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Nuts & Bolts: Chief Axles

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on May 4, 2018
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I have a 1976 Jeep Cherokee Chief and am building it for tough trails. I saw on the 2016 Ultimate Adventure that Cooper “Tiny Dancer” Rasmussen had installed a 14-bolt rear in his Cherokee. I am curious what donor the axle came out of and what he had to do to get it installed. I was curious if the 14-bolt has the same passenger-side offset that the Cherokee has to accommodate the stock fuel tank. I see from the pics that he’s still running the stock fuel filler location, so I assume he’s still running stock tank. Do you have any recommendations on places to get parts for Cherokees and Wagoneers other than BJ’s Off Road?

Kevin O.

The Off-Road Power Products ( Cherokee is one of our favorite UA builds. It’s unique while being simple and effective. The crew at OPP wisely opted to swap in a 14-bolt knowing that Rasmussen would be behind the wheel, and while they’re not certain exactly what year truck the axle came from, it was an early 1970s single-wheel truck. As you mentioned, the centered placement of the differential caused driveline interference with the stock fuel tank, and the fuel tank was pretty small to feed a healthy 360 for over 150 miles anyway. The solution was a new tank from BJ’s Off-Road (, which sits behind the rear axle where the spare tire would be located while still using the stock filler neck location. The tank can be ordered with or without an internal fuel pump.

As for sources for FSJ parts and accessories, the options are fairly slim. BJ’s is a great resource because the company specializes in fullsize Jeeps and probably offers the widest selection of products that aren’t restoration-related. Crown Automotive ( offers a fair number of stock replacement parts, and select companies do still offer suspension lifts and steering components. Unfortunately, fullsize Jeeps are a bit outside the mainstream, so the selection isn’t going to be as wide or deep as it would be for some of the more popular vehicle platforms.

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