Needing direction...

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#1
I've been hanging around here for about six months now and have gotten a lot of really good ideas. I've owned my Scrambler since July and have loved every minute of it. It belonged to a crop duster that I do business with and it has just been parked in his hanger for several years now. Up until July he wasn't really interested in selling and I couldn't afford it anyway. However, last summer we both had a weak moment. I promised him that if I ever decided to sell it that I would talk to him first and he agreed to let it go.

This is how it the day I drove it out of his hanger.
image.jpg

We had to air up a tire, charge the battery, and it had no front drive shaft. I drove it three miles and ran out of gas twenty feet from my fuel barrel (could've been a lot worse) but at least I knew I no longer had any stale fuel in the tank.

Before I go any further I'm going to see if I've got picture posting figured out...:fingerscrossed:
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#2
Sweet, the picture is there!

For starters I didn't do much other than wash and wax it to see what I had. I found a used drive shaft on ebay that turned out to be too long but I cut it down and made it work. Aside from some small odds and ends (shifter knobs, getting dash lights operational, new heater cables... that have already broke, installing back glass in hard top, wipers, speedometer cable, etc.) my family and I just enjoyed it throughout the summer and fall.

image.jpg

image.jpg
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#3
My CJ8 is a 1983, 258AMC, T176, and a Dana300. I'm not sure what my axles are but I'm guessing that they are original. The PO did tell me that they had been converted to one piece. I've seen that mention here in the forum but I'm not sure what that means or exactly how it is better.

Front Axle:
IMG_0182.JPG

Rear Axle:
image.jpg

Drive Train Issues:
My odometer shows 232,000 but there was no speedo cable when I purchased it. So... actual mileage... ??? Also, the wiring front to back on this thing is absolutely trashed. It's amazing that anything electrical even works.

image.jpg


image.jpg


Shortly after purchase I let someone else drive it and when they shifted out of reverse too quickly the shifter became stuck in second gear while the transmission was still in reverse. So I backed 2 miles to my shop and was able to pop the top off of the trans and correct the issue but needless to say my transmission is sloppy.

As I said, at purchase there was no front drive shaft which was easily solved. However, in order to get the T-case out of 4WD I have to remove the shift rail caps and beat them forward with a rubber mallet. I was hoping that drive shaft installation would resolve this but it is the same either way. Where I live we are in our fourth year of drought so 4WD hasn't been necessary but I want it fixed. Even though I haven't NEEDED (wanting to play is a different story) 4wd yet there have been times when I needed the lower gears of 4LO.

My Current Plan of Attack:
Rebuild T176 & Dana300 myself or hire out. Maybe put a twin shifter on.

Start with reman 258 or potentially have it remanned. My local NAPA store says approximately $1700 but there are none available as of right now. I'm thinking that a rebuilt 258 would provide the power that I need while still remaining fairly original. Original is not a must as there are some other things that I want to do. I love spankrjs's red scrambler and it looks to me like that drive train package would fit my needs perfectly.

I have other issues and pics that I will post in a bit... Family calls
 
Last edited:

Scott_P

Legacy Registered User
CJ-8.com Member
City
Benzonia
State
MI
#4
Nice 8! Regarding the slop in your T-176....this is a relatively common problem, but is easily rectified...the shifter can be rebuilt fairly inexpensively. If the rest of the transmission is working fine...no leaks, oil is clean, shifts smooth, etc. I would run it. Other than the shifter issue, I am a fan of the T-176, good trans.

Maybe a little penetrating oil on the dana 300 shift rails?..I've never run into this issue before...

Good luck!
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#5
When I bought it my jeep had been SOA. I personally don't have a problem with this but I don't really know much about it either. I would probably leave it this way but there are a couple of issues.

1. Going down the highway my jeep really runs pretty good. On gravel it's like trying to drive a snake. Maybe this is the wheelbase, maybe its just a jeep, but I'm used to being able to drive down our gravel roads safely at 60MPH. Now, I'm certainly not needing to go that fast in my Jeep but anything over 35MPH starts to get spooky. Is this because of the SOA?

2. I probably need to be replacing all of my springs anyway as they are flatter on the left side than the right and, to me, they appear to be worn out. Any thoughts from these pictures? (Probably a stupid question but I know a lot more about pickups and semis than I do Jeeps)

Left Front Spring:
IMG_0181.JPG

Is that metal block/box original or is that something aftermarket?

