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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All, as I posted on a different thread, acquired a CJ3A with some mods by the PO - Ford 302 motor, stock D25 and D44, Dana18 guts into a Dana20 case, A 4-speed Ford Toploader manual tranny and R/P steering (doh). The wheels are alloy with some ridiculous negative offset with 33x12.5 tires on - so sidewall to sidewall, it is almost 65".

After trying some off-road simulations in a parking lot, one of my build objectives is to put a reasonably priced e-locker in the front and rear.

I would've left the stock D25 in place and replaced R/P with crossover steering but the steering knuckles had been heavily modded so my choices are - either find stock knuckles for D25 and start from there, or, upgrade the front to a D30. Researching narrow track CJ D30, they seem to be rare and not very well supported in terms of spares and lockers. Next, even the wide track CJ D30 isn't all that easy to find and support. At least, hard to find any around here in the SF Bay Area. And then the ever wider TJ/YJ D30 becomes a different system altogether and is wide enough where I will have to replace the rear D44 too. Or, at least, this is the conclusion I have come to after researching axle upgrade options.

Now, I will admit, as the owner of a FJZ80, UJZ100, and having owned a '85 pickup, I do have a huge Toyota bias :D And my buddy who's going to do the wrenching is also a Toyota guy.

My plan is:
- acquire Toyota 4runner/pickup front solid and rear axles
- Mod the t-case to go center rear driveshaft or swap with a Dana20
- The rear will need spring perches to be moved
- the front will need spring perches to be moved and steering will need some figuring out depending on how the springs sit against the stock steering knuckles - maybe do high steer.
- brake master conversion is already on the cards, go from single master to dual so can address lines from US to metric.
- follow guides/plans for putting 8" e-locker into Toy axles. Plenty of 8" e-lockers available and cheaper than doing eaton e-locker in a Dana axle. Also, not doing ARB, I am sold on e-lockers.
- with some zero/positive offset wheels and 10.5" wide tires, maybe I will end up with the same overall width as now but with stronger axles and drivetrain.

Spot any deal breakers or sticky issues? The steering gearbox placement is a tbd but would like to know what people have done with a SBC/SBF swap for steering?

Thanks!

 

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Researching narrow track CJ D30, they seem to be rare and not very well supported in terms of spares and lockers. Next, even the wide track CJ D30 isn't all that easy to find and support. At least, hard to find any around here in the SF Bay Area. And then the ever wider TJ/YJ D30 becomes a different system altogether and is wide enough where I will have to replace the rear D44 too. Or, at least, this is the conclusion I have come to after researching axle upgrade options.
A Jeep/dana is probably the most well supported segment in the industry. Nothing rare about 1970s-80s CJ parts.

I do have a huge Toyota bias :D And my buddy who's going to do the wrenching is also a Toyota guy.
This is definitely the driving force.

Is your willys SOA or SUA?
 

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Researching narrow track CJ D30, they seem to be rare and not very well supported in terms of spares and lockers. Next, even the wide track CJ D30 isn't all that easy to find and support.

I have 2 D30 housings along with a complete Dana 30 in Atlanta, GA and I can't give the things away. I think you're just looking in the wrong places.

A D30 in place of a D25/27 will be a bolt in swap. Very easy.
 

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I’m wondering about spring width. I’m wondering if you will have to outboard.

Dana 30’s are everywhere and damn near free? :confused:
This^, I picked up one for free it is a 1976. Parts are super easy to come by and I found a used ARB on CL for a great price. It fit my 71' perfectly, offers way more locker options than a D25 or D27 and a disk brake conversion is easier to do. The 1976 I have came with disc brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is definitely the driving force.
Point taken but like I said before the driving force for me is to put an e-locker at a reasonable price. Looks like the answer for Dana 30 (wide or narrow) is going to be an eaton locker that is about $1k? Add to that cost to rebuild the diff that starts at $500 around here, plus other parts to refresh/refurbish - and we are at almost $2k an axle. By comparison, for a Toyota axle, I can pretty much find a used 8" diff with e-locker and 4.30 gears and pop it in. Yes, the diff housing will need some work to fit an e-locker into a solid front axle but I should still save a lot per axle compared to a Dana/30+e-locker. Am I thinking right?

