Front hub conversion using junkyard parts - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-06-2016, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Front hub conversion using junkyard parts

As requested in another thread, I will attempt to do a write up of how I did a front hub conversion on my YJ using about 95% junkyard parts.

First off I will come out and say I am not very good at write ups, and I am not very good at taking pictures. Most of the time I get caught up in the work and just forget to take pictures. So if the write up is lacking, I'm sorry.

I have seen some people say a hub conversion is not worth the money "just the stop the front axle from spinning". Well that is only one of the benefits. It's not just the stop the front axle from spinning. It's also to get rid of the unit bearings, and also have lockouts. With lockouts, if you break a front axle shaft, you can unlock the hubs and drive home ok. With unit bearings, it's not that easy.
Also maintenance. With a hub conversion, you get real wheel bearings where you can service them. You can remove the hub, wash out the bearings, inspect, re grease and reinstall. Plus, when the time comes and you need new wheel bearings, they are a fraction of the cost of a new unit bearing.

Lastly, with my conversion, you are also gaining larger and better brakes. And, a high steer arm on the passenger side (thanks to WJ knuckles) So it's a win-win if you want my opinion. I wouldn't have done it if it had no benefit.


Ok, so here we go.
Let's start with the list of parts you will need from the junkard. Some parts can be bought new (I will mention which ones I bought new)

From a TJ, XJ, or ZJ: Later model one piece inner shafts with the larger 5-297x u-joints. I got mine from a 97 or 98 ZJ.

From a 99-04 WJ: Steering knuckles.

From a 77-79 ford F150 4WD (dana 44):
Outer axle shafts, spindles, wheel bearings, and wheel hubs.
I was having a hard time finding good used spindles, so I opted to buy new from a company called durasolid.

From a 99-06 chevy 1500 (also tahoe and suburban) front brake calipers and mounting bolts.

From a 00-01 dodge 4WD 1500: Brake rotors. (I bought these new)


Now for all the dirty work, making everything fit.
Nothing needs to be done to the axle shafts other than putting the ford D44 outer shafts onto the stock jeep inner shafts. They both use 5-297x u-joints. I bought new u-joints.
The ford spindles are actually really not far from being able to fit in the WJ knuckles. I took the spindles and a knuckle to a local machine shop and had them machine down the ford spindle to be a snug slip fit into the WJ knuckle and then had them drill new holes to match the WJ knuckle bolt pattern.
Now there are 5 holes in the ford spindles, but there is one way you can rotate the spindle to where none of the new holes will overlap the old holes.
Pictures:






Now you will need a 1/8 inch shim to go between the spindle and the knuckle to get the u-joint center line to be inline with the ball joints. I had a pair cut out by a local laser cutting company. But a plasma cutting company could do the same thing to.

Now to save lots of searching, mockup, testing and prototyping steps, I will simply skip ahead to what else needs to be done to make everything work.
You will need to disassemble the calipers and cut a little off the mounting brackets to clear the spindle. You will also need to cut a little off the spindle to clear the caliper.
First picture is the stock caliper bracket. 2nd is the modded one. Last is the clearance cut on the spindle and why you need to cut it all.








Ok, now on to the rotors. The stock ford dana 44 has the rotors behind the hub. I wanted them to slip over the hub like stock jeep does. So take the dodge rotors and open up the center hole until it slips over the hub and sets flush. (trusty machine shop again). Now the stock ford lug studs will not work. But I did find, of all things, the stock YJ front lug studs do. So simply press them out of the stock unit bearings and press them into the ford hubs.

Now the fun of joining the chevy calipers to the jeep knuckle with the dodge rotors. You will need to make a new bracket to bolt to the WJ knuckle, and then to the chevy calipers. I first made prototypes out of plywood until I got it right, then took careful measurements and had some plate cut out by a local laser cutting company.
I was able to get the measurement for the caliper bolts, but not the exact location of the knuckle bolts until I had it mocked up on the work bench. You will need to clearance the bracket some in the center right next to the knuckle to clear it. I'm sorry but I didn't get a picture of the completed bracket. But I did get one of it as it was when I got it from the laser cutters.
Plate is 3/8in thick.



