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  #1  
Old 05-17-2022, 03:12 PM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
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How to AX15 swap for my T18, any advice?

I'd really like to swap a AX15 5spd in place of my stock 360/T18 with granny low in my 79 Cherokee. I see that its possible and would be a good match, according to the Novak site.

My question is, what are sources for the correct AX15, and what is required to change on my current setup? Are there better versions of the AX15 that I should look for? Any years betters than others?

Would I need to shorten/lengthen driveshafts?

Anyone have any experience with this, or thoughts on how to?

Thanks!
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Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2022, 08:07 PM
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devildog80 devildog80 is offline
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Did Novak not have the stock application data when you checked it out?

I hear raves about Novak having most of the answers for work like this.

Just asking as I have never accessed their site.
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'81 CJ5 Base, 258 I6, MC2100, T176 4 spd, 300 TC, D30 Front NT, 3.31, 2-Piece AMC 20 rear NT, 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

'84 Grand Wagoneer, 401 V8 (.030 over), MC2150 HA Comp, 727 auto, Selec-trac NP229, AMC 20 REAR - D44 FRONT - WT 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

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  #3  
Old 05-17-2022, 08:15 PM
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backroadin' backroadin' is offline
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Are you keeping your t/case?
I imagine the ax15 is longer than the 4spd, but dont know for certain. That info should be on the novak site. If changing tcase, then overall length vs original setup will be the number you want. If it's longer by more than a couple inches, then you'll need to alter driveshafts. If you've lifted it and didn't lengthen the shafts, then you'll have even less wiggle-room. May have to drill new holes in frame for the crossmember, however, there are two sets of holes already there - if you're in the front ones now you might be good with the back ones.
I assume the ax15 will be hydraulic clutch.
Can't remember what side the front diff is on in wranglers and xj's, but if using the ax15 tcase, make sure the drop is the same as yours.

I think it's a good idea - the granny 4 is essentially like driving a 3spd on the street, so switching to a 5spd will be awesome.
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"When this baby reaches 88 miles per hour, you're gonna to see some serious sht!"

73 Wagoneer - 4.6L Stroker (yeah baby!!) t176/d300, 3.73's, 33" muds, 4"spring lift, 2" body. Offy dualport w/ Quadrajet, pertronix, flowmaster.
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  #4  
Old 05-18-2022, 09:07 AM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devildog80
Did Novak not have the stock application data when you checked it out?

I hear raves about Novak having most of the answers for work like this.

Just asking as I have never accessed their site.

There is good information on there, I read it some weeks ago. I was just wondering if anyone had done this and might have some real world experience that could summarize the swap for me.

I think it won't be too difficult other than the Hydraulic clutch, and maybe having to swap my power brake booster to Hydroboost. I'd rather not go to hydroboost, my brakes are great now.
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Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold

Last edited by PlumCrazyChris : 06-14-2022 at 02:07 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2022, 11:05 AM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backroadin'
Are you keeping your t/case?
I imagine the ax15 is longer than the 4spd, but dont know for certain. That info should be on the novak site. If changing tcase, then overall length vs original setup will be the number you want. If it's longer by more than a couple inches, then you'll need to alter driveshafts. If you've lifted it and didn't lengthen the shafts, then you'll have even less wiggle-room. May have to drill new holes in frame for the crossmember, however, there are two sets of holes already there - if you're in the front ones now you might be good with the back ones.
I assume the ax15 will be hydraulic clutch.
Can't remember what side the front diff is on in wranglers and xj's, but if using the ax15 tcase, make sure the drop is the same as yours.

I think it's a good idea - the granny 4 is essentially like driving a 3spd on the street, so switching to a 5spd will be awesome.

It really is a 3 spd, and not "fun" to drive. My kids and wife refuse to drive it. The more modern 5 speed shifts so much better, and overdrive! I haven't gone through the difference in gear ratio yet, but I'm sure it the split will be more "car-like". It sure was on the 89 Wrangler I drove a couple of weeks ago.

Novak has good "specs" about each, but I'm looking for info, on what is necessary to install one. Looks like you just need the trans to t18 bellhousing adaptor and a new clutch disc, but then they have so many more Should-Haves, that it gets confusing.

