Drivetrain Opinions Please!

Drivetrain Opinions Please!
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Location
st pete florida
Vehicle(s)
68 Chevy short stepside, 406 sbc, turbo 400, 9"rear, 95 Z-71 Chevy stepside, 350, 700r4,
Hi to all! I'm new to the Jeep thing, and need some advice. I am currently doing a budget restoration on what I'm told is a 63 Willy's or CJ5. It currently has a 350 Chevy with what I believe is a saginaw 4 speed, with a twin stick transfer case. I believe it has the original differentials, they are far offset to the right of the vehicle.

Here's where I need some advice. I want to stay with the 350, but need some opinions as to what drivetrain I should run. It's mostly street driven here in flat Florida. I would like to upgrade to power discs in front, and to a wider track. I would like some transfer case, and differential combos, and what they come out of, that would work for me. It also has 33x12.5 tires.
I'm trying to do it as simple and easy, and as reasonable as possible, but I know how things tend to go over budget! I also have a small machine shop, and am a welder and fabricator, so I can do any mods that may be needed. Any help in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!
 
you are lucky if you have a 350 conversion in a short nose jeep and it fits and works
if you do do not touch it, that is a rarity. but now about drive train. your problem is you can swap some stuff out, but if you touch that transfer case you need to swap the rear axle. then you want wide axle right?

ok, first limiting factor is drive line length, that is a very short jeep and does not lift very well with extended drive line so look for a wide track 30 from a late wide track CJ, look for one with disc brakes mounting on the knuckles, a easy find, Now we want a CJ or wagoneer rear Dana 44 with centered pumpkin.
next look for a Dana 20 transfer case.

those 3 should with a small adapter fit behind the tranny you have, you may need a adapter for the t case because of the input hole that Novak will carry

if you want to up grade the tranny also look for a tranny from the era with 4 speeds, 5 speed trannies start to get long and we are looking to stay as short as we can. again Novak will help you with conversion adapters.

now since we are on the subject, you will probably be rebuilding and gearing the axles to what you want, any time you go into a diff it gets expensive however not having a used axle rebuilt is a NONO, you will have problems real soon, plus you need to make sure those things are geared where you want. So while doing such also put in any traction device you want, (locker or Limited slip) because you are going to have to go in again if you do not do all this at once and that gets expensive.

personally I would get a mid 70s Dana 30 for the front, screw the wide track, build it to match the Dana 44 you have in the rear, contact Herm the overdrive Guy (link in our link area) and get a full floating axle setup for that rear Dana 44 with modern splines and put a Detroit locker or Limited slip in that puppy. You will not be disappointed and you will save a grand or two on the conversion. the front axle will be about 2 inches wider, but I run that in my 67 and can not tell the difference.

Remember the full floating axle will be stronger than a flanged axle because you no longer have the weight of the vehicle on the axle shaft, it is now on the housing and that means you only have the power of the drive line on the shafts, making them about 1/3 stronger than a flanged and twice stronger than the 2 piece you have now
 
simple , easy and reasonable??:laugh:

I'm sorry snookmaster, I still get tickled when I hear this kind of thing.:cool:
 
Lots of options I suppose. A 350 with a saginaw box sounds like it may be a good street jeep as it is.... If you are looking to make it more streetable, you may find that no matter what you do, it will still drive like a jeep (or tractor). How do you intend to use the Jeep and how many miles a year will you drive it? These are good questions to pose to yourself to determine what end result you are looking for. Generally, longer wheelbase jeeps are better for the street. However, there are some who find a great early CJ the most fun ride on the road. I used to be one!
 
you are lucky if you have a 350 conversion in a short nose jeep and it fits and works
if you do do not touch it, that is a rarity. but now about drive train. your problem is you can swap some stuff out, but if you touch that transfer case you need to swap the rear axle. then you want wide axle right?

ok, first limiting factor is drive line length, that is a very short jeep and does not lift very well with extended drive line so look for a wide track 30 from a late wide track CJ, look for one with disc brakes mounting on the knuckles, a easy find, Now we want a CJ or wagoneer rear Dana 44 with centered pumpkin.
next look for a Dana 20 transfer case.

those 3 should with a small adapter fit behind the tranny you have, you may need a adapter for the t case because of the input hole that Novak will carry

if you want to up grade the tranny also look for a tranny from the era with 4 speeds, 5 speed trannies start to get long and we are looking to stay as short as we can. again Novak will help you with conversion adapters.

now since we are on the subject, you will probably be rebuilding and gearing the axles to what you want, any time you go into a diff it gets expensive however not having a used axle rebuilt is a NONO, you will have problems real soon, plus you need to make sure those things are geared where you want. So while doing such also put in any traction device you want, (locker or Limited slip) because you are going to have to go in again if you do not do all this at once and that gets expensive.

personally I would get a mid 70s Dana 30 for the front, screw the wide track, build it to match the Dana 44 you have in the rear, contact Herm the overdrive Guy (link in our link area) and get a full floating axle setup for that rear Dana 44 with modern splines and put a Detroit locker or Limited slip in that puppy. You will not be disappointed and you will save a grand or two on the conversion. the front axle will be about 2 inches wider, but I run that in my 67 and can not tell the difference.

