A True Scrambler Rambling... Thoughts?

jsteed

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Seattle
State
WA
#1
Been a while since I've been on here. Was just working on the 8 this weekend, and really giving it a good going over. Actually considered selling it. There's so much to do to it - she's a real basket case. Some of you may have read one or two of my other threads, but what this thing really needs is a complete tear down. My only problem is that I don't have the shop space to do that, so I can't pull the tub. Or maybe I could but either the frame or the tub would be outside. In Seattle. Ugh. It would be nice to pull it so I can redo the transmission seals, transfer case, rear main, throw out bearing (obviously wasn't done when the clutch was replaced before I bought it! ugh!), leaky freeze plugs, fuel lines and vent hoses, gas tank, blah blah blah. Then replace with new steel tub. Here's the problem - the jeep runs, and drives and stops and takes the kids on FS road rides near our cabin in the summer. So I thought well maybe I'll sell it and buy a nicer one. Then I started shopping... dang these things have gone up in value. No way I can afford to drop close to 20k on a "needs nothing" Scrambler. So here I sit. Maybe I'll just keep driving it as is until a leak gets too bad to ignore, or a part fails and just replace things on an "as-needed" basis. The tub rot is really bad in the rear floor pans (front were replaced at some point), rear riser, bed, rear quarter panels, and below doors. When I pulled up the fiberglass that someone laid over the rust I was appalled at what I saw. Really, I'm just wondering what to do to it or with it. I just can't see myself not owning one. Anyone else been in this spot? Curious how you approached it, what things you prioritized, etc. I also feel like I don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of in Seattle. Any local Seattle members on here if I ever needed someone to look at it? Or maybe a recommendation for a local shop for the things I can't do in my small 1 car garage?

Thanks, I hope everyone is safe and healthy.
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#2
Mine was in similar condition when I bought it. Over 250K on odometer and the cable wasn’t even hooked up. When the engine went the following year I started fixing things which ultimately led to a complete tear down: bed replacement parts from classic, mostly new engine, overhauled transmission & TC, rebuilt axles, paint etc. Body work and paint were easily the most expensive. While I love having the scrambler in (mostly) done condition it wasn’t cheap to get it there even doing most of it myself. I’m a tight wad and when it was done I told my wife that if it was on the side of the road for sale looking the way it does for the amount of money I have in it I wouldn’t slow down. I have several years and close to $20K in it including my original purchase price. That said, I love having it and don’t regret it a bit but once you start it’s not worth anything until you finish it!
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#3
I fully understand what you’re feeling right now. I have sold projects that are too overwhelming, and even with almost $25k to put into my current build I’m still going to run short. So- you sound pretty committed to Scrambler ownership. Big question- if the body is that rusty how is the frame? If it needs a body and a frame, that will get expensive. Just the body? Still not easy but careful planning can make it happen. If the tub is shot- it can sit outside while you work over the frame and powertrain. Then decide if you want to try and buy a replacement tub, or maybe by then your situation will have changed and you have a bigger garage. And who knows- maybe you will find a halfway decent tub between now and then.

Anything is possible, it just depends on how committed you are.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#4
If the tub is shot- it can sit outside while you work over the frame and powertrain. Then decide if you want to try and buy a replacement tub.
This is what I was thinking too, doesn’t sound like it will be hurting it too much at this point.

Here’s my big thing about projects like this: what kills you/them is simply not having a Jeep to drive while in process, if things take longer than planned and/or things go wrong in the middle of the project. The things you mentioned like the rides with the kids... missing that just tears at you as you work on your non-running Jeep. Few of us can manage dedicated time to just plow through something like this.

When I had the wreck in mine and took it off the road for repairs and upgrades (mainly the outboarded springs for the FSJ axles when I was using a friend for welding) it was a brutal two years before it was back and it was just me and the wife for most of that. If it was now or when our daughter was old enough to like the Scrambler, that would have been even harder.

may be counterintuitive, but getting another Jeep, maybe a YJ or cheap TJ to have to “tide you over” may be the key to not abandoning the project if it takes a while. When my Scrambler is down or like now when I’m swapping engines in my Cherokee that I SHOULD be just driving, it makes things so much better to be able to get in another Jeep and go drive.

