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Old 01-09-2004, 09:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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AMC Eagle build

I am planning on eventually building an AMC Eagle and I was wondering if anyone knew of a website that might have some useful info on drivetrain, steering, etc. I am thinking of doing a solid axle conversion and running dana 30/ 35 set up. Anyone ever tried something like this? I don't even have the car and I'm not planning on getting it anytime soon, but I figured I'd do a little before-hand research.
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I know I have seen one somewhere,heres a good place to start looking http://www.javelinamx.com/ there's all kinds of amc links there.
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Old 01-10-2004, 10:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would run anything but the 35.
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Old 01-10-2004, 12:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why not the 35? I won't be doing any intense crawling or anything.
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Old 01-10-2004, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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and I don't know anything about it.
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Old 01-11-2004, 01:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It was a long time ago but I remember a friend (his name escapes me) from Victor Valley 4wheelers who put Scout 44 axles and I think a 727 d20 or d300 combo in a Eagle. It was sweet. He ran the hammers in too.

You may be able to contact by calling the VV4W
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Old 01-11-2004, 04:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by CheapXJ


and I don't know anything about it.
That thing is SWEET!


Quote:
Originally posted by Joe V
It was a long time ago but I remember a friend (his name escapes me) from Victor Valley 4wheelers who put Scout 44 axles and I think a 727 d20 or d300 combo in a Eagle. It was sweet. He ran the hammers in too.

You may be able to contact by calling the VV4W
Thanks Joe
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Old 01-11-2004, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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May I ask why? confused:


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Old 01-11-2004, 10:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Back before rockcrawling ruled the 4x mags, one of the editors had their own Eagle project. I have a back issue somewhere which follows a 360 small block swap. But, that would be like giving crack to an addict. You're not the guy who swaps all of those Camaro bodies onto 4x frames, are you?

Just have fun with it.
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Old 01-12-2004, 06:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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i wheeled an amc eagle wagon for a couple of years with the stock IFS and 2 piece axle rear 35. something broke on it just about every time i took it out i carried a rediculous inventory of spare parts with me to ensure id be able to drive it home.

my advice would be to NOT screw with the IFS or factory rear-neither will hold up to even minor abuse.i spent around $400 rebuilding the IFS and a year later i had broken 2 cv joints,and the rest was completely worn out allready.

an 80+ chero or grand wag with a 208 makes a good donor for an axle swap,with a driver side ddiff,a front 44 and a 1 piece axle amc 20 in the rear.

the guy you are refering to from victor valley is richard.cant remember his last name,but i spoke with him back when i used to wheel mine. he had a sub frame hed made for the axle assembly. one of the goofy quirks about the eagle IFS is that the center section bolts to the engine mounts. he used scout axles in both a wagon,and an sx/4.

i personally would not mess with scout axles.they are way over rated. theyre harder to set up for SOA,they have skinny axletubes,and no caster. chevy trucks and FSJs are much better axle donors than scouts.

for a transfer case,the 904 uses the round pattern and 23 spline input,so you can install a dana 300 or your choice of aluminum NP cases. the 208 is a good one cause it has the fixed rear yoke,and a decent low range.

i have not done anything with my eagle in quite some time,and currently sits with no engine/tranny,a spun rear hub,and worn out IFS. i need the space,and would gladly give it to someone who would give it a good home.
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Old 01-12-2004, 10:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What about a d30 front and a Chrysler 8 1/4 rear? I am already pretty set on getting rid of the stock axles and am contemplating a number of different choices, but this set up is prolly the most likely. However, as I said before, I still have ALOT of research to do.

...and no I'm not one of those guys that swaps car bodies onto rigs. My dd is currently a K5 Blazer (going onto 36's in the next couple of days) and the gas mileage is killing me. I'd like cheap, capable ride with good gas mileage....enter the Eagle.
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by bigredblzr
What about a d30 front and a Chrysler 8 1/4 rear?
im not sure why youre so set on using the 30 front.i agree that a reverse cut,high pinion 30 with 297x joints is as strong as a standard cut 44,but youll have to either remove all the coil bracketry,or set up the eagle with the coil brackets to and use coil sprnigs.

further,you are left without any kind of lockout without spending a bunch of money on a cheesy kit,or some fabbing

persnoally,id use a 10 bolt up front,and either a 12 or 14 bolt inthe rear,depending on tire size and intended "abuse level" and id slide a dana 300 onto the stock tranny to accomodate the pass side drop.

but,as i mentioned,an 80+ grand wag or chero with a 208 will give you a stout xfer case with decent low range and a fixed yoke,and a stout pair of axles all in the same donor.

the narrow track FSJ axles will have a very similar track width to the eagle,if that matters one way or another
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Old 01-13-2004, 12:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I do acknowledge that the Eagle's engine is at least partially supported by the IFS suspension setup, however I don't think making extra engine supports would be too difficult. I also am aware that the d30 has a coil suspension, but making spring perches also is fairly easy. I am definately going to run springs all around to make lifting it easy and to keep the suspension simple and clutter free.