This seems like such a great upgrade, I would think lots of folks have done it.
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PlumCrazyChris
Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2022, 02:14 PM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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Location: Medford MA USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlumCrazyChris
... it gets confusing. ...
Any swap is going to be a custom installation. Nobody will hand you a recipe for the specific swap that you want to do.

The degree of difficulty and the amount of innovation and resourcefulness needed will vary depending on the swap. It's pretty much up to you to figure out what is needed, and seek out help and advice - if it's available. If this seems like too much for you, then maybe it's unwise to imagine you could finish the project successfully.

Some of the best bargains in Jeeps and cars generally are unfinished projects. Underestimating what's needed in time and money and effort seems pretty darn common. You need a place to work, the time to do the work, enough money to buy the parts and equipment, good health for the foreseeable future, and the cooperation of family and friends as needed. The WAF (wife acceptance factor) of a car project can get pretty low, especially as it takes longer and costs more than predicted.

Sorry, down off my soap box. I wonder if you know what's involved in something like this.
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Maine beekeeper's truck: '77 J10 LWB, 258/T15/D20/3.54 bone stock, low options (delete radio), PS, hubcaps.
Browless and proud: '82 J20 360/T18/NP208/3.73, Destination ATs, 7600 GVWR
Copper Polly: '75 CJ-6, 304/T15, PS, BFG KM2s, soft top
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2022, 02:47 PM
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devildog80 devildog80 is offline
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He will learn as he jumps in and starts working on it.

University of Hard Knocks
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'81 CJ5 Base, 258 I6, MC2100, T176 4 spd, 300 TC, D30 Front NT, 3.31, 2-Piece AMC 20 rear NT, 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

'84 Grand Wagoneer, 401 V8 (.030 over), MC2150 HA Comp, 727 auto, Selec-trac NP229, AMC 20 REAR - D44 FRONT - WT 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

Rather be driving, than waiting to be modified
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  #8  
Old 05-18-2022, 04:03 PM
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babywag babywag is offline
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Location: Land of froot loops and cukcoo-nuts, CA
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it has been done...some info on forums
google search is your friend
https://www.google.com/search?q=site...&client=safari
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88 GW, 67 J3000, 07 Magnum SRT8
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2022, 09:42 PM
backroadin''s Avatar
backroadin' backroadin' is offline
350 Buick
 
Join Date: Aug 11, 2004
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,101
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlumCrazyChris
and maybe having to swap my power brake booster to Hydroboost. I'd rather now go to hydroboost, my brakes are great now.
I'm assuming you mean beacuse of where to mount the clutch master cyl.? Might look at wrangler pedal setups and see if the clutch pedal could be made to work with the fsj bracketry under the dash. Also, you could get a smaller aftermarket booster like the hotrod guys run so there'd be room to mount the clutch master.

The lenght specs will let you know if you need to alter driveshafts and where your crossmember needs to be. The ax15 looks to be a good deal longer than your 4spd, so I'm gonna say plan on driveshaft mods and probably not having the stock crossmember match up to the existing frame holes. You could always fab up a crossmember to work with the existing holes in your frame, or just drill new holes. Also, will the t18 bellhousing bolt to the ax15, or does it need to have a different one? If so, you'll have to factor in any difference in length of the BH, plus extra length of tranny, plus length (thickness) of adapter plate to get your overall length diffrence.
The ax15 has the shifter coming out the rear, while your current tranny has it out the top, so the shifter will now set back some - as will the tcase shifter due to the added length of the tranny. There were two diffrent lenght linkage rods for the fsj tcases - the shorter ones for v8's I believe, so maybe some i-6 linkage might keep your tcase shifter in the same floor hole.
Honestly, you can do a ton of pre-planning with just a tape measure, as alot of your mods will be due to the extra length. When you're under there, you'll notice what needs to move and where.
As long as the rig isn't your daily driver, I say jump in and go for it, and let it take as long as needed. You'll run into snags no matter what usually, and it'll be esasier to get advice/info on specific problems vs the whole swap. My jeep was originally a 3spd, and it's now a close ratio 4spd, and so much more enjoyable to drive. Since it'll make the driving experience better for you too, I say that's reason enough.

