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Messages - Mike DeChristopher

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The 14 bolt is very robust. It boasts a 10.5" ring rear. Unfortunately the result is a housing that hangs very low. I elected to reduce the diameter of the ring gear and shave the bottom of the housing. I completely disassembled the rear and took the housing and ring gear to work.

I used a conventional lathe and carbide inserts to reduce the diameter of the ring gear from 10.5" to 10.0". I took my time and the result was awesome. There are those who say the gear is too hard to be cut with carbide but that's not true. I did need to sharpen the carbide frequently. The intermittent cut across the teeth does cause the carbide to chip once in a while.

I made a fixture to hold the housing on the bed mill. It supported the axle at the tubes so I could rotate the housing to the desired angle. I milled 1.5 inches off the bottom of the housing. I chose to mill parallel to the ground (I already knew my pinion angle). Others chose to mill parallel to the pinion but this results in more housing material removed without any increased ground clearance IMO.

After I shaved the housing, I machined a pocket into the base to receive a 1/2" thick flat steel plate. I then machined the plate to fit the pocket added a groove in the center to clear the gear. There's about 0.125" clearance between the plate and the gear.

I took everything home and welded the plate. Prior to welding I used a grinder and added a healthy bevel to the weld joint. There's a lot of differing opinions on how to weld the plate. I chose to preheat the housing and use nickel rod in my stick welder. I used a Mr. Heater on a 20# tank and some aluminum foil to heat the housing. It worked really well (and fast) and I was able to hold the housing at 400F with good consistency.  I made multiple passes on the outside as well as the inside. It welded like butter. I recommend the nickel rods. They're expensive but it made the job seem easy.

After the plate was welded I allowed the housing to cool very slowly. I turned the heater down over the course of a couple hours and eventually turned it off. I ground the weld flat and took the housing back to the machine shop to face off the plate flush with the differential cover mounting surface.

So after wheeling my rig quite a bit I decided it was time for an axle upgrade. Early on I had decided not to mess with the axles right away due to the time and cost. I feel like I did pretty well with the Dana 30 and 35 since I only broke 2 front U-joints over the past ~1.5 years with 36" swampers.

My goal in the swap was to be able to jump to 38" swampers, keep 4.56 gear ratio, maintain my existing ground clearance & track width, and minimize cost.

Thankfully there's a bounty of info on the web for 1 ton axle swaps.

For my swap, I chose an '88 Ford F350 front axle and a mid-80's cab and chassis 14 bolt.

The 14 bolt comes in 2 widths: 63" and 67". I found a 63" rear with 4:56 gears on CL for around $100. It had huge drum brakes and was an oily rusty mess.

The Dana 60 is much wider at 69.25". The 85-91.5 axle uses kingpins (desirable) and the spring pads are located 3.5" offset compared to the sought after 78-79 version. In a strange coincidence, the location of the driver's side spring perch on the '88 Dana 60 was an exact match to enable a ~63" track width on a YJ! This means that I would only need to shorten the passenger side.

I found a Dana 60 on CL with 4:56 gears for under $1000.

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: 7TH Annual JW “BLACK” Trail Ride
« on: November 14, 2016, 11:31:00 am »
Wouldn't miss it. Count me in.

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: Annual All Blacks Trail Ride
« on: April 18, 2016, 10:45:40 pm »
Agreed. Great ride.

A few pics:

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: Bowling February 13th 2-4 pm
« on: February 10, 2016, 12:11:57 pm »
We will be there with a jeep full (6 bowlers and an infant to pass around)

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: Dec. Club ride
« on: November 30, 2015, 10:01:54 pm »
I'm in.

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: All Blacks Trail Ride
« on: November 13, 2015, 09:29:52 pm »
Since no one responded I am assuming the ride is cancled.  Hope their is more interest for the December ride.

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: All Blacks Trail Ride
« on: November 12, 2015, 06:58:16 pm »
Still in.

For Sale - Jeep Related / 225 Buick V6 Drivers Side Headman Header (New)
« on: October 26, 2015, 10:28:25 pm »
Found this in the shed while cleaning. Listed on Craigslist for $25 but free to a good home if you're a V6 jeeper.

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: October Club Ride
« on: October 19, 2015, 01:27:04 pm »
Thanks to Chris for guiding. We had a great time!

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: All Blacks Trail Ride
« on: October 14, 2015, 12:34:07 pm »
I'm in.

PA Jeeps Club Events / Re: October Club Ride
« on: October 14, 2015, 12:32:17 pm »
I'm in.

Work In Progress / Re: 7 Seater, Rock Crawler, Street Legal on a Budget?
« on: September 14, 2015, 08:34:48 pm »
One gallon of herculiner, lots of rustoleum and undercoating, all new fluids, an assortment of seals and gaskets, new 2.5" stainless custom welded exhaust from Red Run and that about wraps it up. I've put about 300 miles on it to date and made a trip to aoaa and RC with the club last month with no issues and tons of fun.

Work In Progress / Re: 7 Seater, Rock Crawler, Street Legal on a Budget?
« on: September 13, 2015, 10:50:38 pm »
For the seats, I installed a fold and flip bench in the rear. I had to move it back 3" for leg room. For the middle row, I used the two Bestop front seats that came with the jeep. For the front I used two Wrangler front seats that I bought on CL. The seventh seat is a child seat that's mounted between the two front seats. The front passenger seat still has room to flip forward.
I welded up a small heater box and fan setup for under the right middle row seat to provide a boost to the heating system. Its plumbed in parallel with the stock heater core. For under the other middle row seat, I built a wooden box that has a 10" subwoofer.

Work In Progress / Re: 7 Seater, Rock Crawler, Street Legal on a Budget?
« on: September 11, 2015, 10:06:12 pm »
I also bent and welded up an exo-cage. A couple years ago I made one for my CJ and fell in love with the luxury of not worring about my soft top. The upper hoop for the YJ is 20 ft long. The front bolts to the roll cage around the door.

Other misc:
I swapped tail lights for flush mounted LEDs including side markers
I added a homemade truss and anti-spring wrap bar to the Dana 35.
The hoops and spreaders of the roll cage were drilled before welding so that the roll cage is my air tank.
I swapped the front shafts for ones with 297 U joints. The passenger side is now one piece. I replaced the blown ARB with a lock rite.
Added a conical K&N air filter.
Added homemade differential and gas tank skid plates.
Replaced the exhaust manifold with one with flex sections.

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