Scratch-built Scrambler

Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#1
As others before me, I guess it's time to start that single build thread. And like others, this may go into perpetuity before it's ever complete.

Background:
I wanted another CJ. My current 7 was a bucket of rust and not worth fixing. About then, I came across a CraigsList ad for a guy abandoning a Scrambler project. He was selling a W.O. tub, refurbished frame, seats, axles, wheels tires, R.E. 4.5", hardware, etc. I bought it and sold all but the frame, body and suspension. Then parted out my CJ7 and kept the wheels, tires, axles and some misc. hardware and brackets.

The first order of business was swapping axles and tires - easy enough. Then, on to the cage. XworX fabrication in Atlanta, GA built a family-syle cage and rock rails that run between the front and rear wheels and tie into the back bumper. The cage is tied to the frame and rock rails... and body. The cage has provisions for 4 3-point seatbelts.


 
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Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#2
Next up: The drive train. I considered the AMC route, e.g. 360, 401 - even a 4.7 or something new. But, in the end - because there's actually very little Jeep left in this Jeep - I went the cheap and easy route: Chevy 5.7. The motor is a rebuilt (yet to be run) 350 from a 1996 Chevy 2500 PU. It has all new stock-spec internals. It's mated to a rebuilt SM465; then a D300.



The axles are one of the few items remaining that have ever been to or from Toledo - they're Factory CJ fare: 30/20 combo with Warn/Moser shafts (inners and outers), Detroits and 4.56s. I'm using chrome wagons with 35x12.50x15 BFG MTs.
 

W.R.Buchanan

Legacy Registered User
City
Ojai
State
CA
#3
Have you figured out what your gearing will net you RPM wise at the engine?

Cruising at anything over about 2000-2100 RPM's and your fuel mileage will be abismal.

With 4.56's and no overdrive you'll be buzzing pretty good at highway speed. I would say 3.23-3.55's would be more where you'd want to be with no OD then a 4:1 kit for the D300 to give you back the lorange gears you lost with the higher gears.

I see miscalculated gearing all the time with the diesel swaps. People need to realize that gearing is one of the most significant factors in doing a build. Getting it right means ending up with something that works the way you want it to, and is a joy to drive, as opposed to living with a screaming Beast. :evil:

It looks good so far. Building one from scratch you really find out how many parts there are in a Jeep. HUH? I've been building mine for 4 years now, and still haven't got all the parts.

Randy
 

Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#4
My last CJ ran these axles and tires - the only hold-over from the previous Jeep. While the transmission is different - they both end in 1:1 so I'm all too familiar with the final drive ratio. I guess it'd be better with an OD... but that'd let me go faster than a CJ with 5.5" of lift really has any business going. At 55-60 mph, it's in a pretty good place... and plenty fast for a tall, tippy, no-ABS, no-Airbag, no-Crumple Zone, no-Seatbelt Tenioner, no-You get the idea ;)
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#5
Nice! That's one of my favorite cages. Bumpers, too.

You'll like the TBI350. I put one in my 90 Waggy, getting 16-18 mpg out of the beast! (I am running an OD trans).
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#6
Excellent :popcorn:

This is the cage that inspired mine, thanks big time for that BTW. I owe you a beer sometime :cheers:
 

Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#7
Starting to put some parts on. This is really fun - no rust, no frozen bolts, no broken weldnuts, no mismatched hardware (bought the complete SS assembly kit! worth 3x the cost)... actually having fun putting this together - now anyway. Haven't gotten into brakes, wiring, etc. My head's in the sand. Just enjoying the simple stuff right now. ;)

 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#8
That must be just awesome... can only imagine the feeling of having a CJ go together like that! :bow:

On the SS bolts, they're not used for anything that are seriously loaded/structural, right? Not up to snuff for heavy loads, but would be an awesome thing to have for everything else. :)
 

Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#9
RE: SS bolts... you're right - they're used for all the "low load" stuff, e.g. hinges, dashboard, fenders, seats to body (but not seatbelts), mirrors, lights, battery tray, etc. etc.

The kit really is awesome - it came in a shoebox sized box; with lots and lots of individually labeled baggies - each further divided separating the washers, lock washers, nuts, bolts... I'll admit, there's a bit of guilt in how easy this phase is... "Okay, headlight assemblies... 1 box of new headlight assemblies... 1 pack of hardware labeled 'Headlight Assemblies'..."

As a side note, a lot of these parts are coming from Omix-Ada - not much choice if ya want new. I've - so far - been very very pleased with the quality and fit of all the pieces. I think some credit too goes to the guys at W.O. for getting the holes right; but I'm not yet on the "bash Omix" bandwagon. Time will tell ;)
 

jeepdreamer

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Colorado Springs
State
CO
#10
Like my girlfriend....

