Front End Upgrades

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Brly
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:50 pm
Location: North Central PA

Front End Upgrades

Postby Brly » Mon May 27, 2019 5:42 am

I made a post back at the beginning of the year about the front axle in my truck. The pinion bearings were bad in the stock closed knuckle Dana 44. I scanned craigslist and called the local yards looking for an '80 - '84 dodge Dana 44 but couldn't find one. Found a local guy that had one from an '87 Ramcharger, so it's a CAD axle. Ended up getting it for $100. It had been sitting out for about 10 years, but everything was there, nothing broken. I stripped it down, took the rust off, primed and painted it. Replaced every seal and bearing, did a CAD delete, Warn premium locking hubs and put all new brake parts on. It had 3.23 gears, so I had to get 4.10 thick ring and pinion. Found an old thread here where a guy used early '80s CJ 2.5" lift springs on the front of his post mount truck, so I did the same. I didnt flip the rear shackles or anything, sits almost level now. To finish it off, I got Wheel Vintiques 12 Series wheels in 16x8, 4" backspacing. Got their babymoon caps also. Painted the wheels Wimbledon White and had Maxxis Bighorn 255/85r16 tires mounted. Had to put a new disc/drum master cylinder on with proportioning valve and move some brake lines. Steering was different, so I got an under the knuckle Y Link kit from Barnes4wd. Uses GM 1 ton tie rod ends and DOM tubing. Easy cut and weld job. Had to re-taper the knuckles and pitman arm. Probably forgetting some things, but results are below, before and after. Having a little trouble getting the front brakes to bleed so I haven't had it on the road yet, just backed it out of the garage for some pictures. Picking up a Mityvac today for the brakes.
Just getting this out there for now. I'll add some photos when I get a chance.
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1966 Jeep J3600 Gladiator - AMC 327/T18/D20

twisted frame
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Location: Massachusetts

Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby twisted frame » Tue May 28, 2019 7:49 pm

I dig it. I'd like to do that swap too. My truck is a lot like yours...I'm just before the big 74 changeover for suspension and axles so when I do this swap, it will be like what you did and what member JoshD did. Thanks for listing those details about the steering too.
73 J4000. 360, MC 2100, T18A, D20, stock closed knuckle Dana 44 front, 60-2 rear. Warn Lock-O-Matics, Warn/Belleview electric winch, true duals with glasspacks, old-school front diff skid plate, used 265 Toyos on 16" AR wheels.

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Brly
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:50 pm
Location: North Central PA

Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Brly » Wed May 29, 2019 5:00 am

Thanks. It should be a big improvement. Dug up the old posts from JoshD and found some good articles on doing similar swaps. Springs were pretty easy. I was able to find RB86 bushings for the fixed post mount, they're 1 1/2" OD x 7/8" ID. Made a 1" OD x 9/16" ID bushing out of Delrin for the front spring mount. Axle was pretty straight forward. Rubicon Express makes a 2" wide spring perch that works great. One standard and one with offset because the passenger side perch will end up right against or very close to the differential housing. Set the caster and weld 'em on. Steering kit is nice. Tried to go over the knuckle but the drag link wouldn't clear the passenger spring.
1966 Jeep J3600 Gladiator - AMC 327/T18/D20

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Stuka
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Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Stuka » Wed May 29, 2019 6:38 am

I like the wheels a lot more than the old ones.

Glad you were able to dig up all the information you needed for the axle swap.
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 and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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Brly
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:50 pm
Location: North Central PA

Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Brly » Wed May 29, 2019 7:55 am

Stuka - I like the wheel change. The old wheels were on it when I got it and they worked fine, just didn't fit the truck. This forum is invaluable for info!
1966 Jeep J3600 Gladiator - AMC 327/T18/D20

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Brly
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:50 pm
Location: North Central PA

Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Brly » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:08 am

Put a few miles on this weekend and gave it a much needed wash. Came out of a store Sunday and when I started it, the oil light didnt go out. No abnormal engine noise and oil level was ok. Headed for home. The light flickered and went out before I got out of the parking lot. Picking up a new sending unit today. Crossing my fingers that's all it is. I'll get a mechanical gauge also so I can see what's really going on.
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1966 Jeep J3600 Gladiator - AMC 327/T18/D20

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Brly
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:50 pm
Location: North Central PA

Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Brly » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:32 am

Picked up a test gauge and the oil pressure at hot idle is 32 psi. Put the new sending unit in and all is well. I ordered an oil pressure, water temp and voltage gauge set to mount in the cab. I'd like to keep the original dash lights, and will put a tee in for the oil pressure. What about the water temp? Does anyone know if there is another port I can put the new temp sensor in? I haven't done my homework on this, but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. I've seen guys tee into the heater core lines, but I'd rather not do that if possible.
1966 Jeep J3600 Gladiator - AMC 327/T18/D20

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Nikkormat
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Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Nikkormat » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:55 pm

Would love to see a pic of how your steering ended up!
Gabe, "reformed" Jeep hoarder.

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Brly
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:50 pm
Location: North Central PA

Re: Front End Upgrades

Postby Brly » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:47 pm

Saw your post while I was in the garage, so I took a couple photos of the axle/steering and another of the gauges I put in last night. Water temp isn't connected yet, but oil pressure and volt gauge are working. Even managed to find a spare spade connector in the factory harness that's on the dimmer switch so the gauge backlights dim with the dash lights. Took it for a spin around the block tonight. Really need to get some music going in this truck...
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1966 Jeep J3600 Gladiator - AMC 327/T18/D20


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