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m38a1 axle swap? spool? springs? opinions?

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by Strider380, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Jul 8, 2007
    Strider380

    Strider380 Can I have a zip tie?

    New England
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
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    1,110
    It all starts with my friend who just picked up a killer cj-7 with front and rear detroit lockers. (it was $1500 with 35's, dana44/30, and a sweet roll cage welded to the frame) I'm pretty jealous of his lockers, since I used to have the nicer jeep, but more then that I don't want to be left in the dust winching out everywhere. To combat this, I am rethinking my m38a1 build. I was looking for any insight since I know very little about axles other then their names.

    Mainly, I want a jeep I can wheel like crazy but will also be my daily driver. I'm not scared to sacrafice driving attributes for a nice trail rig. I do however, still want to be able to drive down the highway at 50mph with everyone passing while they honk. My 74 CJ5 is satisfying this need pretty well right now. Actually got it up to 60 last night. And man do I wheel it.

    The m38a1 has stock d44/d27 with stock springs. This is definitly a budget build, and my budget has been holding it up for 2 years. One problem is, the rear axle is really hard to turn, probably a carrier bearing or something, but I really don't want to get into setting up a rear end (bearing preload, backlash, etc.). I also have a working set of 75 cj5's d44/d30 laying around for a project, that I think I could easily swap in, which would also give me a 11 inch brake upgrade. Would it be worth it, whats a better Dana44 rear end?

    Alright, cut to the chase. With all the axles I have, I was tinkering with the idea of welding up a 44. I would love the traction this would give, and probably wouldn't even need a front locker. I know, I know, everyone hates spools, and even more, welded rear ends. A shop around here will drop in a chunck of metal between the spiders and arc weld it solid for 40 bucks. It would never break, I've seen my friends, and hopefully they could do it in the diff, once again, so I don't have to mess with backlash, etc. I hear that spools are better on axle shafts then automatic lockers because there is no jerking, plus they are predictable. I wouldn't mind squeaking around corners, it just be another luxury I sacrafice using a jeep as a DD. My real question, would I occasionlly be able to take this on the highway or def not? Ok, guys, lay it on me. Other ideas are appreciated, but I'm mainly concerned with price.
     
  2. Jul 8, 2007
    jpflat2a

    jpflat2a what's that noise?

    Riverside CA
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
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    8,124
    personally, it would be more gratifying to me to follow your buddy around unlocked and still go where he goes......but that's driving ability.
    Without a long sermon here, you certainly can install the 30/44 combo axles you have lying around; you could install Detroits in those and then be like your buddy. The 44 would be 30 spline flanged axles, very strong. The neg would be that the 44 is centered, so harder to make work with your offset D18 transfer case; doable, but not ideal.
    my 0.2 worth
     
  3. Jul 8, 2007
    w3srl

    w3srl Semi-retired in Florida Staff Member

    Port Orange, FL
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
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    4,016
    The '75 CJ axles are going to have a centered differential, and that will definitely not work well with a Dana 18 transfer case, which has an offset output to match your Dana 44.

    IMHO, fix your D44 the right way, and drop a lock-rite locker into it. The 11" brakes will also bolt right up to the ol' 44 with minimal hassle. ;)
     
  4. Jul 8, 2007
    Strider380

    Strider380 Can I have a zip tie?

    New England
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    Jan 12, 2006
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    Thats right, I forgot the diffs are different. I do have an extra d20 laying around too...hmmm.

    I kinda looked at lockrights too. I heard they wear out and when they finally go, you axle is rendered useless. Detroits are definitly not an option. Way too expensive. I was leaning towards spool because they are reliable, predictable, apparently are easier on axleshafts then an automatic locker, and I couldn't imagine the gain in traction. I just don't want to be fishtailing down the highway.

    Jpflat...I absolutly agree, following him with opens would be cool. Thats probably whats going to be happening anyway, but some of these pits are crazy. They look safe, then you drop 2 feet and your not going anywhere. I know a locked rear end would really open up possibilities, and would be a ton of fun!
     
  5. Jul 8, 2007
    farfle

    farfle old dog

    Mariposa, CA
    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
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    430
    I'd like to give a big 2x to what Jim had to say above.
    You've got a great oportunity to learn to wheel open...ya gotta pick the right line, instead of mash your right foot. Spend a year, wheel the same trails at the same time of year, and THEN think about lockers, if you feel the need. Your confidence level will improve if you take the time to learn how your jeep wheels open. You will have gotten a real understanding of "finesse", and when you can do that open, you'll be twice as effective, and save a boatload of money in the bargan, when you're locked.

