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Old October 4th, 2011, 11:02 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Renegade II View Post
If the donor has good ball joints, swapping the outers to later model disc would be the easiest way to get it going quick. If the donor axle has regular lock outs get those and dump the crap-o-matics off to a collector. Be careful with this though as earlier drum brakes have an ever so slightly different stub shaft than the post Bendix discs. If you're just swapping outers I'd use the donors stubs just to be sure. jeepjk4dr just took a pile of my old 30 shit to the scrapper or I'd show ya pics of the difference.

My .02 on stock Jeep CJ axles. They are the worst part of the vehicle once you get serious about low gearing and wheeling with aggressive rubber. Spending money twice is the biggest problem/mistake when trying to make stock CJ axles live longer. 'Get by' with cheap used part gear or locker upgrades and invest the bigger money into axles that will survive spirited use.

Personally I wouldn't stick a ton of $$ into a model 30 that would even occasionally be run hard with 35's & 4:88's. That's lots of fragile little teeth in an itty bitty diff. With a 6 I broke enough 30 axles and ring gears running 35's that I could have paid for a narrowed Scout 44. Maybe lunch box locker it, match the rear gear and call it good. Then start saving for an upgrade. Until then respect the 30's limitations & know when to pull cable.

That's brings us to the rear model AMC 20. It has a nice sized ring & pinion, that's about it. I'm not a fan of it's crush sleeve pre-load, but that's a personal preference.
  • The axle tubes are weak and bend easy.
  • The axle tubes like to spin in the housing or in the visa-versa depending on how you look at it.
  • The 2 piece axles suck and will break keyways.

Sure you can buy a truss. Sure you can buy one piece axles. Sure you can weld the tubes to the center. But why waste all that time and $$ putting lipstick on a pig when you can get a low geared 60 or 14 bolt narrowed for about the same investment and never worry about it again? Even the smaller ring geared Dana 44 has a better history of survivnig as a rear diff than the AMC 20.

My suggestion to get going cheap and save $ for later improvements based on staying with the 4cyl for now;
  • Getting discs on the front will be good enough to stop the 35's, but I'd find a used CJ power brake setup to help.
  • Don't waste time and $$ putting rear disc on an AMC 20, save the cash and get rid of the 20 all together at a later date.
  • Find some used 4:10 / 4:56 gears and carriers.
  • Keep the two piece axle nuts tight.
  • Keep the two piece axle nuts tight.
  • Keep the two piece axle nuts tight.

This times eleventy bazillion.
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