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1984 Scrambler Rebuild

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My obsession with Jeeps started after seeing my first CJ8. It was a maroon Scrambler on 33" Thornbirds - just awesome looking. I had to have one, so I started the search. Just happened to drive by a used car lot and in the back of the lot was a 1983 CJ8! Talked price with the guy and said I will think on it. Went back the next day to buy it and I didn't see it :confused:. Walked up to the salesman only to hear somebody bought it after I left :brickwall:. After that, and seeing how much a clean one costs, I gave up. I ended up getting a CJ7 which I loved. Fast forward seven years I'm married and more financially stable and ready to pick up my dream jeep:applause:. I was able to find one for sale on CJ-8.com. It looked really clean from the pictures that were posted. I called the owner up and came up with a price and told him I was coming that week. No way was I missing out on another one. Enlisted a good friend with a truck and rented a U-haul car trailer and headed out to Arkansas. It was a 1984 with a chevy 305 V8, the T5 transmission, D300 transfer case, D30 front axle and the AMC20 in the rear. Brand new 33" tires and wheels. It also had cold air, new full length soft top and all the Laredo upgrades. 


After the new lift and tires - with soft top ->



And topless with the best dog I've ever owned (Sophie) ->



Then at this time a few changes were made. After the Micky Thompson Baja Belted tires wore thin I put on 37" tires. I also painted the soft top and put on some YJ half doors. It ended up going into storage for the next 10 years->



A couple of years ago, I headed down to get the Jeep home. Rented a U-haul truck and trailer and arrive home safely -> 



Setting outside for a few days to organize the garage ->





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After I got the jeep home, I ordered a Rubicon Express lift (I think it was the 4.5" lift kit). Set it up on jack stands and started to take it apart for the new lift (the campaign sticker points to how long ago the lift was put on :laugh:) ->



Removed the old shocks and leaf springs ->



Then put the new springs and shocks in ->



Then moved on to the rear ->



Got the 35x14.50 Micky Thompson Baja Belted tires on (I wish they still made these - loved them) ->





And completed the lift ->


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It looks like it could be a while before I get the MJ back, so I need something to work on :applause:. This will keep me busy for a while. The fender flares were really shot. The back ones were crumbling apart, so they needed to be replaced ->





Pulled them off and found no rust :beerbang:->



Ordered a complete set (front and rear) from Quadratec. Looks a lot better without the electrical tape holding them together ->




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  • 3 weeks later...

Changing the axle fluid out of the AMC20 axle and replacing the differential cover with one from OX lockers. The gears look good, but the clutches are shot ->



Put the new cover on ->



I get the cover on and refill the oil, only to discover an axle seal that made quite a slick on the rim and the floor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After my 383 stroker motor blew up, I needed to get another small block to replace it. I found a 1987 Iroc Camaro with a running motor and drove it until I could pull the motor out of it. Just keeping this one mainly stock for now. I had this motor in my CJ7 that I have going up for sale, so I pulled it out to put it into the Scrambler. Then I bought a used engine hoist and pulled it out of the CJ ->



It was still daylight when I got it free ->



It started to get dark soon after, but I was committed to getting it done. In hindsight I should have enlisted help putting it in, but I managed to get it in on my own ->



Having the grill and fenders off helped out for sure ->



Much later it was in->



Sold the cherry picker later in the week since I didn't plan on doing anything like this again :laugh:



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  • 1 month later...

My Scrambler has the AMC 20 in the rear and when I put on the OX cover on I obviously had to drain the fluid. When I put in the expensive lube in it didn’t just leak out it drained out. Took out the axle ->775B7C70-3A61-42F7-B8B7-65A702AC1A2D.jpeg.beabd084c353eea4c2827340db83b5ab.jpeg

Then I cut off the retainer and the bearing cage with a Dremel tool ->


I was then able to press off the rest of the bearing and remove the outer seal. Looking at the seal I saw why the leak is so bad ->

I already have the new outer seal, so just waiting to get in the bearing, retainer and inner seal. 

TBC - Rich

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  • 3 months later...

Started removing the front axle out of the Scrambler. I have a lunch box locker and 3.73 gears going in. The rear is already geared with 3.73’s so I’m just going to stick with that ratio. The gear should be in a week or so. I will have everything ready to go in and set up when it arrives. 
 I borrowed some massive Jack stands  and got it up to where the tires could be removed ->



Found some unexpected issues while working on removing the axle. Bushings on the shocks and disconnects were disintegrating or completely missing ->







It is going to be a little awkward getting the axle out, so I may get some help doing that. I have a trailer I can borrow to get the axle to the shop, but I needed a hitch on the Explorer to hook it up. I wouldn’t have to get one but the Cherokee is sitting next to the Comanche at the Jeep shop not running :mad:. Friday after work I put it on the lift and within an hour I had it installed ->

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I’m just going to keep the stock axle shafts for now. I am moving to north Florida at the end of July, so I need to get the axle done before I no longer have the tools to rebuild it. I have a powertrax locker that I am putting in it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well this did not go as planned. Got the carrier unpacked and the locker ready to install only to find that the two internal spacers are missing :brickwall:



Calling about getting the parts in the morning. Hopefully they will work work with me on getting those pieces 


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It’s a no go on the lunch box locker. I would have to buy the whole locker. I am running out of time to get this together before the move next month. I am just going with the open carrier and new gears. I took this Jeep to Tellico with stock gears and nothing else and I had no problem with anything we tackled. I don’t plan using it for anything more than Florida trails - I will be fine. I managed to get the axle out on my own this evening ->

Picking the trailer up tomorrow after work and then bringing the axle in Thursday. I should have it all set up no later than Monday night. 