Remember the full floating axle will be stronger than a flanged axle because you no longer have the weight of the vehicle on the axle shaft, it is now on the housing and that means you only have the power of the drive line on the shafts, making them about 1/3 stronger than a flanged and twice stronger than the 2 piece you have now
Thanks for the advice, so you're saying keep my current rear,get with Herm on the internals, and use a late model cj 30 front?
simple , easy and reasonable??:laugh:

I'm sorry snookmaster, I still get tickled when I hear this kind of thing.:cool:
I know, I know, I have a very high-end, resto-mod 68 short stepside Chevy that got way out of hand, This Jeep is for a very good friend of mine, and I'm trying to be reasonable, and look for deals, without cutting too many corners.
Lots of options I suppose. A 350 with a saginaw box sounds like it may be a good street jeep as it is.... If you are looking to make it more streetable, you may find that no matter what you do, it will still drive like a jeep (or tractor). How do you intend to use the Jeep and how many miles a year will you drive it? These are good questions to pose to yourself to determine what end result you are looking for. Generally, longer wheelbase jeeps are better for the street. However, there are some who find a great early CJ the most fun ride on the road. I used to be one!
My friend will drive this Jeep probably about 100 miles a week, to and from work, and to go fishing in. Most will be street driven, no highway use.
 
personally, if this is going be a street queen and fishing jeep, leave the rear alone, look for a mid 70s CJ narrow Dana 30 with disc brakes and put that under there, get Herm's Ford 2 cylinder brake MC mod and call it good.
that rear axle is not going be taxed till you get rough with it.
 
he has a D18, a extremely strong gear tcase, why change it unless he insist on wide track? for what the OP wants it does not make much since to change anything but that front axle out.
 
If you're really interested in swapping axles to go wider without touching the engine/trans/t-case, you may want to consider a 74-79 full size Wagoneer with a Quadratrac as a donor for those axles.

The narrow track Wagoneer is about as wide as a wide track CJ. Within an inch or two anyway. That will give you plenty of width on an old CJ.

The Wagoneer with the Quadratrac has both differentials offset to the passenger side to match the existing t-case.

Both of the axles will be Dana 44s. The front at least would hold up better to a 350 V8 than a Dana 30. Though in a street driven Jeep, it's probably not that big of a deal.

The brakes will be front disc/rear drum. (though it is possible to get stuck with a front drum the earlier you go.) They will also be designed for a much heavier rig so they'd be more than adequate for a CJ, even with 33" tires. 15" rims will clear the brakes no problem.

Swapping them in may be a bit of a trick. I'm not sure about the early CJ frame width. It's possible you'd need to move the springs outboard from under the frame to clear the differential. Not a huge deal but not a bolt in swap either. For the rear, the frame is wider and I bet it would clear the diff. Though you may need to move the spring perches on the axle but that's easy.

You'd have to get new rims since the bolt pattern is 6 on 5.5". But there's plenty of choices out there since that's a common Chevy bolt pattern as well.

These axles pop up now and again on The full size Jeep forum. There's not much demand for them so they're usually cheap.
 
he has a D18, a extremely strong gear tcase, why change it unless he insist on wide track? for what the OP wants it does not make much since to change anything but that front axle out.
Good point Baja. What's wrong with the current setup? If it's not broke don't fix it.
 
Thanks for the responses guys, I would like the wider track, but I was thinking more of a top loader type transmission, and right now I have the saginaw with the shifter on the side of it. Also, with the current setup, the engine sits about three inches to the drivers side, and I would like it more centered if possible. Can somebody tell me if the scout II axles might be a good swap? Also what gear ratio might I be looking at with the 33" tires? I've also heard about the Dana 300 transfer case with a t-176 trans. Would this be something to consider? Sorry for all the questions, but I would like to try and get it right the first time, and make it as simple as possible. Thanks for all the help!
 
I was thinking more of a top loader type transmission, and right now I have the saginaw with the shifter on the side of it.
:confused:
Let's try to figure out what tranny you have. Do you have a column shift with the linkage on the side of the tranny?



Is it a T90 like this?
t90_side_shift_version.jpg
I would get 4.11 gears for 33 inch tires.


A T176 will mate to the Dana 300 easily but I think you will need an adapter to mate to your 350.
 
Unfortunately, there isn't going to be an option that keeps it as simple as possible.

Drivetrain swaps are complicated no matter which direction you go. Even if you revert the CJ back to stock, you'll be undoing some complicated work and rebuilding what the factory had.

The reason your engine is shifted to one side is for driveshaft clearance. The CJ frame rails are close together and you need to slide the engine over to make room for a driveshaft.

The easiest thing for you to do is probably get an 80's Chevy truck SM465 4 speed and bolt up behind the existing Chevy motor that's in there. You'll need to swap out the tail housing and tail shaft since the factory pieces is stupid long and won't fit well in your short wheelbase Jeep. While not cheap, it's not difficult to do that swap while you rebuild the transmission. Get that bolted up and slap a Dana 20 or Dana 300 in there. Then find some Scout or Wagoneer axles and toss them under there and call it good.

As far as gears, you could experiment with a good gear ratio calculator to find out what works for you. I hear there's a really great one out there that lets you do side by side comparisons of different combinations... ;)
 
Thanks for all the info, I will get some pics of my current trans- transfer case setup and post them later today. Thanks again
 

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