My '82 CJ-8 "Rambler"

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#1
I suppose I might as well start a thread about the reason that brought me to this site in the first place, even though I'm nowhere near making any progress yet.

I stumbled across a 1982 CJ-8 Scrambler for cheap, trailer included, from a guy at work. It's mostly complete, albeit missing the engine, radiator, passenger front fender, and the full soft top and doors are dry-rotted to the point of crumbling to dust with any sudden movements. The tub is in fairly good shape, with bumps and bows in the bed from heavy use on a ranch, and mild rusting on the driver floorboard and firewall from a leaky master cylinder. It was a manual brake, manual steering package with the 151 Iron Duke I-4, T176, D300 and factory 4.10 gears in the D30 and AMC 20.

IMG_1880.JPG
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#2
I would love to restore the (sc)Rambler back to a driver or overlanding style setup, capable of hitting mild trails, exploring backwoods wonders, or just cruise the strip on nice days. I've already gone full loco on my 1989 YJ for rock crawling and trail thrashing duties, so I would like to keep this clean and as close to "pure" as I can while still addressing any drivability issues.

First things first, a place to hide it and make vroom noises while I sit in the drive seat.

IMG_1888.JPG
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#3
Seeing as I'm new to CJ's, and new to taking anything seriously (my YJ is pretty hacktastic), I started pulling off what I could to judge just how good the foundation is. Unfortunately, the windshield frame is toast...

IMG_1894.JPG
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#4
I'm not quite settled on how to go about powering it. It came with a "newer" Iron Duke pull out in the bed, but it's the wrong bellhousing pattern, and the accessories are set up for FWD, so it'll be going to scrap most likely. The T176 seems to have decent enough reviews under mild power, and the 4.3 V6 option seems to be fairly simple and straightforward given the SBC bellhousing. So, I pulled the trans out to have a look at it.

IMG_3496.JPG

It's grimy on the outside, but was still full of fluid......ancient fluid. Under the stain of old lube, the gears looked really good and everything felt tight and smooth.

IMG_3505.JPG

The shifter had a broken spring, but luckily I had a spare from a T-18 rebuild in my YJ and fixed it right up.

IMG_3508.JPG
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#5
I had been doing lots of research on the 4.3 swap, and even sourced a TBI one locally for pretty cheap....but something just wasn't sitting right with it in my mind for the grand scheme of things. I really would like overdrive for the street, and a V8 seems like it would be far more rewarding to drive. I have a Ford 5.8 EFI and ZFS5-42 trans in storage from an early '90s F350 which sounded like a great swap given that I have it and the ZF has a nice low 1st gear for crawling...but the nuances of early Ford EFI, the size of the ZF and the adaptability to the D300 are tricky. I could to SBC with TBI or even jump to an LS given the SBC bell on the T176 I have, but ultimately, SBC/LS and T176 doesn't sound like a great combination for longevity. I could just go all out and track down an NV4500 to go behind an LS and have a fairly bulletproof combo, but the NV's seem to go for high dollar around here. I was still fairly undecided, but then this happened....

IMG_3510.JPG

IMG_3509.JPG

AX-15 with an Advanced Adapters SBC bellhousing on it. The trans needs new syncros according to the previous owner, and not wanting to deal with it nearly gave it away. Pics next to the T176 for science.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#6
A second stroke of luck hit when this thing popped up on my marketplace feed...

IMG_3444.JPG

The wiring is gutted, and it's pretty weathered. I ended up trading a perfectly good Smittybuilt 9500 that I had stashed away because I believe that CJ's just need Warn 8274s. It needs to be gone through, rewired, and the t-handle is missing from the free spool, but I've been on the hunt for an 8274 for a while now and couldn't pass it up.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#7
With the AX-15 bought, and the T176 sold to a fellow CJ-8.com member, I'm now on the hunt for a 5.3 LS. With all the motivating parts mostly planned out, I'm still on the fence about axles. I don't want to get overly large with full width or one tons, but things keep leaning that way for longevity. I would like to dress it out on 35" tires, and worry the D30/AMC20 won't like that for long with LS power. I had contemplated flipping the D300 and running a HP D44 front, narrowed to Early Bronco or TJ shaft lengths, as I have one of the elusive "thick tube" D44s from a 1976 F150, and it would only take shortening the long side to fit EB shafts, getting me down to around 60" WMS. I also have 8-lug outer assemblies from a 3/4 ton Ford D44, which would let me go to a narrowed D60 full float rear. I'm sure narrowed 8-lug stuff sounds silly, but I have a nice set of 8-lug aluminum 17" wheels, and a D60 ARB locker on the shelf that isn't being used for anything currently. However, all that being said, I also have a 2 sets of '05+ Super Duty axles sitting around, one for my tow pig. With the Ultimate 60 builder parts hitting vendors now, I could utilize the JKU shafts to get a better diff offset and slightly narrower WMS...but worry that a D60 front might be overkill for my intended purposes and space constraints... Decisions, decisions.

