Axle suggestions - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-19-2021, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
leagleagle
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Axle suggestions

I have no doubt this topic has been beat to death and I've spent hours reading,including on this forum but I'm not sure I've really found any real info that has helped me in my thought process.

I've got an '85 CJ7 that has stock axles (Dana 30 front and AMC 20 rear with two piece axles, geared 3:31). Prior owner did a SBC 350 swap and spring over lift years ago.

I currently run 33" tires with heavy wheels and it seems like it's a matter of time before the combination of engine and wheels/tires give me some serious axle problems so I'd like to be proactive.

I have a line on a Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear geared 4.56 with ARB lockers. I don't foresee this becoming a serious offroad or crawling jeep so though I know they would handle it all, the 60 may be overkill. I'm new to the jeep world so i also don't have a great understanding of the hidden cost on swapping those axles in above and beyond the actual axle costs. I'd like to know more about that from those of you with the knowledge.

Alternatively, are the existing 30 and 20 capable enough if I regear and do the one piece axle swap? If I go this route is it more cost effective than the axle swap?

Last possibility would be to split the baby and do a swap with different axles, maybe a 44 in the rear or a Ford 8.8 or 9".

Let me have it. I want to get this jeep to a point where I can actually drive it without worrying about being soft on the axles, at least not as much as I feel like I baby it now.

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post #2 of 14 Old 10-19-2021, 09:44 PM
BrutusBlue
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Contentious topic? Some would agree. When you I hear you say you want an axle you don’t have to worry about, build up and run the piss out off it’s not an AMC 20. AMC 20 would be a last resort option made only for convenience. You will hear all the praises of what can be done to a modified AMC 20 and how they ran with V8 power back in the day blah, blah, blah but you won’t find an honest argument against the many other better options. I’m saying it’s not your best choice…not that it isn’t possible to make work but why bother when almost the same effort can be had with way more strength and peace of mind.

Right out of the gate…without much more said than the points you have made…in my opinion…Dana 44 / Ford 9.

Some will shout the praises of the monster Dana 60, which I get, but, are not truly what I think your looking for from what I can tell. You want a very strong half ton “rated” axle, not one made for towing thousands of pounds on a weighted trailer. Do some people put Dana 60’s into light weight, high powered shred monsters…of course. I’m thinking you want something that’s V8 clutch dumping, tire ripping capable but fits and runs well with your tire size, weight and rig desires. Dana 60 doesn’t sound like your better choice.

Look for something that runs with at least a 31 spline axle…Ford 8.8 or Ford 9 for example. Ford 8.8 is a great axle, I’m very partial to the Ford 9 for many reasons. Apparently NASCAR and King Of Hammers racers are too since a center drop out style diff was or has been their traditionally run staple for a while. KOH racers often run 9” True Hi9’s in the front and rear with fire breathing motors where weight/power ratio becomes a concern …that should say something. Ford 9s have become a lot easier to build from scratch now too and cheap if you can do it yourself.

The only concern some may argue against going with a Ford 9 may be for the slightly lower slung pinion. In my experience, it’s not enough to matter…especially in a rig not dedicated to lots of trail use.

Other results will vary.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-19-2021, 10:16 PM
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What transmission are you running? Maybe fill out your profile
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-19-2021, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
leagleagle
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I havent put the transmission in my profile because that is another "on the list" points.

It currently has the stock T5 but it needs synchros at the least so I'm mulling over transmission options as we speak. I'm lightly considering an automatic swap but I have a feeling I'll go with another manual transmission, just need to figure out what.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-19-2021, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
leagleagle
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Brutus...I think you nailed what I'm looking for.

Is it possible to run 5 x 5.5 on a Ford axle? Other than using adapters.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-20-2021, 07:44 AM
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When you order your replacement axles, for whatever axle you end up using, order the bolt pattern you require.

Why do I own a CJ? I like to “Balance the wrench and the steering wheel”
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-20-2021, 09:58 AM
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First off, some questions about the 44 and 60, are they still full width? Are you wanting to go full width? How is your steering setup being as you are already spring over? As to the expenses, if the axles are full width, you have to calculate in the cost of installing outboard mounted spring hangers in the front and moving the spring perches on the rear axle. Steering is another one to look at, does the 44 have 'flat top' knuckles to run high steer? There will be some money in machining the knuckles for high steer. Unless you are going to go with a 35"+ plus tall tire, there really is no reason to leave from a well setup dana 30 and amc 20. chromo front axle shafts with the bigger ujoint and 1 piece rear axle shafts should handle whatever you are doing on 33" tires. your money will probably be best spent in upgrading your current axles and a set of lighter wheels than going to a 44/60 combo with your planned usage.


a 44 in the rear is a slight upgrade in housing strength, but not really an upgrade in the internals once you have 1 piece axles in the rear. a 9" has a very low pinion input and the thoughts very on the strength/reliability of the economical high pinion 3rd members. I believe that you can put in 5 on 5.5 axle shafts into the commonly used exploder 8.8 that is used in most of the YJ/TJ swaps, you will also want to do a c-clip eliminator and get the correct brake rotors for the 5 on 5.5 pattern.

