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Wondertwin1 10-05-2013 12:08 PM

Destroyed a u joint. Time for mods. Need help
Okay, I put a 3.5" rubicon express lift on my jeep a few months back, did the transfer case drop, or part of it at least because whoever owned this jeep before me must have rounded the in frame nuts for the skid plate and just welded studs in and used a nut under the skid. My skid is held on by 3 bolts, one nut on a good ways and one nut barely on. I knew I'd have to get it fixed properly one of these days, and I knew I'd need a driveshaft pretty quick because of the vibrations. Well I've been so busy lately with work I can't get anything done. Well a few weeks ago at work my rear u joint finally let go. Broke a bolt of in the pinion. Bent the ear on the driveshaft, all that good stuff. So I've been running front wheel drive since then. I waited so long, because I'm not gonna buy a driveshaft(was thinking tom woods) and do all the other mods I want down the road and have to buy another one. I want to swap in an 8.8. And I want to do a tummy tuck. And I want Metalcloak adjustable control arms.

So my questions, can I do a tummy tuck without a body lift? I know I'll need to do a MML. I'll trim the fan shroud no problem if that's all it needs. I'm just worried about the transmission/transfer case hitting the tub. If so, what are everyone's recommendations for a tummy tuck??

Next up, 8.8. I know from reading here I want one out a 95-01 explorer with the 31 spline shafts and disc brakes correct? I was gonna get one out of a junkyard and send it to a shop for a rebuild with 4.88's so I can run 35's, maybe 37's if I ever get better fenders. Good gear ratio? I run in town A LOT. 85% city. And I've read on here a lot of people like the artec truss, and after that gets welded on it's almost direct bolt in correct?

Next up. Metalcloak adjustables. They seem pretty proud of their joints. Are they worth the money?

And all you metal workers, how do you suggest I fix that frame problem with the skid plate? Cut out that section and weld new in??

What about trac-bars?

I need serious help fast and I know I'm gonna have to spend a lot of money, so lay it on me folks. I have basic tools and air tools in my garage, no welder or metal working so I'll have to out source that. Thanks for everything y'all.

Jaxon1023 10-05-2013 06:08 PM

Where in north west Florida? Pensacola here

Wondertwin1 10-05-2013 08:09 PM

Navarre man! I run a tractor mowing ditches. We mow Santa Rosa, bay and Calhoun counties. I actually destroyed the u joint pulling off of I10 at Avalon boulevard

Franciscoapg 10-06-2013 11:15 AM

You're right about the 8.8 axle those years will give you disc brakes, better axleshafts, a bigger ring gear, and are just about one inch or so less wide than our d35's. for the truss, Artec all the way! I did a bunch of research and the "Artec 8.8 Swap Kit with Truss" was the best out there in my opinion. Other manufacturers offer just brackets to swap an 8.8 in but they don't strengthen the axle as much, are less straightforward to weld on, and don't look nearly as bad ass! And yes, once the Artec kit is on, it is a direct bolt on. (If you can, source your 8.8 with the original e-brake cables included and although ones a bit long, they can be used to hook up to the center bracket under the jeep). 4.88 for 35's would be perfect for city, if you do city driving on 37's though, you may want to go a bit more than 4.88. Do be sure to weld up the axle tubes to the differential when you complete the swap, because spun axle tubes are among the 8.8's greatest weaknesses. To source the kit, I recommend (no affiliation) because from my experience: they dropship the product so they don't even touch it (I had read some negative reviews on them and was a little weary) and when I asked if they had a WranglerForum or "the other forum" discount she gave me a big chunk of change off of the price (I think the discount wasn't linked to a forum membership, but was given because I asked). The price shipped was a little under $300 for me. Good luck on the build-up!

Jerry Bransford 10-06-2013 11:30 AM

A tcase drop isn't enough on a TJ to cure the vibes caused by such a tall lift. RE's 3.5" suspension lift is more like nearly 4.5" in reality. I suspect the u-joints were vibrating which is what caused the failure.

Vibrations in the drivetrain from exessive u-joint angles cannot just be lived with... those vibes will eventually start taking out u-joints, bearings, seals, etc.

For that much suspension lift, you really should install a SYE kit into your transfear case & install a CV driveshaft into the rear. Which will also require adjustable length upper rear control arms so the rear axle's pinion angle can be raised to match the requirements of the CV driveshaft.

Wondertwin1 10-06-2013 12:58 PM

Thank you Francisco! And jerry yeah I knew that when I put the lift on but I failed to act on it in time, now I'm in this predicament. Was wondering if you had any advice or thoughts on everything I'm thinking about in my original post. Especially when it comes to fixing the frame, and the boat of load of products that are gonna cost a pretty penny.

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 10:21 AM


Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 10:31 AM

As for your Tummy tuck you need to do a body lift.. You will not be able to tuck it in without the body lift. Also, a novak shifter cable when doing it.. As for the rear drive shaft. You have already heard it. I would go with the tereflex supershort SYE. and the Tom Woods rear drive shaft. I did it with my TJ and love it!! As far as ADJ Control arms.. After doing my research.. "Most" are like each other. Some are a little better, but your still going to get the same result. I finally went with Rubicon express and love mine..

