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Axle swaps on a YJ

Discussion in 'Wrangler YJ (1986-1995)' started by HotRodN, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Dec 27, 2016 at 5:24 PM
    #1
    HotRodN

    HotRodN [OP] Active Member

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    Hey all,,,, yep I'm new here and in need of some advice. Currently have an ** YJ that has been lifted,,, rhino lined and 4.88 gears installed. It's a 4 cylinder and the plan is to install a SBC with a 700R4 but until then I need to consider axle issues.
    Took it out on the back 40 this weekend and yep,,,, got er stuck a couple of times. After getting it back up to the driveway for washing I noticed that all of the tires were covered except the front passenger tire. I'm assuming it wasn't turning. So,,,, now I'm looking at other axle options and donor vehicle's since there is a small budget to work with. Here's the question:
    Could ya'll reply with a list of vehicles whose axle would be a near bolt on swap. Obviously going with axles from a YJ would work but then I could just run into the same issue. Not looking for super bad to the bone (before mentioned budget). This will also be a daily driver and weekend cruising in the back 40 or to the lake.

    I'm wanting to get Dana 44's and was told the Wagoneer has them front and back. Should I stick to certain year range?

    What about an XJ as a donor?

    Okay ya'll put your thinking caps on just don't over think. Hopefully I've made the need clear as mud and not too complicated.

    Later,
    HotRodN
     
  2. Dec 28, 2016 at 6:17 AM
    #2
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine Moderator

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    Is the axle broke? If not, what about just installing lockers?
     
    Bob likes this.
  3. Dec 28, 2016 at 2:46 PM
    #3
    HotRodN

    HotRodN [OP] Active Member

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    I haven't had the time to start tearing into it and see what the problem is. Hope to get there this weekend or next.
    Would still like some input into axle selection and the options out there. Pros and cons to each.

    Talked with one guy today and he said the Dana 30 and 35's would work fine for what I'll be doing. He has a carrier for the rear axle I could get and replace the one that's welded. Hopefully that is where they welded it up to lock the axles. With wanting to drive it on the open road, the welded axles wouldn't work out. I don't plan on doing any rock crawling unless it's very minor. I can always keep my foot out of it to avoid over stressing the axles with the powerful 383 stroker if I do put it in.
     
  4. Dec 29, 2016 at 6:01 PM
    #4
    C2T

    C2T Well-Known Member

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    2.5" AEV Dual Sport lift, 35" Treadwright Guard Dogs, Black Rock Wheels, AEV Front & Rear Bumpers with Tire Carrier, Fuel Caddy 10 gal. Aux. fuel tank, Warn 9.5ti, 125' synthetic winch line, front axle skid, 20" LED light bar , Bilstein Shocks, steel steering skidplate,
    Welcome to the forum!!
     
  5. Dec 29, 2016 at 6:55 PM
    #5
    OFFGRID

    OFFGRID Well-Known Member

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    1979 Jeep CJ7, 258, TH350, NP208
    Howell fuel injection, header, HEI distributor, TH350, NP208, SOA lift with YJ springs in the front & GW springs in the Rear. AMC20 with G2 1 piece chromos trussed, Dana 30 with G2 chromos and 760x ujoints and MM Stainless Hubs, Geared 4.56. Tom Woods shafts, Metal cloaks, Caged, 37" Toyo MTs.
    First, unless you have lockers you only have 2 tires turning in 4x4 mode, and I believe that is front right and back left on the YJ. If you really want to get bigger axles, I have heard that older 70s and 80s Chevy axles are almost a direct bold in for YJs. Find you a 1985-86 rotten body chevy with good drive train and swap the whole thing over. 350 motor/ TH400 and if your lucky 700r4 tranny/ NP208 transfer case/ Dana 44 front axle/ GM 14bolt rear end, and I see them for sale often under $1500. Sounds like a fun project. I've been wanting to do a similar project myself.
     