Is your willys SOA or SUA?
Ugh! So, to keep the Ford 302 oil sump pan from hitting the front 3rd member, they did SOA in the front but left the rear SUA. I want to go back to being SUA and reduce the lift to only what's necessary to fit a 33" because I like the lower ride of the original CJ3A setup. I am looking at various pan options here - from old Bronco pans to this one:
https://www.americanmuscle.com/moroso-coyote-swap-pan.html

I have 2 D30 housings along with a complete Dana 30 in Atlanta, GA and I can't give the things away. I think you're just looking in the wrong places.

A D30 in place of a D25/27 will be a bolt in swap. Very easy.
Searching local Craigslist, I could find only an old beaten up narrow track D30. There are more wide track D30 available but wide track is 56" and at that is the point where I was thinking I might as well swap in a solid axle Toyota axle that is about 55".

I’m wondering about spring width. I’m wondering if you will have to outboard.
Question - if the wide track D30, which is 56", is a straight up bolt on then why would the 55" wide Toyota axle need out-boarding?

Dana 30’s are everywhere and damn near free? :confused:
Take a look here :)
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/pts?query=dana+30

Not exactly free but sure, the wide track are definitely more available than narrow track. Two issues for me (1) cost to fit an e-locker (2) lots of geared lower to 3.55 whereas I am already at 4.11 and with the Ford 302 motor and tranny that I have, I actually want lower gearing. The cost to put in new gears and rebuild the diff are pretty steep here.

As an example, I recently swapped out the unlocked axles in my '97 LandCruiser for locked axles. It was cheaper for me to find, ship and install used locked axles than have the current set rebuilt and have lockers installed.
 

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Question - if the wide track D30, which is 56", is a straight up bolt on then why would the 55" wide Toyota axle need out-boarding?
CJ’s have narrow front frame rails. I don’t know what they are on a Toyota truck. Iirc the diff side spring sits up on the diff and that spring is shorter than the driver side. Would be a nuisance on a flatty. I’d probably put the springs outside of cut the housing.

Take a look here :)
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/pts?query=dana+30

Not exactly free but sure, the wide track are definitely more available than narrow track. Two issues for me (1) cost to fit an e-locker (2) lots of geared lower to 3.55 whereas I am already at 4.11 and with the Ford 302 motor and tranny that I have, I actually want lower gearing. The cost to put in new gears and rebuild the diff are pretty steep here.
Since I have disposed of three narrow track CJ axles, it isn’t worth the effort to try to sell them because nobody really wants them. Occasionally a flat fender guy wants them. I gave all three of them away because they weren’t worth a damn thing. I would not put them on craigslist because that’s way too much hassle for no money. Post a couple wanted ads on the Internet like in the bay area four wheeling fb groups. One will show up.

Setting up at Dana axle is easy and requires minimal tools. Maybe it’s time to increase your skill set.

My other thought is running a center diff in a stock wheel base flat fender could lead to a pretty steep driveshaft angle. I’ve seen it done so I know it’s possible but just stuff to think about.

I would probably ask at @Kurtuleas for pictures because his sons MB has those axles in it. It may be older than an MB I don’t know what it is.
 

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More work to swap to Toyota axles but it can be done. I run Toyota axles front and rear SUA and can say that making the front work wasn’t easy. Check out my M38 build thread.
 

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Question - if the wide track D30, which is 56", is a straight up bolt on then why would the 55" wide Toyota axle need out-boarding?
Overall width has nothing to do with it. Think about the location of the differential relative to the frame rails, which dictate where the springs are on any CJ.

Why the affection for an electric locker? Just because you can use one in the front of a Toy axle relatively easily shouldn't dictate that you need to use electric in any other type of axle.
 

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I have a 2 1/2 spring under with a ford 302, I have a pretty big notch in my oil pan to get both inches of up travel with my Dana 25.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Overall width has nothing to do with it. Think about the location of the differential relative to the frame rails, which dictate where the springs are on any CJ.
Thanks, yep, read bit more about out-boarding.

