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NCal 12-22-2002 12:16 AM

Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
Hey Guys,
I've come to the point where it's time to "re-gear" the Jeep. It's an '81 CJ8 with your basic stock Dana30 Front, AMC20 Rear w/3.31's, 33"x12.50 MT's. I use it mostly as my winter driver 75% on, 25% offroad with the "off" being snow, muddy backroads, hill climbing, pig hunting, nothing extreme. Gear ratio will be 4.11's.

My questions are:
1) What upgrades other than 1pc Axels should be done to the AMC20, and what type of Locker or Limited Slip would you recommend?

2) How strong is the D30? Can any of it's weaknesses be corrected during the gear change, or is it a waste to put money into it.

3) Is it worth putting ARB's in either of these Axles?



Jaffer 12-22-2002 08:21 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
One piece axels and stitch welding the tubes to the pumpkin are all you need to do to make for a strong M20 rear axel.
An ARB would be best for your needs because a lock-rite or detroit are scarey in the snow.
Some will say to now waste your $$$ on an ARB for a M20 ...
I occasionally see one used in the for sale forums.
Take that for the 2 cents it's worth ...

JEEPN 12-22-2002 02:32 PM

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).

**DONOTDELETE** 12-22-2002 05:08 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
i totally agree with jeepn

pontiac58 12-22-2002 05:21 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
I have to agree with Jeepn. Except using the scout front axle. Scouts have no caster, go with a waggie front 44 and have plenty of caster, and with ford rotors, you can keep your wheels you have now.

**DONOTDELETE** 12-22-2002 05:26 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
the caster on the scouts are not that hard to fix. they are definately worth it if you find a good deal. i do also like the waggys better but because of the internal style lockouts and the assoc. stub shafts are a wee bit stronger.

NCal 12-23-2002 01:54 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
Thanks for the replies. While I could probably get away with strengthening the M20, I do like the idea of combining the added strength with the stability of a wider axle. What Front & Rear Axles (D44, 9", etc..) from which year vehicle(s) would go in with the least amount of grief, and what alterations would need to be done to install them?


jeepgod 12-23-2002 04:51 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
i would go with the wagoneer axles.... you will want to find a 79 or older wagoneer for the front axle... actually 1974-1979... dont go older than 74.. those are p.o.s....
for a rear axle... 1980-1983 wagoneer, 1984-1991 grand wagoneer.. just keep it full size.. you could get lucky and find a 74-79 wagoneer that did not have the quadratrac transfer case.. all automatics in that range will be TH400's with the offset rear axle for that transfer case... while if you find a manual.. then its rear axle will be center.. and will work for you..
i can get a set of these axles for $300.. all day long.. but wagoneer's seem to be plentiful out here in our yards.. with all the seashore fishing....

mark_louis 12-23-2002 06:54 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
In the years you specified how common was a 4:10 ratio?

Olin18 12-23-2002 08:59 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
To the best of my knowedg the Waggie never came with gears that tall. Most were 2.73 With an option of 3.?? Where the ?? is less than 54 The lower gears came with towing packages. So if you wanted to get 4.10s in waggie axels you would still have to do the switch. But usally it is cheaper if you bring the axel that is not attached to the rest of the truck. But you can have some piece of mind that you have strong axels under your Jeep.

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