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· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off, building this rig has been a huge learning experience, and I'm amazed at how much I'm capable of doing now compared to when I brought it home. I do alot my wrenching with my friends because it helps get it all done faster, and we all contribute to each other's learning curves. Plus, what's better than wrenching with your buds while throwin' back a few cold ones and shooting the breeze?!

2000 Jeep Cherokee (XJ)
Color: (Mostly) Burgundy

This is going to follow the ongoing process of building my Jeep. I'll start with a recap of what I've done over the past couple years and then I'll get into the nitty-gritty of what's coming in the near future, and what my future plans may hold. There isn't a whole lot of XJ Tech on here, but there has been a recent flood of XJ's into the club so I hope this can be helpful to some.

I got this Jeep in June '05 with only 25,000 miles on the odo, and now I know this may sound cliche, but I had no intention of wheeling it because it was so "pretty". It wasn't long before I got bit.

This is what it looked like shortly after I brought it home:

First thing I did was to find and OEM Mopar Roof-Top Tire Carrier, and put the spare on the roof. I also found a great deal on some ZJ rims, and put those on, and added vent visors. Finally, I got a set of BFG AT's in 235/70R16 (which measure to just about 30x9.50).

In the summer of '07 I heard about the NJJC, and thought that wheeling looked like alot of fun. I had to prep for my first trailride with the NJJC, so I added the typical CB Radio (Cobra 19), speaker (Radio Shack), and antenna (Firestik II). I also added front tow hooks (C4x4), and a rear hitch (Reese) - in addition to all the other pre-reqs.

During the July trailride, I got over that initial fear of breaking or scratching the XJ while out on the trails when I shattered both ofmy front fog lamps and crushed my driverside rocker. As many of you know now, my fear is all gone now.

Between July and August I added my first major mod, the Rubicon Express 2" Budget Boost with full-length AAL, new shocks, extended rear brake lines, and JKS Quicker Disconnects. I also ditched the rear swaybar.

The lift was great, I noticed a difference on the greens and low blues, but then realized that armor would be essential to keeping the rig in mostly one piece. I wheeled without skids until January, when at the end of December '07 I added a Tcase Skid (Skid Row), Rock Sliders (AJ's Heavy Duty Sliders), Front Diff Skid (Warn), Dana 35 Glider (Rock-It), and a front bumper (JCR Offroad). At this point I also added the Currie steering setup, and a Teraflex Heavy Duty Adjustable Trackbar. A month later I added a Rusty's Engine/Tranny Skid.



Rusty's Engine/Tranny Skid:

Skid Row Tcase Skid:

Finally, pre-Big Dogs June, I added a 750 Watt Power Inverter.

At this point, the rig has been "done" (I use the term loosely), and I've just been wheeling the heck out of it since it's been all armored up. At this point my rig and I are ready for that next step.

By BLB '08 my plans are to swap in an XJ Dana 44, install a Rubicon Express 4.5" Superflex Lift Kid, Slip Yoke Eliminator, Driveshaft, 33" tires, gas tank skid, and maybe a rear lunchbox locker.

More to come...

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This installation can be applied to any ?97-?01 Cherokee (XJ). However, the overall gist of the installation can be applied to almost any car.

Necessary Tools:
- Wire Crimper
- Wire Strippers
- Butt Splices
- 16 Gauge Wire
- 2 In-line fuses (10 amp)
- Stud Ring Connectors
- Drill
- Electrical Tape
- Screwdriver

Step 1:
Decide where you would like to mount the CB. I kept in mind how often I?d be using it, where I?d be able to hear it best, and where it would not interfere with other passengers or myself. I chose to mount it on the center console, on the passenger side. I know many may say that this would interfere with the movement of the passenger seat, or the passengers themselves, but I haven?t had any problems thus far, and my passengers have said that it really doesn?t interfere with their legs.

I installed the mount with the screws provided with the CB, and since this CB is so small and light the console has been strong enough to hold it (even after various wheeling trips).