Until then, I'm currently re-working my YJ for more wheelbase and linked suspension so I can hammer the trails some more. I enjoy hardcore wheeling, but I feel like it is starting to fade in favor of overlanding exploring and the enjoyment of being able to street wheel the Jeep (which I cannot to with the YJ anymore after going fully hydro steering and welded diffs in front and rear.....not to mention being on propane and having wretched driveline angles currently). Times change and tastes change, it seems. I plan to refine my welding and bodywork skills on the YJ stretch before tackling the 8. I'd really like to make the (sc)Rambler something to be proud of and worthy of cruising up to Sand Blast someday.
 

sdsupilot

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
OKC
State
OK
#8
Was that 8274 in Yukon? I saw one and thought of buying it, but I already have one that I am finishing a rebuild on.

Looks like a great project. Power train choices are a slippery slope. I think what you have settled on will make a great combination, especially if you go with bigger axles and tires. Sounds like you have quite a parts cache to pick through.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#9
Was that 8274 in Yukon?...Sounds like you have quite a parts cache to pick through.
Yes, it was on FB in Yukon. The guy didn't really know what it was, it's history, or how to wire it up. I had let one get by me in Edmond for $500 that I should have jumped on and kicked myself for it, so I wasn't letting this one go. Kind of silly to obsess like that, but I'm happy with my decision as the winch seems in really good shape other than needing a good cleanup and fresh seals.

I'm pretty blessed to have the parts cache to play with that I do. My dad and grandpa were always horse trading trucks and stuff for side work (both being career welders/mechanics), and I've been pretty good at accumulating parts as well, so there's lots of stuff to choose from. The hard part is just toeing the line between packaging and durability without getting too crazy with one-off pieces. I'd love to go full one-tons but fear that it would snowball into 40" tires, links and coilovers, and a full out hardcore build again. I keep trying to convince myself that D44/D60 combo would be more than enough, but I know exactly what it takes to break a D44 front shaft with 35"s as I've accomplished it sever times in my old '78 Bronco.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#10
Pointless Update, for posterity:

I haven't made much....or any, for that matter...progress on my 8. However, I've done lots of daydreaming and have significantly shuffled around my parts pile. The AX-15 is now gone after a friend of mine sheared the output shaft in his behind a Texas Speed massaged 5.3 LS. Honestly, I was leaning toward going auto anyway, but his incident just sealed the deal. Current drivetrain plan is 5.3/4L60e/Magnum205 doubler, but that may change.

I tore down the 8274 that I picked up and found a random bolt in the gear case that had completely chewed out the middle of every tooth on the main spool gear. The brake pinion gear was also extremely pitted on three teeth that were most likely on top as it sat and collected condensation. The case halves show some bad wear along the sealing lip as if the three case bolts were loose, and the bottom half has a decent gouge in the side from where the main gear fought the random bolt. I'm going to try to rebuild it if I can find a new main gear.

8274 gear.jpg

As for beneath the frame, I have a '05 SD60 that I am planning to cut the long side down to accommodate the slightly shorter Ultimate 60 long shaft, netting me 1550 joints and a roughly 67" wms vs the factory 72". I'd then like to run redrilled 8x6.5 unit bearings and an OBS Sterling 10.25 rear axle, which is 8x6.5 and around 66" wms. I plan on trussing both axles and running a 3-link front and 4-link rear with TJU coil springs. I'm fairly set on picking up some 37" rubber for it, but the look of 40"s is growing on me.

/pointless update
 
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