My '81 Scrambler tried to kill me...

City
Terlingua
State
TX
#1
I noticed some stress cracks on the frame a couple of weeks ago. Decided to keep my eye on them to see if they got worse. Pulled in the driveway this afternoon, got out and was excited to start installing my hard doors and top when I noticed this.

I feel very lucky to be writing this from the house and not the hospital.
 

Attachments

sdsupilot

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
OKC
State
OK
#6
Wow! That's pretty lucky. One of my wheeling friends had this happen on a rusty 7 from Virginia. We patched it as its just a wheeling rig, not sure I would patch something that is street or highway driven
 
City
Terlingua
State
TX
#8
A little background. I bought the Jeep in El Paso, TX and it was licensed in New Mexico...but I do believe this might have been a Colorado Jeep originally.

Now that I’m over the initial shock, I’m leaning towards a Safe-T-Cap quick fix and then buying a new frame. I really like this 8 and now that I’ve owned and driven one for almost a year I cant see myself without one.

Anyone have input on the S-T-C’s?
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Richmond
State
TX
#9
Is the frame rusted? It looked more like a stress fracture than a rusty frame from the pictures.

If it is a stress fracture, I would weld it back together and add the chiefwaho frame plates.

Ultimately, you will need to decide what is structurally sound though, and if not properly welded it could fail again.

I have no experience with the safe-t-caps, I personally like the idea of the plates better.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#12
Wow. Saw one of the spring hangers punched up inside a frame on a Scrambler once but that was due to thorough-frame holes for a nerf bar.

best of luck getting it back together and drivable whatever route you choose.
 
City
Terlingua
State
TX
#13
Still working on processing what happened, how bad it is, and options.

Drivers side:

IMG_0848.JPG

Passengers side:

IMG_0849.JPG

This was my daily driver 75 miles every day. 8 miles of the rough dirt roads.

Thanks for all the info and well wishes. The more I think about it, the more I realize how lucky I was something bad didn't happen when I was on the highway.

Chiefwaho was easy to get ahold of and responded extremely quickly. Very professional! Unfortunately he doesn't think he can help me. His plates reinforce the sides, but not the bottom where the leaf spring bracket attaches. That leaves me with 3 options but I think only 2 are realistic.

1. Find a good used frame. That doesn't seem easy to find and also since this is an '81 narrow track probably even harder to find? I'm really a newbie to 8's but assume the frames must be different between the narrow and wide tracks?

2. Make the Safe-T-Caps work. There is a lot of rust there, so I'll need to call them tomorrow and visit with them to see if this is a realistic option or if my frame is too far gone.

3. Order a $2000 new frame.

The only good thing that might come out of this is that my wife is extremely disappointed that this happened also. She loves riding in the 8, and she agrees that it's almost a perfect desert vehicle. So, assuming I get this fixed, she has agreed that I probably should find another 8 (one with a good frame) and build it out. A neighbor has an '85 that is mostly in buckets and we're gonna visit this weekend to see if he's interested in selling it.
 

HighSierra CJ

Scrambler Enthusiast
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Ducor
State
Ca
#14
The narrow track is only defined by the width of the axles. The frame will be the same on all year CJ8’s. That being said, if your friends 85 frame is in good shape, you can use it on your 81 Scrambler and everything should both up just fine.
 

tower210

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Olathe
State
KS
#15
Pretty sure only difference between wt and nt frames is the shock towers; and they can be swapped easy enough.....
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#16
Same frame, just different front shock mounts.

I’d scrap any idea of repair seeing this if it were me and Jason was definitely giving you proper advice. Sorry to see it.
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Richmond
State
TX
#17
After seeing better pictures, that frame is rotted. Probably rot in other places, so if you did repair it, it will probably fail again in another spot.

Start looking for a replacement frame.

If starting from scratch, I would have gone TDK on my project instead of the factory frame replacement I found.
 

walkerhoundvm

Just trying to stay upright
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Cave Creek
State
AZ
#20
All original frames are 30+ yrs old and may be rusted internally and/or have metal fatigue. If doing a frame swap, I would go new with a TDK. It will be new and not have issues.
For all the effort you'll be going through, exactly.

I still like the wife's idea of a dump and run. Unless there's some emotional tie to the current scrambler, I'd be looking for greener pastures. For the cost of a frame swap you almost want to consider a full rebuild, and I know exactly how that turns out. 🤑
 
Top