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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-10-2002, 05:16 PM
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Axle Schooling...

OK, here's a rookie question for you.

I have a '78 CJ-7 with a 4" Lift and 33" Tires (I want 35" Tires, then I'm Sure I'll want 37" Tires, etc...)

I've considered upgrading my stock D-30 / AMC20 Axles to 4.56 Gears, Lockers, and stonger Axle Shafts. Well, while the thought of all this is not to overbearing to me (I'm up to a challenge) I've considered Just tossing the whole Axle Assembly and Beefing up. Some tell me to buy this axle, others say by that Axle. I'm leaning towards Dana 44's.

So, I was wondering about overall widths, perch spacing, drive shaft alignments, etc....

I personally don't know if a D44 under a Scout (Or other Vehicles) is the Same width as that of a Jeep.
Are all 44's the same?

What vehicles can I peek under in the Junk Yard to find these axles.

And, when I build it, what type of Axle Mfg. do you recommend?

And yes, I know that some of you are loyal to the D30/AMC 20 Axles, and say that they will do fine pretty much anywhere, but hey, I only want to do this once. So, tougher Axles are the way I'll go.

Comments, Thrashings, etc.... All are appreciated.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-10-2002, 06:00 PM
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Re: Axle Schooling...

I am in the same boat.

I was thinking of putting one piece axles shafts and trussing the 20, then re gearing both. When I figure that I probably can't do the re gearing or the axle shafts my self, and I would have to pay to get them installed, it makes me wonder if a entire new set of axles would be the way to go, as far as being stronger and cheaper.

I personally would like fullsize axles under my CJ, so I wont need to look for the same width.

But I would like to find as much of a straight up bolt on switch as possible. What vehicle will have teh correct front brakes (disc) and the correct rear(drums), and hopefully the same bolt pattern (5 lug) and the lower the gears the better, I would rather not re gear. Adjusting the drive line angles can be done easily enough by moving hte spring perches.

ALso thought about maybe could the brakes be switched of the AMC20 and Dana 30 to the new set of axles(probably also 44s) ? This would keep the bolt pattern and brakes the same, which would eliminate the need to buy new wheels, or get the old ones converted.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Let me Know

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-10-2002, 06:26 PM
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Re: Axle Schooling...

I was in the same boat as you were a year ago. I wanted lower gears and knew i would go to bigger tires when my 33's went away. So instead of beafing up the 30 and the 20 i just did some rear switching. I used a waggy 44 in the front with 4in cut off the long side. Ford rotors on the 44 to keep my 5 on 5 1/2 bolt pattern. Also by cutting the waggy rear down i didnt have to outboard my springs and buy new wheels since i didnt want to be too wide (we have tight trails around me). The rear i swapped in a eb 9in with explorer rear disks. I installed 410 gears with a detroit in the back and a posi in the front untill i figure out what locker i want in the front.

The problem with going to a yard and just buying any old rear and try to use it is. Most vechiles that you would take a rear out of has been sitting for awhile. Well i help a friend out at his yard and see what used rears look like that have been sitting. We almost always end up installing new bearings. Even if you find a rear that looks clean it could still have a million miles on it, so it is still a good idea to pull the carrier and inspect the bearings. We just rebuilt a dodge rear that had a broken ring gear. Well i went out to another truck and used the guts out of the wrecked truck to fix the bad rear. When i pulled the cover on the wreck i thought this was going to be a easy job. Well i pulled the carrier and inspected the bearings i found that the bearings were just plain tired and had some goofy grooves in them. So you can never trust good looking fluid either.

Good luck
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-10-2002, 06:49 PM
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Re: Axle Schooling...

There are many axle opinions, but I'll share what I've done with my 80 CJ5. I decided to go with wider axles than the CJ axles, and wanted to say on a limited budget. For the rear axle, I went with a Scout II Dana 44 at full width of 58 1/2". The original spring pads were cut off and rewelded to fit the CJ spring pad mounting location. As for the front axle, I went with a Cherokee Wide Track Dana 44, with just the long side cut about 4 1/4". I'm using the same spring pad location on the short side, but moved the sping pad on the long side to fit my CJ after having the axle and housing cut. The wheel mount to wheel mount, is about 61" wide on the front axle. I'm using Ford F-150 hubs and rotors on the modified Cherokee front axle for 5 on 5 1/2 wheel bolt pattern. I've decided to use some wheel spacers on the rear Scout II so my wheel mount to wheel mount on the rear axle is about 60" wide.

A Scout II Dana 44's is usually considered to be as strong as the original AMC 20 axles, but opinions do vary. For sure the Dana 44 front axle is stronger than the Dana 30. As for cost, Dana 44's are good budget choice. If you want to stay with the original width of the CJ axles, I might suggest just upgrading the original axles. There are lots of aftermarket upgrade parts that are affordable. The cost of getting Dana 44's modified / installed can be expensive. Usually a good do-it-yourself mechanic can install all the aftermarket axle upgrade parts in a long weekend of work.
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