A Farm-Built CJ-8 Mudder
On the off chance of finding a unique mud rig during our trip to Miami, we decided to pack a few Mud Life tech sheets to bring along for the ride. We knew that our buddy Frankie would have his International truck in the woods tearin' through the mud, but we didn't know he invited some friends with equally badass rigs to show us how the muddin' is around the Miami area. We were blown away when, one after another, the rigs started rolling though the tree line. Finally, when the stampede of mud slingers made it to us, this killer '84 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler came roaring in behind them to join the rest of the crew. After a few hellos to his buddies we hit the pit and started shooting.
Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep) is the civilian version of the Willys Jeep built during World War II. The first CJ prototype (the Willys CJ-2) was introduced in 1944, and the same basic vehicle stayed in production through seven variants and three corporate parents until 1986. The last CJs were replaced in 1987 by the Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep CJ-8 had a long wheelbase with a longer tub; it was introduced in 1981 and manufactured through 1986. It has a 103-inch wheelbase, and some came with a removable half-cab that created a small pickup-style box. Only 27,792 were built in the five years of production before being replaced by the similarly sized Comanche. Many CJ-8s were equipped with the “Scrambler” appearance package, which included tape graphics and special wheels.
Louie Carricarte and his wife Shannon have always been huge fans of the Jeep Scrambler, and the past 13 years of owning and building this rig is proof of that. Being an agricultural farmer by trade has helped Louie become extremely familiar with heavy-duty equipment, so he knew when building this rig that only the best engineering would work. After completely dismantling the Jeep, Louie and his good friends Alex and Peewee spent many nights fabricating a subframe and building the four-links.
This Jeep‘s huge height comes from the 26x20 custom built wheels wrapped in 23.1/26 Astro tractor tires and a set of 16-inch King Shocks that are bolted to the 2½-ton Rockwell axles. Powering these huge rollers is a 440ci big-block from a '78 Dodge that has been balanced and blueprinted with a displacement of 505 ci. A Holley 1,050-cfm carburetor provides enough fuel, and a little boost of Nitrous helps out when needed.
Tranny Teck out of Maimi rebuilt the '86 Turbo 400 transmission that is in place to control the divorced Pro-Fab transfer case running a 3.5:1 gear ratio. A set of spool lockers front and rear, Ouverson axleshafts, and some Wilwood pinion brakes ensure safety and reliability.
Louie built this rig to do one thing, have fun. He wants to thank all his friends who helped and his wife for the patience and the countless runs to the store for food and parts.
Mud Rig Specifications
1984 Jeep Scrambler
Owner: Louie Carricarte
Engine: '78 Dodge 440ci big-block
Transmission: '86 Turbo 400
Transfer Case: Pro-Fab
Axles: 2½-ton Rockwell
Shocks: 16-inch King Shocks
Tires & Wheels: 26x20 wheels, 23.1/26 Astro tractor tires