As for the skid plate.. Uhh.. Good luck.. :-(.. I don't think there is going to be an easy fix.. Take it to a offroad shop and get their opinion..

Water Dog 10-07-2013 10:45 AM

Check out the specs for the JB Conversions super short SYE before you buy. JB Conversions, Inc. I got one and am very happy with it.

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 10:49 AM

Okay so I do NEED body lift for the tummy tuck. And I should do a motor mount lift at the same time to keep the transfer case somewhat level. Are there any body lift/MML combo's that people recommend? Yeah there's no off road shops in my area, just custom car shops and all they care about are big rims and loud speakers. NOT taking it there. There's a few machine shops around I think I might take it to.

Also Tom woods has a combo kit with an SYE included. Why not go with that?

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 11:11 AM

Yes You do need them. I got the Rough Country 1.25" BL and the Brown Dog MML on my 05 TJ.. Google 4wheel parts.. See if they are anywhere near you! As for the Tom Woods SYE.. Not sure. Folks told me to go with the SuperShort SYE. And Tereflex was better. It sucks everything as close as it can be to the Transfer Case..

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 11:25 AM

No four wheel parts near me. I have to get all my stuff offline and install myself. Plus I don't trust the auto shops around my area. To many horror stories when it comes to customization.

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 11:38 AM

Gotcha.. Hmm.. Take pics and see if one of us can help you!

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 11:39 AM

Pics of what? The frame? I don't think I can upload pics here because I'm not a a member.

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 11:48 AM

Email me the pics at truecowboymontana@hotmail and I'll upload them..

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 12:29 PM

Okay I will when I get back home. Should be Wednesday or thursday. Sorry I don't have any on the phone, wasn't prepared to provide pictures.

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 12:32 PM

It's all good. We will try to help you!

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 12:52 PM

I appreciate it. Should I do anything about trac-bars? And you're saying that most of the control arms are about the same. Metalcloak claims you can quite a bit more flex out of their control arms, but just like anything else Metalcloak, you pay for it.

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 12:56 PM

You can only flex as far as your suspension will allow. Rubicon express is set up for the amount of travel you need. As for the rear. Your going to have less flex than the front unless your going to be putting disco's in the rear. lol.. I personally for my TJ wouldn't get them. My RE's do the job and do them well..

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 02:03 PM

10-4. I've got more flex in the rear than in the front already I believe. And I wanna do this right the first time. And I'm trying to build it into a good all-arounder. Getting tired of mud, all it does is tear crap up. So I'm trying to get as much flex and axle strength as I can so I can climb a bit here and there. But it's primarily trails so I want the best ride quality as well. I'll do my research on those RE arms. Appreciate the advice.

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 02:08 PM

If that's the case.. do the go the long arm way.. You get everything you need. And it will be a lot smoother.. Just an Idea..

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 02:21 PM

Okay say I go that route. I can buy an entire long arm kit correct? And the arms will be adjustable? And it will bolt up fine to the 8.8 swap?

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 02:29 PM

Yes, the long arm kit will come with adj both front and rear adj control arms..
With the 8.8 you would still have to weld the mounting brackets on it. But yes.. It would be a fairly easy bolt job.. I'm running a D44 on my TJ.. I'll prob never go to the 8.8.. the 44 works and I've been in some nasty stuff!

Wondertwin1 10-07-2013 02:48 PM


Originally Posted by Relocatedduckman (Post 5165993)
Yes, the long arm kit will come with adj both front and rear adj control arms.. With the 8.8 you would still have to weld the mounting brackets on it. But yes.. It would be a fairly easy bolt job.. I'm running a D44 on my TJ.. I'll prob never go to the 8.8.. the 44 works and I've been in some nasty stuff!

I was planning on getting this all buttoned up and then trying to find a 44 for the front. But that's down the road after I get all this buttoned up. And I've read on here you can build an 8.8 up stronger than a 44 so that's where my choice comes from.

Relocatedduckman 10-07-2013 02:51 PM

Yeah.. You can.. good luck.. let us know if you need anything else..

Wondertwin1 10-13-2013 09:47 AM

A couple other things. Will a fully built 8.8 rear and 44 in the front handle 37's??? What about lockers?? And the tummy tuck. Rubicon express' long arm kit has a belly skid but I don't know how low it is or anything.

Jerry Bransford 10-13-2013 11:37 AM

If you're talking about a Rubicon Dana 44 up front, no it's not up to 37" tires. A Rubicon's front Dana 44 uses too many Dana 30 components to be up to that big of a tire... like the axle tube, knuckles, inner/outer C's, etc.

Wondertwin1 10-13-2013 11:48 AM

Ahh thank you. How about a wagoneer 44?? I found one on craigslist.

Wondertwin1 10-14-2013 11:38 AM

The junkyard wants $200 for an 8.8. I'm looking into the RE long arm upgrade. Should I just build my 30 up front?? Will it handle 35's locked? Any advice on lockers?

Relocatedduckman 10-14-2013 11:50 AM

I have the D30 up front and I'm just going to beef it up so I can put 35's on it.. So yes.. It will handle them.. And locked!! YES.. You don't live anywhere with snow.. So an automatic will work for you.. It will change the way your jeep handles in corners.. If your going to do it "Right". I'd do selectable both front and rear.. That way it's on or off.. I'm going OX both front and rear..

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