Why the affection for an electric locker? Just because you can use one in the front of a Toy axle relatively easily shouldn't dictate that you need to use electric in any other type of axle.
Cost, functionality, familiarity. Cheap to get an entire diff with e-locker/4.30 gears instead of getting one built with Eaton or ARB. Compared to an ARB, no need to run air hoses and compressor etc. Already run them in my FJZ80 so there's some economy in parts/skills. The 8" Toyota e-lockers fits a bunch of different axles - mini-truck to FJ80.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have a 2 1/2 spring under with a ford 302, I have a pretty big notch in my oil pan to get both inches of up travel with my Dana 25.

@welndmn Ford 302!! Finally, the 2nd guy on the Internets with a Ford 302 in a flatty :D

Did you consider other oil pans? I have looked at a few options:
- https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/something-different-for-small-block-fords.796871/
I spoke with the store owner (their site is down) and they still make them.

- The current pan is about 6" deep in the front and I think, looking at specs, the old Bronco that everyone recommends is about 5.5" in the front so not much to be gained. There is a Coyote pan that is only 2.5" deep in the front but I am not sure about the compatibility.

- My friend offered to custom/cut the current pan to let the diff move about without hitting it.

- Dry sump but that's $$ and I don't know if there's enough room to add a remote reservoir etc for it.

And, how did you run the steering? Mine has a hacked up R/P which is great for on-road manners but obviously, won't work off-road.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You should read this thread, it will answer most of your toyota axle swap questions.

https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-willys/1181265-my-little-mf-parts-due.html

On the locker choice.
Thanks, reading through it now.


I would highly recommend running an automatic front locker with a selectable rear locker. Honestly, it will work better than selectable/selectable in most every situation.
Ok, I am under the tree - how's an auto/selectable combo (either auto in the rear or front) better than selectable/selectable? Isn't choice better than not having a choice when an axle locks/unlocks?
 

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Thanks, reading through it now.

Ok, I am under the tree - how's an auto/selectable combo (either auto in the rear or front) better than selectable/selectable? Isn't choice better than not having a choice when an axle locks/unlocks?
Not nearly as much as people think. I am specifically talking about an automatic FRONT locker and a selectable REAR locker. In my opinion, it is the best balance between all the pluses and minuses of all the various combos. To start with, most maneuverability issues come from having the rear end locked. The rear axle is always going to be pointing straight ahead. Adding a full time locker or spool makes it worse. The front tires are generally pointing in the direction you want to go all the time. Most steering issues come from the front locker. There is a big difference between the maneuverability of the chassis and the ability to steer the front axle. I am firmly in the front locker first camp to increase vehicle maneuverability in 3wd and prevent the vehicle from being pushed wide through turns or walking the rear end down any hill/slope you may be on.

An automatic front locker is actually very good at automatically locking and unlocking when it isn't being pushed by the rear axle trying too much. It is happy just doing its lock/unlock/lock thing when needed as the front wheels change directions. A selectable locker on the other hand is basically a spool when locked and will have a greatly increased steering force when locked vs the automatic locker. You can build around some of this issue with hydraulic assist or full hydro steering. The other downside to most every selectable locker on the market, especially when used in the front, is that they don't like to unlock when bound up. You are basically stuck with a spool in front till you can unbind the system. This can be a total headache especially if you are running out of steering force.

I own both these combos.

My flatty is set up auto front and selectable rear. My Toyota is setup much like you want with factory elockers in both ends. If the Toyota wasn't full time 4wd because of the transfer case, I would seriously consider changing out the front locker. It is a noticeable difference.

I can drive my flatty all day rarely having to touch the rear locker button using basically 3wd. I never feel any steering drag. It is very happy just doing its thing automatically. Maneuverability is great.

My toyota on the other hand involves constantly turning the lockers on/off/on/off even on medium trails even with hydro assist steering. It is annoying.

My future vehicles I build will be automatic front locker, selectable rear locker, a transfer case that can front dig, and rear left/right/both rear cutting brakes ( which will decrease rear locker use even more and increase maneuverability ). The only time I wouldn't use a front automatic locker is with full time 4wd.
 
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