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Unread 09-30-2014, 11:51 PM   #1
DLord5
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1966 CJ5 
 
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Location: Vail, Arizona
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CJ5 Axle Swap

Hi all! I want to put a Dana 30 into my '66 cj5, which currently has the Dana 27. Has anyone else done this swap? I would like to know if the steering can be made to work with the 30, or if I can change it to the one out of my '74. I would also like to know if I have to change anything with the brakes.

Thanks in advance!
1966 cj5, Dana 27 front, Dana 44 rear
1974 cj5, Dana 30 front, Dana 44 rear

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Unread 10-01-2014, 06:01 AM   #2
colojeepguy
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1970 CJ5 
 
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Both the Dana 30 and the Saginaw steering are common swaps on an early CJ.
The axle swap isn't too complicated, but the steering swap is more involved. You need to make a mount for the box, install a different column, and run a shaft between the two. Use the drag link & tie rod for the 30.
Lots of steering pics here- http://www.earlycj5.net/forums/showt...ease-add-yours!!
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Unread 10-01-2014, 08:06 AM   #3
DLord5
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Thanks for your reply! The Dana 30 I have currently is centered to run with my T15 and Dana 20, The 27 is offset. How would I get around that? I thought about swapping my entire drive train, but was told that it wasn't a good idea to put my AMC 304 into an early cj because the frame couldn't handle it... Is this true? I guess if I am going as far as to re-mount my gearbox then strengthening the frame is just the next step...
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Unread 10-01-2014, 08:48 AM   #4
jeepdaddy2000
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Please update your profile so we know what your working with.
Both the 30 and the 27 drop on the same side, so that is a non issue.
You can use the original column if you want. You will have to cut it outside the firewall and install a thrust washer and u joint to route the shaft to the steering box. Otherwise you there are a number of different columns that you can install.
The original Ross steering is poor at best, but if you decide to keep it, you will need to upgrade to a single tie rod and drag link, as well as rebuild both the bellcrank and box, as they are most likely worn and sloppy.
If your running the V6, there isn't a better engine to use. The 4 is a bit anemic, but is serviceable. Since the early CJ's are shorter, a V8 swap will entail cutting the grill in order to mount the radiator. If you are serious about upgrading the engine, I would suggest a Buick or Chevy V6 due to it's availability and size.
The frame will handle the load, the issue is the area around the fixed spring hangers. The C channel flexes and frame cracks in this area are common. Check yours for this issue. If it is cracked, it can be repaired by welding and fish scaling.
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Unread 10-01-2014, 01:41 PM   #5
CSP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLord5 View Post
Thanks for your reply! The Dana 30 I have currently is centered to run with my T15 and Dana 20, The 27 is offset. How would I get around that? I thought about swapping my entire drive train, but was told that it wasn't a good idea to put my AMC 304 into an early cj because the frame couldn't handle it... Is this true? I guess if I am going as far as to re-mount my gearbox then strengthening the frame is just the next step...
You have several things mixed up here. The 304 won't fit in the 66 engine compartment. It has nothing to do with the frame. The CJ that the 304 is in now has an open C-channel frame as well.

The front axles are always offset. It's the later CJs rear axle that's centered.

My suggestion when wanting to swap parts from different eras of CJs is to look at the parts you're considering swapping side by side to see what's different visually first before asking what to do. Bust out a tape measure and get dimensions of mounting points etc. while you're there.
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Unread 10-01-2014, 01:59 PM   #6
DLord5
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Yeah, I have the two jeeps next to each other, but like a dork I only was looking at the rear axles and thinking the fronts were the same. I thought the problem was with the frame only, but I looked at the other thread and re-read what was said. This is my plan... I want to swap out the Dana 27 for my 30, and I now see that I will not have to change the trans, so that's cool. I also want to do something with the steering, but there I have no idea how to go about it. I will probably just leave it all the same and rebuild the steering because it is very sloppy. Can you tell me where to find the single tie rod to upgrade the steering? I have looked online, but am having no luck.
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Unread 10-01-2014, 04:39 PM   #7
colojeepguy
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You can fit a 304 in an early CJ if you really want to....there's LOTS of them with small block Fords or Chevys in them that are roughly the same size. But I agree with the above poster who recommended a V6, either Buick or Chevy....that's a better choice.
If you're swapping a Dana 30 & keeping the stock Ross steering, you'll use the stock tie rod from the 30, & you'll need a custom length drag link from the bellcrank to the axle.
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Unread 10-01-2014, 06:42 PM   #8
CSP
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Google results:


https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...5+dana+30+swap
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Unread 10-01-2014, 11:21 PM   #9
DLord5
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You all have been excellent!! Thank you very much for the information. I have a whole lot to chew on...
Thanks again!!!
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Unread 10-02-2014, 06:08 AM   #10
hotrod351
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ive been running a dana 25 in front of my 55 M38A1 for 25 + years, with a 350 sbc, it also has a power-loc, never had any problems in highway or extreme off roading.
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Unread 10-02-2014, 03:35 PM   #11
DLord5
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That is very cool! For now I am leaving everything alone and just rebuilding my bellcrank steering, it is sloppy!! I plan on having this thing for a long time, so I can change things as I go, if I need to.
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Unread 10-03-2014, 05:08 AM   #12
jeepdaddy2000
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The biggest issues the 25 and 27 have is when one tire comes off the ground under power. The shock load when the tire comes down is usually what does them in. If your going to keep one of these front ends under the Jeep, I recommend a Powr Lok front diff to help keep the shock load down. It will also provide better traction.

Fixing the Ross steering is fine, however, a swap to a single tie rod is a huge upgrade. If your thinking of a lift, the steering must be swapped over to the later Saginaw system. Otherwise the angle of the drag link will force the bellcrank up and down vertically, causing the bearings to go and even the frame to crack at the mount bolt.
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Unread 10-03-2014, 12:38 PM   #13
DLord5
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With this jeep I am just using it as a family trail rig, no crazy off road/rock crawling stuff. I decided to keep my '74 for that purpose and build it accordingly. For the single tie rod, I would use the one out of a Dana 30, right?
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Unread 10-03-2014, 12:40 PM   #14
DLord5
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Nevermind, cooljeepguy answered that one for me already. Thanks for the advice!
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