Step 2:
I bought 24? of 16 gauge wire, but did not use anywhere near that much for the installation of a single wire (I used the extra wire for other projects). The way I measured out how much wire I would need was by taking a small rope and running it from the battery through the firewall (more detail on this later) to the back of the CB, and then cut the wire a little longer than what I would actually need. The wires for the Positive and Negative wires will be the same length since they will both be running to the battery. I will leave all of the splicing and stud ring connectors until the end. I found it easiest to have all of the wires run, and then add the splices at the end.

Now many people have many different ways to run their wires. Some drill holes in their firewall, others find holes or grommets already in use for factory accessories. I took the latter route. I ran all my wires (including Antenna coax through a grommet for one of the main wire bundles that is installed from the factory. All I did was take a utility knife and put a small hole in the rubber just big enough to run the wires through.

Here is a picture of the grommet I am referring to. It is just to the left of the brake pedal, about parallel to the steering components. You can see my Red (Power) and White (Ground) wires running through the grommet. The black wire is the Coax for the antenna (more on that later).

This is the same grommet, but on the engine bay side:

I then ran the wires behind the brake and gas pedals, making sure that they did not interfere with their movement. Then I ran the wires behind the center console. One way to do this would be to remove the part of the console that runs vertically (where the Radio/AC Controls/AC Vents are) and just tuck the wires back there, or you can take something stiffer such as a wire hanger, cut it, straighten it, and GENTLY push it behind the console until it comes out the passenger side. Then you can tape (Electrical Tape) the two wires to the hanger and pull them through. Both ways are really easy.

Once the wires are run to the CB you will want to strip the ends of the wires running to the battery and the ends of the wires coming out from the CB radio. Using a butt splice connect these wires (Red to Red for power, and then the ground wires). Make sure that you do not have any wires connected to the battery yet, that will be the last step. Now your CB is ready to be connected to the battery.

Step 3:
At the battery end of the wires you will want to use a Stud Ring Connector on each wire. This is done by stripping the end of the wires, and putting on the Connector with crimpers. Then you will want to take the nut off of the bolt that holds down the battery cables to the terminals, and slip the connector over that bolt and replace the nut. You will want to do the power wire first, then the ground. Power goes to the Positive terminal, and the ground will go to the Negative terminal.

Here is how everything will look under the hood. As you can, I ran the wires (Red and White) around the back of the engine bay, away from any moving parts. The wires were small enough that I was able to run them through the zip ties that hold the factory wire bundles together. The second picture is of the wires connected to the battery terminals. I used electrical tape to make sure the wires stayed together and away from other things, creating a ?mini-bundle.?

Step 4:
Now it?s time to connect antenna. I decided to use a hood mount, and have the antenna mounted on the driverside, about parallel to the OEM antenna for the radio. This turned out to be really easy, and all I had to do was drill 4 holes, and screw in the mount. Others opt to mount their antennas to the rear of their Jeeps. Either is fine, it?s mostly personal preference.

I ran the Coax for the antenna through the same grommet, following the same path on the interior of the XJ for the power/ground wires. The PL-259 connects are pretty big, but making a little bigger hole in the grommet will allow you to push it through. You will have plenty of Coax left over if you use lengths of 9? or 18?, so you will want to make sure that you wrap it in a manner that it does not make any sharp bends.

I used a small white clip to secure the wire against the quarter panel to make sure that it would not get crushed or damaged by the hood. If done properly, the hood will not even touch the coax preventing any damage.

Once the coax is run, connect it to your antenna and to the back of the CB

Step 5:
Connect the Mic to the front outlet of the CB. In terms of where to mount the mic, I found that putting it on the panel just left of the Vertical center console, behind the windshield wiper stalk was a great place because it keeps the wire behind the shifter and is generally out of the way. The mount for the mic should come with the CB. All that needs to be done is to drill two small holes, and then screw the screws for the mount through the holes.

This is how I mounted my CB in my XJ, however the way I ran lines to/from the battery, and how I mounted the antenna can be used for almost any type of Jeep. Personal preference can allow the CB to be mounted anywhere you want. I highly recommend disconnecting the negative battery cable for the duration of the installation just as an added precaution. Some also prefer to use inline fuses near the battery on the wires leading to the CB as a measure of protection. I did not, but this is easily done by picking some up at Radio Shack and splicing them into the power/ground wires.

