Anyone running a driver-drop front axle (close to stock width)?

City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#1
I'm kicking around a couple ideas, and I'm wondering if anyone's running a driver-drop front axle in their Scrambler (without outboarded springs). If so, were there any challenges you ran into in doing the switch?

Craig
 

kohldad

SOA Member
City
Goose Creek
State
SC
#2
For clarification, is this for your SD33 project where you are considering this for oil pan clearance issue? Are you considering flipping your Dana 300 or going with a different TC? How much lift is in this Scrambler?

All these details make a big difference in getting an accurate answer.
 

Stouttrout

Registered Jeep Nut
City
Sour Lake
State
Tx
#3
kohldad said:
For clarification, is this for your SD33 project where you are considering this for oil pan clearance issue? Are you considering flipping your Dana 300 or going with a different TC? How much lift is in this Scrambler?

All these details make a big difference in getting an accurate answer.

Either way, I think it will be hard to find an axle that will fit with out Outboarding the springs, cutting an axle or pressing in new tubes. I have a friend running a Ford HP d60 in his CJ7 but his is outboarded.

You cn't get a D300 to fit?
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#4
kohldad said:
For clarification, is this for your SD33 project where you are considering this for oil pan clearance issue? Are you considering flipping your Dana 300 or going with a different TC? How much lift is in this Scrambler?

All these details make a big difference in getting an accurate answer.

Thanks Eric. Yes, it's for the SD-33/TF-727 install in the Scrambler. I never really wanted a lift, and would rather keep it close to stock height. However, the 727 transmission/driveshaft clearance issue got me looking at lifts, bigger tires, regearing axles, etc. My thought was that I could go with one of these Stak D300 replacement cases to make my D300 driver-drop, and install a low-$$$ driver-drop front axle. I'm also up to the task of narrowing an axle, if necessary. I'd be money ahead, as the BFG A-Ts (P235/75R-15s) have about 60% tread left, and will last me quite a while. No $$$ for a lift, and no regear for the rear axle (most likely).

I have just never looked into stock wide-track width driver-drop axles before. Ideally, I'd like a high-pinion setup with 5 x 5.5" BP, but I'll consider LP axles, as well. A Dana 30 would be more than adequate for my purposes, but I'm open to other options. I figure a YJ or XJ D30 can be had for under $100. I don't want to outboard the springs, and want to stick to roughly stock width. Of course, I know that early Bronco axles would be about the right width and have the correct bolt pattern.

Suggestions?

Craig

Stak Replacement D300 case ($699):


Here's how my Scrambler sits w/31" tires (it currently has smaller P235s installed, though):
 
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scott anderson

Old age Mutant Ninjaneer
City
Paragould
State
ar
#5
craig..i got a friend with a yj axle that he just pulled...probably be had very cheap. He bought my old axles and he just pulled the stock stuff.
 

Stouttrout

Registered Jeep Nut
City
Sour Lake
State
Tx
#6
If I am not mistaken, the YJ frame is a bit wider than the CJ. It might offset it to one side a bit when you bolt it up. Also the TJ and XJ axles do not have a spring perch on the pumkin since they where Coil Spring. if you are going to go that route I would just Find a set of axles out of TJ front and rear and or an XJ and run stock TJ coils. Not sure of the weight on the SD33 so you may have to run a beefer F150 coil in the front. Coil buckets are cheap and Ballistic Fab has a nice price and set on them. I am still researching this for my CJ-10 build. High pinion would put you that much closer to the Trans. I assume you can not install the engine offset to the Drivers side a bit to clear the front axle? That is how my CJ-8 is. I offset the 350 1.5 inches to the driverside to clear the 700r4.
 

Stouttrout

Registered Jeep Nut
City
Sour Lake
State
Tx
#7
Also those STAKS are nice but it is very easy to flip a d300 and I know you can clean one up to look as purty as that one :D If you decide to flip one talk to this guy. This is his Ebay Name : 4x4machineshop look him up he makes some nice shifters and can tell you how to flip one easily.
 