I’ve been wrestling with taking the body off my postal for a couple years, I know how hard a decision it is, even having my other Jeeps!

The other thing is the possibility that you could involve your kids in it, that could turn it into an epic family project but I know how tough that can be.

I feel for you and wish you the best.
 

Belizeit

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
River Ridge
State
La
#5
This is what I was thinking too, doesn’t sound like it will be hurting it too much at this point.

Here’s my big thing about projects like this: what kills you/them is simply not having a Jeep to drive while in process, if things take longer than planned and/or things go wrong in the middle of the project. The things you mentioned like the rides with the kids... missing that just tears at you as you work on your non-running Jeep. Few of us can manage dedicated time to just plow through something like this.

When I had the wreck in mine and took it off the road for repairs and upgrades (mainly the outboarded springs for the FSJ axles when I was using a friend for welding) it was a brutal two years before it was back and it was just me and the wife for most of that. If it was now or when our daughter was old enough to like the Scrambler, that would have been even harder.

may be counterintuitive, but getting another Jeep, maybe a YJ or cheap TJ to have to “tide you over” may be the key to not abandoning the project if it takes a while. When my Scrambler is down or like now when I’m swapping engines in my Cherokee that I SHOULD be just driving, it makes things so much better to be able to get in another Jeep and go drive.

I’ve been wrestling with taking the body off my postal for a couple years, I know how hard a decision it is, even having my other Jeeps!

The other thing is the possibility that you could involve your kids in it, that could turn it into an epic family project but I know how tough that can be.

I feel for you and wish you the best.
X2 on this. I'm about a month in with taking the engine, transmission and transfer case out. I have an engine and transmission already rebuilt, but transfer case is torn down. This is as long a time I've been without my jeep in 36 years and is pretty painful not driving it. What's keeping me going is what I will have in the future.
 

jsteed

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Seattle
State
WA
#6
Wow guys, what a bunch of great responses! Thanks for the thoughtful insight. I guess at this point, I don't HAVE to do anything. Like I said, it runs and stops and will entertain my daughters in the summer - I really want them to have those memories. They're 8 and 10 now, and eventually they'll be gone. So I can limp it by for a few years until they disappear off with their highschool crowd and then to college. I'll have a lot more time for a bigger project then. Hell, maybe when they have kids it will be completely restored and they can take their kids on rides in it!!

But more seriously, regarding the tub, its a coin toss really. Driver/passenger floor pans and their supports are toast. I could possibly replace that with the body on, providing I have good metal to weld to. The rocker panels and rear quarter panels are repairable. I'll need to practice welding sheet metal a little more. The bed is beat to hell with lots of pinholes, but no huge holes (this was sealed with something at some point). The bed supports I'd have to blast from underneath to get a better idea. The bottom was coated in some type of tar like substance and I'd have to chisel or blast it all off to know how bad the structural stuff is. The wheel wells are probably repairable +/-. The four corner bed panels are bad around the rollbar, but cheap and easy to fix from the looks of things... IF I can get that rollbar off, LOL. The Torx heads look like they've melted to the body :) And if I'm going to be welding back there, I should probably pull the gas tank, inspect, clean, and replace what I know is a leaky vent line (smells like gas when tank is full).

The rest of the issues are weekend projects, with the exception of the wiring and drivetrain work, but they could certainly be done over a winter given the limited time I have to work on it between my most important commitments like family and work.

I like what pretty much every response said about not having a jeep to drive and how painful that can be if tearing it down completely. I like the quote from Cattleman... "once you start it’s not worth anything until you finish it!" - that is a convincing statement. I don't want to strip it down and get overwhelmed because then its of little value if I want to offload it. If I broke it down into mini projects, I could accomplish those over the winter since its garaged then anyways and Seattle winters are dismal at best. If I take this approach, I guess the questions is how to prioritize those projects. I'm not sure where to start really, and that's fine, I can figure it out based on necessity.

I should have noted... I use this thing like a utility vehicle. I fetch wood in the summer, and its on forest service roads getting the paint scratched while entertaining friends and family. I'm NOT looking for a show scrambler. Its not perfect, and it never will be, and I'm perfectly happy with that. But I do want a safe, reliable and at least somewhat easy on the eyes rig. It gets asked to work from time to time, if you know what I mean. I attached a fun picture of me clearing some trees at our cabin :)

Thanks again for your thoughts, they helped a lot and I'll reference this thread every time I get overwhelmed.