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post #8 of 14 Old 10-20-2021, 10:47 AM
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Initially i had dana 44's font and rear on a SOA jeep CJ. This combination proved to be a great mix of ground clearance and strength for the stock drive train (4.2 and T-176). Both had 4.10's.



When i spun a tube in the rear 44, it would lever stop slowly leaking so i built a "super 8.8" and i loved it. Started with the kit and it was super easy to get the ford explorer axle rebuilt in the garage and getting rid of the C Clips is a major winner, along with good brakes etc. All this was good for 35's.



Since the rebuild, I run 35 spline Dana 60s now and for a 60 you will need at minimum a 37' tire to get clearance from the larger center housings. I consider 9inch housings to be roughly the same in terms of minimum tire size needed. Larger axles need larger tires for housing to ground clearance, larger tires also need better braking systems (hydroboost here) so its very much a cascading effect.



A properly set up 44 front and 8.8 rear will serve you very well with your jeep. Just be wary of the 44 fronts out there, ask ALL the questions about what it came from and how it was set up. Specifically in regards to caster degree if the perches are set up for spring over axle.



Reading your post also opens up just refreshing what you have if 33's are the max tire size and you aren't doing anything too crazy. One piece rear axle shafts will bring you a strength benefit for a moderate cost. i would recommend 4.10 gears for 33's based on my past experience.

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-20-2021, 03:08 PM
BrutusBlue
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Ford 9 is traditionally a 5.5 bolt pattern. As mentioned, any custom cut size Ford 9 can have whatever bolt pattern you want in the offered spline count. Ford 8.8 can be made the same way. The main benefit of the 9 vs the 8.8 is the extra pinion bearing support. If you don’t need or want that extra support than 8.8 is a great option.

You could just run a better rear and stick with the Dana 30’ in front.

In my opinion, the transmission is the single most important part of the whole equation. How you drive it and what you want out of it begins with the transmission. Good power and great axles can be all for nothing with a weak or crappy transmission
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-20-2021, 03:44 PM
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You can run Yukon shafts in the 8.8 with the 5x5.5 pattern.



Honestly with 33's and with what you wrote, you could make the 20 and 35 work for you without a tremendous amount of work/money.



You will absolutely want the 1 piece rear axle shafts in the AMC20 rear. Cheap insurance IMO.



Bottom line, proper gears with the 33's will help the driveline labor less with increased rotating weight of wheels/tires. The brakes in both axles are what they are. If you have power brakes already, upgrading to a dual diaphragm booster will help.
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-20-2021, 11:24 PM
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I frequent the YJ forum and the guys there don't regard the C-clips on a Expolder 8.8 a handicap since the disc brake setup will retain a broken axle .
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-24-2021, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leagleagle View Post
I currently run 33" tires with heavy wheels and it seems like it's a matter of time before the combination of engine and wheels/tires give me some serious axle problems so I'd like to be proactive.

I have a line on a Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear geared 4.56 with ARB lockers. I don't foresee this becoming a serious offroad or crawling jeep
I think the highlighted portion says it all....
If you are looking for a trail/hunting/fishing rig that isn't going to see hard use, the stock drivetrain is fine. One piece axles, gearing swap, rear truss, and possible a powr lok in front (to help with occasional shock loads) will get the average wheeler just about anywhere they want to go without all kinds of high end mods.
IMHO, major upgrades are needed if the application (use) warrants it. Heavy shock loads, technical wheeling, drag racing, high speed sand etc, need heaver gear to compensate for the terrain or a heavy foot on the skinny pedal.
Just my .02
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-26-2021, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houstoniancj View Post
You can run Yukon shafts in the 8.8 with the 5x5.5 pattern.



Honestly with 33's and with what you wrote, you could make the 20 and 35 work for you without a tremendous amount of work/money.

You will absolutely want the 1 piece rear axle shafts in the AMC20 rear. Cheap insurance IMO.

Bottom line, proper gears with the 33's will help the driveline labor less with increased rotating weight of wheels/tires. The brakes in both axles are what they are. If you have power brakes already, upgrading to a dual diaphragm booster will help.
Agreed on all counts. Unless you're wheeling it heavy the Dana 30 front and AMC20 rear (with 1-piece axles) will get it done just fine.

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post #14 of 14 Old 10-28-2021, 05:19 AM
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Your current axles will stand up to 33" tyres, as you are not using them roughly.

You mention having a line on a Dana44/dana 60 combo with ARB lockers. If this is at a realistic price, snap them up. They are overkill for what you need but if the price is right........... Downside is that the dana 60 is a bit heavier and reduces ground clearance, not ideal in a lightweight utility. Having ARB lockers both ends will add a lot when you do off road.

Lastly, if money no object, a new built Dana 44 in the rear would be my choice with a lunch box locker or LSD as this will suit your use. Maybe even a dana 44 both ends but if you are not going to roughly use it, the front end will hold up.

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