My 81 Scrambler roller project is finally getting some love.

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Well, I will start from the beginning. I purchased my first Scrambler in 2004 off Ebay. The listing had one grainy picture. Going on the sellers word. I purchased a 1984 rot box. The deeper I dug the more rot I found. I began searching for a useable tub to no avail. Then about 5 years ago I found a 1983 Scrambler local that had a decent bed but absolutely no front floor. It was a basket case but priced cheap so I bought it hoping I might be able to make something out of the two. Years have past and the two Scramblers have sat side by side in the back yard waiting their turn as other Jeep projects have taken precedents. My wheeling rig/sunday cruiser is a 1988 YJ. It is a great Jeep but with the NH DOT regulations it is kind of at its limit as far as lift and tires go. Deciding it was time to build another Jeep that I could trailer and not have to worry about traffic laws I started toying with the idea of building a wheeling rig out of my pair of rusty Scramblers. That is of course until I saw Cape8's for sale thread on a local forum. Not having the toy budget to buy his a 400HP 355 SBC powerd Scrambler with a AtlasII T case I was thrilled when he decided to sell it as a roller. It is a clean Texas Jeep with lots of fancy goodies. It is actually to nice for me to go beat up in the woods so I will be building it as more of a driver/class 6 wheeler and my YJ will be seeing the more extreme wheeling.


My YJ.
 
Last edited:

TrebleHook

CJ-8 Member
Member
SOA Member
City
Fairfax
State
VA
Great looking Scrambler...and sounds like a great project. Keep us up to date!

Cheers,
Dylan
 

dkg4244

Legacy Registered User
City
Sandwich
State
MA
No way! I've seen this rig in person at the Yarmouth MA DMV! It is a clean rust free find. Good work!
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Talk about procrastination. After many "this will be the year I get the Scrambler going" there it still sits mostly unchanged from before. Still not running and overall just looking sad. Under the hood sits a partially plumbed Vortec 350 that is now stuck from sitting. It now rests on 235/75/15 rollers instead of the 35"s in the first pic and has gray primer spots from where I was trying to stop rust bubbles. It is honestly embarrassing that I have not done more with my "dream Jeep". So the build plan has changed to..... Just get it running and driving.
Also in the other above pic is my YJ. It still runs and drives, kind of but has been off the road for two years now due to body rot and a steering box that is on it's way out. Then there is my 1999 TJ that I never planned on building but now sits on 35" MT's with 4.56 gears and a ARB in the rear. I honestly can't really see a need for keeping the YJ anymore. I have too many projects and not enough time.
So here is the plan....
My YJ has a 4.0L and AW4 out of 96 XJ with just about 100K on them. They run and drive great so I will be swapping them into the Scrambler, for now maybe? Still might go to a v8 down the road but for now I have a dependable drivetrain that should for the most part bolt in. I plan to use the YJ radiator that is already bolted to a CJ grill and the entire wiring harness out of the YJ which is already mostly a modified XJ harness. The Painless kit that is currently in the Scrambler had the majority of the wires snipped off at the firewall connector when the carbed SBC and custom gauges were installed.
The custom Double D dash will be coming out and a stock dash will be going back in with a factory heater box replacing the universal unit that is there. I will be bolting a D300 up behind the AW4. The Currie 9" axles will stay but I will probably be swapping out the super stiff CJ lift springs for the almost new OME springs off the YJ along with it's boomerang shackles.

The things I know I will need to overcome is a shifter, obviously some wiring, fuel pump and the speedo/VSS.
For the shifter I plan for now using a stock XJ shifter and cables.
For the fuel pump I will probably use something like a e2000 mounted to the crossmember.
Wiring.... it is what it is, I have a soldering iron.
Speedo/VSS.... we will see what happens when I get to that. I know there are a couple options out there.

I figured if I revived this thread maybe I will find the motivation of my fellow Scrambler owners to help keep me on track.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
Don't beat yourself up too much...I haven't touched my 8 in nearly the same amount of time as you.

