Jeep Scramber vs TJ what to do?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Stroked 550, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    hey guys

    Im looking at getting a scrambler or TJ, has anyone had both?
    What are the pros and cons of each?

    I know the Scrambler has leaf springs which I would swap out to a coilover suspensions setup

    Does anyone make a coilover kit for the scrambler?

    How does the off road capability stack up against each other?
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  2. leavundst

    leavundst Been here awhile Supporter

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    What sort of fantasy is driving this purchase and do you have the knowledge or money that is required to own an old vehicle? A TJ with the 4.0 and 5 speed is probably the easiest to own. Either one watch out for rust.
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  3. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    I have owned many old cars I have the knowledge but I cant dont intensive work myself I know that it takes money to keep them going,

    the "fantasy" is to do overland trips so I want to build the scrambler out with the adventure rack, rooftop tent and have all the camping gear I need that will all be organized
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  4. leavundst

    leavundst Been here awhile Supporter

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    Well I think you would have more fun driving the CJ but the TJ would be a much better fit. I love Jeeps, had every model from a CJ2a up to the JK. I absolutely love the 4.0. Accidentally submerged it in water once, pulled it out of the river, removed the plugs, turned it over, put plugs back in and was on my way. Never had a problem. If you were thinking shorter trips I would say cj but longer trips TJ.

    I should disclose never has a cj8 but I had a cj5 & cj7. The 5 was modified with a 305 and the 7 had the 4 banger and I ended up swapping a 4.0 from a rolled over yj. Super easy swap.
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  5. Nesquik

    Nesquik Long timer Supporter

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    As basic as it is, the TJ is a much more modern vehicle and stock for stock better in virtually every way mechanically speaking.

    There’s no good reason to buy a scrambler other than it’s fuggin cool and you want it

    If your doing major work and mods just get whatever you want
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  6. pwh

    pwh Just Farkin' GO

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    There are so many differences between those two vehicles.
    Scrambler (aka CJ8) was produced in limited quantities from 81-86 by AMC. They are rare in good condition and a classic vehicle IMO.
    TJs were Chrysler-made from 97-06 and had tons of iterations.
    I built two heavily modified YJs (87-95) and can say the 4.0L is a fantastic, old-school motor. Quality back then was hit-or-miss, as I replaced just about everything in the drive train except the motor.

    Building a CJ8 would be awesome. My old boss has one with a 454, Pro-Rock 80s and 42s.
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  7. Nesquik

    Nesquik Long timer Supporter

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    Just saw you asked if anyone makes a coil over Kit

    Buy a Tj and go enjoy it
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  8. leavundst

    leavundst Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great point on the drivetrain! I do think the cj’s were even more problematic the the TJ’s.
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  9. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    When I was doing research I noticed that they built them for a very limited time, I did find one close to me that is lifted but still has the leaf springs.
    I like that classic nostalgia and having something different from the normal jeep crowd...


    Im leaning towards the CJ so I can have a little different build, I like the fact of having a truck bed with the http://www.leitnerdesigns.com/category-s/124.htm 1 of these racks that I would modify to fit on the CJ8


    thats great to hear about the 4.0 being a great motor... I would be in the same boat with TJ I am looking for one thats already had the normal upgrades already done.
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  10. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    I agree with you that the TJ would be better fit out of the box, I already found a whole bunch with the 4.0 and all have all the upgrades done to them.. I can get one of these for a great price plus the lifted coil over setup...

    but building out the CJ8 with a cummins would be the goal to do before summer hits
    having that additional cargo space with truck bed would be really nice
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  11. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    From what I read the CJ8 is longer then the TJ
    but the CJ8's body is not as wide, is that correct?
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  12. pwh

    pwh Just Farkin' GO

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    Just saw that your goal is an overland build... The TJs have zero room for gear. A CJ8 has a little room for gear.
    If you're already looking at RTT and racks and drawers, you're going to need something with a decent payload rating. Personally, an old Jeep is not great at hauling lots of stuff reliably.

    Edit: just saw that you want to swap in a Cummins? Wow, that's a big project. I'm assuming you have a tranny/t-case/axles/suspension/frame reinforcements in mind to handle that?
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  13. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    Yeah thats what holds me back from the TJ is the lack of room..

    I figured with the suspension and drivetrain upgrades on the CJ8 it would make a pretty badass overland rig.. the bed length is just a smidge longer then the gladiators and I have see some nicely setup gladiators with the rooftop tent and adventure rack

    I am planning on finding a cummins donor truck to pull the drive train out of, either a 2nd gen with a NV4500 or NV5600 and theres a great shop I use for all the fabrication work
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  14. JGNC

    JGNC Long timer

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    What about an LJ or even an XJ?

    How much research have you done on roof top tents? They are a major pain in the ass and can take a while to setup and repack. My buddy got an expensive one and it pretty much takes two people to repack. And letting it dry out and cleaning it after a trip sucks also.