I'm running a t176 from a cj. They made a t177 for the fsj's too. They don't have granny gears. It doesn't have the overdrive you'd like, but it is manual clutch and easier to swap as far as lenght considerations go. Driveshafts are still probably needed, but shifter placement, crossmember placement, clutch linkage, etc. is much simpler. As long as you're not flogging the pee out of it with a hopped up motor, either of those trannies will hold up just fine behind your 360. Just another option...
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"Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads." -- Dr Emmett Brown

"When this baby reaches 88 miles per hour, you're gonna to see some serious sht!"

73 Wagoneer - 4.6L Stroker (yeah baby!!) t176/d300, 3.73's, 33" muds, 4"spring lift, 2" body. Offy dualport w/ Quadrajet, pertronix, flowmaster.

Last edited by backroadin' : 05-19-2022 at 09:53 PM.
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  #10  
Old 05-20-2022, 10:36 AM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
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Join Date: Jun 03, 2002
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Posts: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by backroadin'
I'm assuming you mean beacuse of where to mount the clutch master cyl.? Might look at wrangler pedal setups and see if the clutch pedal could be made to work with the fsj bracketry under the dash. Also, you could get a smaller aftermarket booster like the hotrod guys run so there'd be room to mount the clutch master.

The lenght specs will let you know if you need to alter driveshafts and where your crossmember needs to be. The ax15 looks to be a good deal longer than your 4spd, so I'm gonna say plan on driveshaft mods and probably not having the stock crossmember match up to the existing frame holes. You could always fab up a crossmember to work with the existing holes in your frame, or just drill new holes. Also, will the t18 bellhousing bolt to the ax15, or does it need to have a different one? If so, you'll have to factor in any difference in length of the BH, plus extra length of tranny, plus length (thickness) of adapter plate to get your overall length diffrence.
The ax15 has the shifter coming out the rear, while your current tranny has it out the top, so the shifter will now set back some - as will the tcase shifter due to the added length of the tranny. There were two diffrent lenght linkage rods for the fsj tcases - the shorter ones for v8's I believe, so maybe some i-6 linkage might keep your tcase shifter in the same floor hole.
Honestly, you can do a ton of pre-planning with just a tape measure, as alot of your mods will be due to the extra length. When you're under there, you'll notice what needs to move and where.
As long as the rig isn't your daily driver, I say jump in and go for it, and let it take as long as needed. You'll run into snags no matter what usually, and it'll be esasier to get advice/info on specific problems vs the whole swap. My jeep was originally a 3spd, and it's now a close ratio 4spd, and so much more enjoyable to drive. Since it'll make the driving experience better for you too, I say that's reason enough.

I'm running a t176 from a cj. They made a t177 for the fsj's too. They don't have granny gears. It doesn't have the overdrive you'd like, but it is manual clutch and easier to swap as far as lenght considerations go. Driveshafts are still probably needed, but shifter placement, crossmember placement, clutch linkage, etc. is much simpler. As long as you're not flogging the pee out of it with a hopped up motor, either of those trannies will hold up just fine behind your 360. Just another option...

Thanks for the great feedback and encouragement Backroadin! I do have quite a bit of experience, I've restored about 16 old mopars, and had a few FSJs, but ALL were automatics (except my first car, a 73 Challenger, which I sold bc I burnt out the clutch). I recently had to pull a A833 from a van so I could replace the freeze plugs, so I got a little experience with Manuals and feel like this shouldn't be too big a deal, but thought that there would be a wealth of experience with this swap bc it seems so ideal.

I still need to find the right trans, but it looks like I can get a new one from Novak and all the rest to stab it in and make it work, then re-length the driveshafts. I have a lot of homework to do on this, but it sounds pretty doable.

I hope this has the same impact swapping the 727 for an A-518 made in my 70 Challenger. Its a better upgrade then the 2008 Hemi I put in it.

Modern Trans and Seats - Yes, late model EFI engine - No... Its just not that worth the trouble/cost. You can get all the benefit with just a bolt on TBI system. IMHO.