Left Rear Spring:
image.jpg

Unless there is some kind of advantage to SOA I'm leaning toward a 4" lift SUA. I'm currently running 33 X 12.5 - 15's and this seams to be a good fit for me. I like the height and the stance.
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#6
Scott_P

Thanks! Is that a specific kit? I'd prefer to rebuild as much as possible rather than just throw money at it. Some of the things I want to do are going to be costly enough without spending extra on things that I could just repair.
 

YJ-8

Basic User
City
Austin
State
TX
#7
SOA is typically done for off road "flex" and gaining a smooth ride with lots of lift i.e. no arched spring packs. To do it right requires a lot of time working out the details especially steering angles. Your problem on gravel was likely noticed by the PO or they would not have "coilovers" in addition to leaf springs. Yes, I think you can make this Jeep handle gravel roads just fine, you just need to sort out/ fix what was done to it earlier.

Your plan sounds solid to me but I will add a few things,
Engine-- You can do a 258, or you can swap in a 4.0 from a 91-95 Jeep which is basically the same motor but you will get fuel injection, or you can use the 91-95 fuel injection on your 258. Do some research and see what you like.

Suspension-- you get what you pay for, and since you want a quality ride the best is custom SUA springs from Deaver, Alcan or National. After that you have OME, Rubicon Express or BDS all known to be fairly good off the shelf springs. Also get good shocks such as Billstein or Fox. You can also look in to YJ springs and outboarding your springs, the list goes on...

All in all it looks like you have a good plan and a nice Jeep, post up as you progress,
YJ-8
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#8
Thanks YJ-8.

I like the idea of the newer engine with EFI. When I mentioned spankrjs's build earlier the EFI addition is one of the things that I was interested in; mainly due to the increase in horsepower and, hopefully, improved reliability. Either that or at a minimum a Weber carb on a 258. I'm not a mechanic any more than most people in agriculture are. Basically, I know enough to be dangerous. I do think my engine needs some serious work though. Top end is about 65MPH which is fast enough but it just doesn't seem to have any power. Maybe low compression??? I changed the spark plugs and that didn't seem to affect anything. Also, only getting about 10MPH? I still need to fix fuel/temp gauge - replacements didn't fix the problem, I just have a full tank constantly now. My thought is with 230K it doesn't make a lot of sense to throw a bunch of money at this engine.

Maybe I should have mentioned some of my goals for use to start with:

My family and I live in the flint hills of eastern Kansas. We have one ORV course about an hour away but I haven't been there since I was in college at K-State 15 years ago or more. I live in a very rural area with a lot of back roads and so far we have used it to just go on a "shooter" in the evenings or on the weekends. The kids also love to go geocaching and they see the Jeep as the "caching rig". I should mention that I have four kids eight and under and one on the way. My plan is to put a pair of seats in the back to accommodate them. For now I've just tossed a school bus seat in the back. Number five might make this a little difficult but I'll figure that out later... Maybe one will just have to walk.

I want to build something that is capable of hauling to Colorado for camping and driving completely off the map and getting to areas most people don't get to go or potentially going to a Scrambler gathering somewhere. I want it to look good and to be a way for my family to just enjoy time with each other. I don't want it to be strictly off road use either. I want to be able to use it on the highway but be able to tackle some pretty decent trails too. I also want to find an old military trailer that would make a good camping combo.

I have some interior pictures and questions that I'll post at some point (I think my seats are out of a wagon or an old Cherokee) and I also have some damaged body mounts on the drivers side. These photos are all in an album on my profile page. I'll post these up at some point in the next week.

Thanks in advance for your feedback. I have never been on a forum before this one but I really enjoy this community and the common interest. I feel like I know many of you through your posts and the pride and energy that I've seen you all put into your own Scramblers and I'm looking forward to you all getting to know me as I work on mine.
 

walkerhoundvm

Typical Know-it-all
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Cave Creek
State
AZ
#9
Very nice CJ! I'm over here in MHK for now, so if you ever make it up drop me a note. There are kits for both the T176 and D300, and the T176 is easy enough to build that I did it successfully. There are plenty of very good descriptions with photos of both online.

Your low mpgs could be for a lot of reasons, some of them you can tackle in an afternoon - i.e. carb rebuilds and timing adjustments, some will probably need a mechanic to address - gear changes and engine rebuilds for example.

