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Old 07-11-2006, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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WJ brake/knuckle swap

I've read a few threads on here about the swap. I came upon all of the parts for dirt cheap, and decided that since the steering on my V8 ZJ was worn out I'd just go ahead and do the knuckle swap and high-steer conversion while I was at it. So I've collected most of the parts, with the exception of the tie rod ends and ball joints. For those of you who have done the swap, what parts did you use? My front axle is a HP30 (I know, polishing a turd ) from a 94 XJ. Should I use ball joints from a WJ? They're quite a bit more pricey than ball joints for a 94 XJ according to the parts sites I've seen. Or is this all a moot point anyway, since all the WJ/XJ 30s are basically the same housing anyway? As for the tie rod ends, is there any reason not to just use the WJ TREs, or is there a cheaper and higher strength alternative? Perhaps reaming the knuckles for 1 ton stuff? The tie rod and drag links I'm using are 1.25" DOM 1/4" wall, threaded for 24mm TREs. Thanks for the help in advance!


Cliff notes for those who are lazy:


Using WJ knuckles on HP30 housing. Which ball joints? WJ or XJ? Does it even matter?

Last edited by ZJim; 07-11-2006 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No advice? I'm leaning towards just using Cherokee ball joints. I guess worst case scenario they don't work with the WJ knuckles and I return them.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Same joints as far as I know.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just use whatever ball joints are already on the inner C's. unless they are worn out then replace em.

I did the swap 2 years ago on my YJ HP30. best thing I ever did. For my Draglink I had the top arm & my pitman reamed for chevy TRE's. I'm still using the factory tie rod cause I can grab as many as I want for like $5 apeice at the PNP. One day I'll ream them out for Chevy TRE's & use 1.5 DOM

Check your Brake line length once evrything is on. The WJ banjo bolt is a lot lower than the ZJ/XJ/YJ one.

Also make sure your pitman arm has enough throw. it should be ~7" center to center. I know YJ arms are only ~5.25" so I had to swap to a waggy arm to get full steering back.
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Old 07-11-2006, 06:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotwheelsYJ
Just use whatever ball joints are already on the inner C's. unless they are worn out then replace em.

I did the swap 2 years ago on my YJ HP30. best thing I ever did. For my Draglink I had the top arm & my pitman reamed for chevy TRE's. I'm still using the factory tie rod cause I can grab as many as I want for like $5 apeice at the PNP. One day I'll ream them out for Chevy TRE's & use 1.5 DOM

Check your Brake line length once evrything is on. The WJ banjo bolt is a lot lower than the ZJ/XJ/YJ one.

Also make sure your pitman arm has enough throw. it should be ~7" center to center. I know YJ arms are only ~5.25" so I had to swap to a waggy arm to get full steering back.
I did the wj swap about a year ago. i used the WJ TRE. i did flip the tie rod though.
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=ZJim]I've read a few threads on here about the swap...

Can you link to the tread that you read with the detail of this? I'm interested in doing the same.... Thanks MOSDIF589
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotwheelsYJ
Just use whatever ball joints are already on the inner C's. unless they are worn out then replace em.

I did the swap 2 years ago on my YJ HP30. best thing I ever did. For my Draglink I had the top arm & my pitman reamed for chevy TRE's. I'm still using the factory tie rod cause I can grab as many as I want for like $5 apeice at the PNP. One day I'll ream them out for Chevy TRE's & use 1.5 DOM

Check your Brake line length once evrything is on. The WJ banjo bolt is a lot lower than the ZJ/XJ/YJ one.

Also make sure your pitman arm has enough throw. it should be ~7" center to center. I know YJ arms are only ~5.25" so I had to swap to a waggy arm to get full steering back.

When I bought this HP30 that I'm swapping in, the guy gave me some YJ brake lines that are supposed to be longer than the stock ZJ lines. I guess I'll just stick with the WJ ends and see if I start breaking them. Usually I don't hear of the TREs being weak points anyway, it's usually drag links and tie rods that bend or break first. Anyway, thanks for all the info. I saw a few of your posts about the swap in a google search here.