    The real reason is the kinda sad faces and interesting excuses you hear when you come down a climb they couldn't/wouldn't do. Sometimes you can actually see the "offroad driving ability" meter inch up a notch or two. Big Fun.
     
  6. Jul 8, 2007
    willysnut

    willysnut Banned

    Newnan, Ga.
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    Oct 8, 2003
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    654
    I'm from the school of lockrights, I've already have twenty years of trail savy, so I say buy some lockrights and wheel it like you stole it. Just remember that when your stuck because all four tires dug a nice whole it's alot harder to get out. With the lockers you'll be wheelin sooner that the swaps, and that's the main point right? I ve had my lockrights for coming up on four years no problems. I have a 25/44 in my heap.

    Oh yeah go with the 11" brakes much safer on the road.
     
  7. Jul 8, 2007
    Strider380

    Strider380 Can I have a zip tie?

    New England
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    Jan 12, 2006
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    I do plenty of wheeling, mostly in 2wd, and I take pride in rarley getting stuck. I just want to be able to go right through the mud pit, rather then having to put one tire on the high center and the other tire off the trail, when the goin gets tough.

    Another reason I wanted to weld my rear end was because it can hopefully be done in the housing. (I've seen the welded rear ends this guy is pumping out. They arn't breaking.) I don't know much about installing lockers, but I imagine its not cheap to set up a rear end, and if I tried doing it myself, it would probably take a month. Thats why I was trying to stay wasy from this. Anyone know what the typical labor cost is of say, dropping in a lockrite?
     
  8. Jul 9, 2007
    nickmil

    nickmil In mothballs.

    Happy Valley, OR
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    Sep 23, 2002
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    11,796
    You don't have to re-set gears by dropping in a Lock-rite or Aussie locker. That's the beauty of them. I've seen a few broken lunch box lockers but mostly by guys running big (read 35" or larger) tires or with a lot of hp and a real heavy right foot. I've been running Lock Rites front and rear for about 15 years and haven't had a problem on the same lockers. Nickmil
     
  9. Jul 9, 2007
    DrDanteIII

    DrDanteIII Now with 95% more running jeep.

    Milford NJ 08848
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    1,435
    One thing no one has considered is gear ratios. I would be willing to bet that your current 27/44's are gear significantly lower than the 74 units. but i could be wrong.
     
  10. Jul 9, 2007
    Mcruff

    Mcruff Earlycj5 Machinist

    Albertville, AL
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    Sep 22, 2002
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    5,132
    Yep what Nick said, you don't have to set up gears to put in a Lockrite or Aussie locker. Even if you have to remove it just keep track of the shims and put them back where you got them. The Aussie lockers are built a little heavier in the tooth area and don't make as much noise as the Lockrite but there apparently not available for the dana 25/27 but they are for the dana 30 and 44. The Aussie is also a little cheaper most to of the time.
    Here is a photo of an Aussie locker in a dana 30. I did set the gears in this axle but only because I swapped a set of 3.73's to match my rear.
     
  11. Jul 9, 2007
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
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    Dec 17, 2002
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    :iagree: I'm getting better at this, but I still want a Detroit.R)
     
  12. Jul 9, 2007
    Txjake

    Txjake I wrenched with Sparky

    Oklahoma City OK
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    spool the rear and get a detroit for the front....
     
  13. Jul 9, 2007
    Hawkes

    Hawkes Member

    Nova scotia
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    I just started driving the Jeepster a month ago. It's big, and naturally ugly :) so it gets a lot of looks around town. The biggest thing I don't like is the squealing around corners with the spool, old ladies run for cover. I have an aussie in the front, thinking the same for the back. I put the aussie in myself, no big deal.

    Paul
     
  14. Jul 10, 2007
    Strider380

    Strider380 Can I have a zip tie?

    New England
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    Great info guys, thanks for the help and lesson. Sounds like I should save up for a lockrite. DrDantell, I thought of different gear ratios a day or so ago. My conclusion is that if I do swap the rear, the 30 has to go up front. My bigger problem is decidin if I should leave the SOA setup on the 75's axles.
     
  15. Jul 19, 2007
    SkysTheLimit

    SkysTheLimit Member

    Bend, OR
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    Apr 27, 2006
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    I would say for right now do the Aussie Locker in the front. I have heard nothing but good things about them, they are tough and quiet, and they are cheap, and you can do it yourself.

    Also, you seem concerned about street drivability to some degree. And you said you mostly wheel in 2wd. This leads me to believe that most of your stuff isn't too brutal, or you know how to drive decently well. With the Aussie in the front you will have the same street driving characteristics that you do now. Also, when you are on the trail and you finally do hit 4wd with the locked front it will be an amazing difference, and you'll get the benefit of having the locker on the axle with the most weight over it and it's the steering axle as well, so it will be way better than what you have now.

