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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Advice on Axle swap ideas

Okay, here is the story. I have two jeeps, a '74 CJ5 (the moonlight rambler) and an '85 CJ7. I've also got a rolling frame and engine from a '79 Cherokee Chief that has a nice pair of Dana 44s (and a 360). Now my dad wants the '5, and I want to get the '7 up to snuff. So we are planning some axle swapping. Here are a couple of the ideas we have:

1. Put the 44s under the '7 without cutting them down. Do a spring over at the same time to get something like 2.5-3" of lift with stock springs. The Cherokee 44's measure 3" wider than the running gear under the '7, making them only a little wider. This would allow us to pull the disc brakes off the D30 on the '7 and put them on the D30 on the 5.

2. Save the 44s for another project and put single piece axles in the AMC20 on the '7, truss the axle for strength. Then find a donor axle for the discs on the '5.

Option 1:
Pros: Dana 44s on both ends of a CJ7! Discs on the CJ5! I already own the axles! 3" wider than a Widetrack for increased stablilty!
Cons: 3" wider than a widetrack, 3.54 gears in the 44s necessitating a gear change, 6 bolt wheels instead of 5, weaker hubs for the front of the 5.
Estimated cost: $1500-1700 (new R&Ps plus locker rear limited front included in this)

Option 2:
Pros: Don't end up swapping any axles, keep stock width on the CJ7
Cons: Lot of money and time in the AMC 20 which has 3.54s also, AMC20 is open and needs a locker/limited as well, have to find a way to put discs on the front of the '5.
Estimated Cost: $1200-$1500 (new R&Ps plus locker rear limited front included in this)

Okay, here are the other bits of info that need to be computed into the equation:

The CJ7 currently has a 258 that we swapped a MC2100 onto. This winter I hope to find a MPI 4.0 and build a 4.6L stroker. The CJ5 currently has a tired 304, but that rolling Cherokee frame has a 360 that we are going to rebuild and put in place of the 304.

Both CJs have way too high of gears, but it is more noticeable on the '7, hence the prices of both swaps include new finals plus a locker for the rear and limited slip up front. I'm thinking of either 4.10/4.11 or 4.56 for the 7.

Both rigs will be used mostly as trail runners with a bias towards mud. The 5 will probably also see some beach time, and the 7 may see a rare rock (very rare).

The Questions:
1. Given the above, what would YOU do?
2. What REAL world effect will the wider stance of the FSJ 44s have off road and on road?
3. Any other advice?

Oh, and these would be low-budget swaps (not cheap junk, just not super expensive). I know air lockers are great, but I ain't going that route! *Grin*

Thanks everybody in advance!

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 03:04 AM
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Re: Advice on Axle swap ideas

If it's primarily off road, you could save some bucks by spooling or mini-spooling the rear 44. A good mini-spool is only about $90. If you have to sink money into gears, you just as well upgrade at the same time, the cost difference didn't look significant to me. With on piece axles and a truss, the Corp. 20 is probably about equal to a 44, but your still significantly weaker in the front, plus you already have the axles. As for the difference in stability, I couldn't tell you. I'm still running factory narrow tracks, and looking for some 44's. Just my $.02. Good luck with the projects. [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Advice on Axle swap ideas

*grin* Thanks for reminding me of a couple of things:

1. This will be a street driven rig, I have to do a bit of highway driving to get to my favorite spots.
2. The biggest tires I plan to ever go will either be 35 x 12.50 or Q78s.

I've heard that the 20 is as strong as a 44 with the truss and one piece axles, but it seems like a lot of effort to get there.

Grin I know what you mean about the narrow them on the 5. LOL.

Thanks for your input!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-08-2003, 11:54 PM
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Re: Advice on Axle swap ideas

Humm, I have a couple full float 20's, one with a lunchbox locker and 4.88 and the other with 3.54 (and factory trac loc I think). Shipping could be difficult for an entire axle, and I am not sure when I will be in achorage again, but I would pull a full float kit of one of the 20's and sell it for a good price. It is about 60 pounds, so shipping the floater wouldn't be to spendy.

THis all assuming you go the 20 route and not the 44 route though.....
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