BTW, for those who are wondering, here is a link to the swap. Since the article was posted JKS started making a 1/4" spacer so you don't have to custom machine hubs or anything to make up the difference. With all the parts JKS is offering it can be a pretty straightforward swap from the looks of it. There are more writeups about it online if you Google you may find some at www.naxja.com also. But here's the link I like best:

http://www.4x4wire.com/jeep/tech/bra...kles/index.htm


I think for the rotors I read that Crown Vic rotors can be used. Or I may drill mine out to the correct pattern. Whichever is easiest.
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That write up gives a lot of good info. It's the one I used.
Make sure to preheat/ slow cool down when you weld the spacer to the knuckle.

Anything else you want to know about the swap, feel free to ask.
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Old 07-12-2006, 05:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i did the swap 5 years ago so this what i remember
i used wj knuckles,calibermounts,calibers,and rotors and all the steering parts
i used the stock 93 wheel bearings but the right side axel i had to shave a little off the end
i hope this helps
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Old 07-12-2006, 06:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotwheelsYJ
That write up gives a lot of good info. It's the one I used.
Make sure to preheat/ slow cool down when you weld the spacer to the knuckle.

Anything else you want to know about the swap, feel free to ask.

Just how crucial is that weld anyway? Is the JKS spacer threaded at all? I guess I'll figure it out since the parts will arrive today. It's going to be like Christmas.. new steering.. new brakes... new gears..
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Old 07-12-2006, 07:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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From an old post;
http://homepage.mac.com/rv6a/hi-steer.html
http://www.americanjeepers.com/artic...ion-for-YJ%92s
http://www.kevinsoffroad.com/sstabilizers.html
These are two sites and JU has a lengthy thread on doing this modification. It’s a bit involved but in the end I feel it was worth it. JKS has DOM for the drag link and tie rod (pre-cut and threaded, 24mm x1.5), jam nuts for the tie rod ends (WJ), sway bar relocation brackets, bearing hub ¼” spacers (need to be nickel welded to the knuckle). Go find an HPd30 and start building it while you still enjoy driving your jeep. I used a TF adjustable track arm and removed the bends (cold bending) and cut about 7” off the driver’s side then rethreaded it, works great. If you want some of the research info get in touch with me, it’s somewhat involved…
As I found out, none of the sites that you review are all encompassing for your application. This is NOT a modification I would recommend doing unless you plan on building the axle on a stand and recommend talking with someone who has already done the head beating on the wall for you. The braking with the Explorer disc’s on my rear axle and the WJ disc setup on the front with just the O ring removed from the metering shaft in the proportioning valve (OEM) with the stock master cylinder is great. I’m running 35 BFG MT’s and it brakes better than a stock TJ... IMO
Also do the reverse taper modification on the WJ knuckle arms to get better clearance for the tie rod. The JKS track arm relocation bracket comes with holes (2) for mounting depending on lift for getting the track arm and drag link parallel.
I had some interference with the draglink and tie rod stabilizer mount, so I took the bends out of the draglink tie rod at pitman arm end and pressed some DOM 1.25x4mm over it…



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Old 07-12-2006, 09:15 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knuckelhead
From an old post;
http://homege.mac.com/rv6a/hi-steer.html
http://www.aicanjeepers.com/articles...ion-for-YJ%92s
http://www.kevinfroad.com/sstabilizers.html
These are two sites and JU has a lengthy thread on doing this modification. It’s a bit involved but in the end I feel it was worth it. JKS has DOM for the drag link and tie rod (pre-cut and threaded, 24mm x1.5), jam nuts for the tie rod ends (WJ), sway bar relocation brackets, bearing hub ¼” spacers (need to be nickel welded to the knuckle). Go find an HPd30 and start building it while you still enjoy driving your jeep. I used a TF adjustable track arm and removed the bends (cold bending) and cut about 7” off the driver’s side then rethreaded it, works great. If you want some of the research info get in touch with me, it’s somewhat involved…
As I found out, none of the sites that you review are all encompassing for your application. This is NOT a modification I would recommend doing unless you plan on building the axle on a stand and recommend talking with someone who has already done the head beating on the wall for you. The braking with the Explorer disc’s on my rear axle and the WJ disc setup on the front with just the O ring removed from the metering shaft in the proportioning valve (OEM) with the stock master cylinder is great. I’m running 35 BFG MT’s and it brakes better than a stock TJ... IMO
Also do the reverse taper modification on the WJ knuckle arms to get better clearance for the tie rod. The JKS track arm relocation bracket comes with holes (2) for mounting depending on lift for getting the track arm and drag link parallel.
I had some interference with the draglink and tie rod stabilizer mount, so I took the bends out of the draglink tie rod at pitman arm end and pressed some DOM 1.25x4mm over it…




