M.I.T. Installs A Pair Of 44s
Hello, and welcome to another installment of our continuing saga to turn a rattle-clap '68 J2000 we purchased for $800 into a safe, economical, and comfortable highway cruiser, as well as a capable camping rig and weekend hauler.
Last time, we followed the techs at M.I.T. in El Cajon, California, as they put the full rebuild on a pair of Dana 44 axles. In case you missed it, Cappa donated the rear '73 Dana 44 from his J2000 and an '83 Dodge 1/2-ton Dana 44 front he had lying around. The only thing he asked in return was the assurance that our old axles wouldn't mysteriously appear on his front doorstep. While we never actually made that promise, we did put in a call to Rubicon Express and PSC Motorsports for some supplies we knew we'd need when M.I.T. swapped out our tired two-piece Dana 44 rear and 19-spline, closed-knuckle Dana 44 front for the more modern axles.
In addition to a really sweet line of suspension components, Rubicon Express has a whole section of its Web site and print catalog dedicated to builder's stuff. With brackets and mounts, high-misalignment suspension joints, brake lines, spring perches, and a ton of other parts, we can spend hours dreaming up stuff to do with the items listed in the Rubicon Express Builder's Section. And when it comes to easy, one-stop shopping for steering components, PSC Motorsports is the cat's meow. Since we knew our stock steering setup wouldn't work with the new Dodge axle, we put in a call to PSC for one if its beautifully crafted, heavy-duty tie rod and drag link kits. The kit includes everything you need to build your steering linkage bombproof the first time.
And of course, we've got to give a huge shout of thanks to M.I.T. in El Cajon for making it all come together. Technicians Christian Garcia and Andy Thomas turned our axle swap around in a day so we could drive the truck home that night. Here's how they did it. Next time we'll be yanking the tired 232 engine and drivetrain for a more modern powerplant.