|Castor. If I knew then what I know now, the Scout front
axle would NOT have been the axle of choice. The primary
reason for not choosing a Scout axle is Castor. The Scout
axle, except for the last year of Scout production, had zero degree
of castor. The last year, 1980, had 2 degrees. You need
castor for proper self-centering of the front wheels while coming
out of a turn and tracking straight down the highway. The
stock Jeep CJ-7 has 5 to 6 degrees of castor. And even with
5-6 degrees of castor, old Jeep CJ's rarely track straight down the
road! So less castor certainly won't help. Now if this
CJ was going to be a trailer queen and never see the road, then this
wouldn't matter. But I wanted to drive it on the road as well
as the trail.
After a few years of playing (unsuccessfully) with band-aid fixes
correctors and 4 degree axle shims between the spring pads and
the leaf springs (pointing the pinion down towards the rocks), I
decide to start looking for the axle I probably would have used to
begin with (Had I knew then what I know now).
if not a Scout axle, then what axle would be a decent front axle in
a Jeep CJ-7? As I've learned the Wagoneer narrow track axle,
in years up to 1986, had the differential on the passenger side.
Its width is slightly wider than the Scout Dana 44 front axle and
about 2 inches per side wider than the CJ-7's wide track axles.
Spring pads, slightly wider apart then the width of the Scout's
spring pads. But most importantly, the Wagoneer has 5 to 6
degrees of castor built into the axle. Other differences
include a 3 inch tube in the Wagoneer, 1/4 inch wider then the
Scouts 2¾" tube. The tube wall thickness
is about an 1/8 inch thicker in the Wagoneer, meaning STRONGER then
the Scout's 44.
So the search began. Finally, at the 2005 All Breed Jeep
Show in York PA, I found what I was looking for. Or so I
thought. Did I mention that things don't always go as planned?
You see that tag to the right? Well, that says narrow track
right? That's what I thought it said. Here's a tip.
Bring a tape measure to a swap meet. That was a wide track.
I'll withhold the Jeep parts guy's name here. I though He hew
what he was doing but... well. whatever.
So I bought a wide track. I figured I wasted $100.
But then I thought about it and came up with an idea that nobody out
there would ever do unless they were thinking of swapping a Scout
Dana 44 for a Wagoneer Dana 44, much like did. The point of
documenting all this is two fold. First, there's probably some
useful information in here for someone who would like to do some
axle work. secondly, like the rest of the site, it's
entertaining at the very least.
So here's what I did...
Thinking about it, I realized, I can cut down the axle tube on
the Wagoneer Wide track axle and use Scout's 30 spline axles shafts.
Move the spring pad slightly inboard on the driver side and it will
be just about the same dimensions as my Scout Dana 44 Front axle.
It would then mount up to my
made, relocated front leaf spring hangers.
Then I can remount my outer knuckles to the Wagoneer Dana 44 and
I'll have what I want. A little labor but nothing more to hunt
for. A Front axle with good castor.
So the following section describes the process I when through to
cut the axle down and make this hybrid Wagoneer, Scout, CJ-7 Dana 44
- Cutting the Tube down and Pressing (banging) on the Inner
- Welding the Axle, Getting a Pro to do it (Cool welding pics)
- Replacing Axle U-Joints with Useful Tips
- Reassembling the Axle
- Camber Axle Shims
- Warn Hub Installation, Inspection Cleaning
- Final Assessment
This page is under construction but you can
enjoy the pictures below. Check back while I work on the recap
of this project. The bottom line, if you're interested, is
this solved my castor problem. The axle has been solid and the Jeep
drives well on the road (for a CJ anyway).