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Is a dana 30 worth it and are there any bad year models?

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by Warkmeister, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Feb 18, 2014
    Warkmeister

    Warkmeister Member

    Fresno, CA
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    After having my first death wobble experience a few days ago, I began wondering the overall direction of my new 67 cj5. I see ia mild wheeler with 3" of wrangler spring lift and 33's, powered by its buick v6, then running sm465/d18/overdrive. I also am thinking column and pedal assembly from a friends wrecked xj. Saginaw power steering to cap it off.
    As I think about diving into the front end to start replacing tie rods, links, kingpin bearings,spindles and whatnot, it adds up fast.
    With what I have planned, would it make sense just to find a dana 30 for the front or spend the money rebuilding the 27?
    Are there any years of dana 30 to avoid?
    I never want death wobble again. Especially once I start driving my son around (only have one seat)
     
  2. Feb 18, 2014
    Warkmeister

    Warkmeister Member

    Fresno, CA
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    I should add, last night I tried to see where the play in the front end is. My Ross box shows a few degrees of steering wheel slop and if I shake my wheels in the 12 to 6 o clock direction I can generate maybe 1/8" of play at the edges of the tires for spindle. I am a little intimidated by this whole problem and myriad of culprits.
     
  3. Feb 18, 2014
    bkd

    bkd Moderator Supreme Staff Member

    K-Town Tenn.
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    You ask a lot lot of questions in one place but what you want to find is a narrow track Dana 30 and if you can find one with discount brakes that'd really would be nice ...... making sure that you're camber and caster ( caster especially) is set right will eliminate or least help that you won't have that the death wobble ...it's definitely an upgrade you can turn tighter and you have more turning radius........

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
     
  4. Feb 18, 2014
    bkd

    bkd Moderator Supreme Staff Member

    K-Town Tenn.
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    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
     
  5. Feb 18, 2014
    jeepermc

    jeepermc Active Member

    Western WA
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    A dana 30 won't do anything to help with death wobble, but in my opinion if you're gonna spend money on one or the other go with a Dana 30. They are easier to find parts for, have better aftermarket support, Better turning radius, far more upgrade options and are stronger with 27 spline axles or you can even upgrade those to 30 spline D44 size. I can't think of a downside to a D30 swap. If you want to stick with drum brakes find one from a 72-75/6 CJ or 72/73 commando as they are pretty much a bolt in deal. Those ones are pretty easy to convert to disc down the road using a combination of chevy and jeep parts. Later disc brake ones are still bolt in.

    A band aid for death wobble is a steering stabilizer but it won't fix whatever underlying problem is causing it and it could be any number of things.
     
  6. Feb 18, 2014
    AKCJ

    AKCJ Active Member

    Fairbanks, Alaska
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    I switched to the d30 so I could get an ARB Air Locker. There is no air locker made for the d27. I also switched because I found a 78 d30 which is one of the good ones.

    The dana 30 gives you more choices for lockers and many of them come with good disc brakes. D30 may be slightly stronger and is also newer than the 27. And is and inch wider and turns tighter. And you can get the stronger alloy axle shafts.

    OTOH, many guys run the d27 and are happy with it.

    Note - I never had death wobble with the d27 but I have had it with the d30. Fixed it by tightening the spring u-bolts.
     
  7. Feb 18, 2014
    Warkmeister

    Warkmeister Member

    Fresno, CA
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    Thanks for your thoughts guys. I know I ask a lot but this is a new arena for me. I want to spend my money wisely and efficiently cause we all know project money can be scarce.

    So let me get this right...72-75 CJs have dana 30 with drums, 76-8? had 30's with discs?

    Are wrangler axles worth a hill of beans? Dana 35 right?
     
  8. Feb 18, 2014
    jeepermc

    jeepermc Active Member

    Western WA
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    I've experienced death wobble with both the 27 and 30. Most recently on my 66 after I changed the front springs.

    Stay away from wrangler axles. The wrangler D30 isn't a terrible axle but it's not bolt in, too wide, unit bearings with no hubs and 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern.