Another thing I?d like to add is that putting the CB that far away from the driver?s ear will make it difficult to hear people, even with the volume turned up. I really wanted to mount mine on the roof between the driver and passenger seats, however the overhead console prevented me from doing this. In my case, I added an external speaker which I mounted to the OHC so I could hear the CB.

Finally, this write-up only describes how to install a CB radio and Antenna. After everything is installed, you will need to tune your CB radio, and an SWR meter is necessary for this. There are also many places (such as that have good descriptions on how to tune your antenna.

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
About two weeks ago I came across an XJ Dana 44 out of a 1987 XJ. When I was done reading the for sale ad I called the seller and bought it. These things are rare, especially since they're direct bolt-ins for XJ's. A few days later I drove out to PA and picked it up. My immediate plans are to get this ready to be bolted in so I can rid of the Dana 35. When I picked it up, it had a bent backing plate, other than that it looked like it was in good shape - for the exception of a much needed brake job.

Here it is the night I brought it home:

Here is the bent backing plate:

And here is how the previous owner took it off the donor - chopped the driveshaft right off:

This Friday I decided to take the cover off, drain the fluid, tear down what was left of the drum brakes, pull the shafts, and check everything over.

When I pulled the cover off and drained the fluid, chunks of metal came out. Now from what I understand, some metal shavings are normal, however, actual chunks of metal are not. In addition, the gear oil was old, and it had probably had not been changed in years.

Cover off:

Metal chunks that came out with the gear oil:

After draining the gear oil and putting the metal chunks aside, I pulled the axle shafts to take a look at the splines. I wanted to make sure that they weren't twisted, and that they were in good shape. I wanted to make sure that everything was in good shape because I don't want this axle to fail over something stupid that I could've caught.

Pulling the shafts is easy. All it takes is unbolting the four bolts on each side that hold on the backing plates, then you slide the axle shaft out. The axle was pretty old, so the axle shafts were pretty hard to get out. With the help of a hammer, I gently convinced the axle shafts to come out. We checked out the splines, and they looked like they were in good shape.

Axle with the shafts removed:

After further inspection of the carrier and all gears, I noticed that the gear oil was actually caked onto the gears, and that some gear teeth looked pretty worn.

Later on in the day my friend came over, and like a true doctor, he brought all of his tools.

He measured the backlash of the gears, and said that it was ok, but that there was room for improvement (no pun intended).

We then removed the carrier so as to get a better look at everything:

Carrier removal:

After closer examination, my friend said that the metal chunks that came out with the gear oil was part of the trac-lok. This presented a problem because now this wouldn't be the safest thing to be driving around with, especially out on the trails. I'm still undecided as to what I will be doing in terms of the axle, but as of now it looks like I may be doing a temporary gear swap to get this thing on the trails.

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With the carrier out, we took a closer look at the inside of the housing. It was filthy and very grimy. Some cleaning up is definately in order, and will be happening this week.

The axle tubes were also full of gunk, which will also be cleaned thoroughly.

There will be more to come...

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Today I spent more time cleaning the axle. It was absolutely filthy. There was some RTV still stuck on the surface of the housing where the cover goes that I couldn't take off with a gasket scraper, and there was the factor silicon that was falling apart at the begining of the axle tubes that I need to get rid of so it wouldn't fall off and into my gear oil and gears down the road.

First thing I did was to remove the carrier brackets that I had put back on so I wouldn't lose them when we removed the carrier over the weekend. Remove the four bolts (in my case I had put them on only finger tight), and then put them in a safe place, as they are necessary for reconstruction later.

Housing will look like this without the brackets:

This was the silicon I was referring to before. A putty knife did the trick, I was careful not to dig into the metal. It was really loose as it was, so it didn't take much effort to get this out.

After removing the silicon from both sides, I stuffed some newspaper in the housing (to prevent particles of junk getting in the tubes), and in the axle tube holes because I was going to use the angle grinder with the wire wheel to clear off the rest of the RTV and small rust spots that were on the perimeter of the housing. It was also very dirty and grimy, so I figured this would be a quick way to make the surface clean again.