Thanks again!
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PlumCrazyChris
Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold
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  #11  
Old 05-20-2022, 11:18 AM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
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Join Date: Jun 03, 2002
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Posts: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by babywag
it has been done...some info on forums
google search is your friend
https://www.google.com/search?q=site...&client=safari

Thanks for sharing that thread. I'd done a lot of searching and none of these came up. These have turned into several great threads full of the info I'm looking for.

Thanks again!
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Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2022, 06:07 AM
Warlordsix Warlordsix is offline
230 Tornado
 
Join Date: Dec 23, 2021
Location: SE USA
Posts: 21
I'm right in the middle of an AX15 swap now. I'm also simultaneously doing a million other things to this project, too (will start a build thread later), so the AX15 part is not finished. Nevertheless, my recommendation is to use a '94 or later AX15, as that will have an external slave cylinder...much handier. Also, be sure to get the proper pilot bearing. I'm using a National Bearing FC-69907 bearing, which is an actual bearing as opposed to a bushing as used on the earlier CJs. Cost me about $15. I'm also using the 4.0 flywheel and will have it match balanced with the AMC 360 flexplate. Hendrick Motorsport is nearby, and they charge $75 to do that. As to the transfer case, I'm using the NP231 that is currently mounted to the AX15, although I will be installing a slip yoke eliminator on it.

Ernie
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2022, 11:35 AM
devildog80's Avatar
devildog80 devildog80 is offline
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Location: Apache Junction AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlordsix
I'm right in the middle of an AX15 swap now. I'm also simultaneously doing a million other things to this project, too (will start a build thread later), so the AX15 part is not finished. Nevertheless, my recommendation is to use a '94 or later AX15, as that will have an external slave cylinder...much handier. Also, be sure to get the proper pilot bearing. I'm using a National Bearing FC-69907 bearing, which is an actual bearing as opposed to a bushing as used on the earlier CJs. Cost me about $15. I'm also using the 4.0 flywheel and will have it match balanced with the AMC 360 flexplate. Hendrick Motorsport is nearby, and they charge $75 to do that. As to the transfer case, I'm using the NP231 that is currently mounted to the AX15, although I will be installing a slip yoke eliminator on it.

Ernie

Ok, you are working on a manual transmission install, so curious why you would have a flexplate balanced with the 360, if your using a flywheel?

Just thinkin'
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'81 CJ5 Base, 258 I6, MC2100, T176 4 spd, 300 TC, D30 Front NT, 3.31, 2-Piece AMC 20 rear NT, 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

'84 Grand Wagoneer, 401 V8 (.030 over), MC2150 HA Comp, 727 auto, Selec-trac NP229, AMC 20 REAR - D44 FRONT - WT 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

Rather be driving, than waiting to be modified
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  #14  
Old 05-24-2022, 12:29 PM
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babywag babywag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devildog80
Ok, you are working on a manual transmission install, so curious why you would have a flexplate balanced with the 360, if your using a flywheel?

Just thinkin'
a 4.0 flywheel has the incorrect balance for a 360 engine.
It's called match balancing. He isn't "using" the flexplate for anything other than "matching" the balance of the flywheel for his engine.
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  #15  
Old 05-24-2022, 01:01 PM
Warlordsix Warlordsix is offline
230 Tornado
 
Join Date: Dec 23, 2021
Location: SE USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devildog80
Ok, you are working on a manual transmission install, so curious why you would have a flexplate balanced with the 360, if your using a flywheel?

Just thinkin'

Because the flexplate is already externally balanced to the 360. Since I'm using a flywheel (instead of the flexplate), I need to have the flywheel balanced to match the balance of the flexplate in order to keep the engine externally balanced when I run it with the flywheel.