Sounds like you have a solid plan though. Get after it!
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
BENEFACTOR
Gold Member
Lifetime Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
Talk about procrastination. After many "this will be the year I get the Scrambler going" there it still sits mostly unchanged from before. Still not running and overall just looking sad. Under the hood sits a partially plumbed Vortec 350 that is now stuck from sitting. It now rests on 235/75/15 rollers instead of the 35"s in the first pic and has gray primer spots from where I was trying to stop rust bubbles. It is honestly embarrassing that I have not done more with my "dream Jeep". So the build plan has changed to..... Just get it running and driving.
Also in the other above pic is my YJ. It still runs and drives, kind of but has been off the road for two years now due to body rot and a steering box that is on it's way out. Then there is my 1999 TJ that I never planned on building but now sits on 35" MT's with 4.56 gears and a ARB in the rear. I honestly can't really see a need for keeping the YJ anymore. I have too many projects and not enough time.
So here is the plan....
My YJ has a 4.0L and AW4 out of 96 XJ with just about 100K on them. They run and drive great so I will be swapping them into the Scrambler, for now maybe? Still might go to a v8 down the road but for now I have a dependable drivetrain that should for the most part bolt in. I plan to use the YJ radiator that is already bolted to a CJ grill and the entire wiring harness out of the YJ which is already mostly a modified XJ harness. The Painless kit that is currently in the Scrambler had the majority of the wires snipped off at the firewall connector when the carbed SBC and custom gauges were installed.
The custom Double D dash will be coming out and a stock dash will be going back in with a factory heater box replacing the universal unit that is there. I will be bolting a D300 up behind the AW4. The Currie 9" axles will stay but I will probably be swapping out the super stiff CJ lift springs for the almost new OME springs off the YJ along with it's boomerang shackles.

The things I know I will need to overcome is a shifter, obviously some wiring, fuel pump and the speedo/VSS.
For the shifter I plan for now using a stock XJ shifter and cables.
For the fuel pump I will probably use something like a e2000 mounted to the crossmember.
Wiring.... it is what it is, I have a soldering iron.
Speedo/VSS.... we will see what happens when I get to that. I know there are a couple options out there.

I figured if I revived this thread maybe I will find the motivation of my fellow Scrambler owners to help keep me on track.
Your plan sounds like a good one! Keep up the momentum!
 