I have an HP 30 that's pulled and sitting on my desk. I don't run swaybars, so that's not really an issue right now. I hadn't heard about using nickel rods to weld on the spacers.. I thought everyone just migged them? Any reason for that? I'm not running any new master cylinders or anything, either. I've already got the flip kit for the tie rod. The only issue I can really see arising is the track bar length and mount. I'll build that. So what's so involved? I seem to have all the parts and in the mean time I can drive my rig. Really my only concern is what rotors to use up front (I can just drill some WJ rotors if necessary) and whether or not my stock wheels will fit with the calipers I have. Everything else is pretty much taken care of. I've got an adjustable track bar and a drop track bar mount on the frame, so I might just keep the trackbar I have. I have no bump steer issues or any death wobble so why go changing things? Anyway, it's all out on my bench. I'm hoping to have it all done before mid August since I'm going wheeling at River Rock.
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Old 07-12-2006, 09:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Here's a list of the parts I have, or have on the way:

1) Tie rod and drag link from Kevin's Offroad. Proper jamb nuts for them.

2) WJ knuckles

3) WJ brake calipers

4) JKS 1/4" spacers to make the length right

5) YJ brake lines (longer than ZJ lines)


Other than that, there's really not much that's application specific. It's an XJ HP30, but that's a straight bolt in on a ZJ. I've just got to find some tie rod ends for the WJ to run, and some new ball joints. I guess those are going to be pricey if I get quality ones by Moog.
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Old 07-12-2006, 09:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I've seen this swap on many XJ's and TJ's done before and I've always wondered why nobody runs an inverted T style across both high mounting points on the WJ knuckles? And leave the lower mounts out of the picture. This would get the steering up and out of the way. Maybe its been done before, I've just missed it.
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Old 07-12-2006, 11:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CartsXJ
I've seen this swap on many XJ's and TJ's done before and I've always wondered why nobody runs an inverted T style across both high mounting points on the WJ knuckles? And leave the lower mounts out of the picture. This would get the steering up and out of the way. Maybe its been done before, I've just missed it.

I think the WJ knuckles only have one mount on the drivers side for the tie rod, so you might be running it at an angle if you do that. I'll look into that, but I'm already flipping the tie rod anyway which clear up another inch or so.
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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To do that you have to run an export knuckle on the drivers side and your Ackerman angles go in the toilet. Back tomorrow…
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes, US knuckles only have the hi arm on the pass side.

The spacer should be welded to the knuckle w/ nickel rod cause you are welding plate to cast. I have seen people weld it w/ MIG w/ good results so far though. just use good preheat & post heat processes. I heated it up w/ a torch till it was a dull red then welded the crap out of it. I had a 5 gal. bucket 1/2 full of sand that I threw the knuckle in after welding, then fill the bucket on up w/ more sand. The knuckle was still hot to touch 2 hours later so I just left it overnight & did the other knuckle the next day.

If you have an old hub, bolt it all together before you weld it. that way you can be sure nothing shifts.

The reason to weld the spacer on is: that is what the unihub is pressed to. If not welded, the entire weight of your rig is riding on the 3 1/2" bolts instead of the knuckle.