I'm sure there will be more advice coming along soon!
 

Polarfire

Jeep Aficionado
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Columbia
State
MO
#10
Welcome! Great starting point for a nice Scrambler! Your axles are the stock Dana 30 front and AMC 20 rear and being that it is an '83 they are wide trac (a good thing). The one piece axle shafts in the rear axle are much stronger and less likely to break (also a good thing). I love Spankrjs's Red Scrambler build as well and I'm building mine in a similar fashion. I think that it meets a lot of good requirements and has very well thought out upgrades and still keeps a nice stockish look. It sounds like you are on the right path!

:cheers: :popcorn:
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
#11
Appreciate it:thumbsup::wave:

I like the 4.2 engine over the 4.0, they just seem to pull harder at low RPM, The 4.0's seem to make more power higher up. In my Scramblers, I prefer the 4.2:twocents:

The Mopar MPI kit was one of my favorite additions. While it is expensive, compared to junk yard shopping for used parts of unknown conditions, it is well worth it IMO. The junk yard route is good, if you have a lower budget and have time to track everything down/make your own harness, etc.

The AX15 seems to be working great. I am happy with my 4.10 gears, 33" tires, and AX15 combo, works great.

As for lifts, the Rubicon Express kit is great. It is a bit "soft" if you carry a lot of weight IMO, but it rides really smooth.

Great looking Scrambler, look forward to seeing you modify/enjoy it:thumbsup::wave:
 

KSCJ-8

81 cj-8 alias "MLC"
SOA Member
City
Empoira
State
KS
#12
Welcome to the scrambler ownership. Serveral owners fairly close, I'm in Emporia area and one of my scramblers is a twin to yours. Others owners in area are Mike, owner of 4x4 Land in Topeka (Great knowledge and good shop); The Adams family in Thayer, KS are also great people. Looking forward to seeing your scrambler and meeting.
 

82cj7

Legacy Registered User
City
indianapolis
State
in
#13
Good looking scrambler!

As mentioned above, one piece axle shafts are nice for the rear axle. In stock form it is a straight axle shaft attached to a hub (two pieces). The axle shaft can spin in the hub and leave the entire rear axle with no movement. I've experienced this off-roading and it doesn't take much. The one piece shafts combine the axle shaft and hub together. This eliminates the chance of spinning the shaft in the hub.

I would venture to say the steering issues are do to the spring over axle and the addition of lift blocks between the spring and axle. The boxes on top may be aftermarket, but look homemade to me. Like mentioned earlier the addition of coil shocks was probably an attempt to correct the steering problem. Also, the fancy steering stabilizer looks to be the same. I would really consider doing the lift with lift springs that go back to the stock under axle location - especially if it will be driven a lot on the road. Finally, if all the steering joints are original, they probably need to be replaced. It looks like the stock stabilizer bar is there with the axle links which appear stock. You can purchase extended ones for a 4" lift. Keeping these and an alignment will probably get it going straight.

Scramblers are great family fun vehicles!!
 

wm69

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
God's Country
State
AR
#14
Welcome to the forum.

Is the engine using oil or smoking/knocking? If not, I'd leave it alone for now and address other issues.

A new carb and upgrading the ignition will likely help your MPG and power out a lot. Another thing to look at is your exhaust. If you still have a cat on there and it's clogged it will kill your power and your MPG.

I have motorcraft 2100's on my CJ7's. More power, easy to rebuild, and pretty much idiot proof. Only problem is they are becoming scarce in yunkyards and they aren't cheap if you go the reman route. I had a Weber 32/36 for awhile. Loved the power, but it required constant tuning to keep it close to dialed in. MC2100 is much easier to tune and I haven't had to touch the one on my green Jeep since I installed it in 2004-2005. Interestingly enough, the one on my green Jeep came from a junkyard in Derby KS. I saw the yard from the highway and noticed a bunch of older vehicles so I stopped in. Got a 1.08 stamped motorcraft 2100 carb off of a 78-79 Mustang for $25.

