I Do This For The Glory
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Nobleboro, Maine
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Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
I am one of those people that does not believe in putting that much money in the AMC20.
You have a narrow track axle with your '81, if you're making the mods to it, then you are probably lifted to some degree and run larger tires. Personally I'd look for a little wider axle.
The 1 piece axles will cost $300, the ARB is another $750 (assuming new), and the gear swap is $150 for the gears and $200 for the setup. So all totalled, you're looking at $1,400, and you still have to weld the axle tubes in place and truss it so it won't bend. OK, let's negate the ARB and setup, because you'd need to buy them anyway, so that brings to total down to $450, I just wanted to shock you with the total amount you'd have into the AMC 20, not counting new bearings, seals, or brakes. For $450 I'd be scouring the junkyards looking for a decent axle, with 1 piece shafts and 4.10's in it already. A lot of them came from the factory this way, Scout D44's, Ford 9", Toyota's, and a lot of other decent candidates. Personally, I'd get a Ford 9" and use a mini-spool ($30) in the summer and swap to an open carrier in the winter, it'd be a lot cheaper.
As to the D30, some people have decent luck with it, some don't. There is no way I'd throw $350 into one, I'd upgrade to a D44 first. If you look around you could find a wide track D30 that came from the factory with 4.10's.
I swapped Scout II D44's front and rear, with 4.10's, into my '81 Scrambler, but I already owned the axles (rest of the Scout is sitting out back). A couple of lockrights and I'm up and running for about $550 ($500 for the lockers, $40 in steel for the outboard spring conversion, and $15 for new rear spring perches).