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April 2011 Your Jeep

Posted in How To on April 1, 2011
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Beefy Bracket
In the story "Coil Sprung Sundries" (Nov. '10) there's a picture in the middle of the page with a heavy-duty sway bar bracket. Was this custom made or can you buy them somewhere? I need two for the setup I'm running.
Jim Migielski
Carlsbad, NM
If you're talking about the bracket welded to the axle housing, I believe that's a Rubicon Express bracket for a TJ/XJ application.

JK Clear-View
I can't seem to find any aftermarket wipers for my '07 Rubicon, like the new PIAAs listed in the Jan. '11 issue. I have looked and looked and can't locate any at all in the correct 15-inch size. Everyone with decent wipers starts at 16-inch sizes. Why is that? Please direct me to something that will help me see clearly again
Wayne Simer
Pflugerville, TX

Editor Cappa replies, Try the Trailblade from Rampage Products (951/277-4949,

Willys Mini-Starter
Just bought a '53 CJ-3A with Go-Devil engine and I need to find a starter. I took the old starter to a rebuild shop and they can't find an armature for it. Are there any starters that might be used in its place? The Jeep has been converted to a 12-volt system already.
Steve Bowen
Via email

You can use the starter from a '64-'83 Toyota 4.2L, Nippondenso PN 02800-2362/4. It's a very compact 12-volt unit and has the same bolt pattern as the original L-head starter.

Some bolt right on with no issues. Some require very gentle grinding of the aluminum starter case (just the protrusive nub around the armature gear) to fit flush with the bellhousing. Or, you may have to do some very minor elongation of the mounting bolt hole(s). Either modification could be performed with a flat or round hand file. The Toyota is a good high-torque alternative to a remanufactured L-head part, which was originally designed to work with the Willy's 6-volt system. The Nippondenso will have a 9-tooth gear while the original is a 10-tooth, but the teeth will still mesh with the flywheel. It's only a difference of the starter's gear ratio.

Dakota Bells
Just a quick question: is there a reason you went with the Advance Adapters conversion plate to hook up the AX15 to your 2.5L as opposed to using the Dodge Dakota bellhousing?
Greg Williams
Via email

On the whole, I find the Dakota bellhousing is kind of hard to come by in some areas. I looked for a while but couldn't locate one for myself nearby. I did find two in the Midwest and one on the east coast, but the sellers wanted half of what the Advance Adapters kit cost and then I'd still need to convert to an external throwout bearing setup. True, it's a much better setup, but it adds even more money to the "junkyard" conversion. Plus, I haven't had good luck in the past buying drivetrain components and having them shipped. I almost always receive damaged goods. In the end, using Advance Adapters for my story just covers a wider range of people since anybody can buy a kit for their 2.5L Wrangler or Cherokee, no matter where they are.

Full-Size Building
I need help with some project planning on my '79 Wagoneer. Right now it has 4-inch lift, 35-inch BFG MTs with a Lock-Rite in the rear, 360 engine, TH400 tranny, and Quadra-Trac T-case. I have a limited budget so I'm trying to do it one step at a time. I'd like to start with a part-time T-case. I think my only option without changing to a centered rear diff is to run a Spicer 18. Would that be strong enough for this size truck used for trails up and moderate rock crawling in Arizona? If the Spicer 18 isn't strong enough then my next choice is a NP205 and rear diff upgrade to a Dana 60. I think a rear diff from a J20 with a Dana 20 T-case would be close to a bolt-in. I also am going to change from 3.54 to 4.56 gears, so it seems like my T-case will determine if I change gears in the Dana 44 or upgrade to Dana 60. Once I figure that out does the Quadra-Trac TH400 have a 10-spline output shaft and is it the same as a four-speed NP205? Thanks for any help.
Chuck Croegaert
Phoenix, AZ

The output shaft of your TH400 is a super-long, 10-spline unit. Other than using a Spicer 18 with a 10-spline input gear, there really aren't many alternatives for getting rid of your Quadra-Trac that don't involve tearing your TH400 apart to swap the output shaft. The GM SM420 and SM465 used a 10-spline output shaft, but with a different diameter and a different T-case-to-tranny adapter than what you have. You just can't bolt on an NP205. I don't think I'd trust a Spicer 18 in an FSJ with 35s that actually gets wheeled. Put it this way: I swapped one out of my 3,000lb flattie for a Dana 300.

Given the high cost of adapters and considering you want to stay on a budget I'd consider yanking a TF727 from an '80-up FSJ. This will get you an automatic transmission with a more-common 23-spline output shaft. Since your front diff is on the passenger-side you could use an '80s Dodge NP208 or if you can find one, an NP241. I forget the exact crossover year from 208-241, but Dodge used the NP241 in its 1/2- and 3/4-ton trucks from about 1986 or 1987 until 1991. These T-cases will bolt to the 727 and could be found in the junkyard. They're strong and have a 2.61 or 2.72 Low ratio, respectively. You could also run a Dana 300, but in my opinion the aluminum chain-drive Dodge T-case will give you fewer problems.

You've probably got enough wheelbase to sport the offset rear with a centered T-case for a while. If you get lucky, you may find a complete Dodge donor truck and could yank the T-case and axles in one fell swoop. Dodge used 3.23 or 3.55 gears in most of its 1/2-ton pickups from '80-'91. The 3/4-ton trucks got 4.10s.

