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Bill Baird Motorsports DIY parts - NalinMFG.comSwag Off Road BIG-HIT TJ-YJ Rear BumperRuffstuff Axle Simple Swap Kit!

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Unread 10-12-2011, 01:44 PM   #1
NHJeep4x4
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: New Hampshire
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1 Ton 99 XJ

My Jeep is somewhat "built" already, but it's time for an axle swap. For years, I've thought about what to do for drivetrain upgrades; upgrade stock, 1/2 ton axles, etc. However, I really only want to do axle swaps once. Someday, the Jeep will probably be off-road only, so I'm going 1-ton.
The suspension on this setup will be pretty straightforward; not too hardcore. I'm currently running a 4 1/2" RC kit, which I have been very satisifed with for the past 5+ years. Also, I want to drive this on the street and make it as capable as possible, while still keeping it legal. This means I'll be keeping the traditional 4-link setup with leafs in back.
I plan to run 37s or bigger with about 6" of lift.
My goal is to have it ready to wheel next summer (shooting for completion in May 2012). In NH, most of the wheeling trails are class VI roads, which become snowmobiling trails in the winter, so winter wheeling is limited. So, this will be my winter project.
Current setup (since my signature may change at some point):
Dana 30/8.25, 3.55, both open diffs, RC 4.5" lift with RE 4.5" full leaf packs, RC sway bar disconnects, C-ROK steering box brace, 34x10.50x15 LTBs.
I got this Jeep stock in 2005. Here's a little background:

2006:



2008:




2009:




2011:



Here's how it sits now:

Like I said, this build will go through the winter.- Stay tuned!

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Unread 10-13-2011, 06:48 AM   #2
NHJeep4x4
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Axles

I've been collecting parts throughout the summer. Here's what I originally planned; Dana 60s front and rear. The front is from a mid 80s F350, and rear is a late late 70s Ford 3/4 ton.

After cleaning the rear housing, I dicovered more rust than I was comfortable with, so I kept the shafts and hubs, and scrapped the housing.

I found another rear 60 that was in great shape, so I picked that up and now had a spare set of axle shafts. At this point (July/August), I realized I did not want the rear axle to be weaker than the front. I plan to spool the rear, so I wanted optimal strength. Therefore, I recently sold the rear 60 with spare shafts, and picked up a 14Bolt out of a mid 80's GM. The rear Dana 60 shafts are about 1 1/4" diamter, and the 14Bolt's are about 1 1/2". The 60 shafts were only slightly larger than my current 8.25 shafts (but experience less load due to being a full float axle). Here's a comparison between the Dana 60 30 spline shaft (far left) next to 2 14Bolt 30 spline shafts.

Dana 60 housing compared to 14Bolt:


In August, I got the front axle cleaned up with all the old brackets cut off, ready to fab the new 4 link mounts. I have a spare XJ Dana 30 sitting around, which I'm using as a sort of template.


That's pretty much where it is now. I have new spring perches and disk brake brackets for the rear, which are not on yet. I figured I wouldn't put the perches on until I had a chance to remove the old rear axle, so I can setup the pinion angle.
FYI, you'll notice that the front axle has dual rear wheel (DRW) hubs. I have since purchased some single rear wheel (SRW) hubs to solve this problem.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 07:04 AM   #3
NHJeep4x4
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Existing Maintenance

Sometime this past June, I was out wheeling, and it was getting close to dusk. I called up my parents to see if they wanted to go for a quick sunset ride to the top of a small local mountain. 30 minutes later we were heading down the trail. We weren't even to the rough part yet, and I suddenly heard a loud noise. It sounded like the engine fan hitting the shroud. I had heard this once before, and it was a failed engine bracket. We popped the hood, and the same side had failed again. The engine was flopped to one side. Even if you don't mind driving it with the very loud noise, it still would not be a good idea, because the egine was resting on the distributor. Last time, it cracked the distributor. So this time, to get home, my Dad and I put a log across the engine bay and held up the passenger side of the engine with a rachet strap. Fortunately, we were only about 5 miles away.
This time, I upgraded- Brown Dog engine brackets:

I like these not only because of the increased material strength, but they also use more bolts on the block side than the factory ones. They are made in the USA too. The fabricator's signature is a nice touch as well.