A couple of reasons I am considering the d30 are: 1. good clearance. 2. light weight. 3. driver's side differential.
While I have also considered using the waggy 44, some things that are making me lean more towards the d30 are that: 1. waggy 44 is singnificantly wider than the 30. 2. the 30 has better ground clearance. 3. the waggy 44 is significantly heavier than the 30.

Saprobe: do you know what the stock axle is in the Eagle? what are some of its pros and cons? Same question for the T-case. Happen to know what the wheel base is?

EDIT: oh yeah...I have thought about running GM full-widths and a NP pass side t-case, but that is getting pretty extreme. When I am all done with the project, ideally I would like the Eagle to be riding with about 4-6in of lift, 33s and prolly 4.10 gears.
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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the stock IFS centersection is a standard cut dana 30,so it uses same diff and gearsets as the CJ d30.

sure adding perches to the XJ d30 is fairly easy,after all the coil mounts and bracketry are removed. if you take some WMS to WMS measurments,i think youll find that the narrow track waggy axle is very close in width to the xj axle,so seems like alot of work to me to go thru for a little bit of clearance. the reason that there is any weight differencs is that the d30 housing is puny. youll need to heavily truss it to keep from bending ,and by then any weight difference is prolly not significant. and again,you are left with the "sealed bearing hub assembly" that will constantly cause front end parts to spin. a locking hub is nice to have in somethin youre gonna drive on the street. last and not least are the u joints. for the rev cut 30 to be comparable in strength to a 44,it needs to have 297x wheel joints,wich are only found in later model xj/yj d30s,making them much harder to find than the 80-91 cherokee/grand wag 44(also driver side drop)

you make some good pointsabout the d30 vs the 44,and i dont mean to criticize your plan,but id still go with the 44 for a swap,for the following advantages: 1)beefier housing 2)less modifying of housing to use leaf springs 3) 297x joints are standard.

i realize you could use a yj housing to simplify adding leaf springs,but you are still left with the puny housing,and have the afore mentioned hub and u joint issues.

i am modifying the d30 in my xj to use a conventional spindle and hub,instead of the sealed bearings. i am doing so cause it is allready there i have alot of faith it will hold up to daily driving and what litle trail use it will see,that doesnt make it the best axle to swap into an IFS rig where other fab work will also be needed.

on the wheelbase,it depends on the model. the 2 door,4 door sedans and wagon are 109". the sx/4 is 97". the one that loos like a pacer,and the one that look like a gremlin are 101".

pros of the stock IFS? hmmm,lets see,ummm,none the half shafts are a rzeppa outer and a tri pot inner, iv e broken both with 31" tires. also using the stock IFS means using the stock suspension wich is a double wishbone,coil spring setup that does not lend itself well to lifting. if you space out the ball joints,or install taller springs,you are simply putting the suspension clser to full droop,wich causes camper prollems. to a slight extent, this can be compensated by adusting the lower control arm,but theres only so much adjsutment there. the bottom line is that you cant lift it more than a couple inches and stiill have it be alignable after. in no cases will adding lift increas wheel travel. last and not least,the ball joints are not the epitomy of strength,and the steering wears out parts quickly-tie rods,pitman arm,idler arm- much like chevy IFS .

a big con of the rear axle is a 2 piece shaft,like the m20. the diff itself is a d35,but 2 piece shafts suck! ive spun several rear hubs. just ask anyone with a cj and an m20 how much they liked their stock 2 piece axles...