Now this is when I got lazy and stopped taking pictures. I had too much to do and didn't feel like stopping to take pictures during the install. But there is not really much to it. Just follow the 100's of write ups on the net for swapping in a one piece shaft into a YJ. Then swap the knuckles for the WJ ones. Make sure you use WJ ball joints as the lower one has a different taper than the stock YJ ones.
A few other odds and ends:
I bought new spindle bearings and seals, no point reusing old ones.
I used the stock size bolts for attaching the spindle to the knuckle, and the caliper bracket to the knuckle.
Spindle to knuckle: M12x1.75, 90mm long, grade 12.9 flange bolt.
Caliper bracket to knuckle: M12x1.75, 50mm long, grade 12.9 flange bolt.
Nuts are M12x1.75 hardened flange nuts.
I also used 1 ton TRE and steering kit from parts mike.
I topped the hubs off with a nice set of vintage spicer lockouts I restored and painted. These hubs are what the new yukon lockouts are a copy of.
These brakes are 12in rotors, and the calipers are larger than WJ calipers, but clear 15 inch wheels better. The chevy calipers have dual 51mm pistons, where the WJ had dual 48mm pistons. So the chevy calipers will have greater surface area and clamping force on the pads.

I took these pictures the other day, after driving it for about 4 months and around 700 miles.









Caliper to wheel clearance:




If your wondering, yes, this converts the YJ to 5 on 5.5in bolt pattern. For the rear, I installed a yukon super 8.8 kit which has dual drilled shafts.
I measured the front after the conversion and WMS to WMS is now roughly 63 inches.


'93 YJ 4.6L stroker, AX-15, NP-231HD/SYE, 8.8in rear, OME 2.5 lift, home made front hub conversion, hydroboost. Warn M10000 winch.

'79 Cherokee Chief, 401 MPFI fuel injection, T-18/D-20 and hydroboost. Otherwise stock.

Last edited by Cobra Jeep; 04-29-2018 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Photobucket sucks
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-06-2016, 12:53 PM
Sprungover
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Very nice. What do you estimate you have in the conversion?

1989 YJ, 1977 CJ-7
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-06-2016, 03:51 PM
Joe Dillard
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Very nicely done!

Have you swapped in a dual diaphragm master & booster yet?
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-06-2016, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Dillard View Post
Very nicely done!

Have you swapped in a dual diaphragm master & booster yet?
I am running hydroboost.
That brings up a good point though. These calipers are much larger than stock. Your not going to want to run a stock YJ master cylinder, it's not gonna move enough fluid. A master cylinder upgrade is a must.

I also did this to the 8.8, giving me bigger brakes back there too.
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/b...8-8-a-2803706/

Here is my hydroboost setup.
https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/h...rsion-1457193/

As far as cost. I honestly have no idea, as I never kept up with it. I have been working on, and gathering parts for this swap for several years now.

'93 YJ 4.6L stroker, AX-15, NP-231HD/SYE, 8.8in rear, OME 2.5 lift, home made front hub conversion, hydroboost. Warn M10000 winch.

'79 Cherokee Chief, 401 MPFI fuel injection, T-18/D-20 and hydroboost. Otherwise stock.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-06-2016, 05:20 PM
Joe Dillard
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Again, very nice stuff & looks killer too.

At some point I need to do hydroboost on my junker. I run a '95 YJ booster & Dodge 2500 master & it's barely enough stopping power for the front D60 calipers. The back 14B discs & calipers are a conversion kit I got from a guy on Pirate. They are basically 2500 discs & calipers. My brakes are nowhere near as good as they were when I ran the 16" Vanco kit.

Funny thing is - I've installed hydroboost on a number of TJ's & LJ's but haven't gotten around to doing it on my own pig.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-06-2016, 05:36 PM
Steve707
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5-760x are compatible with 5-297 right? Thank you very much for this write up. How far off was the f150 lug pattern? I thought they were 5x5.5 as well.

