1979 CJ 5 project
Just got a 1979 CJ 5 a few weeks a good, and I'm excited to start turning it in to a bad ass off roadder!
I got a few ideas of what I want to do with it.
(T-18 4 speed with 300 transfer case, 4.88 gears, putting coil springs in the front, 40 15.50 R15, nice offset wheels)
But I'm not sure if I should put a Dana 44 under it or the Ford 8.8. I have been told two different things and I'm wanting more input. So if you guys got some ideas feel free to say them, or if you have a better idea about something let me know as we'll.
The Dana 44 carrier isn't as strong as the model 20 that resides in the rear now. The problem with the model 20 is that the axle tubes are weak but a truss will fix that. The carrier is in the same strength range of a Ford 9-inch. The plus to the 8.8 is that most are disc brake units if you can get the brake balance correct. Most of my friends that are running 40+ inch tires are running corporate 14 bolt rears with Dana 60 fronts. You will find as they did, a Dana 44 will scatter the axle joints with bigger tires especially if you are on the throttle and it bounces and gains traction. My suggestion is keep it under 35's which will mean you can keep your stock axles. The Spicer book recommends 4.10's as the strongest carrier in the model 30 front. Add a 4:1 kit to the 300 transfer case and it will work well with that combination without a lot of expense. Then you can enjoy playing with it until you acquire the bigger and better parts. CJ-5's are fun, I really hope you enjoy it.
Please remember that this is just my opinion. I have owned CJ-5's in the past and am currently looking for another.
A spring over on a CJ-5 is scary to me. Most people spring them over and do not use new springs just the worn out old springs. Horrible idea IMO. The wheelbase is around 84", or 10" shy of your TJ. The good news is that it is reverse shackled. This makes a world of difference in how it handles and articulates. I would not own a CJ-anything that is not reversed as I like to drive them on the road as well. My suggestion is get rid of the spring over and do a 4" kit on it. It will drive much nicer on road than it does now. CJ-5's are capable off-road and quite nimble and in the hands of a good driver can go wherever you want within reason. They are limited due to the wheelbase for rock crawling. You will see most crawlers out there with 114-117" wheelbases. Just a little food for thought.
As for steering, the heavy duty tie rod and drag link on any Jeep is money well spent IMO. You might check jeepforum.com for more specifics for the CJ-5 as there are a bunch of folks who have way more experience and ideas than I. Best of luck to you.
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