Nuts & Bolts: Old-School Jeep Mods
Nuts & Bolts
I’m looking for a narrow-track Dana 30 for my 1966 CJ-5. Mine currently has a closed-knuckle Dana 27. I live in Arizona. If you guys have any insight on where one is, could you please let me know?
Via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Though not nearly as common as newer Jeep parts, a surprising amount of older Jeep stuff is hiding in plain sight on Craigslist and other online selling forums. Shops and wrecking yards that have been around for a long time often have this kind of stuff lying around, and you may even be able to pick one up reasonably. There’s also a fairly healthy contingent of vintage Jeep enthusiasts in Arizona, so getting hooked in with that group may be your best bet as long as you can tolerate grouchy old guys. You might also try AMC 4x4 (amc4x4.com) in Phoenix or Willy’s Works (willysworks.com) in Tucson.
If we were in your shoes we’d hunt for a disc-brake version of a narrow-track Dana 30 in CJ-5 and CJ-7s, but one of these may be difficult to find. Depending on which source you believe, front disc brakes started becoming an option in 1977 but were not standard until 1979, so only 1979-1981 narrow-track Dana 30s will have factory disc brakes. Some sources claim that 1980 was when discs became standard. Still, it’s fairly easy enough to convert a drum-brake Dana 30 to discs with either a combination of junkyard parts or a number of available conversion kits. If you’re going to go through the trouble of the swap for the strength improvement of a Dana 27 over a Dana 30, you might as well improve braking performance at the same time. The narrow-track Dana 30 is going to be slightly wider than your Dana 27 (51 inches versus 48 1/2) but that really shouldn’t be very visible.
Overall, this is a beneficial and fairly simple swap assuming you’ve already ditched the Ross steering for a Saginaw system and your tire size is fairly conservative.