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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2000, 04:19 PM
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What year Scout is best?

Hi all:
Brand new to the forum, and sick of breaking Jeeps. I am getting extremely excited to start building a new offroad toy, and I have decided that nothing but a Scout II will do.
I have done quite a bit of research, and have decided that I want to pick up a '75-'80 Scout II. Here is where I need some assistance:

What year / package would you recommend for my uses. I will be doing a lot of desert exploring, a fair amount of rock-crawling, and very little day-to-day driving (this will be a toy for top-off fun and will need to get me to and from the trail (not building a trailer-only rig...) I will want to run 33-35" tires, a locker or two, and also will need a soft top and doors.

So, where do I go? I have my suspicions, but would like to leave an open slate for ANYONE and EVERYONE to comment. Please help. My Jeep needs to be retired from trail duty!

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2000, 07:34 PM
 
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Re: What year Scout is best?

Well, lessee... '75-80 is a good start. Depending where you live, you might want a '78 or earlier to avoid smog hassles (I know '79/80 were smog 50-states)

Ideally, you'd find one with a 345V8, wide T19 4spd, Dana 300, and 4.09 axles as-is.. realistically, the '300 was in 1980, and I seriously doubt you'll find an '80 with 4.09s unless it has a 4cyl or diesel in it.

So, realistically, you can find a 345, wide T19 (6.32:1), Dana 20, 3.73 geared Scout from '75-79 without too much hunting. Might have to settle for 3.54s, but then you'd have a good excuse to regear to 4.10s or lower. I think 3.73s are more than adequate for 33s, and probably fine with 35s.

As far as modifications... personally, I'd go spring-over-axle for lift and ground clearance. Lockers front and rear, gear the diffs around 4.10 or lower if you're serious about mostly trail, but drive to the trailhead (with 4.10s and 33s, I cruise at 3,000rpm around 65mph)

To fit 33s you can trim the fenders and wheel wells some, and then lower the bump stops to keep the tires from rubbing. If you prefer, you could also do a 1" or so body lift. Want 35s? More body lift, or some reconstructive surgery on the rear wheel wells to make 'em fit - or just lower the bump stops.

For true topless fun, you could even seek out a '77-79 "SSII" with the factory soft-top, soft-doors, and inserts. Otherwise, you can convert a steel top/doors over - either partially, or all the way. Soft-tops are available for steel doors *OR* soft-doors, but it's an either or kinda thing (that is, if you buy a top to work with the steel doors, it won't work with the soft-doors)

If a bolt-on lift is what you have in mind, I'd go the 4" Triangles from www.superscoutspecialists.com. I'm not impressed with the 4" Skyjackers I bought, and they're getting replaced with an SOA instead.

Find a Scout with the remains of AC and convert to on-board compressed air. Very nice.

What else can I help with?

-Tom
http://www.tmcom.com/~tsm1/scout
'77 SII - built 345, wide T19, 4.09s, locker & LS, 33s, street/trail
'77 SII - BUILT 304, prepped 727, 4.89s, 31s, SOA/FullWidth built for racing - Ugly Truck winner, too :-(
'72 Travelall 1/2T 4x4 - winter rig & soon tow-rig
'79 SII - gotta get it running
'72 SII - rebuild project
Plus more...



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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2000, 07:36 PM
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Re: What year Scout is best?

Stepping up from a Jeep to a Scout II is a great move. Having owned both, I can attest to this. Any of the above mentioned Scouts will do the job. There is a slight advantage to buying an '80 Scout - it came with the stronger Dana 300 transfer case. That year's model also had some caster built into the front axle which will aid steering and handling.

You may have a hard time finding a complete '80, so just buy a solid earlier model and toss on the parts as you can find them. You can build a near bulletproof model no matter which Scout you buy. Good Luck!

- John


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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2000, 12:49 AM
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Re: What year Scout is best?

Tom:
Thanks for your great info! I checked out your website as well, and got some good ideas. I am leaning toward the Torqueflite, as I prefer the auto offroad (it's much more forgiving, and for its torque multiplication benefits). Which case is stronger and/or more versatile, the 20 or the 300? Which has a better aftermarket part availability? I am guessing the 300 is the answer to both questions, but please offer your opinion. I would like to do a dual stick setup as well.

Regarding the lift, I plan on a SOA, as well as some newer, lifted springs. I checked out the Triangle Springs and found them to be a little bit pricey. Are there other springs that are being used that offer good flex and are relatively inexpensive that you are aware of? I plan on using Revolvers, or possibly fabbing some myself to aid in articulation, but would like the softest springs possible for paved road ride to and from the trail, and for the max flex I can get.

