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July 2010 Nuts & Bolts

1985 Toyota 4Runner
Fred Williams
| Brand Manager, Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off Road
Posted July 1, 2010

"Exlposive" Toyota Question, CJ-7 Hemi Dilemma, & More!

Signal the Speedo
QI have a '95 Wrangler YJ with the 2.5L, AX5, and NP231. I recently blew Fifth gear in my AX5 and was lucky enough to score an AX15 and a Dana 300 transfer case at a swap meet. I am going to be putting in the AX15 and Dana 300 with a little help from Advance Adapters and Novak when time and money allow. Is it possible to convert the mechanical speed sensor in the Dana 300 to electronic like I have in my NP231?
Ryan O.
via 4wheeloffroad.com

A What you need is a signal generator. Painless Performance (www.painlessperformance.com) offers one that is perfect for swapping in a Dana 300 with an electronic fuel-injected TBI GM engine ('88-'95), but when going to the Jeep speedo and computer it's even easier. The mechanical-to-electric speed signal generator out of your NP-231 should bolt right into your Dana 300 if it is from an '82-'86 Jeep. If it's earlier than that, you can upgrade to a larger output shaft and it will come with a tailhousing that will accept the 231 speed signal generator. Also remember that the Dana 300 is a passenger-side front output whereas the 231 is driver-side, so you may be swapping in a new front axle or looking into a Stak 4x4 (www.stak4x4.com) Dana 300 Replace-a-Case.

30-Something Quandary
QI have a '97 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport with the 4.0L six-cylinder, Dana 30 front, and Dana 35 rear. It has 35-inch tires, which I will probably keep. However, 37-inch tires might be a possibility in the distant future. What is my best and (due to current financial burdens) cheapest way to go? I am torn between upgrading my current axles with the Super 30 and 35 kits with selectable lockers or saving a little while longer and buying Dana 44 axles.
Brian R.
via 4wheeloffroad.com

A This is always such a hard question to answer: "How much axle do I need?" The stock axles are probably fine for most guys up to 33-inch tires, and maybe 35s if you're easy on them. The problem is what constitutes "easy on them." What terrain do you wheel? Are you always on the throttle? Do you like to jump, bash, and abuse the Jeep or just cruise dirt roads looking at birds and hunting beasts?

I have a general Dana rule: Dana 30/35s are good up to 33/35-inch tires with good parts, 44s are good up to 35/37-inch tires with good parts, and 60s are good up to 40/44-inch tires with upgraded parts. By "good parts" I mean proper gearing, chromoly shafts, upgraded shaft size, stronger than stock U-joints, and so on. Of course each of these is dependent on driving style, terrain, and powertrain.

The Super 30 and Super 35 kits from Superior Axle & Gear (www.superioraxlegears) are a great upgrade for Jeeps, as they're claimed to be 30 percent stronger than stock. And if you figure that a stock Jeep comes with 29-inch-tall tires, then 30 percent taller would be 37 inches. However, I don't think I'd run 37s on these axles with the way I drive. I'd be more inclined to run 33s and maybe 35s with the Super 30/35 upgrade.

I think if you are seriously planning on 37s in the future I'd save up to build some Dana 44s. To be safe, I'd do a high-pinion Dana 44 up front and a low-pinion in the rear, or a high- or low-pinion Dana 60 in the rear.

Many companies (such as Dynatrac, www.dynatrac.com) offer both the trail series 44 and 60s that will bolt in, or you can build your own.

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