I'm also curious if you still needed the 1/4" spacer normally needed for the wj knuckle swap, or if it'll be in the way if it's already there.
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-07-2016, 07:23 AM
TSEJEEPERS
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Nice job and thanks for the write up.
Mods this would make a good sticky!

93 YJ SOA 2" springs front, XJ springs rear w/main leaf added, High pinon 9 inch rear detroit locker front Dana 44 ARB 4.56 Gears, 36 inch Irok tires too much to list.
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-07-2016, 09:51 AM
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Maybe I missed it but what do you have invested in the whole thing?

.
"The right to be heard does not necessarily include the right to be taken seriously." —Hubert Humphrey
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-07-2016, 10:42 AM
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I'm not sure if you would know the answer to this, but would you be able to take the spindle and bolt it to the YJ outer C, and use the YJ brake caliper and rotor? Also looking at the pics I wondered if the conversion added any width to your front axle. Great write up!

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post #10 of 18 Old 03-07-2016, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbolty View Post
maybe i missed it but what do you have invested in the whole thing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra jeep View Post
as far as cost. I honestly have no idea, as i never kept up with it. I have been working on, and gathering parts for this swap for several years now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 89yjparrothead View Post
Also looking at the pics i wondered if the conversion added any width to your front axle. Great write up!
Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra jeep View Post
if your wondering, yes, this converts the yj to 5 on 5.5in bolt pattern. For the rear, i installed a yukon super 8.8 kit which has dual drilled shafts.
I measured the front after the conversion and wms to wms is now roughly 63 inches.
calpbs likes this.

1989 YJ, 1977 CJ-7
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post #11 of 18 Old 03-07-2016, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve707 View Post
I'm also curious if you still needed the 1/4" spacer normally needed for the wj knuckle swap, or if it'll be in the way if it's already there.
If you already have the 1/4in spacers welded to the knuckles like you would do for a normal WJ swap, then you can not use those knuckles for this swap. Your best bet would be to get another set of knuckles from the junkyard.





Quote:
Originally Posted by 89yjparrothead View Post
I'm not sure if you would know the answer to this, but would you be able to take the spindle and bolt it to the YJ outer C, and use the YJ brake caliper and rotor?
Most likely no.

'93 YJ 4.6L stroker, AX-15, NP-231HD/SYE, 8.8in rear, OME 2.5 lift, home made front hub conversion, hydroboost. Warn M10000 winch.

'79 Cherokee Chief, 401 MPFI fuel injection, T-18/D-20 and hydroboost. Otherwise stock.
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post #12 of 18 Old 03-07-2016, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra Jeep View Post
If you already have the 1/4in spacers welded to the knuckles like you would do for a normal WJ swap, then you can not use those knuckles for this swap. Your best bet would be to get another set of knuckles from the junkyard.
Alright, thank you.
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-08-2016, 06:52 AM
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Thank you!

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post #14 of 18 Old 03-09-2016, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89yjparrothead View Post
I'm not sure if you would know the answer to this, but would you be able to take the spindle and bolt it to the YJ outer C, and use the YJ brake caliper and rotor? Also looking at the pics I wondered if the conversion added any width to your front axle. Great write up!
The hub is too large to be able to use the original rotor, that is why you have to go to a larger lug pattern.

93 YJ SOA 2" springs front, XJ springs rear w/main leaf added, High pinon 9 inch rear detroit locker front Dana 44 ARB 4.56 Gears, 36 inch Irok tires too much to list.
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-17-2016, 06:15 PM
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Wow, just wow...i mechaniched for years, but only on stock 4X4's and the mods i am reading about r amazing to me. I have the procomp coil spring conversion( not by choice, but through being scammed by crooked shop) and i am doing some form of knuckle swap trying to get TRE and draglink ckearances. Just great werk...bravo!

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