As for tires, I hoped to go with a 33" BFG MT, or maybe a 34" SSR. A lift in the region of 6-7" would suffice, I think. What info can you give me about steering mods to eliminate any goofed up geometry of a lift of this height? Are there steering gear boxes that can be bolted in easily that can offer a close ratio lock to lock that you are aware of?

Lastly, I am in AZ. I will be attempting to find an '80 with little/no rust originally from AZ. AC will be a necessity, so I won't be using the compressor for onboard air, but I do plan on putting together a CO2 system for air tools as well as the post-trail air-up. I will be making up custom bumpers front and rear, as well as rocker panel protection. Do you know of any pix on the net that show cool designs on the f/r bumpers? Approach and Depart angles are a major consideration.

Well, thanks so much for getting right back to me! I really appreciate your great info!

Very Sincerely,
KevinF

post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2000, 12:55 AM
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Re: What year Scout is best?

John:
What did you find about the Scouts that you liked better than the Jeeps? I would love to get your personal take on the "upgrade". How did you come to be introduced to IH? My parents owned a 1970 T/A in the '80s, and my dad had a friend who owned 3 various Scout IIs in Oregon. I would love to keep the running gear as is, and add fuel injection so that I don't get sloshing/stalling when I am rock crawling. Is there anyone who sells an aftermarket kit for the 345? What if I dropped in a Mopar 360 and bolted it to the 727? Has anyone that you know of done this? I would love to borrow some ideas from others.

You note that the '80's front d44 has some amount of caster built in. Do you have any idea how much? I was considering getting the front axle "twisted" to add about 10* caster and to cut back on the front pinion angle. Do you know anything about this mod?

Thanks in advance!
KevinF

post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2000, 04:14 PM
 
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Re: What year Scout is best?

> I am leaning toward the Torqueflite, as I prefer the auto offroad (it's much more forgiving, and for its torque

Be careful - the Torqueflight is not as forgiving about severe front driveshaft angles! You can't (easily - some folks have had success grinding the 727 case and pan a bit) squeeze a CV joint in for the front driveshaft to help accomodate steep angles associated with a spring-over-axle using stock springs or any higher. You can shim the tranny mount down some to alleviate the angles, but then it becomes a target for rocks.

> Which case is stronger and/or more versatile, the 20 or the 300? Which has a better aftermarket part availability?
> I would like to do a dual stick setup as well.

Both can be fitted with a twin-stick. The 20 is by far more plentiful - '67-'79 Scout IIs and a lot of the Jeeps used the same basic case. 2:1 low range. Tera Low 3.15 gearset is available for the stick-shift transmissions only.

The Scout II Dana 300 is a rare breed.. some 16,000 units made and used ONLY on 1980 Scout IIs and nothing else. It has the "Texas" bolt pattern like a Dana 20 has - not the round SAE pattern used on 1980-'86 Jeeps. Thus, while a Dana 20 is under $100, Jeep '300 is around $100, Scout II Dana 300s sell for anywhere from $350 (a fire-sale) to $800. They *do* have the 2.62:1 low range though. Slightly weaker unit with the aluminum tail housing, but Dana 20 cast-iron parts bolt right on. Look for the speed-o cable to enter the 'case from the passenger side on a D300.

Here's a trick swap for you if you don't mind doing some tranny work...

Get a 727 from an 80s Cherokee or Wag with the 727 and NP231 transfer case. Grab the mainshaft (I think that's what you need) and tail-housing/adapter for the NP231. Rebuild your IH 727 with the Jeep 'shaft and tail-housing, and instead of using the Jeep NP231, use the (cheaper) Jeep Dana 300 that'll bolt right in place. Cheaper replacement Dana 300s should you break one, too.

I think you can also get the Tera 4-1 gears for the Jeep '300 behind a 727, but I'm not sure.

>Regarding the lift, I plan on a SOA, as well as some newer, lifted springs. I checked out the Triangle Springs and
>found them to be a little bit pricey.

Think through your solution for the front driveshaft with the 727 first. You might get away with severely "clearancing" the U-joint yokes and running "stock" u-joints on an accelerated replacement schedule.. or it might just bind and you'll be "screwed"

I thought the Triangles are reasonably priced. Have you priced other lift kits for Scout IIs? They're almost all more expensive I thought.