Last edited:

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#8
A later model Grand Wagoneer uses a spring under D44 with a drivers side drop. Got 3 of 'em her at the house. They are 59" wide, take 4" out of the long tube and they will not need to be outboarded and will be the same width as a widetrack CJ. They're 6 lug, you can convert to 5 lug using Ford parts.
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#9
Stouttrout said:
If I am not mistaken, the YJ frame is a bit wider than the CJ. It might offset it to one side a bit when you bolt it up. Also the TJ and XJ axles do not have a spring perch on the pumkin since they where Coil Spring. if you are going to go that route I would just Find a set of axles out of TJ front and rear and or an XJ and run stock TJ coils. Not sure of the weight on the SD33 so you may have to run a beefer F150 coil in the front. Coil buckets are cheap and Ballistic Fab has a nice price and set on them. I am still researching this for my CJ-10 build. High pinion would put you that much closer to the Trans. I assume you can not install the engine offset to the Drivers side a bit to clear the front axle? That is how my CJ-8 is. I offset the 350 1.5 inches to the driverside to clear the 700r4.
Dan - Yes, the YJ frame is wider. I'm not interested in going with coils, though. First of all, I want to keep it primarily CJ, which equals leaf springs, IMO. Also, the coil buckets on an XJ would be spaced further out than a CJ frame width anyway, so I'm sure the brackets on the axle would need to be moved to work. The motor fit is VERY tight...see more detailed info below. P.S. - Part of me feels like kicking myself in the arse for selling my last driver-drop t-case to some clown I know in Texas. ;) :rotfl: Just kidding, man...glad you could use it.


Randyzzz said:
A later model Grand Wagoneer uses a spring under D44 with a drivers side drop. Got 3 of 'em her at the house. They are 59" wide, take 4" out of the long tube and they will not need to be outboarded and will be the same width as a widetrack CJ. They're 6 lug, you can convert to 5 lug using Ford parts.
Yes, I used one of these on my CJ-10a (60.5" wide in stock form). Narrowing one down is definitely an option.


Also, here's more detailed info I posted on my local Jeep board. This may shed a little more light on things.

*****

So, I'm putting the temporary brakes on the motor mount fabrication for my SD-33 diesel/TF-727 install in my Scrambler (build thread HERE).

From the beginning, my preference (and my wife's) has been to keep the Scrambler at or near stock height. However, since the transmission is a TF-727 auto, and has an oddball bellhousing bolt pattern, I cannot use the stock TF-999. So, the issues I'm running into with retaining passenger drop are:

  • 4" suspension lift & dropped bump stop required to clear front driveshaft w/TF-727 transmission (see photo/write-up below); passenger front suspension flex
  • 4" lift would require 33-35" tires to look good (~$750), wider wheels to accomodate common 12.5" tire width ($50-100 used), axle regearing front & rear (~$600). I already own P235-75R/15 tires
  • Motor fit is VERY tight, even with a 1" body lift. Tight areas include driveshaft to oil pan (~3/8" clearance), and driver-side starter "ear" on bellhousing (~1/4" clearance).

So, before going any further, I'm considering switching to driver-side drop. I saw that Monkeyevil had mentioned the Stak Dana 300 replacement case (see photo below) for $699, which converts a "core" Dana 300 into driver-drop. It also has multiple clocking positions. I am not set on this t-case, but it is one very nice (and bling-bling) option. That brings me to driver-drop axles. My CJ-10a had a Grand Wagoneer driver-drop front axle (60.5" WMS-to-WMS), mainly because it was a bolt-in install, matched with an Isuzu D44 rear (58"). This '10a had the same motor/trans I'm installing in the Scrambler, but it used an NP-208 t-case. NOTE: The '10a frame is 4 3/4" wider inside-to-inside than the CJ frame, BTW. Even so, there will be more driveshaft room on the driver side than the passenger side with this driveline.