Here the left half of the picture shows the dirty side, and the right half shows where I used the wire wheel... pretty significant difference:

All clean:

Now I had to clean the grime off the pinion. I used a shop rag for this. Sorry no "after" pictures, but all the orange and black is gone now.

I then sprayed down the entire housing with Brake Clean and let it dry out. It looks great (again, no "after" pics)

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the driverside backing plate is bent, so I took it off to replace it. The only thing holding it on is the 4 nuts that hold the axle shaft in place. Once you pull the axle shaft you have complete access to remove the backing plate.

Before you remove the backing plate, you have to remove the brake line from the backing plate. All you need is a 3/8" wrench. It's not on all that tight, and then once it's loose you just pull it back and out of the backing plate. After I took it off, I just bent the line up and out of the way.

You'll see the four bolts here, the axle shafts were removed earlier so they're already out of the way:

The backing plate was pretty fused with the axle tube, so I took my ball peen hammer and tapped it off, evenly (top, bottom, side, side) until the backing plate came loose. Then I just pulled it off with my hands.

The surface where the backing plate rests was a little rusty and so I took the angle grinder and cleaned it up. It now looks like the perimeter of the housing (sorry, no after pics)

I repeated the process on the passenger side because I'm anal and symmetrical. The passenger side backing plate is fine, but I wanted to clean up the axle tube.

Reinstalling the backing plate is just the reverse process.

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Finally, the last thing I did today was to remove what was left of the old driveshaft which was torched off, and remove the old U-joint. At first I was going to hold on to the old U-joint, but after looking it through after I removed it I noticed that it was most likely the original U-joint, or very old and not greased at best because under the caps it was very corroded and the pins were all dry. Not worth keeping.

This was pretty easy as well. Only tool necessary was a 5/16" wrench. You undo the four bolts holding the U-joint clips in place and then remove the U-joint.

U-joint removed:

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK, so I finally have some time, so I'll post up a summary of what went down the day I did all of this work on the rig. I had a few of my friends help me out.

Up she goes......

Once it was in the air we started to divide up the To-Do list.

Passenger side front U-joint replacement. I had done the driverside a few weeks earlier and just didn't have time to get to the passenger side. The Axle Shaft was removed because this makes changing out U-joints much easier.

A few of us started to tear out the Dana 35 because that would no longer be needed. We first started by taking the drums and all associated brake parts off because we needed to save the E-brake lines on each side for use on the Dana 44. Once we had those out and saved, the brake lines were all disconnected from the backing plates as well as from the driverside axle tube. They were tucked up, waiting for them to be used on the Dana 44.

Once the Dana 35 was all disconnected, we put the jack under the axle and unbolted it from the leaf springs, unbolted and pulled the rear driveshaft (wouldn't need it anymore because of the SYE and new driveshaft). The axle was now completely balanced on the jack (with one person on each side for some additional stability), and it was OUT OF THERE!

Nice Empty Space - Hungry for the D44:

While all that work was occuring on the rear of the rig, a friend of mine started to tear down the front end. We wanted to pull that axle as well because so my other friend could weld skids and box the control arm brackets, so this was easier with the axle off the XJ in order to attain the most accurate measurements, as well as provided alot of space to weld. All the control arms were removed (not needed anyway as the lift kit came with new adjustable uppers and lowers), as well as the brakes. The trackbar and steering linkages were also removed.

Part of the disassmbled Dana 30.

While most of us were working on the tear down, two of my friends who knew how to set gears and such took on the task of installing the Powertrax, and reassembling the Dana 44.

Backlash looks pretty good

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The leaf springs were easy to remove and then reinstall because I had just had them off a year ago, so the bolts weren't seized (like they were last year). This was probably the easiest part of the entire day.

Immediately following the installation of the new leaf packs, the Dana 44 went in \:D/ =D>
D44 on it's way to its new home:

Here it is being bolted to the leaf packs.

