Used Suspension Parts
Q: I have an '80 Jeep CJ-7. A friend gave me a Dana 44 and a Corporate 14-bolt out of a late-'70s Chevy. An AMC 360 V-8 and a TH350 are in the works to go with this vehicle; however, I still need leaf springs to complete this project. I would like to use my stock springs, but I'm worried about axlewrap. Should I look for some springs out of a junkyard? If so, what kind should I look for? Is there some kind of track bar out there that would work?
A: No Name, yes, your stock springs will be sufficient, but the increased weight of the engine, transmission, and axles will take a toll on stock springs that likely already have experienced years of hard abuse. Vehicle ride height will be affected, as will ride quality and vehicle handling. For these reasons, I'd suggest a fresh set of springs to complete your rig. Rubicon Express and Rough Country offer replacement leaf spring packs in varying lift heights, as do Skyjacker, Superlift, and many others. You also might consider a custom spring from Deaver or Alcan Spring. In building my Willys MB, I used a set of custom Alcan springs up front to support the extra weight of the engine and winch and used off-the-shelf Superlift leaf springs in the rear. To aid in controlling axlewrap, you can install a traction bar. Sam's Off-Road [(800) 446-5503, www.samsoffroad.com] in Tulsa, Oklahoma, makes a good traction bar that will fit your CJ.
Q: I have an '87 Bronco II with the 2.9L six-cylinder. I have heard of conversion kits to put in an eight-cylinder engine. A friend of mine has a 350 V-8 with a transmission that he plans to give to me. Have you ever heard of anyone doing this? Do you think I could use the engine and transmission with the four-wheel-drive system in the Bronco II? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
League City, Texas
A: Mike, I don't get a lot of Bronco II requests, but I think I can get your wheels turning in the right direction. Your first step should be to pick up a copy of Advance Adapters' [(800) 350-2223, www.advanceadapters.com] Ford Bronco II/Ranger Technical Manual (part number FMC001), which outlines all of the necessary steps to complete a conversion such as the one you mentioned. You'll also find a good deal of info on this topic at www.therangerstation.com (there's actually an article on this website that details a similar conversion).
This won't be an overly simple or quick conversion, but it's not impossible and has been successfully completed in rigs like yours. For less common conversions such as this, you'll find that the most useful info will come from those who have completed a similar swap. Basically, it's been done before, so don't try to reinvent the wheel - go with what has worked for others. Heed what you glean from the AA manual and pay attention to all those who have suggestions to offer on the subject. And send us a picture when you're done. Thanks for reading.
Fj40 Tranny Swap
Q: I am considering my options for a swap from the factory three-speed in a '69 FJ40. From what I can tell, it looks like the NV3550 transmission is probably the way to go as far as using a late-model five-speed. Is a Ford ZF five-speed from an '89 4x4 F-250 a viable candidate? I have access to this transmission and don't know about availability of the adapter and or transfer case options. If this transmission isn't an option, what about adapter and transfer case options for the NV3550? Any chance of using the original transfer case for either transmission? If not, what case would you suggest?
A: Randy, since the Ford ZF transmissions are fairly new on the market (Ford began use in 1987), you'll likely have difficulty finding the necessary adapter to mate it to the stock Toyota transfer case. Advance Adapters currently offers an adapter to mate the ZF to a Dana 300, but none are yet offered for the Land Cruiser 'case. If a heavier-duty transmission is desired, you might look at the NV4500 as an option. This five-speed unit features a First gear ratio of 6.34:1 (later models use 5.61:1). Advance Adapters offers kits for these units to mate to GM, Ford, and the factory Toyota engines, as well as the Toyota transfer case. For information regarding this swap, check out the Advance Adapters Toyota Land Cruiser Conversion Manual, part number TLC013. Good luck.
Q: Did you guys run an article several months ago on swapping out the Quadra-Trac transfer case in a Jeep Grand Cherokee for a Selec-Trac? If so, could you tell me what issue it was so I can order a back issue?
A: Dave, yes, we did. The article, "Project Grand Caddy Gets an NP231," appeared in the Sept. '05 issue. In the article, Editor Kevin McNaughty detailed the conversion from a full-time, NP249 Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system to a part-time, NP231 Selec-Trac transfer case. The NP231 also received TeraFlex's Tera Low231 4:1 gears and a SYE. Shifting was achieved through use of a Novak universal shifter. To view available back issues online, go to www.4wdandsportutility.com and click on the Back Issues icon in the menu on the left.
Wrangler Specs & Stock Strength
Q: I just purchased an '02 Jeep Wrangler X with the 4.0L six-cylinder and an auto tranny. Can you tell me what kind of horsepower, torque, gear ratio, and type of tranny it uses? All I know is that the tranny is an automatic and what kind of transfer case it has. I am guessing that the axles are Dana 30/35. The Jeep came with 30x10.5-inch all-terrain tires, but can this drivetrain handle 33-inch tires and a 4-inch lift? This is my first Jeep ever, and I am very much excited about the fact that I finally have my own. It is also my daily driver, so I don't want to get too crazy with a big lift and big tires. Any info that you could give would be greatly appreciated.
A: Milo, congratulations on your recent purchase. The X-model Jeep Wrangler is a great 4x4 and should provide you with many years of enjoyment. You are correct on the axle ID - a Dana 30 resides up front and rear was equipped with a Dana 35. The axle gear ratio is 3.73:1, and the rear may be equipped with a Trac-Lok limited-slip differential. If your X-model Wrangler is a special edition, it may use a Dana 44 rear axle. The transmission is the 32RH/TF999 three-speed auto trans with a 2.74:1 First gear ratio. The 4.0L I-6 engine produces 190 hp at 4,600 rpm and 235 lb-ft torque at 3,200 rpm.
The stock drivetrain should hold up to 33-inch tires, but you'll need to carry out a few extra mods to do it right. With a 4-inch lift, you will want a slip-yoke eliminator for the NP231 transfer case and a CV rear driveshaft. The Dana 35 axle can be particularly troublesome, especially with larger tires in place. I'd suggest an upgrade kit such as the Yukon Ultimate 35 kit, which includes 30-spline alloy axles, new carrier and axle bearings, and a locking differential. The factory C-clips may still fail, but other weak stock components will be mademuch stronger. Check out Yukon at Randy's Ring & Pinion [(866) 235-0996, www.ringpinion.com].