Hey ya'll....here's another chapter in my picture essay for working on my '98 TJ....I started this in a topic back around thanksgiving....then a few weeks later I added some more.
Both of the below topics are long in text with a whole bunch of pictures....it's way too much, but a few folks seemed to enjoy it....and my dad likes to read it too. If you don't feel like reading them, I reported on purchasing some swap axles for a stock TJ dana 35/dana30 with 3.07 gears. I put a rubicon TJ rear dana 44 and a front '99 XJ high pinion dana 30, both with factory 4.10 gears, in my garage while I collected other modification parts. The second chapter was about installing a belly-up skid and the body lift, motor mounts, slip-yoke eliminator kit.
my axles for swap essay
my belly up skid essay
Here's a picture of the low profile Teraflex belly-up skid installed...I didn't get this picture into the previous story.
So now I will pull the rear dana 35 axle out. I'm a easy sell when reading the internet chatter and accepting other opinions without much first-hand experience. Forums like this one will have you convinced you can't ride a dirt road with the factory dana 35 rear end. I wanted to purchase a used TJ with a factory dana 44 rear but I didn't find one in a clean, unmodified jeep. I could have kept looking but I found a jeep I liked for it's other qualities and bought it. Since I knew I wanted to run a larger tire diameter, I was faced with regearing the axles. And I had installed lockers in my KJ liberty and knew I would eventually go that route again. So I adhered to the advice of not investing more money into the dana 35 rear. I would have been money ahead if I had kept looking for a jeep with a dana 44 rear axle. But I would still have had to regear and I would still have rear drum brakes. I had lessons to learn and I'm happy with what I have.
Working on the rear of the jeep......
I left the front end on the ground on tires....jacked up the rear and supported the frame on harbor freight 6 ton stands....you need the height of the stands, not the weight rating. I also have some 3 ton stands which are useful for supporting the axle tubes. I was several days into my vacation now and some of the anxiety of tearing up a perfectly good jeep was now past....and my box of empty beer bottles was starting to be respectable.
Taking things apart is usually easy if you have a common selection of wrenches and sockets. I tried to take my time and made an effort to commit to memory things I thought might be important when it was time to reassemble. I took some pictures along the way, but as usual I missed taking pictures of some steps. I had pulled the rear hitch and bumper, because I will be replacing the bumper.
The rear axle is positioned by four control arms. Two lower arms set the wheel base and two upper arms set the tilt angle of the pinion/driveshaft. A axle track bar centers the left/right. Two shock absorbers and springs and a sway bar control the ride. A single flexible brake hose connects to a T junction on the driver side axle tube. A good floor jack makes it easy to remove the axle by yourself. I planned to advertise the dana 35 and hoped to recover some cash by selling it. After a couple months on local forums and craigs list, I still have this thing in my garage....which is a disappointment.
Before I install the replacement axle, I will drop the gas tank and factory skid. The fuel line is pressurized and connects up near the rear shock mount. Pull the fuel pump relay from the power distrubution box and crank the engine to clear the fuel from the line. Centered in this picture are the electrical and mechanical connections that have to be detached.
When I installed the body lift kit, I had detached the fuel fill hose at the fuel cap bezel on the rear quarter panel. When you lower the gas tank, you have to help guide the fuel fill hose out from underneath. It also helps to have a near empty tank so that when the gas sloshes, it won't knock the tank off the jack.
The fuel pump assembly fits in the top center of the plastic tank. There are some left and right hoses that have to do with roll-over safety.
The tank is cradled in a sheet metal support skid and strapped across the top. The metal skid bolts to the bottom of the jeep. With the axle out, it was very easy to remove everything.
This is a Kilby brand gas tank skid that will replace the factory skid. My jeep friends have a high regard for the Kilby products.