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  • switching axles from a cj5 to a cj7?

    ok, so i've got this 1971 cj5 with the 134 in it, and i was reading something the other day that leads me to believe that it has a dana 44 on the rear and i can't remember what on the front.

    well my 1985 cj7, which is the one i'm trying to work on, has the amc 20 in it, and i'm assuming it is geared 2.73.

    if the cj5 does indeed have a dana 44 on it and whatever it's got for the front axle, am i able to just switch them onto my cj7? i want to do this, because i'm assuming that the dana 44 will be geared lower than my current amc 20.

    does any of what i'm thinking about doing make sense? will i run into serious problems if the cj5 is a narrowtrack as opposed to a widetrack? did they even make the cj5 in widetrack?

    i'm trying to build my jeep on a tight budget, so that's why i'm not jumping on going out to buy something, so if this sounds doable or dumb, please let me here your ideas and thoughts.

  • #2
    Hmmm...

    Ur CJ-5 has narrow track and ur CJ-7 has wide track. You could do the swap, but then you would be putting narrow track on your CJ-7. I would just keep the wide track on the 7 because there is a good chance its geared to 3.31:1, but I just like the wide track. The dana44 would be good for strength, but the m20 is good enough I think. The m20 can be pretty strong.

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    • #3
      cj 5 & 7 frames are almost always identical exept frame length. the difference is usually the body mounts, not shackle/shock mounts.

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      • #4
        http://www.jeeptech.com/axle/amc20.html

        This will help you determine your M20 ratio if that is the biggest factor affecting your decision.

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        • #5
          well my biggest deal is, i want to be geared lower. i mean i was offroading the other day up a fairly steep hill out of an old river bed, and there was a really tight squeeze to get through between a tree and a boulder, and i worked on it for 15 minutes, because i didn't have enough 4L first gear crawling power. it was driving me nuts.

          i'm pretty positive that i've got 2.73. i just figure lower geared axles would help out with my crawling along, so i could focus more on the obstacle and less on how much throttle i was having to give it.

          what do you think?

          is there any way to take a narrowtrack and transform it into a widetrack? or will it substantially weaken it's strenght?

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          • #6
            you'd have to have wide track tubes pressed into your narrow diff. so you'd be better off just using the wide trac axle.

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            • #7
              so fubar, if i'd be better off using the widetrack axle, is it at all possible to replace the gears in an amc20 with lower gears and if so, can you just take them out of the dana44 to do so, or is it a lot more involved than that... like would i have to buy lower gears that are made to go in a amc20?

              thanks man

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              • #8
                Originally posted by the wildebeest
                so fubar, if i'd be better off using the widetrack axle, is it at all possible to replace the gears in an amc20 with lower gears and if so, can you just take them out of the dana44 to do so, or is it a lot more involved than that... like would i have to buy lower gears that are made to go in a amc20?

                thanks man
                You would have to buy the gears for the 20. If you've never setup gears before, you'd probably want to get somebody to do that for you. The other thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is gears in the front axle. You'll need to regear both axles or you won't be able to use 4wd.

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                • #9
                  but if i used both the front and rear axles off of the cj5 on the cj7, i would be fine right? because both of them are going to be geared the same (lower), right?

                  and fubar, you said if i wanted to stay widetrack with the cj5 axles, i'd have to have wide track tubes pressed into my narrow diff. so i'd be better off just using the wide trac axle. why is that, does it cost a whole lot to have wide track tubes pressed in? i'm just completely ignorant about the whole thing and i would like to understand all my options.

                  thanks for the replies guys.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by the wildebeest
                    but if i used both the front and rear axles off of the cj5 on the cj7, i would be fine right? because both of them are going to be geared the same (lower), right?

                    and fubar, you said if i wanted to stay widetrack with the cj5 axles, i'd have to have wide track tubes pressed into my narrow diff. so i'd be better off just using the wide trac axle. why is that, does it cost a whole lot to have wide track tubes pressed in? i'm just completely ignorant about the whole thing and i would like to understand all my options.

                    thanks for the replies guys.
                    You would be ok as far as gearing, but your 71 CJ5 front probably has drum brakes, so that's one more thing you'd need to change out.

                    It's also not just tubes that you would need to go widetrack w/ the 44. You'd also need axle shafts.

                    If you are a confident mechanic, and have access to all of the extra parts you'd need, I'd say go for it. If you're not an experienced mechanic (and from the questions that you're asking, I'll guess you aren't...no offense intended), and you can't be without the Jeep for several weeks while you hunt down all of the correct parts, DON'T DO IT. You're getting yourself into a huge headache.

                    Your best bet would be to either find a set of axles that are already geared properly, or shell out the cash for regearing your current widetracks.

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                    • #11
                      well doggonit!! it's never easy and inexpensive at the same time is it?
                      Just Empty Every Pocket, right?

                      hehe thanks for the advice guys

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                      • #12
                        to make narrow axles longer is going to be more expensive than buying wide axles because of the labor cost involved. is it hard to do?...depends on who you ask. if you use matching axles from a wide trac CJ you would not have to regear them. the gears/carrier in a d44 and amc20 are very different and are NOT interchangable. keep in mind to with an amc 20, they came from the factory with two piece axle shafts which are weak. you can replace them with one piece conversion kits and that is pretty easy to do no matter who you are. the 20 can be made to be just as strong as a d44 for less cost than a new D44. you can also get wide, one piece amc 20 axles from old waggoneers. the waggy versions came behind amc 360 motors and had one piece axles from the factory.

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                        • #13
                          so fubar, what do i have to do to make the 20 just as strong as the 44... or is that one of your well kept secrets? if you don't mind sharing it, i'd be grateful.
                          thanks

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                          • #14
                            good one piece axle shafts and weld the tubes where they're pressed into the differential. that's the whole secret.

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                            • #15
                              A bit of trussing on the 20 doesn't hurt either.

                              Solid axles, welded tubes, and trussed, I've seen em take quite a bit of abuse!

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