sdsupilot

CJ-8 Member
Member
City
OKC
State
OK
Sounds like a good plan. I would consider an in tank fuel pump (I used tanks inc). The VSS shouldn't be too hard. I used a pass through VSS from howell, but am running GM TBI. I imagine the jeep computer wants a different pulse frequency. Dakota Digital makes a pretty neat box that gives quite a few options for VSS output. Should be a great jeep with those axles and your YJ springs.
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Sounds like a good plan. I would consider an in tank fuel pump (I used tanks inc). The VSS shouldn't be too hard. I used a pass through VSS from howell, but am running GM TBI. I imagine the jeep computer wants a different pulse frequency. Dakota Digital makes a pretty neat box that gives quite a few options for VSS output. Should be a great jeep with those axles and your YJ springs.
I have considered the in tank pumps but I do like the fact of how easily replaceable the inline pump is. I plan on road tripping this Jeep across the country and if I needed to, I could get something like a e2000 in any auto parts store for 30-40 bucks and swap it out in a parking lot or even on the trail in under 10 minutes.
As for the VSS I am curious to see if I actually need it. My buddy has a stretched 95 YJ that he swapped a 5.2 engine and trans out of a Grand Cherokee. He has been running it for around 12 years now and said he never added the VSS back in. I seem to remember someone else on the forum doing the 4.0L swap where they accidently wired the VSS backwards not realizing it and not having issue.
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Don't you love it when all that useless Jeep knowledge you have floating around in your head actually becomes useful? So I have been reading up how to address the VSS in swapping the OBDII 4.0L into my Scrambler. I was worried about this in my 1988 YJ when I swapped it's 4.2L to fuel a injected 4.0L. Since a lot of the harness in my YJ was actually from the donor XJ the later model electronic gauges from the 1992-1995 YJ were used since they plugged right into the XJ harness. The other option was to use a VSS from the 91 YJ. For those that don't know 91 was the transition year that they replaced the 4.2L with the 4.0L HO. It was also the only year that still used a mechanical speedometer with the 4.0L. The VSS had both the electronic connection but also a spot to thread in the mechanical speedo cable. This info was stored away in my brain and for the most part forgotten about until I checked out Hesco's conversion VSS. When I looked at HESCO's VSS I had a "Wait a second" moment. That is when some smoke rolled out of my left ear and a few braincells that had been written off flickered to life. I ran off to dig through my boxes of unused Jeep parts from past builds and came up with a VSS from a 1991 YJ. Just as I suspected HESCO's VSS is just 91 YJ VSS with a threaded adapter on it. So it looks like I am going to try and make an adapter to mount this VSS onto my D300.
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Progress! For the first time in a long time I actually got something accomplished on this build. This weekend my buddy gave me a CJ heater box to replace the Mojave style heater currently in the Scrambler. Unfortunately the mice had taken up residence on top of the heat blending door and it was beyond saving. I used the arm off of it and the door out of my YJs old heater box to craft a replacement. I think it came out pretty good and should function perfectly.PXL_20210418_192157904.jpg
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
I finally ordered a bunch of parts for this build. I should soon have everything to install the heater box and dash. I also ordered the parts I need to run a fuel system and a part that should hopefully solve my VSS dilemma. Hopefully this weekend I will start pulling the locked up engine and trans out of the Scrambler and start prepping it for the new drivetrain. I also need to get some paint. I have decided I will eventually be painting the Jeep back to its original color, Montana Blue so my plan is to paint the firewall that color before I install the new drivetrain.
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
My new heater core finally came in today and I was able to assemble the rebuild heater box. Unfortunately I was not able get the old drivetrain out of the Scrambler this weekend. I have my Focus SVT autocrosser parked in front of it. I slapped a new battery into that to move it out of the way only to find that the mice must have chewed some wires over the winter. The gauges were jumping all over and it wouldn't start..... Great, just what I needed. I may just drag it out of the way with my truck and save that project for another day.
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Finally got some major work done on the Scrambler today. I got the locked up 350 and 4L60e pulled. I also pulled off all the painted over HVAC tape that was covering the factory firewall holes. I took off some of the loose paint and surface rust with a wire wheel. There are a few extra holes but I will end up fixing those before I blast and paint it.

PXL_20210502_192306852.jpgPXL_20210502_235925786.jpg

I ordered a set of 258 engine mounts that are in transit. The next step will be removing the DD dash and installing the factory heater box.
 

NHScrambler

Legacy Registered User
Member
City
Chester
State
NH
Well, this morning I started cleaning up the firewall of the Jeep. There are showers forecast for tonight but I figured I had all day to prep the firewall before paint. I stripped and sanded the paint off of half the firewall and ended up having to run a quick errend so I would have to finish when I got back. Well my one errend ended up turning into an entire afternoon. By the time I got home I only had a couple of hours to finish prepping and painting. Looks like I won't be welding up any holes right now. I got the whole firewall down to bare metal.

PXL_20210503_211659872.jpg
Next I hit it with a coat of primer.

PXL_20210503_215002112.jpg


The only thing to do now it shoot it with some color. I have been thinking about this for a bit. I originally was thinking of shooting the Jeep in it's original Montana Blue paint but this Jeep is far from original. I am not looking to do a full factory restoration on it. I am looking for "cruise night quality". Something I won't feel bad about giving "nature's pinstripes" on the trails. After talking to the guy who is going to spray the Jeep. He suggested white because it hides a lot of imperfections which this Jeep has and will get in the future. So white it is. I think it is going to look good with the black armor I will be installing.

PXL_20210503_232610859.jpg
I still need to clean up the lower section and tunnel but I am probably going to undercoat those areas black.
 
Last edited:
Top