no pros of a stock transfer case either. the 1st big con is no low range the 2nd is full time,meaning you cannot limp it home,or even off the trail,if you have any rear diff breakages, installing a part time case with low range is the sniglemost thing that will increase performance. thats pretty much how i ran mine-NP 219 xfer case(full time but at least it had a high lock),stock suspension,and waaay cut fenders for 31s

the car in the pics above is really sharp,but looks to me like it started life as a spirit,not an eagle. am i right?
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Old 01-14-2004, 09:11 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I dunno, it looks like an Eagle to me. Not the tradional wagon, but the hatch-back one like this one: http://www.users.nac.net/gr/eagleweb/nsmail05.jpg
You're right, now that I think of it the waggy diff is driver's side, and I totally forgot about the locking hubs, I guess that 's a pretty major factor too. What do you think about going with the waggy axle and swapping in a np 231 t-case. It would be nice to be able to put it into 2wd for road use, and to have a low range.
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Old 01-14-2004, 10:39 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Nate, you're going to end up with my same drivetrain, but under a frickin Eagle!

like I told you, either go cheap: D30s and Chryco 8.25s are free or dirt cheap, no need for regearing, should be able to beat the crap out of it on 31s

or for some more cash, you could get a pair of Waggy axles and you may need to regear them

or D300 and Toyota axles

sooo many choices... but I say just do it cheap and get a HP D30 and Chrysler 8.25 or even D35. I couldn't give my D35 away, I took it to the dump. you remember, I wheeled my MJ with open diffs and 33s on a D30/D35 with no problems, an Eagle with 31s should have no problems. even if you did, these axles are basically free



oh, and as for spring mounting, get a YJ D30 and you won't even have to chop off the coil mounts, but it wouldn't be that hard with your torch anyway...
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:29 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hello. Dr Eagle here! <G> Actually, I haven't had time to play with one for awhile (had to haul my last one to scrap because the owner jerked me around on the title) I still have a pair of axles (3.08 non-vaccuum Dana 30 front and matching Dana 35 rear from a Commanche). The trick with them is how you lift the IFS. I put a 2" spacer between the frame and engine crossbar (BTW, the motor holds the front axle up, not the other way around!) and a spacer between the upper balljoint and arm (later you can get the tube style stronger upper arms) and of course a wheel alignment. Take the plastic flares off and you can get 33/9.5s in there.
I was going to put a 4.6L stroker in mine (4.0L block with 4.2L crank and almost 300HP) but it's going into my '84 Jeep J10 instead. Best upgrade is the trans right away. Toss the 998 and either get a built 999 or a 727 from a Full SIze '80 or newer Jeep. That's easy to spot in the wrecking yards. Look for a body design that looks like a Grand Wagoneer (and not the ZJ fake one!) with the front axle drop on the driver's side. I would also go with a NP208J transfercase (you can hook the shifter under the driver's seat) as it's the shortest transfercase and almost the strongest you can put in for low $$$. That gets rid of the vacuum trash and locks you front and rear with a quick pull of the lever. Another pull, and you have low range as well. (speedo cable needs a minor tweak to fit in because of the closeness to the floor)

http://www.users.nac.net/gr/eagleweb/gallery.htm

Cam Brown's V8 Eagle (before he lifted it higher and put a 401 in)
http://users.nac.net/gr/eagleweb/v8eagle/

(He was my ex-wife's neighbor in Canada. I spotted his car which much higher than mine, so I had to build mine taller)


PS: The smaller Gremlin body Eagles are SX4s. (most are 4 cyl but I converted one to inline 6) and if you want to keep the front axle from falling out, use '85 Chevy S10 IFS axles. (almost 1" longer)
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Old 01-14-2004, 08:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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i would not reccomend spacers between the control arm and ball joint,nor between the control arm and coil bucket. both would need to be correctly machined in order to be safe,and both will cause camber prollems that are not correctable with more than an inch or so of lift.

spacing the ball joint down increases the distance between the control arms,wich screws up the gemoetry and results in positive camber. as i mentioned,there is only so much adjustment in the bottom control arm bolt. in order to make a safe ball joint spacer that minimizes the camber change,it will need to be of a solid block,and wedge shaped. further,it will need to be the shape of the ball joint top and bottom,so it fits snuggly into the pocket in the arm,and the ball joint snuggly into it. even if you machine the spacer in this manner,you still cant safely use it to get more than 2-3". any taller puts alot more stress on the bolts. please tell me you dont have several inches of washers and really long bolts spacing your ball jonit down from ther control arm, that is an accident waiting to happen.

same with spacing up the coil bucket from the control arm. you can only do it so high,before the shear fforces are potentially dangerous.id say not more than an inch.