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another thing on the agenda for the day was a new exhaust. Needless to say, I had mangled mine, again. This time I did an extra special job and made a W out of it. It was also rubbing against the driveshaft, hence the reason why part of the DS is nice and shiny.

This is how bad it looked after we started to tear it apart. We decided that the easiest way to get that thing out of there was with a Sawzall. We cut it off right by the crossmember.

Another problem we ran into was that since I had done such a great job with my trail-bent custom exhaust, my cat wouldn't fit after straightening the pipes out again. My downpipes are actually bent, and required a relief cut at the 90* bend by the oil pan in order to straighten it out enough to fit a new muffler on there. I went with a Cherry Bomb because I figured I had mangled a stock exhaust, and then a $150 replacement exhaust, so $20 muffler and some spare pipe my friend had lying around was a much more cost effective fix.

Making the cut:

After bending the pipes back, we matched together an exhaust and welded it all in. There are no leaks, and it sounds great. The Exhaust from the downpipes back actually fits perfectly now for having been so torn apat. Unfortunately, no pics of the new setup.

While the front axle was out of the XJ, we welded some sheetmetal to the passengerside UCA bracket to reinforce it, as well as made some skids for the LCA's.

My friend welding the skids for the LCA's

Final products:
UCA Bracket reinforced:

LCA Skids:

After the skids were done, and the brackets were welded into place, the D30 was ready to go back in. At this point the new uppers and lowers were mounted at the body, and the springs were in place, so in went the D30.


· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another task at hand that day was the Slip Yoke Eliminator. I have the NP242 (Selec-Trac) Transfercase, so my options were pretty limited in what I could do for a SYE and driveshaft. I chose the more cost effective way, which was the Rubicon Express Hack 'n Tap SYE with an XJ Front driveshaft in the rear. The pros to the setup are saving money and being able to carry one spare driveshaft for the entire rig versus two. Cons are that some say that this setup is not as stout as a true SYE, however I haven't read of one failing thus far, so I chose it.

The hack and tap consists of cutting about 1.25" off of the Tcase output shaft (the Hack part) and then drilling and tapping a hole to hold the adapter in place (the Tap part). I was pretty nervous about this hole procedure, because this is a pretty essential part of the rig. You also only get one chance at this, so measure plenty of times before cutting and tapping.
At this point the shaft had already been cut with a cutoff wheel, and smoothed off with a 4.5" angle grinder.

We put the adapter back on the output shaft to use as a starting guide, so here Marc is drilling the first pilot hole.

We took our time on drilling the hole, so we also took turns. We didn't do one pilot hole then jump to the big bit for the size we needed. Instead, we went up in increments. This was my turn:

Finally the hole was drilled, then we tapped it, then we put the adapter and driveshaft back.

In order for a front XJ driveshaft to function as a rear driveshaft, I needed a flange. This is a Spicer part, which allows the driveshaft to connect to the SYE that is bolted to the tcase output shaft. It is held on the driveshaft with a u-joint, and the other end of the flange has four holes in it so that it can be bolted to the adapter on the output shaft.
Full driveshaft with Spicer flange installed:

Close-up of Flange:

After all the installs were completed, and everything was reassembled, we bled my brake lines. After the brake lines were done, we did a quick alignment because the toe is different after a lift. This would reduce any front end wobbles during the drive home, a professional alignment is recommended, however, just to get everything spot on. We used the tape-measure method.

This pretty much sums up what went down the day we did all the work.

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well not much has been happening with the rig as of late. My friend and I spent about 7 or 8 hours one day pulling dents and bringing it back to life. The majority of the dents have been removed, and it looks alot better (relatively speaking!).

Another thing I took on recently was trimming the fenders a bit. I was looking to keep it very neat, and for it to look like it still had some sort of lip.

Here's what I started with:

Basically, my goal was to get rid of the parts where the holes for the fender flares were, and to fold the fenders over at that crease in order to keep a "flared" look to it.

Take an angle grinder with a cutting wheel on it, and make numerous vertical relief cuts, especially where there may be any curves in the fender.

Relief cuts:

Then with a rubber mallet just hit the pieces that are cut in an almost perpendicular fashion, and they'll start to fold right over towards the inside of the wheel well.

