I am crazy??? Grand Cherokee rear axle under my 82 CJ7.

I am crazy??? Grand Cherokee rear axle under my 82 CJ7.


Lake Charles, LA
1982 Laredo CJ7
Dana 300 Transfer
Dana 30 fr
Model 20 rr
4.10 gears
I have been toying with the idea of swapping my rear axle (amc model 20) for something with disc brakes and a lil more strength. Dana 44s or dana 60 would be ideal but I have the ole 258 and I am not looking to upgrade to a v8 anytime soon. Just recently after hunting junkyards all day I found a 2001 or newer grand cherokee in great condition just wrecked in front only. Here's the catch dunno if the engine was a 6 or 8. But from what I found out its a dana 35 for the 6 cyl and a Dana 44 for the 8 cyl. I like to fab so that doesn't scare me at all. But my question is can it be made to work? The dana under the grand cherokee will run $100 if I pull it and $200 it they do it. The model 20 isn't broken I just wanting to play around. If I am crazy let me know honesty doesn't hurt my feelings. Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
if there is no need, then i wouldn't bother. if you do, be very careful of buying a d35=junk. the AMC20 under there already is plenty good enough for what you are describing, put a 1pc axle kit in it, then later on for a little more strength if you need it, weld the tubes, and put a truss on it, then you should be good to go with 35s at the most.
If it's a D35 dont waste your time. If it's a Dana 44, it might be worth it for the thicker axle tubes and the disk brakes. It would cost you more then $100 to convert the Corp20 over to disk.
Yes it would but it would be easier than making the new axle fit. Guess you have to ask yourself how bad do I need disks on the rear.

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Yep. Exactly. :chug:
Disk brakes are definitely just a convience so if its a d35 I wont touch it. And I am ashamed to say I left some pretty important stuff out of my first post. But my model 20 was a victim of extreme road rash. The owner before me said the right hub came off while he was going 45 mph down the blacktop and about 40% of the brake assembly was grinded off including the drum. The axle tube is good so no worries there. But I do have a model 20 narrow track with complete brakes. I believe those are bigger than my wide track right? I will be going back to verify if its a Dana 44 soon. Do ya'll agree even if its a Dana 44 should I just work with what I got and avoid the headache? Or should I tackle the swap?
well like i said how bad do you want disk brakes? this is really your only question because the AMC20 will hold up very well to what you described earlier, now if you have plans for big tires 35+, and high horsepower with lots of heavy trail use, then yes go for the Dana 44. personally i wouldn't bother with the swap just for disk brakes.
Two reasons why it is not a good idea. First, the grand cherokee Dana 44 came with an aluminum center section so it is not very strong. Also the bolt pattern for your wheels are different. If you want to go to your 5 on 5 1/2 then you are looking at alot of money to do it and then the good deal becomes not so good.
There isn't a lot of strength difference between a Dana 44 and a Corp20 as long as the 20 has 1pc axles.

Biggest difference is the thicker tubes on the 44...but a corp20 has a heavier R&P.

If it was me, I would pass. I wont replace a 20 with a 44 because it is such a small difference in strength vs. the time and cost to swap.
Wow guys ya'll are very helpful and convincing. :notworthy: Its definitely a no go on the axle swap. I didn't realize the center section was aluminum that's uncool. But since I mentioned it earlier would it be a good idea to change my drums brakes to the narrow track axle brakes. I measured the drums and the narrow tracks are bigger and complete. Is it an easy switch over from wide track to narrow track brakes wise?
you would have to change the backing plates, which would require new wheel bearings to be pressed on, plus you should go with new shoes and wheel cylinders at least. You would probably come out cheaper just fixing what you got since you only need one backing plate and one set of wheel bearings you might have to get a junk yard backing plate idk I can't check if new ones are available right this minute
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I checked the narrow track backing plates they're in great shape and all other components are intact. I just have to place the drums they are at the end of their life span. And I will definitely change out the wheel cylinders, shoes, and bearings also. Does this have a good write up yet if not I would like to give it a shot. Pics and all that jazz. And again thanks for helping me out.
Does this have a good write up yet if not I would like to give it a shot. Pics and all that jazz.

By all means. Any writeup is welcome around here :chug:
Sweet, it shall be done then. I am a lil slow though but the finished product will be nice and thorough.

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