Differences in Scrambler years?

JohnnySix

Legacy Registered User
City
Arlington
State
VA
#1
I've been looking for the "right" Scrambler for quite some time now and am seriously considering an '81 that I am looking at. I'm wondering if there are differences between the model years that make some years more desirable than others. For example, I read on this site about narrow-track vs. wide-track axles. Is the wide-track axle preferable? Are there other mechanical differences that would make later years more desirable? I appreciate anyone's input to help me make the right decision.
 

MrBeep

CJ-8 Vendor Supporter
CJ-8.com Vendor
City
Dillsboro
State
IN
#5
81 Scrambler

The popularity of the '81 has picked up recently because of the uniqueness of being the only year with narrow trac axles.

The later models '83 to '86 have more computer controls and obd's.

Most importantly welcome to the site.

.:wave:
 

JohnnySix

Legacy Registered User
City
Arlington
State
VA
#6
Thanks for all the warm welcomes.

jims chop shop: Thanks, I saw that thread but I didn't see any info on the pros/cons of narrow track vs. wide track. I'm looking to keep the Scrambler mostly original. Maybe a few minor mods like a weber carb or a 1" body lift but I want to keep the jeep looking like it was from the factory. I'll use it mostly on country roads and fire roads, so no rock crawling.

rustycrawler: Yeah, we've been getting pounded pretty hard. I'm gonna keep the Scrambler off the snowy roads and away from the salt and terrible wintertime drivers around here. That's what the liberty is for.

MrBeep/All: Are there performance/reliablity differences b/w the wide-track and narrow-track? I read that the narrow-track makes the jeep a little more top-heavy? In reference to the computers/OBDs on the later years, I'm assuming this makes the jeep a better driver and more reliable?

I appreciate everyone's input. I thought I had it all figured out and now I'm torn b/w getting an '81 or waiting for a later year Scrambler.
 

kohldad

SOA Member
City
Goose Creek
State
SC
#7
Welcome to the site.

Mechanical wise, no difference in reliability of wide-track versus narrow track. The wide-track axles (56" wms-wms) are 4" wider than the narrow track (52" wms-wms) so that does provide a little more stability, but not that much if you are keeping it near stock.

The computer control and emissions in a 82 and later will make it less reliable simply because there are more things to go wrong. However, you talk about going to a weber or other carb which would remove most of the computer control anyhow, especially if you go HEI. The carb and HEI are the two best mods you can make for driveability if you don't mind changing a few things under the hood.

If you have to worry about smog requirement, I would check into the 81 year advantage, otherwise, I would go more with finding one in the condition you want at an acceptable price. Yeah the Scramblers are out there and available, but not enough to be real picky unless you have a couple of years to shop.
 

JohnnySix

Legacy Registered User
City
Arlington
State
VA
#8
kohldad, thanks for all the helpful info. I've actually been searching for almost a year. Probably lost one or two in the beginning that I just didn't realize were great buys.
 

MrBeep

CJ-8 Vendor Supporter
CJ-8.com Vendor
City
Dillsboro
State
IN
#9
Agree

I agree with Eric (kohldad) on the lack of reliability of the computer controled emisions and all the vacuum switches and lines. They are a hassel. The Weber carb & HEI are excellant choices also.

In stock configureation and "Light" off road use the "Narrow-Trac" axles would be fine. I still use them on my original 1973 CJ-5 I purchased new with a 418 cu engine in it. I use a 15x12 80% positive offset wheel to add some "Wide Stance" stability.

The right Scrambler is out there waiting for you. You'll find it I'm sure.




.:wave:
 

JohnnySix

Legacy Registered User
City
Arlington
State
VA
#10
Thanks MrBeep.

Hopefully making the drive to NC to see the scrambler this weekend and possibly buy it. Thanks for everyone's help.
 

Truck

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Manassas
State
Va
#11
J6, not sure what exactly you are looking for or how much you are willing to spend but being in NoVA I've seen several around for sale. I know of one in PA for sale now from a reliable person. Let me know if you are interested.

Truck
 

jeepers 1940

Legacy Registered User
City
Madison
State
MS
#13
I have an '81 narrow track model. At the time of purchase, I did not know about the narrow/wide track differences in different models. I've gotten use to the 'funky' look of the '81, but wouldn't mind a wide track Scrambler for the slightly greater stability it affords.
However, my Scrambler does offer a noticeably smoother (less pitchy) ride than my '83 CJ-7 Renegade. That 11" longer wheelbase does make for a more pleasant drive on city streets.
Another neat thing about driving a CJ-8 is the occasional offer you get to buy it from you.
 
Last edited:

Jeremy

Scrambler Fanatic
City
Carlisle
State
PA
#14
I have both a 1982 and a 1981, I have a friend with a 1983 close by: some of the difference I have noticed:

As mentioned, axle width. the 1981 turn a little tighter.

Front brake calipers are different 1981 to 1982

The rollbar floor plates change a little, in 1981 they are flat and small, in 1982 they have a intergrated tie down in the rear mounts.

Seat belts are LAP belts in '81 and '82, In 1983 you get a shoulder belt.

1983 had a roll bar mounted tire carrier, My 1981 and 1982 have swing tire carriers mounted to the rear (may be a trim thing)

the jeep stamp progressively looses the center of the "e" by the time production ended the stamp says "joop" with a decal over it.
 

Joe West

Arizona Virtual Jeep Club
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Laurinburg
State
NC
#16
I think 82 is a great year. Three point belts (for many of them), wide track axles, and no computer equipment (at least on some of them... mine doesn't have any OBD or computer).

In reality though... I don't think there are enough differences to warrant any year being significantly better than any other year Scrambler. If I had a choice, I'd go for one that didn't have a computer as my first priority and three point harnesses next.

The biggest variable in my mind is finding one that has no rust and is in stock condition.

Joe
 

JEEPTHRILLS

Legacy Registered User
City
00
State
00
#17
hey...just noticed something else...the difference in roll bar feet. My 82 has flat feet...but the 84 bar i just picked up has a kickup and an oval hole at the back of each foot. Anyone else notice this?
 

Joe West

Arizona Virtual Jeep Club
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Laurinburg
State
NC
#18
My 82 has the oval hole and the kickup... I'm betting this has to do with the 3 point harness roll bar; I'm betting yours is a lap belt bar with no seat belt mount points on it.

hey...just noticed something else...the difference in roll bar feet. My 82 has flat feet...but the 84 bar i just picked up has a kickup and an oval hole at the back of each foot. Anyone else notice this?
 

JohnnySix

Legacy Registered User
City
Arlington
State
VA
#20
Didn't realize Rob had posted his Scrambler on this board yet but he has. It can be seen here:
http://www.cj-8.com/forum/showthread.php?p=183360&posted=1#post183360

PS. You ought to come on out on 20 Mar and meet some of us. See this post:
http://www.cj-8.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24804

Truck
Sorry for going MIA. Truck, I appreciate the heads up on that PA Scrambler and the invite to the meet-up (unfortunately got this too late). How was it? Anything coming up?

Looks like I'll be picking up an '81 Scrambler in North Carolina in the next few days.
 
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