To rebuild or to swap, that is the question - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 27 Old 06-12-2020, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
thechainrule
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Question To rebuild or to swap, that is the question

So I just learned that pretty much everything that is associated with the front axle in some way is in need of replacement:
Steering rack
Steering axle (prop)
Ball joints
CV boots
Control arms
Universal joints
The rear situation isnt much better either

I have a 2000 WJ with the Quadratrac II and the question I am now asking is: is it time do a full axle swap to the nicer, high pinion, varilok version from the JY or just rebuild whats there? I'd love to get rid of the rezeppa front drive shaft, and varilok if I can, but I'm trying to keep the costs under $1000 for everything, including the steering fix if at all possible. Can anyone help me with the following questions:
  1. Which axle and driveshaft to look for at the junkyard?
  2. Will I need to compress the springs to get the axle out?
  3. Given that everything is old as hell and likely stuck together, is a full axle swap actually the easier job to do since I can refurbish the joints and linkages before going under the car?


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post #2 of 27 Old 06-12-2020, 06:14 PM
speednjay
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If your pretty handy with tools a lot of those things listed aren’t that hard or expensive to change out. Do you mean the steering gear box? Wj doesn’t have a rack. Either way it’s not overly difficult to replace that. I would replace everything that needs it
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post #3 of 27 Old 06-12-2020, 07:24 PM
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Im 99% positive they are all low pinion. XJs got HP30 but not WJ. Personally I'd just fix it. At least you know what needs to be replaced and it will be new. Swapping is just buying time.

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post #4 of 27 Old 06-12-2020, 11:09 PM
coldspit47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechainrule View Post
So I just learned that pretty much everything that is associated with the front axle in some way is in need of replacement:
Steering rack
Steering axle (prop)
Ball joints
CV boots
Control arms
Universal joints
The rear situation isnt much better either

I have a 2000 WJ with the Quadratrac II and the question I am now asking is: is it time do a full axle swap to the nicer, high pinion, varilok version from the JY or just rebuild whats there? I'd love to get rid of the rezeppa front drive shaft, and varilok if I can, but I'm trying to keep the costs under $1000 for everything, including the steering fix if at all possible. Can anyone help me with the following questions:
  1. Which axle and driveshaft to look for at the junkyard?
  2. Will I need to compress the springs to get the axle out?
  3. Given that everything is old as hell and likely stuck together, is a full axle swap actually the easier job to do since I can refurbish the joints and linkages before going under the car?
Not sure what you mean by steering axle (prop)...

The rest of it is actually pretty easy if you have the tools and the gumption to do it. Ball joints you'll need a u-joint press with a D30/D44 adapter and a slide hammer (or other suitable way of removing the axle shafts) but it's straight forward. CV you may as well replace the whole joint if the boot is bad, and it's easiest to just do the whole shaft at once. Control arms can be persnickety but with a few ratchet straps and some patience you can knock it out. U-joints are easy, especially if you bought (or rented from your local parts store) the u-joint press. If you go the swap route, you'll spend just as much - if not more - money than you would on fixing what you have. Swapping the rzeppa shaft can be done regardless of your axle relatively cheaply (I paid $100 for my driveshaft and $70 for the TC yoke). Also pretty sure no WJs came with HP, and they're not expecially "plug-n-play". I'm seeing between $600 and $650 at rockauto pre-shipping, including core costs. Add about $250 for a driveshaft swap (assuming you need both yokes) and you're still within the $1k margin you were shooting for, plus you'll get about $100-120 back as core charge.

04 WJ NV242, IRO 3in, bilsteins, IRO adj UCAs/LCAs/A arm, 265/75/16 Laufenn Xfit, 4.56 gears
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post #5 of 27 Old 06-13-2020, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
thechainrule
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeyyank View Post
Im 99% positive they are all low pinion. XJs got HP30 but not WJ. Personally I'd just fix it. At least you know what needs to be replaced and it will be new. Swapping is just buying time.
Yeah. If i grabbed a new axle I would refurbish everything before swapping it in. It seems like some guys swap out the 30 for a 44 but I am not sure what donor cars I should be looking for at the JY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speednjay View Post
If your pretty handy with tools a lot of those things listed aren’t that hard or expensive to change out. Do you mean the steering gear box? Wj doesn’t have a rack. Either way it’s not overly difficult to replace that. I would replace everything that needs it
Sorry I meant the steering gear box. Ideally, the box, the arm, and the input shaft from the steering wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coldspit47 View Post
Not sure what you mean by steering axle (prop)...