spacing the center section down is easy,and IMO,irrelevant,since theres no way to safely lift it high enuff to need to do so.

ok,ok,lets say you got an iron set of balls and dont care about how unsafe and dangerous your suspension is and you stack up a ball joint spacer,a coil bucket spacer,and on top of that you add a taller coil spring. ok,maybe now you got close to 6" of lift.

congratulations,youve got an lifted IFS that will ride like crap,have little or no down travel,and wear out/break parts like you wont believe,not to mention tire wear.

the only way to maintain "alignability" ,a decent ride,and what little wheel travel there is,is to locate the control arm brackets downward on the unibody,wich is an engineering/fabbing challenge. and you still have the parts wearing out/breaking prollem. the effort needed to properly relocate the control arms is much better spent adapting a solid axle.

the IFS just will not hold up to any level of abuse,period,even with tires as small as a stock sized 225/75. a 31 is a BIG tire to an IFS. i once had an upper ball joint break on me on the road.its not a good scene,trust me.

if i seem anti-IFS,its because i am. ive been there and done it. an amc eagle wagon was my main trail rig for well over 2 years. ive broken,fixed,and attempted to improve it. if you plan on doing even moderate wheeling,and plan on keeping the car,youll be $$ ahead to swap in solid axles. youll just keep dumping $$ into the IFS with halfsahfts, idler arms and alignments.i scarfed up every halfshaft out of every eagle out of every junkyard in dayton before i finally bought new spicer shafts,and then broke them as well.

i remember one particularly bad trip i got stuck in some sand in a creekbed,buried it to the bottom of the car. during the rescue(lots of shoveling and pulling with a come along) i spun a rear hub and popped a front tire off the bead. after several hours of exctracting it and my friends 77 GMC(also stuck inthe sandy creek bottom),i broke a CV joint on the way out. i was far enuff from the road i wasnt going to make it back with 1 wheel peal,so i had to fix the sahft to get the front to pull. not what i wanted to do at 8am after being stuck for around 14 hours. i was never so glad to get back to the road as i was that day. a pair of real axles under my rig would have definaetly made that day easier to deal with.

a couple of pics of it that may give you an idea of the abuse i put it thru here: http://www.skidmore.edu/~pdwyer/amc/eagle/probert.htm

im also not sure whats wrong with the 998 that makes it any worse than a 999,or any other 904 variant. they held up for me pretty well till i filled them with water,but even a 727 is not gonna hold up to that. i finally got a tranny sealed up fairly well,and had a drain plug in the convertor so that i could immedniately drain it when i filled it with water,wich was a frequent occurance. this particluar 998(out of an 85 eagle) lasted the last several months in the eagle,then several months in a grand wagoneer,with 38s.

bigredblzr,with all the stuff available for the np231,it is a fine choice of transfer case. i suggested the 208 mainly cause of its allready ahving a fixed yoke. as was mentioned,it is short and strong.i think the waggy axles with a 231 would make for a very durable,dependable daily driver/moderate wheeler. the 44 and rear m20 out of an 80+FSJ will take all sorts of abuse with a 33" or smaller tire.

oh-the sx/4 was based on the spirit. the gremlin-look-alike eagle was the camback,and i cant for the life of remember what the pacer one was...
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:18 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If I can build an Eagle to handle a fuel injected 401 and run 33" tires and offroad it with IFS would you believe me? <G> I gave Cam the idea for lifting his Eagle the last time and no, there wasn't washers stuck in the upper balljoint! I'm an ASE certified mechanic (30 years almost) and I made my own upper joint spacers out of aircraft machine steel (nice thing about being close to Boeing)
The only thing I didn't think of was rim size (now I could pick up 18" rims easily) and had to get custom ones made. The spacer between the engine crossbar and frame (unibody actually) is to lower the lower control arms to match the height added by the spacer at the upper balljoint. Very little changed on the steering angles (later we were going to make new arms with the drop built in so no spacer was needed.)
Then I got into full size Jeeps because I bought one for the trans and discovered it was a 999 after I got it home (I was ticked because I had been told they were ALL 727s before that) and figured since it was the same as the Eagle trans that I snapped 3 torque converters on I was just going to throw my old motor in the Jeep. The one you had may have been rebuilt with 999 parts or had lower axle gears than mine. (I had 2.37s then was going to swap to 3.08 and I still have those axles!)