This is what it looks like inside of the well:

I also took this opportunity to drill out the rivets holding the brackets for the bumper endcaps out in order to clean it up a little bit.

Finally, my other friend gave us a lesson in painting because God knows that me an rattle cans don't mix well... we covered all the corners of the XJ with some painters tape and newspaper, sanded, primered, painted, and clearcoated all of the "flares" for a nice clean look.

All in all, the trimming gave me about an extra 1.5" inches of clearance at each corner. My rears don't rub all that much, if at all (even pre-trimming). My front fenders were a completely different story however. They rubbed alot. Now they rub a little less, but I can't really trim all that much more as this is a street driven Jeep, and I can't push my luck that much.

The next installment: Disc Brake Conversion on an XJ Dana 44

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Back in October, during myclub ride, my passenger side drum decided to explode. Here is what I found when I popped the drum off when I went to check out what happened:

The backing plate was bent backwards towards the leaf springs between the 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. The wheel cylinder was bent and busted, the shoes were bent and cracked, the starwheel was in pieces, and all of the springs had popped out from their proper locations.

When I had originally bought the Dana 44 back in June '08, one of the two backing plates was also bent. No, the backing plate was not on the same side of the axle, nor was it on the same position as where mine bent - it looked bent more due to someone dragging it through a junkyard than an actual brake failure. It took me about two months of calling what seemed like an infinite amount of junkyards, posting on many forums Wanted Sections, contacting other people who had XJ 44's in their rigs to see if they had an extra one, etc etc etc.

I decided that instead of putting my rig out of commission for who knows how long, a disc brake conversion would be the best option. Swapping discs from a TJ or ZJ Dana 44 wouldn't be a direct swap. I was almost going to do a GM 3/4 Ton conversion, but this revealed that an emergency brake would not be an option, and for a street-driven vehicle I felt that the E-brake would be a good thing to have. Swapping from an 8.8 would be the closest thing to a near bolt-on swap. I did my research and realized that in order to make the 8.8 swap successful, I'd need some spacers.

I made a call to Eric at EMS Offroad (HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM), and Eric set me up with a complete package for the swap. I took some measurements for him that he requested, and he made the spacers that were necessary. He also sent me all brand new parts for the swap.

Essentially, the kit consisted of brakelines, calipers, backing plates, rotors, two spacers, new studs, bearings & seals (for the axle shafts), and all associated hardware.

Just a disclaimer, this swap is XJ Dana 44 specific. If it works for another axle great, but I am not aware of it. PLEASE make sure that your rig is in a safe position to be working on, around, and below it - Use jackstands, chock the front tires, etc.

First thing you'll want to do is disassemble your current drum setup. If you have a set of Brake Spring Pliers you'll make your life much easier, and have the assembly disassembled in about 5 minutes.

Once you've removed the springs and shoes, you'll want to remove the E-brake cable from the drum backing plate. For this you'll want to use a small flat head screwdriver and push the retainer in towards the hole, and then slide the cable out. Then remove the brakeline from the back of the backing plate:

Next, you'll want to remove the four bolts holding the retaining plate to the face of the backing plate, subsequently removing the axle shaft. Follow this up by trying to remove the backing plate by pulling it off, if that does not work, use a hammer and gently tap it near the studs until the backing plate comes off.

Finally, I used a hammer to remove the four studs that are used to hold the backing plate and retaining plate in place - these will be replaced with new, longer studs. Hammer them out towards the center of the axle - shouldn't take much effort.

4 Studs that need removal:

The next step involves removing the old bearings and seals from the axles. This may sound like an inconvenience, but a.) it's necessary in order to install the necessary spacer, b.) my bearings needed replacing anyway.

This is what the stock setup looks like pre-spacer:

Use whatever method you'd like for the removal. I opted for the drill and chisel method. First I drilled a hole in the bearing retainer, then used a hammer and chiselto knock it off. The retainer, bearing, and seal have to be removed in order to install one of the spacers necessary for the swap. This spacer is used to maintain the correct preload on the bearing.

