1981 Expedition Build

aluke0510

Basic User
City
Arizona
State
AZ
#1
Mine started as a good relatively clean scrambler with rebuilt engine, Howell EFI, steering overhaul, and rear ARB locker. Frame in excellent shape, body only has minor rust oder the rear fender wells.

The goal of this build was to provide a secure platform to support photography trips. Travel destinations mainly around the south west with future thoughts of international travel. I generally do bare bones camping; coming from a background in mountaineering I am quite comfortable sleeping under the stars or in a small light tent without much more than a light multi fuel stove and some food and water. I wanted a secure cover over the bed that would allow me to sleep on it, stand with a tripod, and be tall enough to hold several jerry cans. With the bed cover came the need to remove the roll bar and replaced with an in cab roll cage (Rock Hard). The other consideration was fuel capacity; the stock tank just isn't enough fuel to allow base camping in an area without having to head out to restock. Travel routes being some paved, 50% gravel, remainder moderate trails. Hard trails and it is faster to ride a mountain bike...

A good portion of the work discussed above was done by Code4x4 in Rifle Colorado while I was living in Africa. They did an excellent job on the fuel tank, bed cover, suspension, and new gauges, etc.

I have been doing a lot of work along the lines of making the jeep a bit quieter, storage customisation, weight distribution, and electrical modifications. I have added a custom padding for the bulk head, carpet, YJ fold forward seat brackets, custom sewn bags for mounting on the bulkhead, removal of the heavy 4x6x1/4" bumper in lew of a lighter trailer hitch and bumperettes, Tuffy under hood toolbox, Blue Sea fuse boxes and 2 cigarette lighter outlets, a usb power outlet, and a DIN outlet, new heater cables, etc.

Immediate future work planned is:
Installing my Speehut CJ gauge, oil temp, and transmission temp gauges.
Custom center console (front is cover for a future hand operated parking brake and rear extending all the way back to the bulkhead for camera storage) with Tuffy lock (all keyed to match...
Hand operated parking brake (either from something like a Land Rover Defender or Range Rover or one from a place like Lokar)
Tuffy secure glove box.
Acrylic canvas seat covers with centre section being merino sheep skin.
New hard doors
HiLift jack mount in rear.
Fabric cover for extending bed rails (will make since when you see it).
Some minor interior modifications in the way of lighting and placement of the dual batter controller.
Aluminium front bumper
Rigid led lights on front bumper and rear bed cover


Things I am ponder for 2yr future:
Forged aluminium wheels
Tires
Paint (Sage green body and light tan top/bed cover)
Plastic windshield
Foaming insulation between the two hard top layers
Upgraded headlights
Chevy V6 (wanting further weight reduction and fuel economy with similar power)
Willwood disk brakes
Light ford 9" rear axle
Upgraded duty cycle air compressor
Further lightening/weight distribution (less weight on rear axle and moving that to the front.

I will post pictures as soon as I figure out how.
 

48Bob

Legacy Registered User
SOA Member
City
Montrose
State
CO
#3
I really like your bulkhead storage pouches and the tonneau cover, great ideas. How many gallons did your gas tank end up being?
 

rispony

Scramblin' in the City
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Manhattan
State
NY
#4
Can't wait to see pictures, this sounds like a great build! :popcorn:
 

aluke0510

Basic User
City
Arizona
State
AZ
#5
Pictures uploaded. Sorry I thought they were visible...

40gallon fuel tank made of 1/4" aluminium. It hangs down and back a bit but I am not real concerned with it. Now though I wish the shop had made it more like 30-35 so there could have been a bit more angle...
 

Attachments

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#6
Wow, that's awesome. Never seen a bed cover like that one. Welcome!!
 

aluke0510

Basic User
City
Arizona
State
AZ
#7
Wow, that's awesome. Never seen a bed cover like that one. Welcome!!
Thanks. The bed cover was thought through for a long time. The design was to accomplish the following:
Tall enough to store jerry cans upright.
Strong enough for two people to stand or sleep on it.
Rails on the side provide a tie down point for duffel bags on top and hand holds for climbing on top
Inside the rail is a rod that extends out. A cover will be made for this that will both support feet when sleeping on top and provide a shade awning when open.
Height was made to match the window height on the hard doors for aesthetic reasons. (When re painted the tan will run from that top corner of the door though the hard top and across the bed cover).

I really like your bulkhead storage pouches and the tonneau cover, great ideas. How many gallons did your gas tank end up being?
Thanks. There has been a lot of thought go into the Jeep before starting anything. Everything is designed for a purpose with nothing to remain with no purpose. That and having my own industrial sewing machine allows me to make exactly what I want without a high cost.
 

jscherb

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Elmira
State
NY
#8
Andrew,
As you requested, I took your color swatches and applied them to a Scrambler drawn to more-or-less resemble yours... enjoy.