I have just never looked into stock CJ wide-track width driver-drop axles before. So, I'm looking for driver-drop front axle options with the following characteristics (I'm game for a bastard axle build, BTW):

  • 57-60" width
  • 5 x 5.5" wheel bolt pattern
  • Spring-under axle
  • I do not want to outboard the springs

A Dana 30 would be more than adequate for my purposes, and would be an inexpensive option. However, I'm open to Dana 44 and/or other options, as well. I don't know much about Early Bronco front axles, but assume this may be a good option. I also have a buddy who can hook me up with a '93 XJ HP Dana 30 front axle, which would obviously have a different bolt pattern (I'd like to change to 5 x 5.5" if possible), and will also need spring perches welded on. What other options would be good? These would be paired with a wide-track CJ Dana 44 rear axle, BTW.

So, lay some front axle suggestions and/or considerations on me.

Thanks,
Craig



CJ TF-727 w/Dana 300 swap
(note where the driveshaft would contact the transmission):



Stak Replacement D300 case ($699):


Here's how my Scrambler sits w/31" tires (it currently has smaller P235s installed, though):
 

scott anderson

Old age Mutant Ninjaneer
City
Paragould
State
ar
#10
craig...narrowing one is easy...i have done several...i could definately talk you thru it...and i would shorten you axle shaft for you if you decide to go that way>
 

kohldad

SOA Member
City
Goose Creek
State
SC
#11
For the driveshaft clearance, have you considered a two piece driveshat? First section is about 8"-10"(?) long, fixed length with the support bearing locted next to the transmission. Second section is normal and runs down to the axle.

Haven't seen it, but have heard of it as an option for the727 clearance issue. I believe there is a guy in our club that is running this in his CJ.
 

Stouttrout

Registered Jeep Nut
City
Sour Lake
State
Tx
#12
1x1_Speed_Craig said:
Dan - Yes, the YJ frame is wider. I'm not interested in going with coils, though. First of all, I want to keep it primarily CJ, which equals leaf springs, IMO. Also, the coil buckets on an XJ would be spaced further out than a CJ frame width anyway, so I'm sure the brackets on the axle would need to be moved to work. The motor fit is VERY tight...see more detailed info below.
Primarily CJ? With a SD33, 4" lift, Axle swap, Driverside drop,......Oh yeah I see that:D Shortening or building a custom D44 is easy. One thing you want to do is try to build it for stock shafts that are out there in something esle. This eliminates the need for custom shafts. Also, no, coils slanted out an inch on either side will not make a difference like it will on Leafes. Your coils do not center the front like a leaf spring does. You have track bar for that. We have done 2 Cj-7's with TJ axles and are working great. I looked at my SD33 and it is tight but there is an Inch to spare. Are you making the motor mounts? Looking at your pic, one inch would give it plenty of room Unless the pic is distorted, hard to tell. It looks like it is right on the edge of the pan.
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#13
Stouttrout said:
Primarily CJ? With a SD33, 4" lift, Axle swap, Driverside drop,......Oh yeah I see that:D Shortening or building a custom D44 is easy. One thing you want to do is try to build it for stock shafts that are out there in something esle. This eliminates the need for custom shafts. Also, no, coils slanted out an inch on either side will not make a difference like it will on Leafes. Your coils do not center the front like a leaf spring does. You have track bar for that. We have done 2 Cj-7's with TJ axles and are working great. I looked at my SD33 and it is tight but there is an Inch to spare. Are you making the motor mounts? Looking at your pic, one inch would give it plenty of room Unless the pic is distorted, hard to tell. It looks like it is right on the edge of the pan.

LOL. :rotfl: OK Dan, I'll open my mind a little to the idea of front coils using an XJ D30. Do you have any pics of the CJs you have done?

When you mentioned "an inch to spare" with the SD-33, what specifically are you referring to? I'm using the OEM block mounts, and will be fabricating frame mounts for the install into the CJ-8 frame.

Craig
 

Stouttrout

Registered Jeep Nut
City
Sour Lake
State
Tx
#14
I don;t have pics (lost all my Digital pic a few months ago) but I do know the new owner of one of them. He is in Iraq but I may be able to get a few pics of it. I will see if I can. You really can not tell the differnce. I also have a buddy with a full width D60 under a TJ. He had to move his Springs out. They slant out about 2". It drives nice at 70.

