ZJ driveline in a CJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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ZJ driveline in a CJ

Hello, I'm new to the Jeep community and figured this would be the best place to get answers. I have a 84 cj7 304 with i believe a 904 tranny and as far as i know, stock everything as far as axles and suspension. The springs are flipped to the top of the axles is about the only suspension mods i can see. Also im running 35x15.50 tsl-sx tires. I'm new to Jeeps so my knowledge is pretty limited as to what im looking at so far. I inherited the Jeep from a friend that passed away. Got it running and put the tires on and thats about it. I love the Jeep and want to make it as good as i can (afford). I also have a 96 grand cherokee v8 quadratrac and an extra with the same stats that is totaled but the driveline is still perfect, which leads me to the question i have.

Can I put the ZJ suspension and driveline under a cj7 or at least axles tranny and transfer case since they are quite a bit better from what i understand than the what is under there now. From what i know so far the v8 ZJs used dana 44A and have 3.73s and i would like to have the coil over instead of the old leafs. Im aware that the dif is on the wrong side so i pretty much need the whole drive line to make this happen properly or am i dreaming up a frankenstein that is too much work to make happen. Thanks for any help

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post #2 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 01:49 PM
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You can do anything with the right tools, knowledge, or money to let someone else do it. Do you have one or all of those things?

The D44a is a POS, so scrap that idea. You'd be much better off with a Ford 8.8 or something along those lines.

Personally I see a lot of effort for little gains. I'd much rather leave the driveline as it is other than the axles and put the effort needed for the ZJ suspension into a custom double-trianglulated four link in the back and spring over on leaf springs in the front.

BTW, ZJ's ride on coils, not coil-overs. Big difference in tunability, expense, and ride quality.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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well i had the parts so i thought it would be a cheaper way to upgrade, but like i said im new to the jeeps so... If the gains are minimal for that much work ill just do the one thing at a time method. Ive heard a lot of bad about the whole driveline except the 304 and i didnt want to break anything if i could keep from it. What is a good tranny upgrade, axles, etc
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 02:35 PM
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Your CJ did not come with a 304 from the factory and a 904 would be a 4-cyl CJ application (if you actually have a 904).

Being that it is a Frankenstein, we're really going to need you to positively identify all your drivetrain components before anyone can advise you what to do.

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post #5 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 84ZJ7 View Post
well i had the parts so i thought it would be a cheaper way to upgrade,
First and worst mistake of many swaps gone wrong. Never assume that just because you have something already it's the best candidate for a swap. Converting a CJ7 to run the ZJ coil sprung suspension would not be a simple task. In fact it would rate about a 10 on my "things I would not want to attempt-o-meter." Suspension geometry is not for the shadetree mechanic.

The best modification you could do to your CJ7 is install one-piece axles in your rear AMC20 and call it good. The rest of the drivetrain is plenty stout enough and if it runs good I wouldn't even consider swapping the 304. You should probably consider a re-gear at some point as well, since your stock ratio is probably 2.73 or if you're lucky 3.31, neither of which is anywhere near low enough for your 35" tires.

So are you going to change your username if you don't swap these driveline parts?
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Understandable that I would have to identify parts to know the proper upgrade. I'll try to see what I can figure out. Thanks for the advice.

I wouldn't even attempt to do the suspension myself. I'm pretty handy with a wrench, but I know when I'm over my head. I have some friends that would take care of that department. I have no intention of getting rid of the 304 if I didn't have to. Wasn't sure if I needed to use the 318 with the rest of the ZJ setup and that wouldve been the only reason I would think about it. I am a muscle car guy and I've always preferred not to crossbreed. I have a 70 olds cutlass and hear all the time about how I should put a BBC under the hood. I just reply that it's a cutlass not a chevelle. That being said I know that jeeps are a whole other animal. I want to stay as AMC as I can but I know I'll probably have to use other parts as well. I hope to get as good at jeeps as I am at cars (better actually) I like jeeps more just never had one til now.

As for the screen name I'm not sure what I'll change to....
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-19-2010, 03:38 PM
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CSP already mentioned this above, but to elaborate a bit, the ZJ Dana 44 rear is crap. It uses an aluminum housing and has all sorts of issues with bearing failure and next to zero aftermarket support. I would consider it much worse than your stock AMC 20.
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