Ernie
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  #16  
Old 05-24-2022, 01:09 PM
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devildog80 devildog80 is offline
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Got it, just as it was worded and I was reading it, was a contradiction in my head.....
Yep, makes sense to balance them both while doing one

Thanks
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'81 CJ5 Base, 258 I6, MC2100, T176 4 spd, 300 TC, D30 Front NT, 3.31, 2-Piece AMC 20 rear NT, 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

'84 Grand Wagoneer, 401 V8 (.030 over), MC2150 HA Comp, 727 auto, Selec-trac NP229, AMC 20 REAR - D44 FRONT - WT 3.31, 4" high arc spring lift

Rather be driving, than waiting to be modified
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  #17  
Old 06-14-2022, 02:37 PM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
258 I6
 
Join Date: Jun 03, 2002
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Posts: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlordsix
I'm right in the middle of an AX15 swap now. I'm also simultaneously doing a million other things to this project, too (will start a build thread later), so the AX15 part is not finished. Nevertheless, my recommendation is to use a '94 or later AX15, as that will have an external slave cylinder...much handier. Also, be sure to get the proper pilot bearing. I'm using a National Bearing FC-69907 bearing, which is an actual bearing as opposed to a bushing as used on the earlier CJs. Cost me about $15. I'm also using the 4.0 flywheel and will have it match balanced with the AMC 360 flexplate. Hendrick Motorsport is nearby, and they charge $75 to do that. As to the transfer case, I'm using the NP231 that is currently mounted to the AX15, although I will be installing a slip yoke eliminator on it.

Ernie

Thats really good info Ernie, thanks!

Is the AX15 a Drivers side transfer case, or is it a passenger side like my T18? Can you just re-clock the transfer case so that it is a passenger side drop?
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Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold
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  #18  
Old 06-14-2022, 02:42 PM
Warlordsix Warlordsix is offline
230 Tornado
 
Join Date: Dec 23, 2021
Location: SE USA
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlumCrazyChris
Thats really good info Ernie, thanks!

Is the AX15 a Drivers side transfer case, or is it a passenger side like my T18? Can you just re-clock the transfer case so that it is a passenger side drop?


It's a driver's side drop. Seriously doubt you can flip it to passenger side drop.

Ernie
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  #19  
Old 06-14-2022, 02:54 PM
PlumCrazyChris PlumCrazyChris is offline
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Join Date: Jun 03, 2002
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Posts: 383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warlordsix
I'm right in the middle of an AX15 swap now. I'm also simultaneously doing a million other things to this project, too (will start a build thread later), so the AX15 part is not finished. Nevertheless, my recommendation is to use a '94 or later AX15, as that will have an external slave cylinder...much handier. Also, be sure to get the proper pilot bearing. I'm using a National Bearing FC-69907 bearing, which is an actual bearing as opposed to a bushing as used on the earlier CJs. Cost me about $15. I'm also using the 4.0 flywheel and will have it match balanced with the AMC 360 flexplate. Hendrick Motorsport is nearby, and they charge $75 to do that. As to the transfer case, I'm using the NP231 that is currently mounted to the AX15, although I will be installing a slip yoke eliminator on it.

Ernie

Are you using the slip yoke eliminator because the driveshaft will be 12" shorter then stock, and therefore the angle will be too great?

Is yours lifted at all? Mines stock, and I don't really plan on lifting it. Do you think the angle would be too great without a lift?
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Round Rock, TX
1979 Cherokee Chief 360/T18
1990 Grand Wagoneer - sold
1983 Cherokee Laredo Limited - sold, and want it back!
1979 Cherokee Chief - sold
1976 Cherokee Chief - sold
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  #20  
Old 06-14-2022, 04:24 PM
Warlordsix Warlordsix is offline
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Join Date: Dec 23, 2021
Location: SE USA
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlumCrazyChris
Are you using the slip yoke eliminator because the driveshaft will be 12" shorter then stock, and therefore the angle will be too great?

Is yours lifted at all? Mines stock, and I don't really plan on lifting it. Do you think the angle would be too great without a lift?

I'm swapping on a SYE just cuz it's a better design. I don't need it for driveshaft length, although it will allow for a longer driveshaft, which is nice but not necessary for me. Reason? Because I've measured the Waggy rear shaft, and it is plenty long at 39.5" long from center of U-joint to center of U-joint. In comparison, the rear shaft on a Wrangler is 14" as I recall. So, shortening the Waggy rear shaft by 9" or so shouldn't present a problem.

So why am I shortening the shaft at all? My build thread will explain: https://www.wranglerforum.com/thread...assis.2442501/

Oh, and how much lift I have...mine has a 3" lift.

Ernie
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