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The axle was a Lot heavier than I thought. I couldn’t load it on to the trailer by myself, so I’m amazed I got the axle over the leaf springs and out of the Jeep alone. I had to have a friend load it up with me last night.

Got it to the shop this morning and three of us unloaded it from the trailer. We set it on a free stand and I prepared to take the diff cover off and drain out the fluid ->


Get the cover off and I was not happy with what I saw->




The rust is everywhere :mad:, but I’ve seen worse. Now that the cover is off, I flipped it over to drain out the fluid. 
I would say if I was lucky I got a cup of “fluid” to drip out ->


Not sure how I lost what should have been a couple quarts of conventional lube :confused:. The Jeep has been garage kept for over 20 years and I’ve never seen anything draining on the floor? The rust I get, but no lube has me shaking my head. Until I started working on axles, I never really considered that axles may need inspection too. Positive news is that I have a new carrier, gears and bearings going in. I will be inspecting everything else that may need to be replaced while I’m in there. 

TBC -Rich

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Alrighty - it’s rebuild time. I first needed to get the axle disassembled. Took off everything holding the axle themselves in. Reminder, You can’t remove the carrier with the axles in (don’t ask 😁)->


Find a spot to lay out the parts while making sure they were separated left from right.


During disassembly the spindle bearings fell apart ->

I will have to get these ordered along with all the needed bearings. 

Now on to pulling out the carrier. The caps need to go back the way they came off (left and right sides). The caps usually need to be marked to tell which side they match up to. I use a punch and put one stamp for right and two for the left. This being a Dana axle, the axle caps come from the factory punched with a letter. This axle used the letter T. One stamp was upright and the other on its side. Used my crow bar on the ring gear bolts to free the carrier once both caps are off ->

And here is the carrier - not looking good, but not using it anyways ->


Now it’s time to pull out the pinion. Pretty nasty in there ->


Instead of a crush sleeve to get the pinion preload set up, this axle uses pinion preload shims. Make sure to get all of them out, because they tend to stick to the outer pinion bearing or fall off inside the housing. You don’t know exactly how many of these shims are used, so don’t be too concerned if there are a few. ->


You can see what they should look like above ^. The circular steel slinger needs to be used on the new pinion gear. Now over to the press and remove the bearing to get to it ->

And it should look like this ->

Now I use the race punch to knock out the outer and inner races. The inner pinion race has a baffle and pinion depth shims behind it that need to be reused ->IMG_7373.jpeg.c4456262c26d81c312171020ef3017ba.jpeg Usually the baffle gets a bit damaged during removal but they can easily reshaped->

There are two inner axle seals that need to be removed too ->

Just need to clean the housing up in the parts washer. It needs to be spotless inside. The smallest particles can damage the bearings, so this is an important step. Don’t forget about the axle tubes also ->


I forgot to get a picture of the inside of the cleaned axle, but I’ll add that later. 



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Rounded up everything I need to set up the axle ->

Dana 30 open carrier 

Motive Gear 3.73 ratio R&P

Pinion nut - 30185

Pinion washer - use the old one

Pinion seal - 44895

Crush sleeve - none

 (pinion pre-load shims)


* I forgot to remind you that all the bearings need to be oiled before being used*

Outer pinion bearing set

-  02820/02872

Inner pinion bearing set

-  HM88619/HM88649

Carrier bearing sets

- LM501314/LM501349

Inner axle seals - 11899


Going to need -

Hub bearings and seals #

Spindle bearings #

TBC - Rich


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Nice looking CJ8!
I had one for "a bit" (1993-2010) it was my daily driver until it became a trailer queen.

Enjoy the ride buddy!


This is trailer queen mode



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On 6/9/2024 at 12:53 AM, Salvagedcircuit said:

Ooof. That's a lot of work. Hopefully there's still usable parts in there. Excellent work :beerbang:

Yeah, it would’ve needed more than a bearing overhaul for sure. It didn’t stress me out knowing I was replacing everything but the caps on this. It does seem like a lot of work, but you get in a flow and you cruise right through the jobs. Thank you.

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On 6/9/2024 at 11:55 AM, Big_Mark said:

Nice looking CJ8!
I had one for "a bit" (1993-2010) it was my daily driver until it became a trailer queen.

Enjoy the ride buddy!


This is trailer queen mode



Thank you. Your video made me wince when I thought he was going over 😳 :L:. Had it as a daily driver until I found my Comanche :laugh:

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