I have a '83 CJ7 Renegade. I am currently in the process of building a 351M to drop in. I am estimating around 250-300 Hp when completed. I will be using the transmission and transfer case from the 77 F250 (engine donor truck).
My main question is which axles to use. My current driveline setup is as follows:
AMC 20 Rear
Dana 30 Front
(unknown axle ratios)
I have the axles from the truck: Dana 44-6CF HD closed knuckle front, Dana 60 HD rear (full floater) (axle ratios 4.09:1). The rear axle is in great shape needing only brakes and hub seals. The front needs new kingpin bearings, ball seals, and possibly the wheel, carrier bearings and brakes.
My current axles are in need of some attention also: rear needs one side wheel bearings, inner and outer seals on both sides, maybe pinion bearings; the front needs ball joints and tie rods.
I am perfectly fine with the full width axles. I am a welder/ fabricator and can make my own flares. I am leaning towards the truck axles because they are heavier duty and would probably hold up better. My jeep is not my DD, mostly a weekend warrior type of thing. I also have limited funds so I need to pay some attention to cost, but I also want to build it to last reliably.
What do you guys think? Keep my axles(probably convert the rear to one piece axles) or go with the heavier truck axles? How much power can an AMC 20 handle?
P.S. My entire driveline (not sure on the axles yet) will probably be for sale by the beginning or middle of January. I will post details in the classifieds section When I get things taken out.
Just my opinion here but the money you throw at the AMC 20 to make it stronger would still not be as strong as the stock D60. The biggest strength in the AMC 20 is the ring/pinion. The axle shafts are weak unless you buy the one piece design, even doing that you run into problems on wheel bearings and seals, some kits can make it hard to find seals and bearings plus the bearings aren't exactly huge either. The AMC 20 axle tubes are weak too but can be trussed and welded, still not going to be as strong as a stock D60. There are more upgrades and parts, and gear ratios available for the D60 too. The full size axles will have larger bearings and brakes for bigger tires and extra weight or future weight of rig.
If anything I would maybe look into replacing that closed knuckle 44 and try to at least find an open knuckle 44. The closed knuckle 44 is a little weaker, and has some oddball harder to find parts. A Chevy 10 bolt front end is almost identical to the D44 in size and strength, they are newer and easier to find. The golden answer is finding a D60 front then maybe are larger rear like a D70 or 14bolt.
The AMC 20 in a CJ, not the same as one out of a Waggy.
Look at the 14bolt for the rear as they are a lot of them at very low prices compared to a D60. You can shave the bottom of the housing to pick up a bunch of clearance. If you only need to go to 5.13 and up, go with the 14b, if you need a lower ratio like say 6.50, then go with the D60. Since you already have the D60, and the 44 from the '77 ford F250, just run those and either keep an eye out for a D60 front end, or pick up another D60 and make your own front axle. That way you can build it as money and time permit, but get to heel today.
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Buddy of mine spent $3000 trying to repair and build up his amc20. He has a slightly modded 304 in a cj. Junk axle. Use the donors. They held that nice engine in a much heavier truck. They'll be more than good in a cj