Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

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Grand_Wag_85
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Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:19 pm

Starting the long process of building up a set of axles(D44/D60) from a '76 J20 to swap into my '65 Gladiator. My goal is to build it once and build it right. This will primarily be an off-road rig but will see some time on the HWY. Shooting for 5.38 gears and no bigger than 37's.

Any suggestions on selectable lockers that won't break the bank? I would rather run a welded rear or full spool but I've heard horror stories about locked rear ends and wet pavement.
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will e
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby will e » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:13 am

Unfortunately selectable and cheap don't go together. I think the Yukon are a bit less than ARB.
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Grand_Wag_85
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:35 am

That's what I was thinking. I'll check them out. Thanks Mike!
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby fulsizjeep » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:46 am

Since you live in Colorado and would probably get some wet or icy road time, I think the selectable is the way to go too. Wally had a Lockrite for years and now has a Detroit in the rear so he can get quite unruly on wet/icy roads. I would rather run open on ice and snow.
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby rocklaurence » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:36 am

Also, 5.38s are high for 37" tires and no overdrive. What motor and trans are you running. A 4:56/4:88 would work well and the pinion would be a bit [tiny bit] stronger. Good choice regarding the J20 axles. Im running 3.73 gears in my J20 with 35s and an automatic. Its a good setup as-is but Im going to add an 1800 stall converter to it for better towing. Yes, I already have an auxillary HD trans cooler.

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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:41 pm

fulsizjeep wrote:Since you live in Colorado and would probably get some wet or icy road time, I think the selectable is the way to go too. Wally had a Lockrite for years and now has a Detroit in the rear so he can get quite unruly on wet/icy roads. I would rather run open on ice and snow.


Good words to live by. I guess the added coin is worth not wrecking! I've never driven anything smaller than a semi with a locker so this is all uncharted territory for me.
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:43 pm

rocklaurence wrote:Also, 5.38s are high for 37" tires and no overdrive. What motor and trans are you running. A 4:56/4:88 would work well and the pinion would be a bit [tiny bit] stronger. Good choice regarding the J20 axles. Im running 3.73 gears in my J20 with 35s and an automatic. Its a good setup as-is but Im going to add an 1800 stall converter to it for better towing. Yes, I already have an auxillary HD trans cooler.


Engine is AMC 327 and trans is T18(?), definitely no overdrive! 4.88's are also on the radar, I keep flopping between them and the 5.38's. Regardless of which ratio I end up choosing it is going to be gnarly with the 6:1(or whatever it is) 1st gear in the T18 in low range!
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:46 pm

SO what is needed to pull off the HI-Steer conversion on the front axle? The Gladiators came factory with SOA and the J20 axle will need to be converted.

The donor truck is a '76 which has the mysterious flat top knuckle, right?
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby fulsizjeep » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:55 pm

Grand_Wag_85 wrote:SO what is needed to pull off the HI-Steer conversion on the front axle? The Gladiators came factory with SOA and the J20 axle will need to be converted.

The donor truck is a '76 which has the mysterious flat top knuckle, right?
Flat top thru 77.

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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby rocklaurence » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:41 am

Send your Passenger side knuckle to a guy on Ebay. He can mill and add threads to the knuckle. He is the cheapest that Ive found. I shopped locally and the setup time required and the work was going to be twice what the Ebay guy charges.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Flat-Top-Knuck ... mD&vxp=mtr

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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby cmaje72 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:25 am

Sean,
I have a set of flat tops if you need them. One side needs drilled and tapped.
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Stuka » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:57 am

I agree with the above that 5.38's in a D44 have a TINY pinion. You would most likely be fine with 4.56's, and with no over drive will be more street worthy. I am a fan of over gearing (I have 4.56's with 33's in my J10), but you have to weigh the strength of your components. And with a T18a, you don't need as much axle gearing.

And also as mentioned, selectable lockers are way better if you have to drive in the winter. My J10 with a detroit in back is sketchy in the snow. Its rather unpredictable as it will lock and unlock suddenly.
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby rocklaurence » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:47 am

Also, it maybe time to switch over to the Later front spring setup. Remove the Post mounts and youll have more spring options if/when you lift it.

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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Stuka » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:05 am

rocklaurence wrote:Also, it maybe time to switch over to the Later front spring setup. Remove the Post mounts and youll have more spring options if/when you lift it.


Pretty much a requirement if he wants to run anything over 33’s. Otherwise you have no turning radius.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:31 pm

rocklaurence wrote:Also, it maybe time to switch over to the Later front spring setup. Remove the Post mounts and youll have more spring options if/when you lift it.


This never crossed my mind. I'd like to lift it about 4". Just priced the Hell Creek springs......WHOA!
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:32 pm

When it comes to the flat tops I've read about three bolt and 4 bolt to mount the tabs. Can somebody shed some light on this?
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Stuka » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:08 pm

The only high steer arms I can think of with 4 bolts are the ones intended for D60's. All the D44 ones I have seen are 3 bolt.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:59 pm

Stuka wrote:The only high steer arms I can think of with 4 bolts are the ones intended for D60's. All the D44 ones I have seen are 3 bolt.


I couldn't for the life of me remember the technical term!

Thanks for clearing that up.
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Nikkormat » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:00 pm

Sean, perhaps in the front you could run a pair of RS44044 springs shackle reversed and then a set of 63 inch chevy springs in the rear for a super flexy suspension like the Toyota guys run?
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Re: Building J20 axles for my Gladiator

Postby Grand_Wag_85 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:49 pm

Nikkormat wrote:Sean, perhaps in the front you could run a pair of RS44044 springs shackle reversed and then a set of 63 inch chevy springs in the rear for a super flexy suspension like the Toyota guys run?


I like the way you think! How much lift do those Rancho springs usually give out? Would those Chebby springs work with the post mounts?
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