I have 15x10" alloy rims w/ 3.75 BS and had to gring 1/4" off the back of my Akebono calipers(newer style)there is still plenty of meat left in the caliper.
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Old 07-12-2006, 05:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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i used chevy P20 brake lines in the front, they are 4" longer than the stock YJ lines. I put the left on the right, and the right on the left. I also moved the hard lines to the bottom of the frame.
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Old 07-12-2006, 06:30 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZJim
I hadn't heard about using nickel rods to weld on the spacers.. I thought everyone just migged them?

I've already got the flip kit for the tie rod.

Really my only concern is what rotors to use up front (I can just drill some WJ rotors if necessary) and whether or not my stock wheels will fit with the calipers I have. Everything else is pretty much taken care of.
Hey I just finished this on my rig here are a couple of pointers.

You can mig the spacers to the knuckle, I just turned the heat up and start by welding to the spacer first, that will heat up the knuckle enough to weld to the cast.

Get the spacers and flip the drag link over knuckle that will help with the angles. I fliped both tie rod and drag, but then again I am using RHD WJ tie rod ends and the JKS tie rod and drag link. If you use the JKS drag link it is 1/2" too long and needs to be cut down in a lathe...

I am running the WJ rotors on the front, just redrill them to match your xj hubs.. that way no issues...

You may have issues with the 15" wheels hitting the calipers depending on which ones you scored.. I have the teves calipers, and 15" soft 8's and there is only a 1/8" clearance between the caliper and the rim barrell... check out this link to Jeepwire.com.. for a god write up...

http://www.4x4wire.com/jeep/tech/bra...kles/index.htm

I have pics in my sig of my beast, and there should be some of the WJ swap... best of luck and enjoy..

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Old 07-12-2006, 07:56 PM   #20 (permalink)
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i used stock ford sport track 2 wd rotors. worked perfect
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Nice thread! I was just thinking how I need to do something about steering on my yj, and better brakes would be a plus too... My only question is will it clear SOA on stock springs? Cross over would be good for my steering angle
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:51 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Welp, today I got working on the axle. Took off the knuckles and unpacked all the parts I bought. The JKS tie rod and drag link look BEEFY! Turns out the calipers I bought only appear to have one side of each brake pad, or at least that's what it looked like at first glance. The balls joints are being a real bitch to get out, so I guess I'll borrow/rent a press from a friend to do those. It also seems that the WJ knuckles will accept the XJ ball joints without a problem. So my only issue is the track bar mount, and the guy I bought the XJ HP30 from gave me a new trackbar bracket and some other bracket that I think goes to the steering stabilizer or something. Now I've just gotta weld on the spacers, remove the old ball joints and install the new ones, install the knuckles, get some brake pads and tie rod ends, fab up the trackbar mount (Prolly do that once the axle is under the rig) and then install the axle under my ZJ! Got plenty of work to do before August 19th @ River Rock.
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:16 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knuckelhead
To do that you have to run an export knuckle on the drivers side and your Ackerman angles go in the toilet. Back tomorrow…

I knew about that the export knuckle was needed, but didn't realize the Ackerman angle would be so effected. Thanks
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:28 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZJim
The JKS tie rod and drag link look BEEFY!

The balls joints are being a real bitch to get out,

So my only issue is the track bar mount,
The thread is plenty deep to cut them shorter if their too long (mine were) IMO. Use anti seize on the threads.
$29 Harbor Freight ball joint tool, air impact gun and BFH to whack the C to get em out.
I used the JKS mount for the track bar mount.



But, I have coil and welded part of the bracket to the spring cup, you have leaf so I don’t know what you need for yours.
I used all 4 OEM WJ tie rod ends.

New 03 calipers ($200 Ebay) and WJ roters ($27 ea.) re-drilled to 5x4.5.
15" steel rims with 4" BS work well...
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:35 AM   #25 (permalink)
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ZJs are coil sprung. I might end up going with the JKS bracket anyway. I'll see how all of the angles look with the mount that I have. The one I have mounts under the spring bucket. If the angles don't match the trackbar angle I might have some DW or bad steering and handling, so if that's the case I'll either fab a mount that works higher up, or order one from JKS. As for the track bar, I don't think I should have any issues there, but we'll see.
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