Next, I reassembled the axle in the following order: Retaining Plate, Spacer, Seal, Bearing, Bearing Retainer. The Retaining Plate will slide right down the axle, as will the seal. The bearing will need to be reinstalled with a press or with a long piece of tubing that will slide over the shaft but is not wider than the bearing - then use the tube like a slide hammer and get the bearing on there.

· Retired Moderator
7,375 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here I am pointing at the spacer that was added (prior to installing the bearing and bearing retainer:

Setting the bearing:

Once the axle shafts were completed, they were set aside until the backing plate was assembled on the axle.

The first thing that needs to be done to the bare axle is to install the new studs. These will pop right in to the original holes.

Once the new studs are in, another spacer must be added to the end of the axle tube. This spacer makes up for the difference between the drum backing plate and the caliper bracket on the backing plate of the disc setup. This is essentially a thicker version of the Retaining Plate. It is necessary for proper fitment of the backing plate. Unfortunately, I have no picture of this. Order of installation: Studs, Spacer, Backing Plate.

Backing plate and caliper bracket installed:

This is a Drum-in-Hat setup, which means that the typical braking is done by the disc, but the E-Brake is a mini drum that sits inside of the Rotor. Thankfully, this came pre-assembled on the backing plate because it's a complete PITA to set it up - did it once on my buddy's LJ and hope to never have to do it again.

Next comes the fun part, reinstalling the axle shaft. You will need an extra set of hands for this because one hand needs to hold the 4 studs in place so that they don't slide out, another hand needs to keep the shaft in place, and another hand needs to get the spacer (the round spacer that I pointed out before, that is installed just after the retaining plate) into the center of the backing plate. Since this spacer is loose on the axle shaft, we used two flathead screwdrivers to push it into place. Once it's in place, take a nut and screw it onto the stud. We installed the nuts on opposite sides of the retaining plate so that the there would be even pressure on the spacer in order for it to not slide out the bottom or the top. I don't have many pictures of this as there weren't any free hands with which to grab a camera. One idea that I had AFTER they were both installed was that maybe the use of a light adhesive to hold the spacer to the seal would help keep it in place while sliding the axle into place.

Here the nut is being placed onto the retaining plate (you can see that the upper right hand nut has already been installed - just below the yellow spring):

This is a good shot of just how much space you're really working with in order to make this happen:

Once the shaft is in, and torqued properly, the rotor goes on:

Next, the caliper is installed. The trick to installing the caliper is to slide the top caliper bolt in prior to installing the caliper because the leaf spring gets in the way and won't let you slide that top bolt in once the caliper is in place.:

Next, install the new brakeline to the caliper:

At this point the brakes are fully assembled on the axle.

I also had to replace the brake line going from the passenger side brake to the T on the driverside of the axle, since I had hammered it closed on the trails in order to get back to the staging area.

You can see the end of the hammered line in the left of this picture:

Removing the old line is easy. Disconnect it from the T, then remove the three 10 mm bolts that hold the brake line bracket to the axle, and remove the old line. Slide the new line into the bracket, and retighten the 10mm to the axle.

I got a 40" long, 3/16" American brake line. 40" is a bit long, so if they have something about 5" shorter go with that (I will be replacing this with a shorter line this week).

New line:

Excess brakeline was made into a circle. This will be replaced with a shorter line to keep it clean, and to prevent it from getting hung up on anything. The brakeline on the driver side was also a bit long since the conversion came with its own soft brakeline for the caliper. This line will also be swapped to a shorter line (3" if I can find it).

Entire axle to provide a visual:

Once the lines are all hooked up, bleed the brake system.

With this setup, you may have to change your proportioning valve to an adjustable proportioning valve in order to have the correct amount of bias between the front and rear of the vehicle. At the moment I am "test driving it" with the stock valve to see how it feels. I am experiencing more nose dive than normal, so the proportioning valve is on order. This is no longer my DD, so it won't be street-driven until that swap is completed just to play it safe.

I will make a list of all part numbers once I get them together. I will also supplement this write up with "How to Connect the Ebrake" once I get a set of new cables, as the stock drum ones will not work properly with a disc setup.
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