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Unread 10-13-2011, 07:12 AM   #4
NHJeep4x4
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Rear Suspension

I recently picked up a used Rubicon Express 4 1/2" lift, which is much better than my current setup. It has 4 adjustable-length control arms, all with flex joints. It also includes a nice adjustable trackbar with flex joints, heavy duty track bar bracket, and track bar bracket brace. This will all contribute to substantial increases in strength for keep the front end in line. This kit also included complete lift leaf spring packs, which allowed me to eliminate my old, flat lift springs and 2" block. I gained an inch of lift over the old setup, but the ride is noticeably more rough. Also, much to my disappointment, the rear flex is now almost non-existent. I used to be able to flex the rear pretty well with the flimsy leaf springs, but not anymore. Eventually, I plan to run S-10 leaf springs. They are 2-3 inches longer than the XJ leafs in the front, and that much longer overall. This will allow me to move the axle back a couple inches, creating more room to build a much larger wheel well, and make room for bigger tires. I will fabricate custom shackles to improve the shackle angle and maximize flex. S-10 springs are designed to be spring under on the S-10, and should provide decent lift on my spring over application. If not, I have 3 pairs of leaf packs laying around (factory XJ, 4.5" inch XJ, factory S-10), so I should be able to mix and match and come up with a satisfying setup. Besides, having slightly longer leaf springs should contribute to improvement in suspension articulation. Here's a picture of an S-10 leaf next to the old factory ones, showing the new center pin location.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 07:19 AM   #5
MGDWJ
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Sounds like some good plans. With the huge pumpkin of the 14 bolt I would shave it.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 08:17 AM   #6
NHJeep4x4
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At some point, I will do the mild shave with a 13 bolt cover and gain about an inch.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 08:35 AM   #7
NHJeep4x4
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Front Suspension

Like I mentioned earlier, I will be keeping the 4-link setup in front. Even with RC fixed lower arms and factory uppers, I can unseat the coil spring. I don't want to unseat it too much, and am pretty satisfied with the current flex. For mounts, I picked up a pair of Ballistic Fabrication mounts, which include a coil spring mount, lower control arm mount, and shock mount in a handy all-in-one package.

For the upper mount above the diff, I considered the Blue Torch Fab truss system.

However, this will only work with a 78-79 front end, which has much more available tube real estate than my mid 80s axle. So, I'm going to fab my own with a similar design, but with the space I need. I did pick up the Blue Torch diff cover though, to take advantage of the extended flange on top.



To bend the plate for truss, I whipped up a handy little brake for my shop press, out of some scrap 3/8" plate.



I've heard you need at least a 20 ton press for this, but my 12 ton seemed to handle it. Here's a 4" wide piece of 3/8" I used to test it.



If you'll notice, the lower channels on the press are bigger than usual. The original 3" channel didn't quite have the buckling resistance to handle the lateral load of the bend. I had some 6" channel lying around, so I moved the connecting bolts closer together and towards the top of the channel, to better resist the outward force of the bend. Now with relocated bolts and heavier channel, it works great.


The other upper control arm mount is pretty self-explanatory. It will be a similar idea to the factory one, but heavier duty.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 09:01 AM   #8
NHJeep4x4
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Winch

Well, I hadn't planned on adding a winch for a while, but...
A friend of mine recently won a 10,000 LB winch in a Jeep Jamboree raffle, and gave me his old Warn X8000i. This was an awesome surprise; thanks Tad!
However, I built a front bumper last summer, with the intent of it not being a winch bumper. The intent was to get the best approach angle I could with the materials I had available, although the recovery points do stick out a bit. They don't cause much of a problem though.
The challenge now is to modify the non-winch bumper to accept a winch without looking ridiculous or sacrificing approach clearance. Not much room:

Here's what I got with the winch; it came mounted on a TJ bracket.

After quite some time trying to remove two allen head bolts, I ended up drilling them out. Tada-

Having never had a winch, I wanted to test it out. I found a battery, which ended up being dead, so I hooked it up to the car charger/starter:

Everything worked great, so I uncoiled the drum and wound the cable back up in a more orderly fashion.

I'm going to use parts of the TJ bracket, and incorporate that into my bumper, behind the prerunner/mini stinger. It might fit.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 11:08 AM   #9
andrewmacc
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All that work and you're going to stick with the factory style short arms? Seems kind of like a step backwards in a build like this.

Looking good nonetheless.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 12:14 PM   #10
NHJeep4x4
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True. That's the plan for now, but it may change- either in this build or sometime down the road.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 01:47 PM   #11
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Nice
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http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/my-1991-xj-735814/
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Unread 10-13-2011, 03:46 PM   #12
sean883
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Those Ballistic Fab mounts won't work if you're trying to keep a stock style front suspension.
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Unread 10-13-2011, 08:29 PM   #13
NHJeep4x4
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Why not?
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Unread 10-13-2011, 08:57 PM   #14
sean883
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The stock LCA mounts are angled something like 10 degrees inward and aren't centered on the coil. To use those brackets you need custom frame side LCA mounts.

Or you could use these...

http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/...it_p_1542.html
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Unread 10-13-2011, 09:14 PM   #15
Bama_WJ
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Looking great man. I'm having the same problem on my front 60 with the driver side. There is even less room on mine that came out of a 03 F350.
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