New guy to the Forum

TX4x4Guy

New member
City
Parker
State
TX
#1
Hello Folks,

I'm new to this Forum, but not new to Forums as I'm a member of at least six others related to Jeeps. I've been the owner of seven Wranglers in my time and currently own two, a 2018 JLUR, and a recently restored 2003 Wrangler TJ. I purchased the TJ a little over a year ago and it was bone stock, with 208k miles on the inline six. I have just about finished everything I'm going to do on it, but have one last project to replace the heater and evaporator cores, blower motor, resistors, and vacuum line related to the air diverter.

The list of things done to the TJ is long (and expensive) but as the wife can tell you, everything was on sale or very cheap.......... LOL Since purchasing it, I have nearly updated everything on the Jeep, the list is amazingly long, but here goes - valve cover, valve cover gasket, rear main seal, fuel rail, fuel injectors, spark plugs, coil rail, O2 sensors, heater hoses, vacuum lines, battery cables, front rotor and pads, rear drums and shoes, front and rear diff covers, shocks, coils (2" Rock Krawler lift), track bars (front and rear) sway bar (rear), steering kit (CurrieSync), front/rear upper/lower adjustable control arm, 1" body lift, new aftermarket hardtop, Bartact seat covers, new carpeting (after sanding and spray painting tub interior), new BFG 33" KO2's tires, Mickey Thompson chrome wheels, Tuff stuff front and rear bumpers, 13k Tuff Stuff winch (synthetic rope), Tuff Stuff rear bumper tire carrier, Tough Guard hood deflector, Banks Performance cat back exhaust, Insane Audio system with backup camera, Smittybilt chrome side steps, and Warrior product side armor. This Jeep has zero rust on or under it. I also serviced and replaced all fluids and filters (fuel, engine, air, transmission, transfer case, front and rear diffs).

I'm now thinking seriously about selling it and buying something to be a keeper and a winter project for me to stay busy. I have always had a eye for the CJ-8/Scrambler since they first came out in the 80's. While I love my Wranglers, 1) the Scrambler has always caught my eye, and 2) I want to stay away from anything modern with a lot of computer crap on them. I just finished updating a 1999 BMW Z3 (also a keeper) and working on that engine and suspension is like working on a Swiss watch, I prefer my 1999 Wrangler TJ where there is room to work, part are available and not out of this world expensive.

So here are my Scrambler questions. It appears challenging so far to find a unit that is rust free and hasn't been fully or nearly fully updated. While my garage isn't equipped to swap and engine, I would love to find one possibly where that has been done already. I'm interested and capable of working on just about any other aspect on the Jeep other than dealing with bondo and deep rust.

I would love to get some input on the likelihood of success in finding a Base, Renegade, or Laredo that hasn't been fully dealt with and out of my price range, which is still somewhat flexible.

Bob

PS. While not pertinent to this posting or Forum, I own a Jeep Wrangler online store (The4x4Guys.com) currently we only carry aftermarket parts and accessories for Wranglers, but if I snag a Scrambler for my project, we might be interested in becoming a dealer for more manufacturers that cover the CJ-8 family. Possibly many of our current brands already have Scrambler parts and we are just filtering them out right now.....something for me to think about.
 

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bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#2
Welcome!

All depends on your price range :shrug: Anything listed anywhere online seems to be getting bought up sight unseen ASAP, it a tough market to try to find something right now without paying a premium. Hope you can find one.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#3
Welcome! I have no leads on a Scrambler, but I want to wish you the best of luck in your search.
 

Scramblin Man

Beyond help
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Woodway
State
Tx
#4
Welcome, good to have another Texas member. Be patient and you should be able to find a good 8 in Texas. Just have to move fast on the reasonable priced ones with good bones, they don’t last long. Too many dealers out there for the $ in a quick flip.
 

TX4x4Guy

New member
City
Parker
State
TX
#7
Closer to you, cheaper, and a 258 transplant (original 4-cylinder). This probably selling at a discount for the swapped engine. You could take your time dropping a V8 into it. Looks like it was originally a SR / Renegade package. Plus, you get some factory wheels.

https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1982/jeep/scrambler/101210151
Definitely would need more photos of engine, underside, interior, etc. Thanks for pointing this one out. I still need to get the TJ finished and sold before I can acquire my next project, but I like looking at what is out there to get a handle on the market.

Are there specific features or years of the CJ-8 that should be avoided? Any persistent problems that were solved by a particular year? I would like my budget to be around $20k give or take a few $k for the right Jeep. While I love the look of some of the already updated and restored models, not only are they way over my budget, they really don't give me what I'm looking for which is a project to keep me occupied over the upcoming fall.winter.
 