The rest of it is actually pretty easy if you have the tools and the gumption to do it. Ball joints you'll need a u-joint press with a D30/D44 adapter and a slide hammer (or other suitable way of removing the axle shafts) but it's straight forward. CV you may as well replace the whole joint if the boot is bad, and it's easiest to just do the whole shaft at once. Control arms can be persnickety but with a few ratchet straps and some patience you can knock it out. U-joints are easy, especially if you bought (or rented from your local parts store) the u-joint press. If you go the swap route, you'll spend just as much - if not more - money than you would on fixing what you have. Swapping the rzeppa shaft can be done regardless of your axle relatively cheaply (I paid $100 for my driveshaft and $70 for the TC yoke). Also pretty sure no WJs came with HP, and they're not expecially "plug-n-play". I'm seeing between $600 and $650 at rockauto pre-shipping, including core costs. Add about $250 for a driveshaft swap (assuming you need both yokes) and you're still within the $1k margin you were shooting for, plus you'll get about $100-120 back as core charge.
Referring to the shaft from the steering wheel to the gearbox itself. Did you purchase your axle parts from the JY or all from rockauto? If RA, can you pass

I do have the gumption to do it, and have actually replaced the CV joints and front bearings before, but I don't have all of the tools necessary for the job. I plan on renting a press for the ball joints,and buying a beefy impact driver. I think I can rent a lift at a local moto guild here in Chicago to do all of this work next weekend (fingers crossed).
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post #6 of 27 Old 06-13-2020, 11:48 PM
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Ah, ok. I have yet to replace that, will likely do it along with the steering box at some point, hasn't failed (yet). I rented a ball joint press my first go, but found it worthwhile to buy one. I have the Astro 7865, its about $80 on amazon, may find cheaper elsewhere. Allegedly able to hang a fully loaded semi from the C clamp, but I don't have a way to test that haha.

Impact wrench will do you better than impact driver, I'm a Milwaukee fan myself. Have the mid torque model (2861) and I have yet to find something it can't break free (though I don't have excessive rust being from down south). I tend to upgrade when stuff needs replacing, so most of my components have gone to IRO (control arms/bushings, rear a-arm, springs, trackbar, etc).

My driveshaft was JY, can always check on car-part.com also. TC yoke is IRO. Cardones are fine unless you beat the crap out of it, and limited lifetime warranty - they're the ones I priced in my prior quote. MOOG ball joints, Spicer U-joints.

Really not much wrong with D30 up front unless you lock it and stomp the skinny pedal.

04 WJ NV242, IRO 3in, bilsteins, IRO adj UCAs/LCAs/A arm, 265/75/16 Laufenn Xfit, 4.56 gears
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post #7 of 27 Old 06-14-2020, 08:04 AM
Bigrigr
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This axle swap is a total plug and play situation. I have done it myself. Just grab the axles, front driveshaft and yokes from any quadradrive WJ and bring it all home.( make sure you get the double cardon version driveline-you may have to hunt around a little bit-you can mix n match from any WJ on this) Check out the hard parts on the Vari-lok alxes and replace as needed. You should be able to reuse your new wheel bearing hubs in the Vari-lok axles as well. Check out the driveline u-joints and replace as needed. Drain and refill the axle gear oil( and give the internals a good inspection while you have the covers off) and make sure to add the required amount of friction modifier. Then swap in the axles yokes and front driveline and go wheelin with your limited slip axles.....This swap is worth the effort if you plan on using your Jeep for off road excursions and such. If you plan on mall crawling and staying on the pavement all the time, just rebuild what you have now.