  6. Dec 29, 2016 at 7:09 PM
    #6
    OFFGRID

    OFFGRID Well-Known Member

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    Howell fuel injection, header, HEI distributor, TH350, NP208, SOA lift with YJ springs in the front & GW springs in the Rear. AMC20 with G2 1 piece chromos trussed, Dana 30 with G2 chromos and 760x ujoints and MM Stainless Hubs, Geared 4.56. Tom Woods shafts, Metal cloaks, Caged, 37" Toyo MTs.
    The front axle Dana 30 has an actuator run by vacuum that engages the right front tire mode for 4 wheel drive. It is really an engineering fail. The first time I took the front axle apart I was like, "Really". I have heard that a cheap fix is to install an inner axle from a TJ, but then you have the axle constantly engaged even if disconnected at the T-case. You'll see what I mean when you get yours apart. Check out this article from Quadratech, http://www.quadratec.com/jeep_knowledgebase/article-86.htm

    A welded carrier isn't bad, just a little chirpy in the turns but drives fine on the straight aways and mild turns. If you get an open carrier, you are back to one tire spinning in the back. If you are going to all the work of installing a new carrier, maybe run a locker. It frees you up in the turns but locks up when going forward. It is what I run, but my next build I plan on trying a spool (similar to a welded locker). Good luck, have fun, and keep us posted on your progress. I really like to see what other people to with their jeeps.
     
  7. Dec 30, 2016 at 6:35 AM
    #7
    HotRodN

    HotRodN [OP] Active Member

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    Good morning !!! Off today and hope to get to a fuel leak someplace which I'm assuming is the gas tank. Picking up a new tank from the parts store when they open.
    Okay on the axle stuff,,,,, the front axle on this one has had a pull/push cable installed in place of the vacuum line. When I was stuck in the mud,,, I think only the left front was turning. I say that because it was covered all around with mud when I winched it out and the right front was just wet from the water. Both rear tires were covered in mud and turning because of the weld.

    So help me understand the open carrier thingy,,,,, the term I'm most used to is limited slip,,,, meaning, when one wheel is turning faster than the other the unit will engage and make both turn/pull. Instead of the one wheel deal where when you stomp the pedal and only leave one black rubber mark on the road,,,, you will leave black rubber from each tire with the limited slip and with the limited slip you don't have the turning issue from one tire rotating slower than the other.

    From what I understand and have experienced with 4X4,,, you should only engage the front axle when your off road so that tire rotational difference doesn't load up the axle and break it.

    When you talk about lockers,,,, are you referring to the hub where you lock the axle in at the wheel by rotating the knob on the hub,,,, wish I could put a picture in here,,,, my 77 Chevy I had a long time ago had them and so does my 2016 F250,,,

    Not really considering bigger axles but that's not out of the question either,,, I have a HT383 and 700R4 to put in if I decide to,,, the trans is fresh but the motor will have to be gone through,,,, with a little work it can put out 460 HP and 500 pounds torque. That would have to have the bigger axles :)

    Okay,,, off to go wash the thing and get started on the tank swap,,,
    HotRodN
     
  8. Dec 31, 2016 at 10:49 AM
    #8
    Paul123

    Paul123 Active Member

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    Long arms, front and rear bumpers, lockers, dana 44 rear skidded and trussed, 242 tcase swap, leather interior swap, etc...
    Lockers are assemblies you install into an open carrier and they force the axle shafts to turn at the same speed which means both tires connected to that axle will always be turning. Arb air lockers are selectable, you can turn it on and off with a switch. E lockers are also selectable and controlled by a switch and a solenoid. Something like an Aussie locker, locks when you press the gas pedal and unlocks when you let off the gas, similar to a Detroit locker. An open differential will spin the tire with the least resistance. So say your YJ has a stock Dana 30 up front. The tire that was covered in mud was spinning simply because it had little resistance against it, your passenger side probably had traction but the driver didn't which caused only the driver side to spin.

