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June 2012 Techline: Your Tech Questions Answered

Posted in How To: Tech Qa on June 1, 2012
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Wrangler Stabilizer
Got any advice on a steering stabilizer for a Wrangler JK Unlimited running 35-inch tires?
Brian Gilmour

Despite its smaller size the factory stabilizer does a pretty good job, even with 35-inch tires. However, the ’07-’10 Wranglers use a small-diameter stabilizer (top). What you want is the stabilizer from an ’11 or newer (bottom), (Mopar PN 52060058AF). It’s a little larger in diameter than the earlier version and does a better job of damping steering input. You can still use the factory mounting brackets, but you will have to adjust the bracket on the tie rod for fitment. Other than that, it’s a simple bolt-on upgrade.

Ford Steering Stuff
I’m working on a project and need to find a stock pitman arm for a ’78 or ’79 Ford F-250. Do you know where I can find one?

Jeff’s Bronco Graveyard ( offers new and used parts for many different model Fords. The company offers a used version of the pitman arm you are looking for under item number 22825. It fits the 4x4 version of the truck in question with a four-bolt power steering box.

NP205 Tech
I have a ’78 GM K20 pickup with a TH400 and an NP203. Any advice on swapping it for an NP205 or getting a Mile Marker part-time conversion kit?

Good news is you can use factory parts to make the swap to the NP205. Bad news is the parts can be hard to find and sometimes expensive. You’ll need a 32-spline NP205 to make the swap. You’ll also need to change the transmission tailshaft to the 32-spline NP205 version or use an adapter. Check out Offroad Design ( for parts and info about making the swap. The company specializes in fullsize trucks and should have the components you need.

Depending on how you use your 4x4 you may also want to consider an Offroad Design Doubler kit. It utilizes the front half of your NP203 and an NP205. You’ll get the best of both worlds, part-time four-wheel drive and extra-low gearing for difficult terrain.

Mile Marker ( still offers a part-time kit for the NP203 (PN 95-24203), however this kit only fits ’73-’77 GM trucks. Kits are available for other models as well. Your best bet is to call the company to see if there is a conversion for your truck.

Manual Redo
I have a ’90 GMC Sierra K1500 with the 5.7L V-8 and a five-speed standard transmission. Lately the transmission has not been going into gear very easily and it pops out of Third when I let off the throttle. Can you give me ideas on what the issue can be? Can you tell me what kind of tranny it is? I have been told it is the synchros that are going out. What exactly are these and can they be replaced alone, or does the whole thing need rebuilding?

I don’t know much about transmissions, but is it possible to tear down this tranny and rebuild it myself or should I leave it to the professionals? I have been told these are expensive to rebuild.

Your transmission should be an HM290. Something inside is clearly worn out. It’s hard to say what is wrong without pulling it apart. It’s really not all that different than most modern manual transmissions. It’s actually very similar to the NV3500. You’ll probably need a few specialty (expensive) transmission tools to rebuild it properly. If you are trying to save money, remove the transmission yourself and then take it to a shop to be rebuilt.

What you are describing is more than synchro wear or damage. Worn synchros would make the transmission difficult to shift or cause it to grind when shifting but they would not make it pop out of gear. What you have is probably worn gears and/or bearings. I suspect you have well over 150,000 miles on the tranny, so that would make sense.

Dana 70 Swap
I’m putting a Dana 70 in my ’85 F-250—is that a good rearend?


Yes, it is a very strong ¾- to 1-ton rear axle, although some Dana 70s are more desirable than others. The HD version is the easiest to get aftermarket parts for. You will need to know the bill of materials number if you want to know what Dana 70 version you have. The bill of materials number can typically be found stamped into one of the axletubes. However, if you don’t plan to modify the axle, don’t worry about what version of Dana 70 you have; it will hold up to a lot of abuse as is.

Frame Rot Wrangler
I’ve got a ’95 Jeep Wrangler and the frame is full of rust holes. I’m currently at Wyotech taking chassis fabrication. What form of frame is best for a dual purpose rig? I was thinking about making a new frame from 2x4-inch, 0.160-wall rectangular tubing.
Jesse Koziol

Unless it’s specifically for a school project I think you will be much better off either fixing what you have or starting fresh with a clean stock wrecking yard frame, preferably rust-free from the Southwest. The YJ frame is kind of a pain to build from scratch because it splays out in the rear. Plus you’ll likely spend more money on materials to build your own than if you were to just find a clean used frame.

If you decide to repair what you have you can purchase Safe-T-Cap frame reinforcement/rebuild plates and brackets from Auto Rust Technicians (

Where To Write
Address your correspondence to: Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.

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