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Unread 06-17-2015, 09:01 PM   #1
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1982 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 111

I started this last year but decided to start over and re-organize. This is an evolving project and your input is appreciated. Look over the pics and let me know if you see any immediate problems with my general direction or thoughts. Also feel free to offer any suggestions on what you might do to make the most of my efforts.


This is my woods and hunting jeep and Saturday with the top off run around town jeep. I do not rock climb and the trails around here are rutty with water and mud and mostly flat (N Florida). I want to build sound trail rig that is road worthy but looks millitaryesque. I may, in the future, engine up but for the time being the 258 will serve me fine I think. The following are the main parts are from a compilation of jeeps and parts left over from the years.

Frame - 1989 YJ frame
Body - 1989 YJ tub and misc CJ-7 front clip parts and CJ-tailgate conversion
Suspension - Rubicon Express extreme YJ 4.5" lift
Motor - 1979 258 IL 6 cyl (the engine, tranny and T-case are all out of the same 79 CJ-7 rust bucket)
Tranny - 1979 T-18a (6.32 low gears)
T-case - 1979 Dana 20 (might consider ditching and installing Dana 300)
Front Axle - 1977 Wagoneer Dana 44 with pass side diff, disc brakes and locking hubs.
Rear Axle - 1988 Wagoneer Dana 44 Axle with center pinion with drum brakes.
33" tires


I bought this YJ back in 1994. It ran but needed some repairs. I put a SYE on the NP231 and installed a 4.5" RE extreme lift. I drove it for about two years. It took a back seat to other things for about the last 9 years. I like the YJ frame as it is beefier and wider than a Cj-7. It has a solid frame and tub but other than that there is nothing about this jeep that interested me. I pulled the drive train and am getting rid of everything other than the NP231 that already has the SYE installed and Double CJ drive shaft. Both are in great condition and could be used for a Cherokee/Comanche build.

My T-18a and Dana 20 out of a 1979 CJ-7

Just seeing what the T-18 A and Dana 20 look like.

Axles and wheels in the frame.


Original axles:

Rear- Dana 35 with 61" between WMS's and 40 3/8" center of spring perch to spring perch.
Front - Dana 30 with 60 1/2" between WMS's and 30 3/4" center of spring perch to spring perch.

Swapped axles:

Rear - Dana 44 with 58 1/2" between WMS's. This swap is easy. The Dana 44 spring perches can be relocated. Once I have the engine/tranny/T-case lightly installed I will check pinion angles and weld spring perches and new shock mounts in. if WMS distance needs to be wider I can use wheel spacers.
How much of a difference will this make?

Front - Dana 44 with 61" between WMS's and 31 1/2" center of spring perch to spring perch. Ok here is where the engineering and your help comes in. Unlike the driverís side Dana 44 that come out of later year Grand Wagoneers that have some diff area that you can grind on to compensate for the 1" difference between the wagoner" and YJ's respective spring perch dimensions, my axle (passenger side diff) has nowhere to grind (see pic. To move the u-bolt inward the needed 1/2 " puts it into the diff cover bolts.

I am most likely going to cut and turn this axle due to lift and location of the T-case relative to the diff. In looking over the relative geometries of the 1977 waggy D44 that I am using compared to a 1988 waggy D44 front axle that I also have. It looked like the 1988 long side inner axle was actually shorter than the 1977 long side inner axle. So I pulled both long side inner axles and found the 1988 inner axle to actually be 1" shorter than the 1977. The 1977 is in rear and the 1988 is in front.

Outer axles look to be the same

So here is what I am thinking. I leave the passenger side of the 1977 axle mounted where it wants to be as shown in the picture above (this makes the pass side wheel mounting surface at about the same as the original axle)and then move the driver's side spring perch inward 1" and cut 1" off the driver's side tube (I am already planning on cutting and turning anyway)and rebuild the 1977 D44 using the 1" shorter long side inner shaft from the 1988 axle. This gives me 60" WMS and the spring perches are right where they need to be and the axle is centered in the frame. Plus I should be able to stay with stock parts.

I installed the motor/tranny/Tcase in to just see what was what.

Front axle and t-case output line up nicely and drive shaft does not look tro have any problems with skid-plate interference

Rear output centered up real nicely

Frame mods if any are next so feel free to tell me what you would do.

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Unread 06-18-2015, 05:14 AM   #2
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1982 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 111
CJWranglerstein or CJW-7

I have had a number of jeeps through the years and have wrenched on all of them but this is my 1st build. I know I know I am sick just like the rest of you.

I figured on tackling the frame and drive line work 1st. Starting with the proper fitment of drive line and axles (pinion angle, front length, caster angle and shock mounts etc).

The motor is in the original position within the frame. But with the T-18 and Dana replacing the Peugeot and NP231 can you think of any issues I might face other than transmission mount and shifter placement to tub hole mods? I know that when someone drops the skid plat it makes the engine/tranny/t-case tilt down in the back. I am assuming that since I am starting fresh and will be addressing axle pinion angle in the axle build that I should work to get the engine/tranny/t-case level in the frame versus tilted in any one direction.


I know the jeep needs to be weighted when doing all of this but will having just the engine/tranny/tcase in there be enough or do I need to put tub and front clip on as well.

I have enjoyed reading the builds over the last year or so and am glad to now be able to contribute.
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Unread 06-18-2015, 06:27 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Marietta, Ga
Posts: 1,375
I have a 77 Waggy front axle as well. I have a wider axle, but the spring perches are in the same place. I would keep the width of the 77. Every inch counts when it comes to stability on the road. I used an out board kit from Blue Torch Fab. It indexes off the body mounts and is very easy to install. I may have some old pics I can send you. I have gone to links and CO due to frame rot.
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Unread 06-18-2015, 06:53 AM   #4
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1982 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 111
Thanks some Pics would be nice.

I understand out-boarding the leaf springs when you are trying to put a waggy axle under a CJ-7 but in the wrangler frame the out-boarding would only be 1/2" each side due to frame width on YJ being wider than the CJ. I am not sure that this effort would not be better spent on cutting and turning the axle so even though the track width would be 1" less the pinion and caster angle could be optimized.

I am interested in seeing what you are talking about though.
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Unread 07-21-2015, 08:21 AM   #5
Jeremiah 33:3
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: asheville, nc
Posts: 741
It's coming together. Looking good. Don't forget to upgrade those rear shock mounts. Those "pockets" are rust spots. I also prefer front shock hoops over the stock yj towers
1987 YJ, Toy & Hobby. Tinker Thread
1987 Frankenstein Street Queen. Build Thread

Phillipians 3:20 - "For our citizenship is in Heaven..."

My President is Jesus
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Unread 07-21-2015, 10:40 AM   #6
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: brantford, ontario
Posts: 775
I haven't done this my self, but I have read in other forums that some people don't cut down the axle tubes they just move the perch on one side and they don't care about the axle being shifted over 1 inch, especially when it's for more of an off road rig then on road, just a thought, on mine I used a different front axle that is wider then yours and I just out boarded the springs
its a rusty one

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