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1972 Jeep CJ-6: A Jeep Fit for a King

Posted in Features on December 11, 2018
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Do you remember the 4x4 that sparked your love for off-roading? Maybe you are still driving it every day. Or maybe it is sitting in the garage waiting to be restored to its former glory. When Jason Scherer bought this Jeep in 1992 it was a 1972 CJ-5. Little did he know at the time it would ignite a passion that continues to this day and includes multiple competitive rockcrawling championships and two King of the Hammers titles.

Two years after buying the Jeep someone decided they needed it more than Jason, and it disappeared for nearly a year before being recovered. At that time Jason and his father completely rebuilt the Jeep to remove any trace of bad karma from the thieves. He regularly drove the old ’5 on trails like the Rubicon and Fordyce for years, and even entered his first rockcrawling competition in the CJ-5.

The next major transformation was in 2009, when Jason and his wife, Dana, were expecting their first child. This was the first year he won King of the Hammers, and he worked closely with Mike Shaffer of Shaffer’s Off-Road on his race car. Much of what they learned trickled down to the CJ, which was stretched for improved stability and more room for a growing family. The men added an Aqualu aluminum tub and rear coilover shocks to the Jeep, which has been constantly evolving ever since. The current configuration includes an LS3 engine, Atlas II transfer case, and Spidertrax axles just like the 2009-era race car. These parts have proven to be timeless, working just as well now as they did back then.

Power comes from a 6.2L LS3 engine that was built by Tilden Motorsports, the same engine supplier that built the engine in Jason Scherer’s race car. This motor was built to run on pump gas though and stay cool on the trail when crawling. The engine is backed by a TH400 built by Harrison Customs with a Reid case and an Advance Adapters Atlas II with a 3:1 low-range ratio.
The front suspension is decidedly old-school, with Deaver leaf springs under the Spider9 axle. The spring rate is pretty soft on the springs, so Scherer added a pair of Fox air shocks with a low nitrogen charge to increase the spring rate. Fox 3-inch, four-tube bypass shocks smooth out the bumps and make him feel like he’s in his racecar.
The front axle is a fabricated Spidertrax Spider9 axle that is incredibly strong while remaining light and maximizing ground clearance. The fabricated knuckles use lightweight Spidertrax brakes and unit bearings with Warn Premium Hubs. The aluminum Strange third member houses an ARB Air Locker and 5.43 Motive gears that route power to the 35-spline 300M axleshafts.
Business in front, party in the back? While there are leaf springs up front, the rear suspension uses an upper wishbone and trailing arms built by Shaffer’s Off-Road with 1 1/4-inch FK rod ends and heat treated 0.188-wall chromoly links from Poly Performance. The 16-inch-travel Fox coilover shocks hold 150-over-200 lb-in PAC coil springs and are aided by Fox 3-inch, four-tube bypass shocks.
Typically you would expect a high-pinion third member in the front axle and a low-pinion third member in the rear axle so the pinion is running on the drive side of the ring gear, but packaging forced exactly the opposite in the CJ-6. The rear axle is a Spidertrax Spider9 housing with full floating axle shafts, Spidertrax hubs, and lightweight Spidertrax brakes. A True Hi9 third member holds 5.43 gears and a 35-spline ARB Air Locker.

Tech Specs

1972 Jeep CJ-6
Engine: 6.2L LS3 V-8
Transmission: TH400 3-speed automatic
Transfer Case: Advance Adapters Atlas II
Front Axle: Spidertrax Spider9 with 5.43 Motive Gears and ARB Air Locker
Rear Axle: Spidertrax Spider9 with 5.43 gears and ARB Air Locker
Springs & Such: Deaver leaf springs, Fox bypass shocks, Fox air shocks (front); triangulated 3-link with Fox coilovers (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 37x12.5R17 BFGoodrich KR2s on 17x9 Method beadlocks
Steering: Saginaw steering box with PSC hydraulic ram, pump, and reservoir
Lighting: Baja Designs 10-inch LED light bar
Other Stuff: Warn 9.0R winch, Optima BlueTop battery, Beard suspension seats, ARB freezer-fridge, GenRight TJ fuel tank, Poison Spyder tubular fenders, custom rollcage by Shaffer’s Off-Road

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