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1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler - The Orange Bus

Posted in Project Vehicles on December 12, 2006
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When we first saw Robert Carmichael's Scrambler we thought it "sure was a purty Jeep," but we never really thought he'd take such a pretty Jeep wheeling. Then we got to talking to him and found out that, while it is pretty, he's had his share of damage to it while out wheeling and has simply repaired it so it doesn't look like the normal clapped-out wheeling rig.

Obviously, a bright-orange '82 CJ-8 is going to catch your eye. Even more so when it looks so good. But as you get closer, notice the interior is set up for a rig that gets driven. There are creature comforts such as a heater, comfortable seats, and a top, which can or can't be run. The rollcage is well-thought-out and nicely executed, and the Jeep retains a rear seat for passengers.

Underneath that glossy exterior, this West Jordan, Utah, resident's Jeep is all business. Robert did the modifications needed to get out and enjoy wheeling, without all the bells and whistles a lot of us get caught up with.

Chassis and Driveline

The stock Scrambler frame was kept unaltered-no bobbing here. Robert got the CJ-8 because he liked the extra wheelbase and length, not to mention the look of it. A Rubicon Express YJ spring-over kit was used for elevation in conjunction with a quartet of Rancho RS-9000 shocks for about 8 inches of suspension lift over stock. A Daystar 1-inch polyurethane body lift took up the slack while replacing the worn-out stock rubber bushings.

He then took a '77 Chevy 350 V-8 with a mild Erson camshaft and Holley Projection, Mallory Unilite ignition, and Trans-Dapt motor mounts and dropped it between the framerails for motivation. The engine breathes through a custom 3-inch exhaust system with a Magnaflow muffler.

Power goes from there to an SM465 granny tranny adapted to a Dana 300 with an Advance Adapters kit. From there, the Dana 44 front axle was pulled from a '79 Wagoneer while the rear Dana 60 was donated from a '70 Ford truck. The rearend was narrowed to 60 inches and both were stuffed with 4.10 gears and Detroit Lockers. The rear axle got a Warn full float kit with 1 1/2-inch 35-spline shafts with CJ rotors and S-10 calipers for braking. Then the whole thing was slung under the Jeep.

The underside of the Jeep yields some more necessary modifications. The stock CJ steering needed some help, and got it in the form of an AGR steering box and Rock Ram assist system. A 4-Plus steering brace and M.O.R.E. steering-box mount hold the steering gear in place. To eliminate the normal Jeep jarring, Robert added a 4-Plus shackle reversal.

PhotosView Slideshow

Body and Interior

The body is the first thing you notice about this Jeep. Thanks to some rust, YJ fenders got swapped on to complement the custom-louvered hood. Rocker guards and Crusher Corners provide rock protection for the body. YJ Wrangler half doors were added and then the Go-Mango orange paint was shot with a mix of B-5 Blue and Plum Crazy purple for the flames. The reason this Jeep is able to look like this, even after repeated beatings, is that Robert shoots the paint himself.

The front seats were pulled from a Hyundai and match the rear TJ fold-and-tumble seat remarkably well. The rollcage was based off of the stock CJ-8 hoop and then had 2-inch DOM tubing grafted on to form the custom owner-built cage with integrated spare-tire carrier. Under the fold-down carrier is enough space for tools, spare parts, and a cooler for the family's food for a long day of wheeling.

Tire and Wheels

In the theme of using simple modifications that work, a set of 37x12.50R15 Goodyear MT/R tires were mounted up to the chrome steel 15x10 rockcrawler wheels. With this combination and the 60-inch wide axles, the tires still only rub at full stuff while at full turn.

Good, Bad, & What's it for

Leaf springs, small-block Chevy V-8, and SM465 transmission-all in a CJ-8. It's a tried-and-proven build, and it works. The duality of the trick paint and bodywork with the plain-Jane drivetrain really gets us. It's the polar opposite of a sleeper, but it sure is cool.The shackle reversal really helps the ride on-road and on trail rides. About the only place it's a liability is in the gnarly rocks, but Robert tells us he doesn't do it enough to make it an issue. With 37-inch tires, that front Dana 44 wouldn't handle too much abuse, so it all works out inthe end.

We'd have probably put a Dana 60 in the front and heavy-duty outputs on the Dana 300, but we like the fact that Robert left the long overhang of the CJ-8 alone.

PhotosView Slideshow

Hard Facts

Vehicle:'82 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler
Engine:'77 Chevy 350 V-8
Transfer Case:Dana 300
Suspension:Rubicon Express YJ spring-over conversion
Axles:'79 Wagoneer Dana 44, high-steer conversion, Detroit Locker, and 4.10 gears (front);'70 Ford Dana 60 cut down to 60 inches, Warn full-float conversion, custom disc brake conversion, Detroit Locker, and 4.10 gears (rear)
Wheels:15x10 Chrome Modular
Tires:37x12.50R15 Goodyear MT/R
Built For:Enjoying the sport of four-wheeling with the family and friends
Estimated Cost to Build:$15,000

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