If you have the room to spare and it looks like you do, fab up the mounts so that it positions the engine to the driverside 1-1.5" This should clear the driveshaft. On a race car that you need to "Hook up" you need to have everything in line. On our Jeeps you can be off a bit and never notice. You will see that many rear pumpkins are slighty off center anyway. My LJ with the 14 bolt has a rear driveshaft that come off the tcase and slants as it goes tot he rear.

Another thing you may want to consider, Your 727 is a big block Dodge. Dodge had Tcases and passenger drop fronts. Have you looked at using a Dodge np203 or somthing like that?
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#15
OK, I think I may have hit a breakthrough with the existing passenger-drop configuration. I was looking at my oilpan (with ~3/8" clearance), and realized the the driver side is "wedged" (cut out) to accomodate a driver-side differential. Since Scouts are passenger-drop, I called Nissan Forklift to see if there are more than one oilpan options; sadly, they only had one part #. However, after talking with my friend Don (who used to work on '10as when he was in the Air Force), he said that International may have just added their own oilpan. That's when I hopped on Northwest 4x4's site, as I know that the guys there (Clark/owner in particular) are big SD-33 nuts. Sure enough, I found this photo from his 1980 Scout Traveler restoration.



Eureka! The oilpan is carved out on the passenger side! I talked with Clark about this, and he told me he'd get me some better photos of the Scout oilpan...great guy, BTW!

So, I'm now on the hunt for a Scout oilpan, and I think the 2-pc. driveshaft suggestion may be a viable solution for the front driveshaft clearance issue with the TF-727 transmission. I could still retain stock height (no lift). I'm going to search for some 2-pc. driveshaft photos/applications to get a better feel for that type of setup.


Stouttrout said:
I don;t have pics (lost all my Digital pic a few months ago) but I do know the new owner of one of them. He is in Iraq but I may be able to get a few pics of it. I will see if I can. You really can not tell the differnce. I also have a buddy with a full width D60 under a TJ. He had to move his Springs out. They slant out about 2". It drives nice at 70.

If you have the room to spare and it looks like you do, fab up the mounts so that it positions the engine to the driverside 1-1.5" This should clear the driveshaft. On a race car that you need to "Hook up" you need to have everything in line. On our Jeeps you can be off a bit and never notice. You will see that many rear pumpkins are slighty off center anyway. My LJ with the 14 bolt has a rear driveshaft that come off the tcase and slants as it goes tot he rear.

Another thing you may want to consider, Your 727 is a big block Dodge. Dodge had Tcases and passenger drop fronts. Have you looked at using a Dodge np203 or somthing like that?
Thanks Dan. See my update above...I'm going to pursue this option first. Also, regarding the t-case bolt pattern...

EDIT: From binderbulletin.org in this thread (it's NOT a big block Mopar pattern, but rather a motorhome pattern of some sort):

David, I personally have purchased a BB Mopar (383,426,440) bell housing to hook up to the auto adapter behind the SD33, They don't match up, I've also tried a SB trans and, They don't match up either , .

I emailed Jesco just to get some sort of an idea and this was their response....


I have an SD33 engine with the housing for an automatic transmission with the proper flywheel and flex plate. I tried matching (as I was told it would work) a Big Block Mopar bell housing to the auto housing, it does not fit, is it maybe a small block pattern that I need to source up?

Thanks:

Dslsmoke

------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ----- ----- -----

It's not so much the pattern as the application, the transmission used behind the Nissan SD33T is a MOTOR HOME APPLICATION....... you will need to find an overdrive in a Motor home to bolt on to the Nissan SD33T Automatic Flywheel Housing... The automotive is to small ....... Gary @ JESCO

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alright sir, lets start with my phone number... 209-537-5057... now then for the 727 trans to bolt to the Nissan automatic housing it has to be motor home spec........ Big block or small block I'm sure you mean the 345 IH engine... any way you look at it the housings for the pickups were different from the ones used in motor homes, you can't go to your local wrecking yard, unless your local wrecking yard has motor homes. Gary​
 
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