 

aluke0510

Basic User
City
Arizona
State
AZ
#10
Andrew,
As you requested, I took your color swatches and applied them to a Scrambler drawn to more-or-less resemble yours... enjoy.


You are awesome. This is fantastic!

I definitely think the green and cream/tan top... Pretty much those exact colours in a flat non glossy finish. I love it. Should perform well in hot sun and still have some character and not show dirt as well compared to just straight white...

Only change will be the bed cover will be the cream/tan as well as the little sections on the doors.
 
Last edited:
City
White Rock
State
NM
#13
how goes the quieting down of the cab? Id be interested in how you are accomplishing that as i spend a lot of road miles in mine and the ear buds under muffs is hot in the summer.

fwiw, I have found the pouches on the bulkhead very handy for all sorts of stuff. I went a different route than custom though as a custom approach isnt doable here in Mayberry unless I learn to sew myself. I used some molle pouches from military outfitters on some seat back molle panels.
 

aluke0510

Basic User
City
Arizona
State
AZ
#14
Time for an update.

Rigid led lights in the front bumper that provide a great pattern to the sides and rear lights which do a great job for baking up or lighting up a campsite for setting up the tent.

New mirrors on the front fenders drawing on my experience with old Land Rovers. Fantastic upgrade as they don't move in the wind or on the interstate and you can see them without turning your head very far. Also have the tow point on the front bumper now which draws on a factory option from the Mercedes G Wagons (the real ones not the California mall crawlers sold in the USA) and a common upgrade on Land Rover Defenders.

Also got the upgraded air compressor in to run the lockers and it is 100% duty cycle perfect for airing tires back up. Had a shop install this as I already taking it in for a truss on the rear AMC 20 and new 1 piece axles. The old axles were 1 piece but were pretty old and we didn't know much about them in addition the new outer axle seals didn't work with them.

Custom sheepskin and acrylic canvas seats. Great option for deserts. The wool dries very fast and allows ventilation in the back due to the pile. Most people don't understand that sheepskin seats actually have a better place in warmer temps than cold weather for that purpose (remember no AC in central Arizona for me...). And also just over the transmission hump in front of the shifters is the new swamp cooler I designed. Works quite well; it isn't AC; but a great option. Only complaint there is a should have selected the stronger inline boat fan...

Also I decided to go with a Flaming River steering column. Decided I didn't want to screw around with rebuilding the steering column again. I swear this new column is smoother than the old GM columns were brand new. Also allowed me to place it a bit further away from me with the custom length. Added a wood steering wheel. Great as it doesn't get as hot to touch after sitting in the sun. Wood is a much poorer conducted than the hard rubber.

Moving into the back is a new mount for the high lift jack and the water storage jerry cans; 25gal there. Other tools and spares in the canvas bags to the sides of them to better utilise that space. Idea here was to keep the heavy water up as far in front of the rear axle as possible. It isn't that far in from but far better than behind it for weight distribution.

And another photo showing the awning I finally got sewed up. The side rails are integrated into the bed rails. Another great advantage for hanging out on the tailgate.

And that is the bulk of it, otherwise it is just minor fix ups and clean ups; plus the hassle of getting it through emissions here. It took them forever to understand it was no longer car berated and had the Howell EFI kit with the California version even. What a pain that was. Did legitimatley have to add a cat though.


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aluke0510

Basic User
City
Arizona
State
AZ
#15
how goes the quieting down of the cab? Id be interested in how you are accomplishing that as i spend a lot of road miles in mine and the ear buds under muffs is hot in the summer.

fwiw, I have found the pouches on the bulkhead very handy for all sorts of stuff. I went a different route than custom though as a custom approach isnt doable here in Mayberry unless I learn to sew myself. I used some molle pouches from military outfitters on some seat back molle panels.
The carpet with a good sound insulation underneath made a big improvement as did the padding on the bulkhead. Two remaining targets are the firewall and gap between the hard top layers which I am holding off on until paint. Probably add on the foam sound insulation with silver backing inside on the firewall but have been giving a lot of consideration for the Lizard Skins paints; wondering if they really work that well. Hard top will get expanding foam between the layers. Should be great for sound and thermal.

On the bags, they really make use of the area behind the seats to the full extent. I do my own sewing with a portable industrial straight stitch sewing machine. I like the ability to choose what type of fabric and what colour I want. It gets a lot of other uses too from making quality tarps to putting proper patches on jeans, etc. I have paid for it already by sewing a lot of my own stuff compared to buying new (and it is exactly what I want). Compared to having stuff custom sewn is not economically feasible. Doesn't take too much to learn.
 
City
taylorsville
State
ky
#16
Very well-thought out modifications. I wish I knew you lived in central AZ before. I built mine (and my M416 trailer) for expedition travel also. I drove it from Kentucky to Flagstaff AZ back in May. I attended the Overland Expo. Would have been great to see your Scrambler in person.
 
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