    He wishes he never bought his and most people he knows with one feels the same way.
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  15. leavundst

    leavundst Been here awhile Supporter

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    Either way sounds like a great project! Good luck and post up a build thread :-)
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  16. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    I haven't done the research on the roof top tents yet, thats really surprising to hear I see so many rigs with them.... I thought they were supposed to making camping much easier
    that sounds like a ain in the butt to deal with= maybe it would be better to have the platform up there and then use a regular tent and have some anchor points for it
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  17. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    thank you, Im excited to make it happen and I will definitely post up a build thread
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  18. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I had a YJ and a TJ, at different times.

    My brother has a 1979 CJ-7, and that completes THAT trilogy.

    The CJ had handling issues related to front-axle movement - with the front spring shackles. A Panhard rod on the YJ solved that problem. I don't know if the Scrambler had that as well.

    The CJ is also a bit tippier than the YJ - the frame sits a bit higher up. The YJ frame dropped down a couple of inches compared to the CJ. You can see it if you ever feel the need to put a CJ front-clip on a YJ - it's otherwise a straight bolt-in.

    The YJ was a good road vehicle for what it was, with leaf springs. The CJ a bit more "exciting."

    The TJ was a refinement over either. Coil springs gave it a ride comparable to SUVs. The non-independent suspension did not have any disadvantages in on-road use, and was in many ways better.

    The problem I had with the TJ was, that immense wall of plastic that was the flattened dash (required for airbag rules) cut into the interior room a bit. Not usable space, but you felt you were packed in with plastic packing material. The YJ seemed much-more open by comparison; and of course the Scrambler/CJ dash was just metal with some plastic trim and a primative crash pad.

    The TJ will give you a better ride; Chrysler improved the quality of Jeep products immensely. With a Scrambler, you either get the Pontiac four or the AMC 6, and neither one is known for fuel economy. The six, while heavy, is at least robust; the Pontiac engine, less so.

    If you go with the TJ, which engine you get will depend on what you plan to use it for. The six carries a price premium, even this many years into the used market. The AMC four, designed out of the six, is bulletproof also, but a bit weak compared to what we expect today.
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  19. Purcell69

    Purcell69 Mors ex Tenebris

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    The CJ-8 will be pricey, as they were only built for five years, (roughly 27,800 between 1981 and 1986) and complete, unabused examples are hard to find and bring a premium price. The drivetrain is pretty much bullet-proof Jeep stuff, usually a 258 inline six engine and a four speed MT. Rust will be your biggest concern, as AMC was probably the worst US car maker to address corrosion prevention.

    The TJ's 4.0L inline six is a smaller, fuel injected version of the 258 and is insanely reliable. Depending on equipment and driving style, it is possible to see 24 mpg consistently (3.07 gears and MT) or it could be a thirsty little demon that drinks at 17 mpg, (3.55 gear and AW-4 automatic) as experienced in my various XJs. 300k miles is not unheard of with the 4.0L. The fuel injection on these engines is equally reliable. The carburetor on the CJ-8 is, well a carburetor. It will need maintenance from time to time and will be more susceptible to issues at various elevations. It can be dealt with, but EFI on the TJ makes altitude a non-issue.

    The CJ-8 is longer than a TJ, but closer in length to the LJ (TJ Unlimited). Track width is pretty similar.

    The CJ-8 will be an eye-catcher, because they are rare to an extent.

    Ride comfort may become an issue. The CJ-8 has a leaf spring suspension at all four corners. Aftermarket springs can provide for a more comfortable ride and assist with articulation when off-roading. The TJ has a coil spring suspension at all four corners and can provide a more comfortable ride as well as better articulation without having to change out components. There is a LOT of aftermarket support for both vehicles, however, I suspect the TJ will have much more support as it is a more recent model.

    Depending on what you really want to do, and your abilities, there are/have been kits to build a "Scrambler" using a TJ/LJ. They are pricey and will involve cutting and welding, but it would give the best of both worlds, a CJ-8 style body/chassis with modern drivetrain and suspension. The other option would be to purchase a replica CJ-8 tub and build a modified TJ chassis to mount under it.

    For what it is worth, I love the CJ-8's. I grew up in AZ and there was a Jeep tour company that ran a fleet of them up into the area where I used to live. I would not be surprised if they had a fleet of more than 50 of them during their time in business.

    -Joe
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  20. Stroked 550

    Stroked 550 Dirt Nut

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    thanks for sharing your experiences with these rigs that was very helpful


    I wasn't aware that the CJ is a bit tippier thats good to know... haha I think I know what you mean by a bit more "Exciting" on the road with the CJ

    thats whats appealing with the TJ is that is much more refined handling and suspension then the CJ but that lack of cargo space is the hold back
    that is something to consider that I will be sacrificing the ride quality, freeway handling a bit with the CJ

    The CJ's im looking at all have Chevy V8s in them but eventually a cummins will be dropped in it with a 5 or 6 speed
    #20