    The video starts getting good around 2 minutes


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIGvhvOhLHU
     
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  9. Dec 31, 2016 at 10:55 AM
    #9
    Paul123

    Paul123 Active Member

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    Long arms, front and rear bumpers, lockers, dana 44 rear skidded and trussed, 242 tcase swap, leather interior swap, etc...
    Also an Xj wouldn't be a great donor. Very few of them came with dana 44 rears and all of them came with dana 30 fronts. Most Xj's will have a dana 35 rear. Wagoneer axles are great but they're pretty narrow so they may or may not work for you.
     
  10. Jan 1, 2017 at 5:02 PM
    #10
    HotRodN

    HotRodN [OP] Active Member

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    Hey Paul123 ,,, thanks for the video and input on the two candidates donor's. I talked with my transmission buddy who is an instructor also for UTI. He helped me get the picture in my head straight on differentials at least as much as it can be LOL. I'm also considering the possibility of using axles out of an early Chevy 4X4 truck. Found one that could be had cheap enough to rob the driveline of the axles and transfer case then scrap out the rest of the truck. I understand the axles would be wider and kinda like that idea. With the Jeep lifted having wider axles would also reduce the side rill over CG a little I would think. They are heavier but should I go the 383 stroker route I don't think the weight would be much of a hindrance
    In no hurry to make a decision at the moment. I am thankful for all the input that is coming across. This topic may come up again and be good info for the files.
    Hope everyone had a super New Years Eve. I know I did,,, got to go play in the back for a while. Need to get the brakes fixed so stopping is easier but when ya let off the gas it slows down pretty quick.
     
  11. Jan 1, 2017 at 6:40 PM
    #11
    JeepAndrew

    JeepAndrew Active Member

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    I have a '93 YJ that I swapped in a late 80s XJ Dana 44 rear (Cherokees with the factory tow package had them) after I broke the D35. It wasn't a direct bolt-in since the spring perch spacing wasn't the same. So far, it's held up to a 4.0 stroker with 4.56 gears and lockers driving 35s.

    I'm still running the stock D30 front with the posi-lock (the cable shifter you have in yours) and it's regeared and locked as well. I have to carry spare axleshafts right now since I break one almost every time I go out wheeling in the harder stuff.
     
  12. Jan 1, 2017 at 7:00 PM
    #12
    HotRodN

    HotRodN [OP] Active Member

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    I came across an 8.8 and have been told they make good rear axles. From the numbers given for the perch spacing it too would be about an inch narrow according to what I measured last night on the YJ. It's not that big of a deal to cut those off and weld on new ones the right width. It's getting the angle right I'd be concerned with. But I'm sure I could figure it out with a good eyeball LOL. I haven't measured the backing plate to backing plate width yet. Might get to measure it tomorrow time permitting.
    What is the thought on an 8.8?
     
  13. Jan 1, 2017 at 7:33 PM
    #13
    Paul123

    Paul123 Active Member

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    The 8.8 is a good axle. So is a ford 9". Either one will have a plethera of parts available in junkyards across the country
     
  14. Jan 1, 2017 at 8:11 PM
    #14
    HotRodN

    HotRodN [OP] Active Member

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    Yep they do have a lot of parts available,,,, see them all the time. May pick it up and do the swap then find a good front axle. Hope to find one that already has manual lockers on it. Any suggestions on what vehicle would have them stock? Check back tmrw,,,, time to hit the sack. GF will be calling early in the morning.
     
  15. Jan 2, 2017 at 11:11 AM
    #15
    Paul123

    Paul123 Active Member

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    Long arms, front and rear bumpers, lockers, dana 44 rear skidded and trussed, 242 tcase swap, leather interior swap, etc...
    You have lots of options for axle swaps. Personally if I was already going through the trouble to cut and weld mounts I'd be putting a Dana 60 in the front and a 14 bolt rear. If you're going with a ford 8.8" or 9" full width you could grab a front Dana 44 out of an older ford and that combo would hold up pretty well.
     
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