Spirit was based on the Gremlin too then stretched to the AMX liftback. Kammback was the hatchback version of the SX4. I've had a 2 door sedan Eagle, 4 wagons and a 4 dr sedan. Only had a couple Grems (both were my son's). The Pacer one was a custom built on a CJ frame.
I agree the heavier axles are better for severe use, but he didn't say he was doing that (in fact the opposite) I used mine for towing trailer (it weighed 5 tons and I built a custom class 3+ hitch for my Eagle that state patrol certified to haul it to the flea market)
The NP231 would be difficult unless it's off a YJ/TJ with 999 or newer than '91 XJ (It still may need a 7/8" spacer and case rotator between trans and case like Novak sells. I built my own)
I would fix the suspension bugaboos and run the IFS with the longer Chevy axles.
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Old 01-15-2004, 12:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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So if you haven't figured it out yet a waggy set of diffs are about the same width as YJ/TJ/XJ/ZJ's As far as your current rear diff it's a 35 with two piece axles. if I remember correctly. or at best a CJ 20 with 5 on 4.5 pattern with two piece axles.


OK stepping back out of the newbie section.
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Old 01-15-2004, 06:35 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by carnuck
If I can build an Eagle to handle a fuel injected 401 and run 33" tires and offroad it with IFS would you believe me?
ummm,no if you ran IFS with 33" tires behind any engine and didnt break CV jonits,and dint have to rebuild it anually,i dont believe your ofroading was any more sever than driving down graded dirt roads. nothing personal,but i think im very familiar with the limitations of the IFS. if what you say is true,then you must have had fairies flying overhead,sprinkling their magic dust on you every time pulled off the pavement.

]Originally posted by carnuck
I gave Cam the idea for lifting his Eagle the last time and no, there wasn't washers stuck in the upper balljoint! I'm an ASE certified mechanic (30 years almost) and I made my own upper joint spacers out of aircraft machine steel (nice thing about being close to Boeing)
[/QUOTE]

ok,thats great.im glad to hear that you made a spacer,and didnt simply use abyunch of washers. also,it makes more sense about the lift you added and kept it alignable by also lowering the lower control arms. this is a fairly important piece of info,that you should have added in your first post,since you are advising that the IFS be kept.

you have to keep in mind when giving advice that not everyone has the same mechanical abilities,nor the access to the same equipment. logically if a person has the mechanical ability to swap in leaf springs and solid axles,he prolly also has the ability to make the modifications youre reccomending,but he may not have access to machines to make proper spacers,and he will need as much info as posible so he can make the modifications correctly. so to simply say " put 2 inch spacer between the frame and engine crossbar " and "add a spacer betweenthe ball joint and control arm" is not give a person much to go on. just to make sure im picturing this correctly,you put a 2" spacer under each side of the engine mounting crossmember,and lowered the engine,axle centersection, and all 2 inches?

good call on the 231,i had forgotten some variations exist with stickout lenghts on them.

i got into full size jeeps cause i was sick and tired of fixing my IFS and i got an 85 grand wagoneer for solid axle swap donor. however i was sitting in it one day,and just decided it would be cool to get it running and wheel it. at that point i still had every intention of an eagle SAS later,but alas,the GW is a much more modifiable and dependable chassis for rigorous off road abuse,so i havent done anything with the eagle since.

unless all youre gonna do is drive back and forth to the mall,i still say screw the IFS
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Last edited by saprobe; 01-15-2004 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:08 AM   #23 (permalink)
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stick with your plan of runnin the 30 front, it aint nuttin to remove the coil mounts from an xj 30 (5 minute job tops). It is alot easier than trying to put a drive shaft on a low pinion diff. As far as the rear goes I would run a non c-clip 35 over an 8.75 anyday of the week. They have a higher breaking strength that the 8.75 (research it if ya wanna argue it) they are lighter and have more clearance. Not to mention you can find the 30 front and non c-clip 35 rear with 4.11's from the factory, look in 2.8 auto xj's. I didnt read all the posts above but and dont know if it was mentioned but I bet a t case from an xj would bolt right in there, I know most eagles didnt have low range.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:58 AM   #24 (permalink)
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If you want the 30/35 with 4.10's look for a cherokee with the 2.5 with a manual.
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Old 01-15-2004, 03:00 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Ok ill be getting saprobe's eagle, im planning to stick a 300ford in it, with c6 tranny, and find some fullwidth ford axles for it.... hopefully a 9inch and d44 for the front. Any suggestions?
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