'00LMTD-4.7l,242hd,D30,D44A,3.73's,True-trac front,Spartan rear,4" short arm lift,JK'sW/32's
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post #8 of 27 Old 06-16-2020, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
thechainrule
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Looks like the parts for this come out to about $550 and that is to replace everything except the rear wheel bearings. Now I just need to sort out the tools to do the job right.
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-17-2020, 09:20 PM
coldspit47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechainrule View Post
Looks like the parts for this come out to about $550 and that is to replace everything except the rear wheel bearings. Now I just need to sort out the tools to do the job right.
If you're planning to do this again or on another vehicle it's cost effective to buy the ball joint press and adapters ($80-100). If not, just use your local parts store's rental program. They may also have a slide hammer for rent which will make axle shafts and front wheel bearing a breeze. If not, harbor freight has one for $80. They work well to remove any stubborn part that has a lip or bolts. I've also seen them used with a blind hole bearing attachment for TC rebuilds. For TREs if you're not in a rust belt, you just need to unscrew the nut but leave it partially on and use a BFH to hit the knuckle. And an impact, like you mentioned, will help tremendously, especially with the axle nut. So if you buy everything and get a name brand impact, you're looking around $400ish for tools. By renting, you're out the money at first but then you get it back. And if you're stubborn enough you can use hand tools.

04 WJ NV242, IRO 3in, bilsteins, IRO adj UCAs/LCAs/A arm, 265/75/16 Laufenn Xfit, 4.56 gears
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post #10 of 27 Old 06-23-2020, 08:17 PM
rjbruzan
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If the differential is in good shape its easier to replace all the parts and not use a j-yard unit.
There are only 2 options that are a direct bolt in.
Std and vari-lock. 1999 to 2004 only
There are 2 gear ratios available 3.55 and 3.73 to 1 so you will need to get the correct one.
I see your in Chicago so the LKQ pick and pull on North ave.would be the place to hit. A Jeep axle assy is about $150 out the door with taxes and fees. I bought one 3 weeks ago.
I look at the Jeeps about every 3-5 weeks and seldom see an axle assy that has all new parts on it. Not junk but not new.
You had steering box on your list. These are usaully good to 250k without any problems. Wait til all the other parts are changed before swapping it out. Its almost always trackbar, tie rod ends and ball joints that cause loose steering.
For the rear its the upper control arm and its bushings. Cheaper and easier to get a whole assy like a MOOG because they rust out making swapping the bushings almost impossible in a vehicle from the rustbelt.
Ive done 2 recently and found getting the parts from Rock Auto and Amazon to be the best value.
Buy the best parts you can find and you will be suprised how well it will drive when done.

Ron
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-24-2020, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
thechainrule
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Thanks Ron!

I have been a frequent visitor to LKQ lately grabbing upgrades for my WJ, I love getting lost there. However, this time I ended up getting all of my parts from Detroit Axle off of ebay. I ordered new control arms, wheel bearings, cv axles, ball joints, and tie rods for the front. New upper & lower control arms for the rear as well. Still need to find someone that can help me with the rear wheel bearings (need a press).
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-24-2020, 07:22 AM
rjbruzan
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Where in Chicago do you live?
I might be able to help with the press work.

Ron

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post #13 of 27 Old 06-24-2020, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
thechainrule
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Oh wow. I am in West Town near Lake and Western.
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-24-2020, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechainrule View Post
Thanks Ron!

I have been a frequent visitor to LKQ lately grabbing upgrades for my WJ, I love getting lost there. However, this time I ended up getting all of my parts from Detroit Axle off of ebay. I ordered new control arms, wheel bearings, cv axles, ball joints, and tie rods for the front. New upper & lower control arms for the rear as well. Still need to find someone that can help me with the rear wheel bearings (need a press).
Check the detroit axle cv shaft boot lengths. I had to return the shaft i got because the boot was too long and touched the axle housing.
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-28-2020, 07:49 AM
rjbruzan
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Chain rule
Im about 50 miles NW of you. If you get in a jam and cant get theaxle bearings pressed let me know.

Ron
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