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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:22 PM   #1
jpd1899
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The Basics of Axles

So, I'm getting ready to dive into a frame-up restoration. I'm starting at the axles and working my way up. I've plowed through a bunch of articles about gearing, replacing, swapping. Heads a little cloudy and honestly a little overwhelmed

I need a BASIC overview of what to do--I have a AMC 20 rear and a Dana 30 front.

I brushed off the tag on the front Differential houseing and had these #'s on it
Top- 5356101
Bottom 3 54 46

1. Gear Ratio is 3.54 Correct? The rear should be the same?

2. What I really want to know is--Since my axles are old, what do I need to do to make sure they are in good working order?
Change Bearings? Seals? Anything else? I know the How Do I . . . questions have been asked before, I am just trying to narrow down what I need to focus on/research/figure out and what is optional upgrading items.

One last thing-
I don't plan on doing any extreme offroading, trails, occasional mud and holes--Is the rear one piece conversion overkill for me?

Thanks for the feed back.

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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:40 PM   #2
26679cj5
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there are some good threads on here about rebuilding axles, but my suggestion is to order the book "Differentials: Identification, Restoration, and Repair" from amazon.com. I just got it the other day and it is probably the single best source on rebuilding axles that you'll ever see. It's by Randy Lyman,the guy who owns Randy's Ring and Pinion.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:44 PM   #3
Arcticcat843
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on one hand, they are kinda throw away axles IMHO. You can buy a new set CHEAP. So really its not worth tearing them all down the rebuilding them.

However if you plan to keep them and are going to tear them apart anyways i would probably replace the seals (axles and pinion) and check the bearings just for piece of mind. As long as there is no contaminates in your oil then i dout your bearing are going to need replacing. Just pull it apart and check it out, if there is alot of slop anywhere then replace what needs it.

do you have a v8? i wouldnt say oil piece shafts are overkill even on a 6cyl but on a V8 jeep especially on anything that is putting some descent power down i woudl HIGHY recommend them.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:52 PM   #4
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Oh i just realized you where talking about the front too.....There are a few more items up there that you can check out. I guess it just depends on what you want to spend. if i would going to completely go though a D30 i would do seals (axles and pinion) u joints, wheel bearings, ball joints, and lockouts. Again, as long as there isnt chunks of metal floating around in your diff fluid your carrier bearing should be ok but you can check them.

Ball joints are checked by jacking up the jeep and grabbing the tire at the top and bottom and push in and out. If there is any slop then they are bad. Always check the passenger side first, generally that is the first side to wear out.

Wheel bearings are fairly cheap so i would just do them to be safe, then if its a old axle that hasnt been used alot i would DEFF do the u joints, it will save you alot of time and money in the long run, one of them lets go and besides buying a new u joint you are probally buying new inner and outer shafts. (Trust me this happened to with with a set of 400 dollar alloy shafts lol)

Hubs probally dont NEED to be replaced but if its a old crappy axle that hasnt been used much they are probally going to be hard to turn and look like crap. but if they work then its probally no big deal, there isnt much to wear out in them.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:52 PM   #5
jpd1899
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I am really trying to figure out the best $$$ way to go. What ever I don't have to go out and buy (new axles) I can put into things I don't have. That's why I'm trying to figure out what needs to be done to best judge the $$/time.

And no just dealing with the 258 under the hood.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 09:57 PM   #6
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what size tires are you going to run? the stock cj axles are far from throw away with 35's or less. if youre not going to do hardcore offroading, then they are fine in stock configuration.

if you are ever in a situation of replacing a rear axle or are just taking it apart for whatever reason and have the spare cash,then you deffinitely want to replace it with single piece. you can weld the tubes to the pumpkin also with 4 short welds on each tube to prevent them from spinning in the housing.

the front is ok in stock form. there are heavy duty kits out there for shaft upgrades but then youre ring and pinion become the weak link and youre better off busting an axle or ujoint than blowing up your ring and pinion.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 10:05 PM   #7
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Probably gonna run 33's with a 2.5-3" lift? Haven't really researched it that much so I don't have a firm idea yet. They will more than likely be under 35's

Well, the front axle will have to be replaced? When I was cleaning it up a few months ago, I saw there was a crack in the differential housing. I figure rather than clean weld, swap everything over, it would be easier to find a gently used front with the right gear ratio.

BTW-The numbers on the differential tag
Top- 5356101
Bottom 3 54 46

1. Gear Ratio is 3.54 Correct? The rear should be the same? Pretty sure the PO didn't do any upgrades.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 10:06 PM   #8
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what i meant by throw away is if they where to break (no matter on tire size or power) you can pick up a set cheap. (ive seen sets going for 150ish) So its not work putting a bunch of money into them. You can just buy a new one if something was to break.
Like say you break a front u joint and it kills both axle shaft, you could buy a entire new axle for cheaper than 2 shafts and a u joint would cost.

I realize some people would like to build something and have the stock axles under it to keep it original and stuff, then there are people that just cant handle doing a axle swap....that would be different of course....

Im not knocking the strength of stock axles at all, actually i think they are descent. My dad has a 360 rumored to be around 400 horse, with 35s and a all steal body big heavy bumpers and a heavy right foot and his axles are all stock exept for a 1 piece shaft and he has never had a problem with them yet.
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Unread 06-29-2009, 10:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpd1899 View Post
Well, the front axle will have to be replaced? When I was cleaning it up a few months ago, I saw there was a crack in the differential housing. I figure rather than clean weld, swap everything over, it would be easier to find a gently used front with the right gear ratio.

BTW-The numbers on the differential tag
Top- 5356101
Bottom 3 54 46

1. Gear Ratio is 3.54 Correct? The rear should be the same? Pretty sure the PO didn't do any upgrades.
3.54 sounds right to me.....but i dont really know about decoding those....You can count the teeth on your ring gear and divide it by the number of teeth on your pinion to get the ratio if you want to make sure....
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Unread 06-29-2009, 10:19 PM   #10
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yeah if your housing is cracked then just find you an entirely new axle and use the old one for parts.
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Unread 06-30-2009, 09:39 AM   #11
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Quote:
Ball joints are checked by jacking up the jeep and grabbing the tire at the top and bottom and push in and out. If there is any slop then they are bad. Always check the passenger side first, generally that is the first side to wear out.
This type of slop could also be caused by bad wheel bearings or improperly adjusted hubs couldn't it?
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Unread 06-30-2009, 09:50 AM   #12
Arcticcat843
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Well, i guess yes it could be either, id say if you feel any slop at all in then then its time to inspect father. Every time ive done ball joint i did it that way, then you could actually see the knuckles shifting a bit. Thats how i knew it was ball joints not wheel bearings.
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