    72-75 Cj's have D30's with drums. 76 was an option for both. 77-81 is disc and the correct width. After 81 they were "wide track" which isn't a particularly good fit in the earlier jeeps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  9. Feb 18, 2014
    Warkmeister

    Warkmeister Member

    Fresno, CA
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    Jeepermc, what springs and axle did you change to? 1.75" or did you go wider on the leaves? Reason I ask is cause I was thinking that going to wrangler springs (rocky road outfitters kit) would allow me to eliminate one potential cause of wobble and give me better suspension once installed correctly.
     
  10. Feb 18, 2014
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Close. '72-75 are all 11" drum with 3.73 ratio std, 4.27 optional. '76 was all drum too with 3.54 std, 4.10 optional. '77 was the first year for optional front disk brakes, but they became standard within the next few years (not sure which year).

    There's been lots of discussion about converting the drum-equipped Dana 30 to disks - take a lok at old posts. I'm sure it can be done by swapping everything from the knuckles out from a disk-equipped D30 axle. Apparently they can also be converted the same way you would convert a D27 to disks, whith Chevy caliper brackets and Jeep/Scout rotors.
     
  11. Feb 18, 2014
    duffer

    duffer Rodent Power

    Bozeman, MT
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    My 2 cents: No use even considering a complete rebuild of the D27 if not going for a completely stock restoration. As noted, a lot less choices for traction devices and I'm going to guess the 30 is a good 30% stronger-maybe more than that. If you want to put some high end parts in them, not much different than a stock D44. I have had more bad experiences with D27's than I have with D25's. As for death wobble and spring width, it isn't going to change a thing. If you have a lot of slop, you can even get death wobble with a 4 link and coils.

    The Ross box should head to the scrap bin, along with the bell crank and the rest of the stock steering. It can work, but only with frequent diligent maintenance. The Saginaws are pretty much a one time install and forget about them.
     
  12. Feb 18, 2014
    tarry99

    tarry99 Member

    Northern California
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    There is a whole lot more to Death Wobble than just the front axle...........First off the old Ross steering can be an issue as will as Tie Rod ends, knuckles , steering gear lash, wheel bearings, worn out suspensions bushings in the front or rear, and just all sorts of other little steering geometry issues that are inherent in these old vehicles.

    If your moving towards and open knuckle version front axle the D-30 is a great choice..........bolts right in. The axle is 3 inches wider over all and that is a plus! I would try and find a 77-78 Factory optioned Large Disc brake version that comes with the vented rotors and the HD 6 bolt Warn Premium hubs.........I still see them in wrecking yards rusting away. As far as the 1.750 wide springs , I think there fine unless you want to change them.............just make sure you pay attention to the Castor angle during the install.
     
  13. Feb 18, 2014
    jeepermc

    jeepermc Active Member

    Western WA
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    I've done both. I initially bolted it into my flatty using stock springs. I then did YJ springs sprung over. Neither is going to play into death wobble significantly. The suspension is alot better riding on the YJ springs. I used a front end from a 72 Commando that I converted to disc brakes using the chevy calipers and brackets and 1" 1/8 jeep rotors from 77/78.
     
  14. Feb 18, 2014
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Super Moderator Staff Member

    Tantallon, Nova...
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    My recommendation is first determine what the issue is with the current setup, do a search here on "death wobble" for pointers on what to look for. This will cost you absoulutely nothing but a few hours time & if it's a simple/cheap fix them you've bought yourself some wheeling time while waiting for a good deal to show up on a 30 & associated bitties if that's the way you want to go. It will also give you an insight into the stock steering & a little extra knowledge never hurts.

    H.
     
  15. Feb 18, 2014
    lynn

    lynn Time machine / Early CJ5 HR Rep Staff Member

    Huntingdon PA
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    I used a '74 D30 in the '71, to compliment an earlier Saginaw swap. I loved the result.

    Easy bolt-in. except for caster angle. Expect to add about a 5° wedge between the spring and perch to maintain a 5° to 7° positive caster angle.