Cheers guys (y)
 

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Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#7
Wow guys, what a bunch of great responses! Thanks for the thoughtful insight. I guess at this point, I don't HAVE to do anything. Like I said, it runs and stops and will entertain my daughters in the summer - I really want them to have those memories. They're 8 and 10 now, and eventually they'll be gone. So I can limp it by for a few years until they disappear off with their highschool crowd and then to college. I'll have a lot more time for a bigger project then. Hell, maybe when they have kids it will be completely restored and they can take their kids on rides in it!!

But more seriously, regarding the tub, its a coin toss really. Driver/passenger floor pans and their supports are toast. I could possibly replace that with the body on, providing I have good metal to weld to. The rocker panels and rear quarter panels are repairable. I'll need to practice welding sheet metal a little more. The bed is beat to hell with lots of pinholes, but no huge holes (this was sealed with something at some point). The bed supports I'd have to blast from underneath to get a better idea. The bottom was coated in some type of tar like substance and I'd have to chisel or blast it all off to know how bad the structural stuff is. The wheel wells are probably repairable +/-. The four corner bed panels are bad around the rollbar, but cheap and easy to fix from the looks of things... IF I can get that rollbar off, LOL. The Torx heads look like they've melted to the body :) And if I'm going to be welding back there, I should probably pull the gas tank, inspect, clean, and replace what I know is a leaky vent line (smells like gas when tank is full).

The rest of the issues are weekend projects, with the exception of the wiring and drivetrain work, but they could certainly be done over a winter given the limited time I have to work on it between my most important commitments like family and work.

I like what pretty much every response said about not having a jeep to drive and how painful that can be if tearing it down completely. I like the quote from Cattleman... "once you start it’s not worth anything until you finish it!" - that is a convincing statement. I don't want to strip it down and get overwhelmed because then its of little value if I want to offload it. If I broke it down into mini projects, I could accomplish those over the winter since its garaged then anyways and Seattle winters are dismal at best. If I take this approach, I guess the questions is how to prioritize those projects. I'm not sure where to start really, and that's fine, I can figure it out based on necessity.

I should have noted... I use this thing like a utility vehicle. I fetch wood in the summer, and its on forest service roads getting the paint scratched while entertaining friends and family. I'm NOT looking for a show scrambler. Its not perfect, and it never will be, and I'm perfectly happy with that. But I do want a safe, reliable and at least somewhat easy on the eyes rig. It gets asked to work from time to time, if you know what I mean. I attached a fun picture of me clearing some trees at our cabin :)

Thanks again for your thoughts, they helped a lot and I'll reference this thread every time I get overwhelmed.

Cheers guys (y)
Wow! Now that’s a load of wood! From the picture, it looks like a great Scrambler!
I will agree that the down time is the hardest. I sold my 82 in December, and started on my 81. It was slow going until COVID struck and I was laid off. My new full time job is building my 81! But here I am, 5 months in, wishing I was done because I want to be driving! Actually the last two weeks have been the worst with the body in for paint. I think your plan of “bit by bit” might be a good one, so you can still drive between little projects!
 

CJ-8_Jim

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
NW Chicago Suburb
State
IL
#8
Like I said, it runs and stops and will entertain my daughters in the summer - I really want them to have those memories. They're 8 and 10 now, and eventually they'll be gone. So I can limp it by for a few years until they disappear off with their highschool crowd and then to college. I'll have a lot more time for a bigger project then
1589488690096.png
Wow! You're in God's country!
My kids are 8 and 10 now too. I feel the same way.... they don't stay this age but for 1 summer. Plus you are in God's country to make memories.

If your kids are like mine, they don't care what it looks like, they just want a Jeep ride with Dad!

My vote is just keep it running.
Get some seats for the back and then put Britax Pinnacle child seats on top of them -- they are HUGE and have lots sacrificial foam in them in the event of an accident.
Though my kids are 95 percentile height, the Britax are so huge that my 10 y.o. fits fine it this summer.

No good recent photos... this from last year (7 & 9 y.o.) gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. head rest is even higher now for the 10 y.o.
1589490068325.png
 
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