Huffing Four
I follow your articles in Jp on a regular basis and enjoy them. I don't question them merely because I don't know enough about mechanics to critique the topic, but I do enjoy the projects you've brought to life. However, I do have a question regarding "Against the Grain" in the June '10 issue, in which you suggested regarding the Jeep 134-cube F-Head, "If you want power in your L-head-powered flattie, why not be different and slap a 2.2L Chrysler turbo on your head, add a Pertronix electronic ignition, and one-barrel TBI injection."

OK, you've got my ear and curiosity! I've got a '52 CJ-3A with the Go-Devil in it. Could you tell me more? What parts do I need? What kind of performance enhancement can I expect? And lastly, will my engine compartment with the original engine retain any of its ambience and spaciousness?
Peter Cederlof
Calgary, Alberta Canada

Jeez, man. Your guess is as good as mine. In the past my buddy Verne Simons (former Jp Feature Editor) put a Petronix ignition and 1bbl Holley Pro-Jection TBI on his flattie's L-head. It didn't do a ton for the power, but it did help the drivability over his old points distributor and gluggy carb. I routinely see turbo Chrysler cars in the junkyard. I don't see how it would be a terrible job to build a custom exhaust flange for the little 2.2L turbo, feed it an oil line, and build some ducting to feed the TBI. As long as you keep the boost down around 4-5psi (which is pretty low in the turbo world) I don't see it causing any detonation or other fueling issues. You could even use a 2bbl Motorcraft carb on a custom adapter plate (you'd need to build it yourself out of a chunk of aluminum-no biggie) if you didn't want to pop for a Pro-Jection.

In the end it'd probably only cost a couple hundred bucks. Far less than a 134 F-head rebuild. But as for a parts list, sorry- I don't have one. There may be a guy or two on the web site or perhaps somebody will chime in on or write in to me with some knowledge about it. I know a few guys have messed with or have at least heard about guys messing with turbo installs on their F-heads in early CJ-5/CJ-6 Jeeps. Perhaps one of them could expound on this for you.

I have a '00 Wrangler Sahara I bought new. I did nothing to it until about one year ago. I added a 4-inch lift, 33x12.50 mud terrains, and a Smittybilt rear bumper with tire carrier. I recently added a K&N intake, an after-cat exhaust and E3 spark plugs. It runs great and the mileage improved. I want to keep it a daily driver, but would like to begin upgrading for better off-road performance. It has a 4.0L engine with a manual transmission, a Dana 30 in the front and a Dana 35 in the rear, both with the factory 3.07 gears. I probably can't afford to do everything at once but I would like to do a quality upgrade, so what would you suggest?
Randy Rallis
Wichita Falls, TX

That's a pretty good start on a dual-purpose Wrangler. I think you've made some wise upgrades so far.

As for future upgrades, I'd say your two or three hot buttons should be:

1-Body/Undercarriage Armor: I really like the Kilby Enterprises TJ armor, but I realize it's somewhat expensive. If you're looking to go cheap, other companies manufacture less-expensive rocker guard armor, or you could scour on-line ads to find a set of Rubicon take-off armor. The factory Rubicon armor is actually pretty good for moderate off-roading in rocks. I'd also look into a good fuel-tank skid plate and maybe a skid for the engine oil pan. Again, Kilby makes a nice fuel tank skid. Several companies also offer them, so hit Google to find some others if you're comparative shopping.

2-Recovery: It's nice to be able to get out of what you get into. A decent winch with an 8,000-9,500lb rating can be mounted in conjunction with your factory front bumper or you can look for a front bumper with an integrated winch mount. There's no getting around the quality of a Warn, Ramsey, or even Superwinch winch. MileMarker is ok as well. And Smittybilt makes a pretty decent winch at a crazy-low price. Check for the story "Affordable Winch Review" for a little more info on winches costing less than $700 and contact information for the winch companies listed above. Of those, the Tabor is far and away my favorite. It's the winch that's currently sitting on the bumper of my YJ.

3-Axles/Gearing: Here's the hard pill to swallow. For 33s I'd recommend 4.56 gears if you want to retain your freeway cruising ability. If you think you may eventually step up to 35s or even 37s, I'd go straight for the 4.88 gears. There's no sense in doing it twice and the 4.0L will live all day long spinning at 3,000rpm on the freeway. That said, I wouldn't put any money into the stock axles and here's why. For starters, you'll be looking at nearly $2,500-$3,000 to regear your front axle, equip it with a locker and upgraded alloy axleshafts. You can buy a Cherokee high-pinion front axle and build that up to install in your TJ and have a much better ring and pinion than the factory low-pinion TJ front axle. Or, look into buying a Currie Enterprises replacement high-pinion 9-inch. They can be purchased complete or with steering knuckles that will accept your factory TJ knuckles and stub shafts, and brakes. Transferring your TJ components to the new housing saves a lot of money, but the downside is you don't get the option of locking hubs. As for the rear, several options are out there from a Ford 8.8 with M.O.R.E. brackets, a junkyard 9-inch, and so on. I'd really recommend a Currie Enterprises 9-inch or a Dynatrac Trail Series Dana 44. Either will have better axle tubes than the stock TJ Dana 44 and make more sense than trying to keep your Dana 35 alive. We've done several cost-analysis stories in Jp covering TJ axle swap options which can be found with a little searching on

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