Axle swaps for dummies...help!

Discussion in 'Flat Fender Tech' started by Clay10_B, May 29, 2014.

  1. May 29, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

    Charleston, SC
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    So to start off, I am completely ignorant when it comes to axles or fabricaging an axle for a swap. I currently have an outdated Dana 44 with low spline count in the back and I believe the stock axle up front. Im running a Chevy 350 with a T-18 tranny in my CJ3B. My goal for the Jeep is a reliable driver that will see some mild trails. I'm looking to upgrade to something stronger and more reliable. I know I'm probably looking for a Dana 44 or a Dana 60, but I want to keep the fabrication as minimal as possible. So basically I'm wondering what year axles out of what vehicles should I be looking for that would be the closest to a direct swap? And what would still be required? Thanks for the help, yall. I know this is a redundant quesion.
     
  2. May 29, 2014
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

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    The only axles that are the right width are from a later CJ, or custom. You want to go wider? Wagoneer axles are popular, but you have to do some welding to outboard the front axle. And they will be beyond the fenders by a few inches. A '74-79 Wagoneer is D44 F/R, open front with disk brakes, 6 lug. A Quadratrac Wagoneer should also have an offset rear.

    Easiest would be a full-floater kit for your existing rear axle, and a narrow CJ Dana 30 front. There's an offset flanged rear 44 used in CJs in '70-71, but they are scarce. Later axles are centered and won't work with your D18.
     
  3. May 29, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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    Thanks for the reply! I don't mind going a little wider, as long as it doesn't look ridiculous. What year wagoneers should i be looking for?

    As far as my current axle goes, I've read that they are weak due to the low splines...and they don't make axle shafts for them anymore. Am I wrong?
     
  4. May 29, 2014
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power Sponsor

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    What Tim said. As close to bolt-in for a front axle will be the Wagoneer version and that does take some fabrication. I don't know the year of your 3B but it will either have a D25 or D27 front axle. My experience is the D25's with the Spicer axle shafts are less of a problem than the later D27's. I think you could coax either along with a 350 if 1) you have a light right foot (assuming you drive on the correct side of the road), 2) don't get carried away with tires-certainly nothing bigger than 33's, and 3) no traction device of any kind.

    The stock D44 will have either 10 or 19 spline axle shafts, and while you can break them, the 2 piece keyed hub is the biggest problem and what usually breaks first. A full float kit does away with that problem and you get the additional benefit that if an axle shaft does break, the wheel stays on and you still have brakes. Older full float kits like the ones Advanced Adapter marketed were 19 spline and will hold up pretty well. The later kits by Warn and now Herm (the overdrive guy) are 30 spline as is the 70-71 flanged axle unit. My personal opinion is that unless you have an morbidly obese Jeep, big tires, and do hard core wheelin, a D60 is overkill and a lot of unnecessary weight.
     
  5. May 29, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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    Mine is a 53, I believe it is the D25. I know this thing isn't exactly a speed demon, so I don't think lead foot would be a problem. But I have considered towing a camper/trailer later down the road. I agree the D60 would probably be overkill. And I don't reallly plan on running anything bigger than 33's(What I have now). But i guess there's always the possibility of 35's as long as it doesn't get too yall or limited by rubbing
     
  6. May 29, 2014
    Southtowns27

    Southtowns27 Custom Title

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    +1 for the Dana 44 full floater conversion. I have one in my Jeep. Super easy to install and a great upgrade. Dana 30 front would be a good swap. Or, you could stud the knuckles in the Dana 25 to keep the spindles from falling off and see how it holds up. I have a studded 27 and have never broken an axleshaft (I'm also running a SBC).
     
  7. May 29, 2014
    oldtime

    oldtime oldtime

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  8. May 29, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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    Good read, thanks!
     
  9. May 29, 2014
    nickmil

    nickmil Super Moderator Staff Member Sponsor

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    19 spline full floaters are available as well but the 30 spline is stronger. The 30 spline will require a case change unless you have a Powerlock limited slip in which case just the side gears can be changed.
     
