79 cj 5

central, la
1979 cj-5
i have 79 cj 5 with 258 and stock axels. i dont know what to upgrade to? any clues i want to keep it as original to what tit would of came with from factory, or should i go with a more mmadern set up? will axles from a wrecked rubicon fit under my jeep? or how much work is it to make dana 60's fit? what about ford 9" will they work? also motor wise looking at a chevy 350 with about 330-400 hp, what about transmissions? go with 700r4 or a 3spd 400? what about fit ment issues moving motor and tranny back or forward who makes mounts to fit? than the lift and tire. looking a 4inch spring lift and a 2 inch shackel lift. should i do a spring over or leave it under? tires looking at 35 to 37 with the 16 inch wheels. and break booster did they come with the or not and who has instaleed a booster, power steering do they make kits for the or am i stuck with the manual steer? lot of questions any adive thanks
You should read these two threads concerning axles:

As far as Rubi axles, they are driver-side drop so you would need to do a lot to make them work. Not the first choice Im afraid. Ironically, an older axle with locking hubs will be simpler to deal with and a better choice really.

You're going to have a lot of fitment issues with the drivetrain you mentioned. Your driveline length will suffer immensely. A 4spd like a NP435 will fit much better or a 727 auto which is also good and short. You need to keep the sbc as far forward as you can.

Stay away from 2" shackles. They do bad things to castor, spring life, and handeling. Better to just do a 2" body lift...but I would go no higher then that as you would be dealing with shear on the body mount bolts.

SOA is tricky on a CJ5 given the short wheelbase, but I've seen it done with flatter springs and generally, there isn't much more lift then a good 4" SUA. You do get a softer ride and better flex however.

How much experience do you have wheeling this thing as it is now?
Sounds like we have enough for 6 threads here
"chevy 350 with about 330-400 hp,"
"700r4 or a 3spd 400"
"fit ment issues moving motor and tranny back or forward"
"dana 60's"
"tires looking at 35 to 37 with the 16 inch wheels"

What are you planing on doing with you jeep?
Rock Crawling or cruising the boulevard higher than any of the other SUVs?
Sounds like you might be looking for an off road vehicle that will go anywhere. Everything has to work together. If you want to have a few hundred horses under the hood and 37 inch tires then you should get dana 60's.
Decide now what you want to do. IMO Dana 60s would need to be narrowed. Once you have everything planned out then stick to the plan. You don't want to get 37 inch tires and decide to stick with the AMC20.
Knowing what you want to do with the jeep ( mall crawler, mud runner, rock crawler) will help us help you decide what you really need.
I hope you have really good fab skills as the project you are taking on will take lots of work and money.
thanks all but i want to do everything. not so much rock crawling never done it but, i want a rig i can drive back and fort to work which i do now, play in the mud, load up the gear go camping, have aenough lift and tires to get over things and the power to use when i need it and have an all around nice jeep. lots of peopl have said its a nice jeep but i know its not the best but it works. i just want it to work better. so should i stick with a motor that is more in the same line family as the jeep like and older hemi or what? if i go with a chevy how is he weight going to differ ffrom that of the staight 6?
Whoa Speedracer let`s slow down.
Like BusaDave9 said, you are asking a lot of questions all at once.

You said you drive your CJ every day. Want to wheel, camp and DD. Fine, that can be done. But for the folks to help you. You have to help us.

Few questions,
What is your budget ?
What is your mechanical ability ?
Place to work and tools to do it with ?
Can you weld and fabricate ?
Any good with electrical ?
How long can you lay your CJ up ? Or do you need to drive it everyday ?

Have to lay out some groundwork first. When you go to the doctors you have to tell him what is up, same here.
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I would not go overboard with the mods. Stock jeeps sell better. If you install what you think are all the best mods when you go to sell your jeep the buyers very well may not agree with your choice of mods or how they were done. You can put money into this jeep but just keep, in mind in all likelihood you will never get that money back when you sell.
That being said there still are some things you can do to your jeep. You talked about mud. That will take large aggressive tires. I have 35 inch mud terrains on my '79 CJ5. Stock axles should be able to handle them but you will need to put one piece axles in your rear.
Then you will need lower gears. I am running 4.88. You could get 4.56 gears for a little better gas mileage. As long as you are changing the axle gears that's the time to install lockers. I prefer selectable lockers but they cost more. We are currently debating the choice of lockers. Check out this link:

IMO you should keep the 258. It's a great engine. If you really want more power I would get an AMC 304 or 360. They would be an easy swap.

You didn't mention what tranny you have but in the '70s jeeps had several good transmissions.
You have come to the right place. This forum is loaded with stuff like this. Just do your research its pretty much all on here. Like everyone is saying. Figure out what type of offroading or onroading you would like to do the most and design your jeep based off that. You can have a good off pavement and on rig if you build it right. My jeep handles the road good and off road it rocks. Good luck.

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