: 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ Rebuild - Axle Help

02-01-2011, 04:23 PM
Hi all,

This is the rebuild plan, please understand my knowledge is limited. I like offroading, I know how to get myself stuck and unstuck. Needless to say, I know where to get work done and get it done cheap. I could get it done four times over and have it cost less than if I went to North Texas. Not to mention I have family in the used car business so they know guys who do good jobs. So any specific, REALLY specific advice would be appreciated with a good explanation treating me like I may know nothing. It will also help explain to the guys (after I translate into Spanish) what sort of craziness I want them to perform.

Engine: 4BT
Tranny: Not sure, but I currently have a manual, debating on whether to keep it manual or go automatic with the newer, stronger transmission. Recommendations about which way to go, manual/auto, as well as good trannys for the swap would be appreciated.
Tires: 35 inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claws(may go 33s, but thinking 35s)
Lift: Overall, 6-7 inches higher than stock. So take into account a 3.5 inch lift already on there + bigger axle + potential Spring-over-Axle.. should put it in that range.

I was thinking of pulling the front and rear Dana 44s out of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer from an 87-91 wagoneer. Here are my thoughts:

Estimates on Wagoneer axle widths vary from 58-62.5 for narrowtracks, several sources say the 81-82 are exactly 60.5. I guess it varies per year. The 87-95 Wrangler's were 60.5" = Close to same size (gaining a half inch on each side)
However, 80-82s had vacuum disconnects (don't know why this is bad, but I've noticed everyone says it's a bad idea), therefore I want to avoid these, and maybe see if the later year models of 87-91 had a year with a 60.5 available (maybe +/- 0.5).
87-91 Grand Wagoneers came with 2.72 or 3.31 ratios, not sure if this would be appropriate to drop in with my build. Saw a recommendation that 35s have 4.10 gears. And did not have vacuum disconnects. Both front and rear were Dana 44s, and can be pulled off the same lowest mileage junkyard vehicle for a discount for buying both full assemblies.
1980-1991 All had driver's side drop just like YJ
This switch has been done before. So basically thinking 87-91 Wagoneer D44s, maybe beef them up as much as possible before putting them under the YJ. Biggest concern is:
Not sure if it is strong enough for a 4bt with 35s? What gears should I run. And I wanted to know if it would be outrageous to put a second turbo on or if the axles would simply snap.

Any help is much appreciated.

02-01-2011, 04:54 PM
What engine is in the YJ now? And what type of wheeling do you do? Mud/Rocks/Trails/ect. If you do normal people wheeling every once and a while or have fun on the weekends the 4BT with a refreshed AX15 (the stock yj 6cyl trans)/NP231 (Stock yj transfer case) and waggy axles will work fine and is a good place to start. A lot of people on this forum who have put 4bt's in their jeeps run the AX15

Common Combination's are Dana 44 front with a narrowed 9 inch rear, or Dana 60 frt/ 9 inch, Dana 60frt/Dana 60 rear. Early Bronco II 44's instead of waggy axles work well too (but are getting hard to find).

Transmission/Transfer case setups most common is either the stock setup which many people on here run with no problems, a dodge diesel truck stock setup which is a NV4500 manual trans and I forget the transfercase. Alot of jeep guys run the NV4500 behind their Inline 6's with a adapter to a NP205 or Dana 300 transfercase if they need serious beef and shorter drive line length.

At this point I would hit those yards you have around you and see what kinda goodies they have that you can buy. Start at the engine and work down to the ground. Figure out what transmission you want to run and what gearing you want in the rears with the tire size you want to achieve the road speed you want. Then deduce a transfer case that will give you the reduction you want for off-roading, including the options of modifying it with kits for lower low range ratios. Once the transfer case is decided on figure which axles will accept the gearing that you need, and which side the transfer drops on. A kit may be used on some transfer cases to "flip" them to the other side.

Hope that helps,

02-01-2011, 05:07 PM
Currently the Jeep has the weak 2.5L inline 4 cylinder with some random transmission slapped on it to get us by because the previous non-AX15 died on us. 3.5-4" lift, 32 inch tires. I don't want to be chopping any axles, hence the reason to stick to the Dana 44s from the waggy. Just a little changing of mounts while all the rest of this is taking place. Most of the wheeling is trails (gravel, caleche - if that's how you spell it, and dirt) and sand (beach dunes). The unfortunate thing is it doesn't have the power to get out of the sand, although it has plenty to get in. Easy to get out, but would like to have the potential to get myself out of holes since no trees are around to hook a winch to.

I can get ahold of a 1990 Waggy axle assembly front and rear for a combined 600, but since it's not local it'll cost like 250-300 in shipping. 900 for two axles that the gears may have to be changed in. First I'm looking for the 4bt, the NV4500 doesn't sound like a bad idea from what I've seen. Don't know what I need to do to find out the transfer case I'll need from there.

Also this is still a daily driver and don't want a ridiculous lift or 40s or anything like that. I like the current height of the Jeep with the 32's and the current lift, but wouldn't mind it slightly bigger. With a slightly bigger axle + 33s it may look fine as is. With 35s and spring over, I think it'd look quite a bit bigger, but not too extreme.

Attached is a 5 inch spring under lift with 35s. Almost same color (mine is black not dark green), same year, half doors, etc.

02-01-2011, 06:09 PM
Then it sounds like a 4BT with a NV4500 then.
From another thread by BobS (http://www.4btswaps.com/forum/showthread.php?3063-Dodge-NV4500-np205): The Dodge NV4500 came with a drives side drop NP241HD transfer case starting in 1994
So that or a flipped dana 300 transfer case and the wagoneer axles. Worst case is that you break a axle shaft in which case you can upgrade components. The issue is you can spend a lot of money in alloy axles and upgraded parts in a dana 44 and not be as strong as the next size up axle.
As far as getting out, get yourself a Pull-Pal or similar device. It beats burying a spare any day of the week. It may be less extreme but winching out always beats breaking something.

04-19-2011, 11:35 PM
As you already know the Waggy axles are the wrong side drop, 1977 Ford snow fighter axles are KP D60's and almost bolt right in and have the left hand drop, but they are full width. Your speedo may not work with the Dodge t-case. The D44 is the weakest axle I would use with a 4bt. A single turbo 4bt can destroy a TJ D44 rear axle housing, so no twin turbos unless you go to D60's or bigger. The nv4500 will easily handle the power but it is physically a large trans and requires some body lift to clear the case. 6-7" of lift is way too big for 33-35" tires. I have 7" lift and can run 41" tires. I am running the AX-15/231 because I had them as my stock drivetrain, so no money invested in them. But in your case since you must buy a trans, I would look into a Jeep NSG370 6 speed for a daily driver or a NV3550 just because of ease of install. But for brute strength and abuse you can't beat the NV4500 mentioned.

05-02-2011, 09:38 PM
the later waggy axles are driverside drop, I have one in my yj the spring perch is a little wider but it will work

05-03-2011, 05:07 PM
I got confused there for a second and had to walk over to my great pile of jeep axles, and yea the set of 44's I have out of a 89 Wagoneer that was 360 auto is drivers side differential.