Just YUMMY! Wow...man that is looking fan-freekin'-tastic! I'm a little curious as to what your plans are for some of the other stuff? I know you spent a great deal of time picking just the shade of blue you wanted. What color will the top, seats, etc...be?:bow:
 

Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#11
jeepdreamer... You nailed it - it took months to pick a color. In the end, I love it! I've yet to see a monitor or camera for that matter accurately show the blue... ehr.. gray... uhm... slate blue gray...

The front seats in that last shot were for mocking up the cage - they're now in a buddy's old CJ5. They're too cinnamon - too much red. The rear seat is a Bestop Spice; much more of tan, e.g. more grey than red - but still tan. The front seats will match the back. The soft top - also a new Bestop is black. This is primarily... okay, solely because there simply are no spice tops to be had for a CJ8. In the end, I think the black top will look good - not too much contrast; especially when you factor in the rock rails, fender flares, etc. It should tie nicely.

I do plan on putting in spice carpet and a spice Tuffy center console. I have a new padded dash and am still on the fence - black or spice. Once the interior is in, I'll install the black dash pad and see how it looks. It should look fine. This is a typical look in cars - The dash doesn't alway match the seats, carpet etc. The seat belts will be charcoal (on the slate rollbar will have that factory look) so the dash will match it, the black face gauges, etc.

Right now, I'm using new chrome wagons. I'm keeping my eye out for some Jeep vintage wheels and hubcaps. I'd paint the wheels to match the body and have the Jeep hub cap covering much of the wheel. Not exactly period correct... but a damn cool look ;)
 
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bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#12
The soft top - also a new Bestop is black. This is primarily... okay, solely because there simply are no spice tops to be had for a CJ8.
Before you install the top on that very pretty body, check out what issues people have, particularly the brackets on the windshield frame, they might need to be mounted inboard of what the instructions show so as not to interfere with the doors closing and there's some issue with the brackets behind the doors for the vertical rods.

I have a thread going on these tops and 2-piece doors where some of this is mentioned.
 

jeepdreamer

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Colorado Springs
State
CO
#13
My vote...

Good call on the heads up BW! (kinda wondered if it was comming...heehee)
I'd be curious what it would look like with a spice top and dash? A couple reasons I bring this up.
1- There will be lots of black when you factor in the obvious but often over looked big black rubber doughnuts! Plus the rockers etc...
2- If you'll excuse the implication, as it appears that you budget is a little...uh, bigger than most...Would it be unthinkable to get a decent, older black supertop and take it to a custom upolstery shop and have one made in the correct color? Expensive? Likely...but it would look amazing!
The other thought I had was how original would it be to get a set of old school slot mags and have them powder coated in that color??
Just some odd ideas...Keep the cool stuff coming! I wish I had time next month to stop by an drool while I'm on leave...Oh well.
 

Manhattan

Legacy Registered User
City
Atlanta
State
GA
#14
Thanks for the comments jeepdreamer. I too wish you could stop by - not so you could drool, rather so I could buy you a beer... or two... To your comment about my budget - well, I guess I am fortunate to be able spend some money on the Jeep. I own my own business and business has been pretty good. Part of this is because I'm good at what I do... and part of it is because you are good at what you do - as Orwell put it: "People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". I get to wake up and focus on work - not worrying about violence, terrorism (this after standing on 5th Ave. in NYC watching Tower 1 fall)... 'cause I know you guys are so damn good at what you do.

Okay, back to jeeps...

I looked at slot mags. But, it pains me to admit it... I never like them - even on pristine old Renegades. They've always looked like aftermarket wheels to me. I know - I'm the odd man out on that one.

Not sure on the top thing. I did think about going to a marina and finding a guy who makes bimini tops fab' one... who knows, may go that route at some point. I'm sure someone somewhere will have a frame and need a black top ;)
 

jeepdreamer

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Colorado Springs
State
CO
#15
Thanks...

Thanks for the appreciation. Its my job...I enjoy it and happens to be one that I can be proud of doing! Not sure what my timeline is going to be but I would like to head down to one of my favorite "haunts" when I'm back in town...A bar called The Highlander. Mmm...Guinness!
Sigh.
I would almost suggest you buy a good, used Supertop and then find a good upolstry shop to use it as a pattern and make one in the shade (hue?) of brown you want. Maybe match it to the seat? I worked part time at a shop down in East Point called Off Road Atlanta but I can't remember if the owner ever used any upolstry shops...I will think on it. They can be a lot like paint and body shops though...either highly talented and you pay out the bum or almost unskilled and you still pay!
 

MarCor

Legacy Registered User
City
Edmond
State
OK
#16
...and part of it is because you are good at what you do - as Orwell put it: "People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". I get to wake up and focus on work - not worrying about violence, terrorism (this after standing on 5th Ave. in NYC watching Tower 1 fall)... 'cause I know you guys are so damn good at what you do.
Great note to read on Memorial Day weekend...

Cheers to my shipmates, current and past, and those who supported us today and yesterday.., After 26 years of service, I have many friends to remember this weekend...
 
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