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Unread 01-09-2012, 08:08 AM   #1
hallsofstone
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: BF'nE, Ohio
Posts: 1,864
97 Chero D30 - need options/opinions

OK...so I'm slowly but surely converting all of my friends to Jeepers. My buddy's Toyota just took a crap so I helped him find a 97 XJ with a 4.0L at 121,000 miles for $700. Engine, transmission, transfer case are all original and in good shape mechanically. U-joints look good. Interior is very nice apart from the dash radio/HVAC bezel and controls missing. Needs a little exhaust work. He's selling his car for as much as he can get out of it and fixing up this heep as his daily driver.

The problem is rust....rockers are shot and the front D30 HP has a broken driver's side lower control arm bracket. The rest of the brackets are junk too from rust and salt. It broke when the P.O. had to hit the brakes "really really f-in hard to avoid hitting some moron" who I guess pulled out right in front of him. He drove it the rest of the 2 blocks home but did not have money to fix it or any tools/shop space to do the work himself...hence the sale. Was his DD for a couple years and kept up on basic maint. My friend is not concerned with aesthetics as long as the heep is mechanically sound and legal with all lights. He eventually wants to lift it and make it a backup vehicle and trail rig. That narrows the "to do" list considerably for me in the present scenario.

So as far as I can tell, I have basically two options...1) drop the axle and slap a fresh(er) one in, or 2) drop the axle and have the brackets re-welded then re-install.

Obviously this ain't my first rodeo here, gents. I'd just like to hear your opinions here. On top of your opinions, I would not mind seeing confirmation that I'm on the right track here as I'm more familiar with TJ's. Of course, they are really not that different but I'm inclined to accept free, more knowledgable advice when I can.

I'm looking for a high pinion Dana 30 with 3.55 gears (I think this is the correct ratio for this Jeep) on CL, JF.com classifieds, and local junkyards/partouts. They are more scarce than the TJ D30 variety, but I have some good leads. So...
1) Are there any other axles that will work, like the LP D30 or 4.0 Grand Chero D30 (if they won't, why)?
2) Are there any major changes to this axle over the years or things specific to these Cherokee's I should be on the look out for?
-aaand-
3) What year ranges should work for my application?

(pictures to come)

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Unread 01-09-2012, 12:10 PM   #2
krork
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As far as swapping in other axles, there are other choices. The cherokee was the only vehicle with the HP D30, the ZJ and TJ are both LP D30s and will swap in. Additionally, the Cherokee had the HP D30 up to 1999, 2000-2001 had the LP D30. As far as major changes are concerned, there was a disconnect axle used till around 1991 (I'm sure someone else can clarify). Also U-joints changed along the way. The bigger u-joints were available on ABS vehicles and after 1995.

Fixing the existing brackets vs swapping axles depends on welding resources/ability and the cost for each as well as the long term goals for the jeep. The HP D30 is stronger, so ditching it for an LP axle isn't usually recommended; however, for a DD it will make little difference.
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Unread 01-09-2012, 12:46 PM   #3
hallsofstone
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Thanks for your response, krork. Exactly what I needed.

So I'm thinking that for what it would take to see this axle welded back together, I could simply buy the right axle and swap it in cheaper. I'd be looking for a HP D30 95-99 with 3.55 gears as this seems to be the strongest most compatable swap-in from what you describe. I would prefer to swap apples to apples, if you know what I mean.

Can anybody confirm the stock gear ratio for the 97 Cherokee with a 4.0L? I'm about 80% certain that this Jeep is 3.55. Did the ratio vary any between the trim levels and if so, to what purpose? **for example, tow package Jeeps probably have a different ratio.

The axle currently under the Jeep may see a total rebuild/regear to 4.10 with chromo shafts and install on my Wrangler...remains to be seen.
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"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats."
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K.C.C.O. [url]www.thechive.com[/url]
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