Triangle can also sell you some NEW stock springs if you don't feel the need for a lot of lift.

>33" BFG MT, or maybe a 34" SSR. A lift in the region of 6-7" would suffice, I think.

Biggest problem with 33s and larger I've run into is the size of the rear wheel wells - they're 30.5" across. You either need a lot of spring lift with lowered bump stops, a body lift to keep the tub away from the tires, or a lot of body re-work to change the rear wheel well design and enlarge it. Or a combination.

If you have a body in good shape, I'd rather see a 1" or 2" body lift (3" if you must) to clear 33s than going nuts with suspension lift. Lower center of gravity, less body roll, more pliant suspension/better ride..

> What info can you give me about steering mods to eliminate any goofed up geometry of a lift of this height?

The most common solution with an SOA is a "Z" draglink bent to clear the springs and attach to the stock draglink location.

The only other good solution is to get into some more mix n' matched parts - flat-top style knuckles from a Chevy, which means mixing and matching everything from the knuckle-out, and then going with a custom steering arm to use a nearly flat and straight draglink above the top of the springs.

http://www.GryphinRacing.com is working on some arms tailored to the needs of a Scout II. I have a TriCountyGear arm on my race truck, but I don't consider it the "right" solution for a rock crawler because of it's very short length which results in a very "quick ratio" steering that over-works the p/s.

> Are there steering gear boxes that can be bolted in easily that can offer a close ratio lock to lock that you are
> aware of?

You want a fast ratio steering box? Are you planning on lockers and big tires? I think you'll want to avoid a fast steering box and instead go for "lots of assist"
If you really want quick ratio, use the stock long pitman arm, and a short custom cross-over/raised steering arm, and you'll get quick ratio (low assist) steering. My racer has probably 3 turns lock to lock of the wheel. It works the p/s over time even with the open diff'd 31" tires while moving. While not moving, it really complains when I try to turn, and the p/s fluid is always pretty hot.

>AC will be a necessity, so I won't be using the compressor for onboard air, but I do plan on putting together a
> CO2 system for air tools as well

AC and Air Comp can co-exist. I just finished getting the parts I need to put A/C in my Scout II. I plan on using a late-model (high efficiency) "Sanden" rotary style compressor mounted where the smog-pump would be to run the A/C, while using the stock York compressor in the stock location to run my air-tools.



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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-18-2000, 01:23 AM
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Re: What year Scout is best?

Tom:
Once again you have given me volumes to consider. I wasn't aware of the 727 clearance problem for the front shaft. I will have to climb under one to check it out. I don't necessarily want to drop the tranny down to make it work, so I will need to come up with a workaround, I guess. A double cardin joint won't fit either, huh?

When you say the Tera Low 3.15:1 is available for "stick shifts only", do you mean that they are not well suited for an automatic transmission because of breakage, or because of some fitment issue? I don't understand...

Your suggestion of the rear tailhousing swap to the Jeep style is a very good one. I think I will abuse the stock 300 (assuming I am lucky enough to find one) until it gives up the ghost, then worry about replacements at that point in time. Is the 300 THAT much better than the 20 case? What would I be missing out on with the 20 that I would have with the 300 case? I am under the impression that the 20 can be upgraded to the Tera 3.xx ratio as well, right? Are the internals different between the Jeep 300 and the IH 300 cases, or is the only difference the mounting pattern?

Regarding the Triangle springs, I was refering to the price as expensive simply because this is sort of an excercise in a low-dollar build-up. I wanted to show the Jeep guys, "here, look at what I've got. It has a bigger engine, stronger axles and frames, rides better, turns better, and gets better traction because of the longer wheelbase! The BEST thing is that I spent 1/2 (or insert whatever figure here that applies) than you spent on your Wrangler/CJ!". It is the challenge to do things low buck that appeals to me. Any schmuck can open his checkbook and build a trailworthy rig, but it takes a craftsman to build a trailworthy rig without spending a lot of money! I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about. Besides, I need some bragging rights over the numerous Jeepers who will be giving me crap, I'd imagine.

I am LOL about the "screwed" comment you made!

What I'd like is a super-duty steering box that can not only handle a front locker and 32"+ tires, but one that I don't have to crank the crap out of in order to turn. I have heard of "boosting" the power steering pump by changing the bypass pressure. Have you already done this mod? Did it work?

