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Vintage Jeep Driveshaft Upgrade

Stay on the trail longer

Brian GabrielPhotographer, Writer

Off-roading is a whole heap of fun, and it’s also a whole heap of extra stress and additional loading on your Jeep. The first common upgrade is to get high traction tires, maybe even a couple sizes larger than stock. That leads to better axleshafts or beefier axle assemblies. It’s all in the name of running even larger tires and driving your Jeep over more difficult obstacles.

With all of that going on you have likely overlooked one item: the propeller shaft—and we aren’t talking about boats. It’s that steel tube with wiggly ends delivering torque to the axles. Driveshaft upgrades are often the last thing we think to do when outfitting an older Jeep. Luckily, the driveshaft experts at Tom Wood’s Custom Drive Shafts have the knowledge and parts to help even the older and rustier side of Jeeping.

If you own a Willys or Kaiser-era Jeep, it likely has a 1310-sized universal joint on the rear driveshaft that is still common today in many 4x4s, but the front driveshafts use the smaller-yet 1210 universal joint. These 1210 U-joints are still available, but spares might be hard to find when you’re in Timbuktu, and it’s still a 1210 and not as strong as the factory rear 1310 driveshaft.

Our choice was to not go crazy on a rig that in all probability, and baring an engine swap, tops out at about 150 hp. Upgrading to a stronger and more common 1310 U-joint front driveshaft for any Jeep equipped with a Dana 25 or Dana 27 front axle sounded like a darn good idea.