    I stayed with the 11" drums; I used 11" postal drums (new), drilled for better wet & dry stopping. Worked great!
     
  16. Feb 18, 2014
    Warkmeister

    Warkmeister Member

    Fresno, CA
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    Great info everyone thanks. Thanks too eisenhauer for especially practical advice. I'm at the point of asking questions now, but hopefully in time I will actually be a contributor to knowledge, not just a taker!
     
  17. Feb 18, 2014
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    What rear axle are you going to use, and are you planning to set up the gears? This is a major issue.

    You can find a '72-75 axle in 3.73 or 4.27 ratios, which will match some original gear ratios for early CJ-5s. Oherwise you're going to have to buy and set up new gears, or pay someone to set them up.
     
  18. Feb 18, 2014
    Warkmeister

    Warkmeister Member

    Fresno, CA
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    Right now everything is stock in the back, dana 44 with tapered shafts. I don't entirely see the need to swap out the rear. Dropping in new gears seems like a shops job, not mine, at least now. Not sure of my ratio yet but stock I can only go about 50mph on 28 inch tires. With sm465, overdrive, and 33" tires, would 4.27 be wise?
     
  19. Feb 18, 2014
    Rondog

    Rondog just hangin' out

    Parker, CO
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    I sure hope it's worth it! For my '56 CJ5 restomod, I put a D30 from a (I believe) '72 CJ5. Has 11" drum brakes, and I put a 5:38 gear set in it (is that right? Whatever the stock 1956 ratio gears are, I can't remember the numbers exactly.

    Anyway, it's an open knuckle, it's 3" wider than the original D25, and is totally rebuilt with all new stuff. I sure hope it's gonna work good. Still have the complete D25 just in case.....
     
  20. Feb 18, 2014
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    Swapping gears would be a significant expense. Most amateur mechanics would farm out the labor, since it requires special tools and skills.

    I suggest you check what ratio you have now. To me, 4.27s are a good compromise ratio, especially with an overdrive. IMO, you don't really need an overdrive with 4.27s and 33s - check one of the many gear calculators online, like the one on the Novak site. For this combination, you'd be turning 2825 RPM at 65, which isn't bad.

    If your Jeep came with a F134, it quite likely has 5.38 gears. You need to know the ratio. Check the axle tags.

    If you have 5.38s, you're in something of a spot. You can keep the current ratio, and convert the front D30. Or you can convert the rear axle and the front axle to the ratio of your choice, ie 4.55s or 4.27s or 4.10s or whatever else you decide is best for your purpose. But you'd be spending s lot of money on a less-than-desirable rear axle with tapered nutted axles. You could convert the rear axle to full-floating, or seek out a scarce '70-71 flanged Dana 44 with one-piece axles. Then you'll have to do the gears on the new rear axle too.

    People spend big money on axles and gears. The 30 is a great upgrade, but there are lots of issues to consider ... if there is nothing really wrong with your 27 otehr than leaky and kingpin bearings, you might want to go through the knuckles and spiff it up so you can drive it a while.

    Dr Vern has a good write up on what's up with the closed knuckle axle. http://www.vernco.com/ Generally if the Jeep was not owned by an enthusiast, the front axle will need the treatment. Lots of Jeeps are rescued from indifferent owners, and this stuff was neglected. People sell cars for a reason...

    If you open the differential cover, and it's full of water and mud and broken gear teeth, your path is clear. If it kinda looks ok, but the knuckles are jsut sloppy, then it might be worthwhile to spend a hundred bucks on parts for the knuckles and steering, and put off the upgrades until you have some seat time and are more confident about what you want to do. A 30 from a wrecking yard is going to be, say, $300 complete - you might be able to find an axle cheaper private party. But finding parts cheap usually needs more searching and looking on your part.

    You might also want to look around for some smaller used tires and wheels to get you on the road, then buy your ultimate tires and wheels when the suspension and steering is straightened out.

    Well, I wrote more than I intended to. Hope it's helpful.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
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