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NCal 12-22-2002 01:16 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 09:21 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 03:32 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 06:08 PM

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

pontiac58 12-22-2002 06:21 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 06:26 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 02:54 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 05:51 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 07:54 AM

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

Olin18 12-23-2002 09:59 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.

jeepgod 12-23-2002 08:48 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
go to my site below.. and look under jeep info.. for some wagoneer information.. gear ratios and what not..

NCal 12-23-2002 11:58 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
Thanks guys, I'm learning a lot here. Now, if this was your Jeep and you wanted to put D44's under it, which donor vehicle(s) would you choose, and what modifications would need to be done to an '81 Scrambler for everything to bolt up?

LEVE 12-24-2002 12:07 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
Check your Email in about 15 minutes... [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

NCal 12-24-2002 01:17 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
Leve, got your e-mail. Thx, sent you 1 back.

Jeepgod, excellent site. Lots of great info in there (I'm still going through it). Time to start formulating a plan [img]images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img].


lojones 12-25-2002 12:04 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
I have ads on the JU and Pirate forums trying to sell my axles from the jeep i just bought. take a peak if you like. i think its a good deal.

------pasted from ad-------
Dana 30 front axle with disk brakes, Milemarker hubs and an ARB air locker. 4.88 gear ratio

AMC 20 rear axle with a superior gear one piece axle kit and an ARB air locker. 4.88 gear ratio

They are around 53-54" or so WMS to WMS, hard to measure with the wheels on.

Buy them both for $1500 and i will throw in the ARB air compressor,wiring,switches. Can be delivered reasonable distance.

NCal 12-25-2002 02:49 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
Thanks for the offer, Lonny. I really do want to go with a wider Axle. From what I've read, the '79 D30 is 51.5" and the M20 is 50" even. I'm looking in the 55-58" range and have a pretty good idea where to find them (donor-wise). Now I'm searching for info on what all needs to be altered on my Rig to make the wider Axles fit.

Thanks again.

BTW, I forwarded the link to your "Pirate Add" to someone I know who might be interested in what you have available. NC

lojones 12-25-2002 12:39 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
basically why im selling them, i want wider axles too. im at 71" wide total and need to be 76" or so (any wider i wont fit between the trees) so i want axles in the 58-62" range then ill get new rims and use the offset to get the desired width.

jeepsr4ever 12-25-2002 01:04 PM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
axle upgrades...whew! Lots of options, If you want wide, cj10's came with a 75" rear dana 70 with 4:88 and a powerlock, these axles had a 40,000 lb towing capacity, great for wide swaps, as far as the front goes i would put time into a scout front, the outer knuckles are different the caster and old jeep narrow track dana 44 front are only 1.5"s wider than a wide track front end, I have a set of dana 70's ill sell ya they are 4:88 with a power lock rear but the front is closed knuckle, looking for about $400 for these, Really you can swap any axle under your jeep, heck ive swapped top loaders and napco axle in jeep frames with success, remeber to consider spring width and purches, on frame and spring, Measure twice cut once. Dont be afraid to run 6 or 8 bolt rims, the more the bolts the heavier the tire you can run, ive had 44's with 5 on 5.5 and i ruined my rims from the lugs loosening up. good luck brother,,,, GO GO JEEP

NCal 12-27-2002 12:21 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
75" wide? Nonononono. I'm looking for 55-58", 59" max. Dana44, preferably.
I've only been looking at this for about a week, but it looks like... Fronts: 74-79 Waggy or Cherokee,
any Scout or ScoutII '67 thru '80. Rears: '80-'83 Waggy,'84-91 Cherokees, and again any Scout or ScoutII
'67 thru '80. That gets me D44s w/<59" widths, but I still need these Q's answered:

Q: Can I use my springs/shocks, brake lines, drive shafts, etc..
Q: What needs to be done with the steering setup
Q: Do I need to change spring perch locations

I use my Jeep on the highway so I don't want to create a Frankenstein monster.

Does anybody know of any sites that show a step by step for installing D44's in a narrow CJ?


PS: One more thing, Why am I a stranger and not a newbie?

Skellator 12-27-2002 01:09 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
PS: One more thing, Why am I a stranger and not a newbie?

[/ QUOTE ]
We're a family here, not a gang. (At least that's how I feel) [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

jeepsr4ever 12-27-2002 03:21 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
ooo yeah a scout rear 44 works great as for front look to late seventies narrow track wagoneer 44's i have acouple if your intersted scoutII and wagoneer 44's they are 3:08 and 3:54 though, emailme if interested in live in MN [email protected]


JEEPN 12-27-2002 08:47 AM

Re: Need Advice on Axle Upgrades
There are a lot of us on here running D44's front and rear, so there is a lot of info on the topic, do a search, you'll find tons.

The front is not easy, requires a lot of things to look out for.

The rear is as simple as changing over the spring pads and bolting it in, at least mt Scout D44 rear was (and the others I have installed).

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