We are not real sure of the origins of the term tree hugger. We know that the term generally refers to someone who eats granola and wears non-animal pleather sandals. And thats great with us. Trees are important, cause they make oxygenwe dig breathingand, hey, we like pleather too, whatever the hell that is. On this same topic, it seems appropriate that Brian Schumann of Colorado Springs, Colorado, named his Hugger Orange 84 CJ-8 Rock Hugger, since it regularly gets out on the trail and hugs rocks. This big Jeep is the result of Brians interest in building a trail rig while helping his son Cody work on a 90 YJ. The resulting Scrambler shows off what Brian could dream up, and what Avalanche Engineering of Denver, Colorado, can build. No granola or pleather here, that is, unless pleather is just a fancy word for vinyl.
Chassis & Driveline
After becoming the third owner of this cherry 84 Scrambler, Brian took a drive to Avalanche of Denver to discuss with Clifton Slay how, why, and where the big Jeep would get built. After the 105-inch Scrambler frame was boxed and plated, a 99 Vortec 5.7L V-8 was inserted between the rails. Behind the throttle-body-injected Chevy motor is a 4L60E auto transmission with a 900-rpm stall converter, and 27-spline output shaft to attach the electronically controlled transmission to a 4.3 Atlas II. The Atlas II then splits drivetrain power to a set of Dynatrac Dana 60s. The front 60 uses a long-stroke front driveshaft, 4.56 gears, a Detroit Locker, and some 35-spline outers. The rear Dana 60 is a full-floater, which also turns a Detroit, and like gears. All four wheels are slowed by discs attached to a Corvette master cylinder, which is backed up by a GM Hydro-boost system.
The CJ-8 achieves lift with custom leaves, a shackle reversal, a one-inch body lift, and a custom Avalanche two-link traction bar. The suspension is dampened with Rancho 9000s all the way around and the whole Jeep is turned via a Howe power steering box and ram assist. Flowmaster mufflers deaden the sound of the V-8s custom Jet-Hot Coated headers and the 2 ½-inch dual exhaust.
Body & Interior
The body of the 84 Scrambler was fogged with plenty of Hugger Orange. Next, Rock Hugger was airbrushed in gray on the front of the CJ-8s hood so that no confusion could be made with any of those other huge, orange Scramblers out on the trails. To protect the fresh orange paint, Avalanche added a set of their Scrambler Crusher Corners and a set of custom stainless Avalanche Rocker Guards. The interior was coated in its entirety with Arma Coating to protect the inside of the Jeep from the elements and passengers. The front two seats are Corbeaus, covered in black cloth to match the reverse-mounted rear Beard bench seat. All of that plus powdercoated Avalanche Bumpers, some LED taillights, and a serious rollcage round out Brians sweet Orange CJ-8.
Wheels & Tires
This big orange CJ runs the trail on a set of 15-inch Chrome MRT wheels stuffed inside of a set of 38.5/14.50-15 TSL SX Super Swampers. The traction provided by these big meats is just what the Jeep needs for the snow or the rocky mud-covered trails where Brian plays.
Good, Bad, & What It's For
Brian built this Jeep to have something that stands out from the crowd, and can hit some hardcore rock trails near Brians Colorado home. He also has to keep up with his sons 90 YJ. We dont know how built this YJ is but no one, including Brian, can have his son running around trying to show up pops on the trail.
What We Think
Please send parts and monetary donations to Jp Magazine, care of Verne Simons, for The Help Jp Build Cool Scramblers Like Brian Schumanns For Trail Running Foundation so we can have a Chevy-powered Dana 60-wearing Swamper-turning CJ-8 of our own.