DeLuke

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Dallas
State
TX
#8
Are there specific features or years of the CJ-8 that should be avoided? Any persistent problems that were solved by a particular year?
Everybody has their opinions, here are only a few from me.
-1981 & Narrow Axles: 1981 was the last year the CJ's had the narrower axles. Some people avoid this year for that reason. Unfortunately, Jeep produced more Scramblers in 1981 than any other year (and 1981 represents 30% of all Scramblers).
-1981 SR-4 transmission: From what I understand, this is NOT the transmission to get in 1981.
-Lap belts vs. Shoulder Belts: 1981-1982 Scramblers only had lap belts, and shoulder belts were introduced in 1983. Even then, you can convert '81-82 to shoulder belts by drilling/tapping the roll bar and a pass through hole in the cab top.
-Lack of V8: Although Jeep optioned the 304 V8 in the first half of 1981, this option was not extended to any Scramblers. Don't bother looking for an original factory 304 Scrambler although you may find some transplants.
-Transplanting a V8 w/ Stock Transmissions: Again from what I've heard/read (not from my actual experience), you will not want to run a V8 with a SR4, T4 or T5 transmission. Plan on swapping in a transmission with the V8 if your Scrambler has one of those.

Others should feel free to add their opinions or correct mine.
 

HighSierra CJ

Scrambler Enthusiast
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Ducor
State
Ca
#9
Everybody has their opinions, here are only a few from me.
-1981 & Narrow Axles: 1981 was the last year the CJ's had the narrower axles. Some people avoid this year for that reason. Unfortunately, Jeep produced more Scramblers in 1981 than any other year (and 1981 represents 30% of all Scramblers).
-1981 SR-4 transmission: From what I understand, this is NOT the transmission to get in 1981.
-Lap belts vs. Shoulder Belts: 1981-1982 Scramblers only had lap belts, and shoulder belts were introduced in 1983. Even then, you can convert '81-82 to shoulder belts by drilling/tapping the roll bar and a pass through hole in the cab top.
-Lack of V8: Although Jeep optioned the 304 V8 in the first half of 1981, this option was not extended to any Scramblers. Don't bother looking for an original factory 304 Scrambler although you may find some transplants.
-Transplanting a V8 w/ Stock Transmissions: Again from what I've heard/read (not from my actual experience), you will not want to run a V8 with a SR4, T4 or T5 transmission. Plan on swapping in a transmission with the V8 if your Scrambler has one of those.

Others should feel free to add their opinions or correct mine.
Well said!
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Richmond
State
TX
#10
On the ‘81 (and early ‘82) lap belt sport bar, the bar is bent different than the shoulder belt version. The shoulder belt version is slightly closer to the top so a larger bushing is required to span the gap between the half top and sport bar On the lap belt version. I converted my ‘82 lap belt to shoulder belt version by welding in a couple lug nuts to the bar (same fine thread size as the factory shoulder belt bolt).
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#11
I am currently building an 81. I addressed the narrow axles by swapping in widetracks and then a custom built 9” rear. For the seat belts I performed a complicated but heck for stout modification to the factory bar. It’s detailed in my build. My biggest concern was getting a good body and frame, the fact that it was an 81 was of no concern to me.

Don’t ask what my build is costing- just see the name by my picture. 😁
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Richmond
State
TX
#12
One thing I have noticed over the years is Texas seems to bring a slight premium for rough condition Scramblers. Now, I am not talking clapped out, rust buckets, but driver quality, bad paint, dented panels, decent drivetrain Jeeps. I attribute it to so many large deer leases in Texas. A high percentage of scramblers in Texas live on deer leases. The good is the fact they are typically low miles, but bad that they are very rough and abusive miles. It also means when one is sold, there are a number of hunters looking to put one on their lease, hence the elevated price.

Now that side by sides have become more popular and since the release of the roxor, I think demand might be slightly less. But generally, someone looking for a scrambler as a lease vehicle will not be looking at either of those.

Back in 2010 when I got mine, I set a budget of $5,000 for a rust free driver. Body condition was not a huge concern, just needed to be rust free. I ended up having to travel to Arizona to get one that met my budget and condition requirement.

Over the years of watching craigslist, the sales forum here, and a few other sales sites, I see about 5 decent deals a year in a 300 mile radius of Houston. In the end, you will need to be patient and willing to travel for the right deal, and willing to act FAST. The act FAST part is important! Good deals on scramblers don’t last long. Case in point. If I had seen that post first, I might have bought that one myself.
 

Belizeit

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
River Ridge
State
La
#13
Hey ag4ever I thought something like this is what killed off the scrambler at a deer lease in west Texas. I remember driving way out there 30 some years ago and way out in the distance seeing pickups with couches mounted to a superstructure 20 some feet up in the air with a guy and a rifle driving through the scrub brush. Thought it sure beats walking. image.png
 
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