    Then see how you like that and when you have money either get a full spool or another Aussie for the back (since a spool is 200 bucks and an Aussie is 220, when you have the money you could afford either). I wheel with guys who won't run anything but a spool in the rear, but they trailer their jeeps.

    Another thing to consider with the rear axle is that you have 19 spline tapered two piece shafts in the rear. Convert to 30 spline, flanged, one piece, 1.31" shafts when you do the rear (its about 400 bucks from Dutchman, and I don't know if others will do it or not). I haven't done anything in the back of my '67 yet because I want to change to the better axles when I spool it, so it's open for now.

    BTW, anyone else done the rear axle shafts swap and get them from somewhere besides Dutchman motorsports?
     
  16. Jul 19, 2007
    scott milliner

    scott milliner Master Fabricator

    Seattle Wa.
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    Dec 17, 2002
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    2,132
    I did. I had mine made from Sommers Brothers. It cost me $750.00. Did you also know you can get a 19 spline Detroit locker? I had 10 spline axles, so I figured if I had to get axles. I might as well go with the 30 spline axles.

    http://groups.msn.com/ScottShannonMilliner/sommersbrothersaxles.msnw?albumlist=2
     
  17. Jul 20, 2007
    gopher_6_9

    gopher_6_9 Member

    Lawrenceburg, tn
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    Guys how many of you knocking welded rears have actually run one? Before anybody takes this as a flame, I respect your opinions, I know I am younger than many of you (23) but I have been running welded rear ends in daily drivers since I was 16 with a '93 ranger 2wd 305hp 302 (at the ground) with a 100 shot on it. IMO there are several advantages to them IF THEY ARE DONE RIGHT.

    1. Cost. Sure I agree a selectable locker would be better. But for the cost of them I had rather say look I have a perfectly capable offroad machine for less than 3 grand, drive it on the street when I want to, and still outwheel mos the people with 10 grand in there rig.

    2. Predictability. I hate most lockers on the street, when they lock/unlock in a turn it is not at all predictable in my experiance. With a welded rear I know what it is going to do and when it is going to do it. Period.

    Now there are several things that you have to think about.

    1. Start with an open rear. I have never had one I had welded break, now several buddies that started with a L/S unit have due to the design of the carrier.

    2. Heat. The bigger and hotter the welder (within reason) the better, make sure you get good penetration, fill all the teeth on the spider.

    3. Driving style. On a short wheelbase jeep I would not suggest driving it locked in the rain like it is a mustang, it will come around with you.

    4. Tire width. i just took 33x15.50x15 SS TSL's off mine, I don't think you would want to run it locked with them on there, you talking about scrubbing in a turn..... And more than likely yes you would shear an axle that way, but you probably would with a locker as well.

    Not saying I would let my girl drive it on the street or anything, but she wouldn't be driving my jeep anyway ;) IMO try it, if you like it cool, if not you are not out much and simply run it till you can afford something else, but I will place money that you will like it. Lockers have their place and the biggest thing against them is half the people that down them have never had it they just know that their second cousin twice removed had them and didn't like it.....
     
  18. Jul 20, 2007
    Txjake

    Txjake I wrenched with Sparky

    Oklahoma City OK
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
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    Anybody here daily drive with a spool? Do you like it?
     
  19. Jul 20, 2007
    DanStew

    DanStew Incorrigible. Staff Member

    Lexington, South...
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    Also to add with welding the gears, you now have "ruined" a set of spiders, and if you have to go back for some reason to open diff you will have to find the spider gears for it, and it may or may not be an easy task to do it. Welded diffs works well offroad. But for me I do alot of fabbing on my stuff, but i also like to try and keep things where i can replace things without having to do alot of one off stuff to keep repairs from being extremely difficult.

    I have had a lockrite, aussie and now the detroit EZ-llocker. My favorite has been the aussie locker, defiantely the quietest and best manners. The lockrite is second and the Detroit Ez locker is louder than the other two by alot.

    But it is all personal preference. But like others have said. If you havnt wheeled the jeep much and immediately want to upgrade, i would wait and get to know the jeep. Then give it time before you thorw money ino the open pit :)
     
  20. Jul 20, 2007
    thall

    thall Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
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    QUOTE]One thing no one has considered is gear ratios. I would be willing to bet that your current 27/44's are gear significantly lower than the 74 units. but i could be wrong.[/QUOTE]

    i doubt you are wrong... original m38a1 was a 5.38:1 ratio....

    i doubt you will 'really' like the Lincoln Locker on the street... you did say this was a daily driver...

    go for the loc-rite...

    my .02
     

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