There seems to be some interest on how to do this yourself. While I don’t proclaim to be a pro or know every option possible as far as going about it. I do feel that some folks who may have wanted to do this will have a little better insight as to one way on how to go about it as I try to explain.
First off – there are several ways to skin this cat. You can take the time & effort to cut off the drive shaft caps & retube it. However, for this example, I decided I’d use another effective method that gets good results and is less time consuming. Simply cutting the tube down & removing a portion of it & sleeving it is another nice way of performing this task.
Anyway, after you have went to your local junkyard & acquired a front XJ driveshaft in reasonably good condition, you’ll want to give it a good comb-over to see if there are any hidden damages that you didn’t first discover or worn parts to swap out.
If you deem it to be in good condition, you’ll want to crawl under your Jeep to take a careful measurement from the rear differential yoke where the center of the ujoint cap will be, to the yoke of the tcase where the center of it’s ujoint cap will be.
In the case of the one I’m showing here – it was going on a friends YJ who I recently installed a RC 4” lift kit, and other friends of his helped him install a Ford 8.8 rear axle from out of an Explorer.
My measurement showed that it needed to be 16.25” long in the static position.
A couple items to consider are:
How much slip does the XJ shaft have available (in this case ~4”)
Does the current suspension set-up allow for enough spline contact when under compression & rebound – for a 4” slip drive shaft.
If you have a suspension that requires a long slip drive shaft – this mod may not meet your rear driveshaft needs/requirements.
With these tid-bits of information in my hip pocket, I took the XJ shaft & placed it in my chop saw so that I could make two cuts, and removed a section long enough so that when the driveshaft was butted back together, and the spline contact was near the 2/3rds mark, the drive shaft would be 16.25” in length.
My plans are to sleeve (not retube) the drive shaft. Knowing this, I needed to know the diameter of the drive shaft – which happened to be 2.5” OD (outer diameter).
So, my sleeve material needed to be 2.5” ID (inner diameter) and I chose material ¼” thick. So that made my sleeve material 2.5” ID x 3” OD. Yea, overkill, but I wanted this to be a non-issue & add some beef.
I wanted to use DOM tubing for the sleeve, but my garage supply was out, and my local steel supple shop was fresh out of 2.5” ID x 3” OD tubing too. So, instead….I went with some 4130 chromo tube. Yea, a bit expensive, but I needed to complete this job today & my friend didn’t need much tube. I purchased ~2’ and he needed only ~3” of it. I kept the rest so that I could resleeve several others in upcoming days.
To my slight surprise, with a brand new wheel on my chop saw, and after ~10-15 minutes, this is as far as we got attempting to cut the 4130 chromo tube.
At that point I decided to give my plasma cutter a shot – knowing it would slice thru the tube like a hot knife thru butter. After this was done, I cleaned up the end that I cut with my bench grinder. I also removed a factory balance weight from the drive shaft. I did so by using a chisel & hammer.
I ended up using a 3” piece of the chromo tube for sleeve material.
Here’s what the short end of the drive shaft looked like with the 3” piece of sleeve slide over the one end. As you can see by the internally welded seam, the original XJ shaft is made from HREW.
Here’s the shaft butted together with the sleeve inplace. We also replaced one of the ujoints since it was showing signs of age.
Here, I’m getting ready to weld it. Since the sleeve is chromo & the XJ tube is HREW, I heated up the metals to help prevent getting a poor weld. After preheat – I used my trusty MillerMatic 175 MIG & CO2/Argon mix tank to do the welding duties. I started off with some tact welds then came back & ran several ~1.5” long beads.
After allowing it to slowly cool, Nate & I taped up the shaft & rattle canned it with some Rustoleum primer & then black spray paint.
Watching paint dry.
Well, that’s about it except the easy install.