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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Axle Options

So I have be doing some research and wanted to get a list somewhat together before heading to the pick and pull yards.
Here is what I have: 81cj7 4.5" BDS lift 4.0l swap t176 d300 d30front and amc20 rear on 35"tires. Obvious problem here is the stock d30 and amc20.
My uses for the vehicle will vary. Some off-road and some on-road. By no means am I looking for something super-hardcore and I do plan on staying SUA since I have the suspension lift. However, I do want to make it home from the trails.
Question is since I am considering the dana44s as my replacements what vehicles should I be looking for in the junk yards that will have passenger side pumpkins. I know that I can go with the fsj's and other models. I just want to have somewhat of a list of different options and years of those vehicles to search while there.
Also, what are the opinions on trussing the amc20 and just beefing it up?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 04:05 PM
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I know you'll get some more informative responses than mine, but what complaints I've heard on the D20 have related to the two-piece axles rather than strength. DirtDog wheels his CJ-7 pretty hard with D-20's and doesn't have a problem, but could fix it if necessary. He's still running the two-piece axles. There are after market one piece axles that seem to cure the problem. However, it might be more cost effective to go with the D44 or the Ford Explorer 8.8 from the pick and pull.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 04:28 PM
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Plug weld the AMC20 tubes, install 1 piece axles and truss the diff and axle and the AMC20 should be just fine....

Me, I favor 2 1/2 ton Rockwells.. I'm savin' for a set.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 04:41 PM
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There are a lot of choices. When I needed a front D44 I just went to the yards and looked to see what was there. Eventually I found a full-size '79 Cherokee and an '84 Dodge Ram Charger axels for $75 each. I used the Jeep housing because it was passenger-side drop and had the right gear ratio, and the entire Dodge outers, because it had a better brake setup, five-lug hubs and flat-top knuckles. I narrowed the housing 7" on the left and 3" on the right, IIRC. I also modified the knuckles so that the stock steering linkage geometry would work, and it makes a very tidy swap that very few people realize isn't stock.

The main point is that there are a lot of possibilities. Chevys and GMCs used passenger-side drop, and some also had five-lug hubs, but they can be hard to find. Just go cruise the yards, write down what's there and then post your findings. We'll point out the good possibilities and combinations.

For the rear, the AMC 20 differential is very strong. The weak points of the CJ version are the two-piece axle shafts and the housing. There is nothing that's a direct swap other than a CJ D44, which is also rather rare but out there. I think your '81 is still a narrow-track where all of the later CJ Danas are wide. Not sure about that, and someone will correct me if I'm wrong. There are older CJs, from before the AMC days, that had D44 rears, but those are really rare now. Also, I think some of the Jeep Postals had D44s which might be the right width.

But the good news is that if you install some one-piece shafts your 20 should live a long time, and welding up some bracing on the tubes will help even more.

My next project is to narrow a heavy-duty AMC 20 from a Waggoneer for my CJ. It has one-piece shafts, larger-diameter tubes and also larger axle bearings. I think that narrowing a rear is going to be a bit more tricky than doing a front, though.

Oh, the Explorer axles use a smaller bolt circle than your CJ. They're very strong axels, but I don't know if you can get them redrilled to your bolt pattern.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 05:06 PM
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Well the 8.8 would not work for you the Lugs are all wrong. I would Keep the 20 and swap in a D44 from a fullsize Waggy and use Ford hub parts to keep your 5 lug setup the 20 has..

88 YJ SOA2.5" 2"BDY Locked F/R Chevy 4.3 NVG241OR 4.56's 36x12.50
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mach2_nh View Post
Well the 8.8 would not work for you the Lugs are all wrong. I would Keep the 20 and swap in a D44 from a fullsize Waggy and use Ford hub parts to keep your 5 lug setup the 20 has..
He might be able to use the 8.8... If he has the lug stud holes weld filled and re-drilled for his specific bolt pattern. (I'm not sure the overall all size of the flange and how much outer wall material there would be).
post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 05:38 PM
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There is the IH Scout option as well. Most, if not all 73 and newer Scout II's have D44s front and rear. Here are the positives and negatives as I saw them when I was doing the same thing you are doing now.

Positives: If you get both from the same donor, you can do the swap in two stages. You can swap both axles in without having to re-gear right away which could cut the cost of the potential swap in half. Also your CJ D30 outters, brakes, hubs and lockouts will mount onto the Scout spindles with no modification. I think the D30 hubs and axles will live fairly well with 35s. These axles are also close to a perfect width for a CJ or Wrangler swap, at about 59.5 inches wms to wms, they are only slightly longer than wide track CJ/Wrangler axles. This adds stability without the result of having to have the entire housing and axle shafts shortened or having the wheel and tire combo stick way outside of the body. They are 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern... same as your CJ and the rear has one piece axle shafts.

Negatives: The Scout D44s are kind of a light/medium duty application. The axle tubs are heavier than your CJ tubs, but not as beefy as a full size Jeep or Chevy/Dodge/Ford version. The front uses the previously mentioned CJ style 27 spline outters with smaller u-joints, which may need upgrading down the road. The front will most likely also have been put together with very little or no castor built into it. You have to break down the axle to the housing, grind the welds for the outter ears, rotate them to add castor, and re-weld.

You will like have to "outboard" your front spring perches regardless of what axle you use. Most would probably say that the Scout D44s are only "slightly" beefier than the factory Jeep axles. I give them a little more credit and these are what I decided to swap in to my Jeep a couple years back. I am very happy, even though it was some work. If I break something, there is an application for the part and the shafts are not "one off" cut specifically for a shortened housing. Parts are still plentiful and one bonus I've discovered... The Scout II manual lockouts are exactly like Warn premiums. They can be found used for a very small fraction of the price of new. They just say IH on them instead of warn.

Is this the only hammer you've got?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 05:39 PM
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Is this the only hammer you've got?
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
You will like have to "outboard" your front spring perches regardless of what axle you use.
True unless you narrow the axle to about the same as stock. Here's a narrowed Waggy 44 under my CJ7. The big housing gets close to the drive shaft, but it all clears. I think it's just a little narrower than a wide-track CJ now. I set the eye-to-eye measurement the same as my narrow-track, but the bigger hubs move the wheels out a little.

DVC00171a.JPG

If you wanted to, you could only shorten the long side about 4", and put the pumpkin in the same place and still not have to outboard. That would wind up about 6" wider than a wide-track. Way too much for my taste, but to each his own.

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Last edited by Jim_Lou; 12-05-2007 at 07:39 PM.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2007, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
He might be able to use the 8.8... If he has the lug stud holes weld filled and re-drilled for his specific bolt pattern. (I'm not sure the overall all size of the flange and how much outer wall material there would be).
I dont know.. I was going to do that when i went to 6 lug and there was no room for it. and the 5 lug pat is about the same size. I had to have shafts made up. Not cheap but worked...

88 YJ SOA2.5" 2"BDY Locked F/R Chevy 4.3 NVG241OR 4.56's 36x12.50
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