventure trailer sits a Maggiolina Lofty Shelter from AutoHome. These rooftop tents are extremely comfortable and one of the easiest shelters on the market to use. They easily sleep two adults, and in some cases the tent has enough room for a small child as well.

After three long years, this Scrambler is finally ready for the trail, and we're sure it will comfortably transport the Hall family on whatever long-haul adventure they seek out.

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