Lastly, the smog pump will have to remain, since it will be registered in Phoenix. I realize that there is quite a bit of room under the hood, so I am sure that I can come up with some sort of compressor setup if I decide to dump the CO2 idea.

Thanks again for all your great info. Anyone else feel like jumping in here and getting me pointed in the right direction?

Thanks,
Kevin




post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-18-2000, 01:57 PM
 
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Building a Scout II

>A double cardin joint won't fit either, huh?

Nope. I was using the two interchangeably - CV and Double Cardan *driveshaft* style double U-joint.

>When you say the Tera Low 3.15:1 is available for "stick shifts only", do you mean that they are
> not well suited for an automatic transmission because of breakage, or because of some fitment
> issue? I don't understand...

I mean Tera doesn't make the necessary input gear to fit on the 727 to go with the low-gearset. They make one that works with the stick-shift. You MIGHT get them to make a short run of 727 input gears, but it adds at least $100 to the cost of the kit.

>Is the 300 THAT much better than the 20 case?

For me, not enough to justify $500+!

The only thing going for the Dana 300 is the 2.62:1 low range vs. the 2:1 low range in the Dana 20.

>What would I be missing out on with the 20 that I would have with the 300 case?

TeraLow sells a 3.15 kit for the Dana 20, and a 4:1 kit for the Dana 300. That's the single biggest difference FAIK.

> wanted to show the Jeep guys, "here, look at what I've got.

I do that all the time! Look at my "race" Scout II. Prior to putting the new motor in, I had around $1500 into the truck. TOTAL.

4.89 gears. 31s (I *chose* 31s.. coulda been bigger).. built 727, stock 304V8 (then, now a $4k+ 350hp/400ft-lb 304), Dana 44s, spring-over axle...

It ramped [email protected] (or pushing 1200 at 20deg) - 40" of tire-pick. That's $1500 at work. I raced it and blew up two stock 304s (one I cooked, one I lost all of the oil out of it) until I ran out of "good running" motors.. so I ponied up some bucks and have a screamin' IH.

If you really want low-buck or bang-for-the-buck, I'd avoid any type of lift spring, and go with a spring-over-axle conversion done "right".. if you have some fab abilities, the SOA should cost just a little more than the "lift kit", but will provide more lift, a better ride, more flex, and gobs more ground clearance for the price.

I haven't boosted my p/s yet. Just put a cooler on it - no complaints.




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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-18-2000, 02:42 PM
 
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Engines n\' such

>Is there anyone who sells an aftermarket kit for the 345?

Howell will sell you a reprogrammed GM throttle body, and Holley's ProJection will work on the 304, 345, 392, etc.

> What if I dropped in a Mopar 360 and bolted it to the 727?

360, 426, 440.. it's been done. The question is always "Why'? The 304/345 (and 266/392) are truck motors, not car motors. A stock 345 will out pull a stock 360/350/351 from the Big 3. It won't outrun it empty (it's not a hot-rod motor) but put a load on it and the 345 will walk away from the 350/351/360. Heck, a 304 probably will.

Thus, if you want a low-rpm torquey off-road stump-puller, the IH motor seems to be the winner - especially cost / hassle wise. Sure, you *COULD* build a 440/454/460 that would provide the bottom end grunt of the 345, but at what cost? New forged crank, forged rods, all those other goodies, plus the adapters, motor mounts, etc.

The 345 sports a forged crank, forged rods, timing gears (no chains to stretch/break), etc. from the factory.

The 1980 front end has only 2 or 2.5deg of caster. It might be a big improvement for a "mostly stock" Scout II, but if you're going to go with a front CV or a cut n' turn it's the same work to do a non-caster front end.

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-18-2000, 03:50 PM
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Re: Engines n\' such

I must say your knowledge of Scout is impressive, makes me want to rebuild one. I have 3, 2 are completely rusted out but 1 is salvageable. I also know of an SSII in the state, might be for sale. I've been working on jeeps now for a few years, but started out with Scout II's, and I still have the original '78. My problem is the body rusting out (there's a surprise), any relatively inexpensive bodies out there to look for? I'm looking to wheel it, so a fiberglass is out. Thanks.

I love the jeeps, but still have a soft spot for the Scout, after all, it was my first 4 wheeler and first road vehicle. 235,000 miles on the 196, never touched, even after 5 engine and electrical fires.

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'81 CJ-8 Scrambled!
GM151/SM465/NP205 twinstick/7" Lift/33" Swampers/REP 8000/RS9000's/Scout II D44's F&R w/4.10's & Lockrights
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