  10. May 29, 2014
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member Sponsor

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    I run the D44 with FF rear and a NT D30 up front. Both have OX lockers in them. It would be the easiest / least fab needed if you wanted to swap and get stronger. I limit myself to 33's with this, but I also lock a lot, can have a heavy foot, not a stock V6 at all, and run hard trails.
     
  11. May 30, 2014
    Boyink

    Boyink A tech-nomad Staff Member Sponsor

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    More reliable....have you broken the stock axles?

    I'd drive it (maybe knuckle-stud the front) and upgrade it if/when you do.
     
  12. Jun 1, 2014
    Ggg

    Ggg Member

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    One red flag I saw was the OP stating he wants to tow a camper with his 3B. Maybe it's just me but personally I wouldn't, I can't think off hand of a worse tow vehicle than an early CJ. I'm not knocking the early CJ's but knowing them and all their many quirks and mechanical limitations, no. A puny utility trailer in a parade sure.

    As far as axle swaps here is some food for thought. I have a few early CJ's with upgraded axles. One I completely rebuilt the D25 (or maybe it's a D27) from hub to hub including all the upgrades like studding the knuckles, using Scout KP bushing, all new bearings/seals, upgraded from rzeppa joint shafts to spicer joint shafts and it cost a TON of money and I still have the weakest front axle assembly Dana ever made. I considered doing a full floater kit on this Jeep but it is just way too expensive and I poured too much money into axle upgrades on this one already. Another CJ I swapped in a early 1970's CJ5 D30 with disc brakes, and a M20 NT rear with forged shafts/bronco rear brakes. That was a very nice & easy swap, very cost effective and much stronger than the D25/27, D41. Also with this axle swap I had to go to a Saginaw steering linkage setup which is much safer and a dual reservoir master cyl., my favorite cost effective swap to date. Another CJ of mine I swapped in a D44 front and 9" rear from a Bronco. Very very strong, full width so it is very wide requiring heavily offset rims to bring the tires back in closer to the body. The most fabrication involved swap mentioned so far but much more cost effective than the first swap I mentioned. BTW this CJ is for trail use only running 35-37" tires.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
  13. Jun 3, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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    Thanks for the input Ggg. The reason I mentioned pulling a trailer is bc my mom grew up in the mountains of Colorado pulling her house behind her 62 Willys and I always thought it would be cool to kinda do the same thing. But anyway, I found this on the local Craigslist. What do yall think? Seems to be what I'm looking for for a decent price.

    http://charleston.craigslist.org/pts/4454351578.html
     
  14. Jun 3, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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  15. Jun 3, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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    Deleted post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  16. Jun 3, 2014
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs Sponsor

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    Forget the Wrangler & Cherokee axles...that '71 D44 for 150 bucks is a good deal.
     
  17. Jun 3, 2014
    Clay10_B

    Clay10_B New Member

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    Is it a good enough deal to make a 3 hr drive to get it VS a 10 minute one? Lol
     
  18. Jun 3, 2014
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member Sponsor

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    Yes - the others are going to be more than 3 hrs of extra work...
     
  19. Jun 3, 2014
    timgr

    timgr Jeepin' Nerd Sponsor

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    +1. Go and get it. Go now. Worth it.

    Wagoneer axles from 1980 on are driver's drop, so you can't use them. If you want to go with Wagoneer axles, they need to be '74-79, as I wrote above. The TJ axle is also driver's drop - no good for you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  20. Jun 3, 2014
    Ggg

    Ggg Member

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    I agree with everybody so far, the rear D44 axle with one piece axle shafts for $150 is a good axle for you. The D44 with 2 piece shafts $75 is the same as what you have now. The other pair of axles (waggy rear/wrangler front) while good upgrades would require a different transfer case to put your front driveshaft on the drivers side, center your rear driveshaft, and leaf spring mounts in place of the coil spring mounts. Not to mention a gear swap likely in both axles to get a ratio you will want. Your current transfer case has a passenger side front driveshaft, and offset rear shaft.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014

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