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Rebuild a 1983 Scrambler on Budget

1710 Views 17 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Tigerpaw
I have a Scrambler stripped down ready to stick a 304 motor and transmission from a 1979 CJ7. Where would you start a budget rebuild. All electrical is gutted to the outside of firewall and ready to start over. Brakes have not had fluid for 25 years and master is dry, lines to front axle have been disconnected.

I've had it since 1985 and have not run it in 25 years. All drive train is pulled but I have a old Cj7 with a good drive train ready to go for a swap.

Daily driver for hunting in good terrain. No crawling or mudding.
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Run it local and let kids use to drive to school. No crawling or down here water crossing.

Budget $2,000

Don't go to cheap. I did and now have to do it all over again. I spent $130 on paint, primer, sand paper etc. Cheapest paint and supplies Ben's autopaint store could do. It did not hold up that well. No rust bubbles under neath so I did my prep good, but it faded it cracked and it pealed. Then after the paint failed the rust started.
Did you paint the under carriage at all or just leave it as is?
What's the best way to clean and paint under carriage of Scrambler

I see lots of surface rust but nothing that's through the metal. I have the whole drive train out so lots of room. But this is a true shade tree job without the shade, I'm working on it in my yard straight off the ground. I'd hate to kill all the grass for good under it any thoughts?


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I'd start by going over the frame looking for cracks. If it's good structurally you can paint it with por 15 and a top coat. For the body a good quality epoxy primer followed by a bed liner looks good and is durable. There's colored bed liners now. I'd upgrade the electrical while going through everything. Make sure your donor parts are in good shape.
When you say "paint the body with a good quality epoxy primer followed by a bed liner looks good and is durable" are you talking just about painting the under carriage or the underside, inside and outside. That would be pretty durable for sure.
Budget and rebuild

$2K won't even cover the costs of materials for a decent paint job.

If that's all you're budgeting, concentrate on the brakes, electrical and drive train. Bear in mind though that a wiring harness can run north of $500.

Adding larger wheels can demand a lift and a brake upgrade. A lift alters the geometry of the suspension which demand more parts and work. And so it goes...

Jeeps are money pits. Restoring any vehicle is a deeeeep money pit. Try to keep it minimal.

Sorry to throw a wet rag at you, but I'm just trying to give you a heads up beforehand.
WindKnot: No lifts or large tires I'm lucky enough to have had a few jeeps so I try to stay low and standard. Wiring is good up to firewall. HEI on the 304 from donor jeep I've had about 10 years. Lighting will we upgraded to follow one of Jeephammers designs. Brakes need the most help probably adding a booster to help the front disc and rear drums. Rebuilding the doors will be a lot of time. I don't need a high dollar paint job so I'm going to shop around or DYI best I can.
Had several of these spin in the body so I had to cut off the head to separate from the frame.
What do y'all recommend best method to remove and repair.
I have a new rear bracket for the frame, but the body is where I need help figuring how to get in there and re-weld the plates and remove the old bolts.


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Flipped it for sanding and putting on POR-15 on the bottom.


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Will POR 15 stick to a frame that still has original paint or should I just top coat after I touch up the few areas with surface rust with POR.
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