This guy is wordy as all get out, but basically you swap out cap, rotor, wires, gap your plugs, and put a hotter coil in. Uses all off the shelf parts and runs about $100. Gives a much better spark/ ignition.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/ignition-upgrade-78-90-jeep-teamrush-upgrade-1302931/#post12702667
 

walkerhoundvm

Typical Know-it-all
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Cave Creek
State
AZ
#15
This guy is wordy as all get out, but basically you swap out cap, rotor, wires, gap your plugs, and put a hotter coil in. Uses all off the shelf parts and runs about $100. Gives a much better spark/ ignition.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/ignition-upgrade-78-90-jeep-teamrush-upgrade-1302931/#post12702667
JeepHammer? Just a guess.

I'll second the ignition upgrade, though I stuck with the original ignition coil (an original replacement, to be exact). It was one of the first things I did so I can't vouch for an improvement, but it certainly was a good introduction into the electrical system of a 4.2 CJ.

The MC2100 was also one of my first modifications, and it's a good one in a state like KS with no emissions testing or requirements. I currently have a Howell kit and it was a $1500 lateral move forced on me by my previous home state of Colorado.

There are other options for both that are as debated as "Tastes great" or "Less filling."
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#16
All kinds of good input here. I just wanted to say :drool: on that find!!

FWIW, my experience with my 258 with a MC2100 and HEI that was swapped for a 4.0L is that the 258 can't touch a 4.0L. Night and day improvement.

My ultimate goal in that Jeep has always been a stroker, looking forward to that day :D
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#17
Thanks for all of the input so far all! It's been cool catching the responses the last few days. It has been a busy week so I am just now getting a chance to respond.

KSCJ-8 and walkerhoundvm-
It's good to see that there are so many 8 owners close by. I'm about an hour from both Emporia and Manhattan and am in both communities fairly regularly. Let me know if there is ever anything jeep related going on in our area. I am relatively new to Jeeps but I can see where some of these gatherings could be a lot of fun. I also had a CJ8 owner from Newton PM me the other night. To be honest, since I have owned my 8 I have not seen another one so it would be nice to compare at some point and also have someone that is more knowledgeable than me point some things out that I haven't noticed... I've got more to post here and I'm sure there'll be plenty of suggestions.

258 comments:
I like the idea of sticking with the 258 (especially if I can just make some minor repairs and run it until it quits) as opposed to the 4.0. I really don't have a good reason for that other than it is the engine that my jeep came with. Frankly, if the costs were the same I'd probably prefer to have mine rebuilt than change out for a crate. However, as I just typed that I realized how stupid that would be: I would never do that in my business, I'd get the reman installed ASAP and get the thing back to work... Have to give that some thought. I also need to research the 4.0 as there are obviously differing opinions about it vs the 4.2 and I didn't know the swap was common.

If and when I change the engine out it sounds like EFI is a no-brainer but I doubt I'm willing to dump that kind of money into an engine with 230K+ without doing quite a bit of work to it first. I'm thinking a new carb, and some external improvements and see what it gets me unless you all convince me otherwise. Wiring may have a little to do with engine performance also; the last owner got his wiring tool confused with a hacksaw.:shrug:

I may post some pictures of wiring be fore I move on to some other questions. Maybe later today...
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#18
Here are some pics of the engine compartment wiring. Under dash isn't any better.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424534384.123539.jpg

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424534403.407609.jpg

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424534416.420972.jpg

Oil psi gauge doesn't work but the connection at sending unit is poor. Voltage gauge works but could stand to be replaced. Fuel gauge / temp gauge don't work either. I replaced both of them and now fuel gauge reads FULL and temp reads HOT. From what I've read I probably need to drop the tank and replace the sending unit. I have one but I just haven't gotten to it.

Under dash wiring:

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424534888.827583.jpg

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424534988.386355.jpg
 

walkerhoundvm

Typical Know-it-all
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Cave Creek
State
AZ
#19
Oh wow, you weren't kidding. It's amazing it even runs at all!! Might be worth it to think about one of the many varieties of wiring kits out there :/

Your fuel and temp gauges sound like they're fried - when they ground out for too long they hit the far end of the spectrum and never come back. Chances are slim you can reverse that without a new speedo.
 

cattleman1977

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Delavan
State
KS
#20
Correction: oil is working. This is what it and volts read though:

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424535240.227682.jpg

Engine off:

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424535289.551735.jpg

Fuel and temp w/ engine running:

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1424535336.215331.jpg

BTW, tapatalk makes it much easier to post pictures.
 
Top