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Best cnadidate donor for 4X4 swap


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Hey there, a few things have changed sice my last post a week or two back. I have sold my 4X4 long box 89 as it needed a too much work, decided to focus on my short box.

 

My 89 auto RWD, short box with the 2.5 Renix was running terribly, turns out it was the air temp sensor and a few other small things. Truck runs like a million bucks now and I'm thrilled.

 

Now that I have gotten it running properly my next project is going to be converting it to 4X4 manual. As this is going to be a daily driver/logging road camper I have decided to stick with the 2.5L I have in it now. So now I am looking into a cherokee swap. I plan on finding a manual 2.5L 4X4 and having the swap done. Am I correct in thinking that the only fabrication nedded to do this conversion is re welding the spring perch's on the axle? Would this have to be done on both axles or can I keep the real axle that is on it now?

 

Seeing as my truck is a stock 89, what is the best year/years to look for in a donor?

 

Also it seems I would need a different size drive shaft, can anyone suggest the easiest way to go about this, a link to write up doing this perhaps?

 

Thanks, Ryan.

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Good to know about the front axle being directly swapable. Not planning on doing a spring over axle as I'm not looking to get any extra lift.

 

Can anyone shed any light on the drive shaft length not being correct? What are the compatable years of XJ I should be looking for?

 

Also if anyone knows of a link that has this conversion in detail would be awesome. I have searched but havn't been able to answer all my questions.

 

Thanks, Ryan.

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a mj drive shaft is allmost a foot longer i belive then a xj.......cause the wheel base is alot longer.....

 

find any xj from 93 and up 4x4 5spd to do a 4x4 swap with as u will have better chance of it havin a ax15 5speed tranny a 231 transfer case or a 242 but IMO go with a 231 t-case..

 

lets talk axels... ur MJ porbally came stock with 4:11's right? ok no 5speed xjs came with 4:11 usally had 3:07's so u will need to buy a ring and pinion set for a hp dana30 to match ur rear gear ratio.......... or u could just swap the rear-end from the xj to the MJ.... its probally got a chry 8.25 in the xj that is about 3 times stronger then the dana 35 that came with mj's.....

but the xj's r SOA from the plant so u would needlike a 2" spacer to level out the front if u did that..... but would be cheaper then buyin a ring and pinion ..... and u get the secutiry have havin somthin with some strength in the back.... i don't trust a d35 as far as i could throw it they r junk IMO

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a mj drive shaft is allmost a foot longer i belive then a xj.......cause the wheel base is alot longer.....

 

find any xj from 93 and up 4x4 5spd to do a 4x4 swap with as u will have better chance of it havin a ax15 5speed tranny a 231 transfer case or a 242 but IMO go with a 231 t-case..

 

lets talk axels... ur MJ porbally came stock with 4:11's right? ok no 5speed xjs came with 4:11 usally had 3.07's so u will need to buy a ring and pinion set for a hp dana30 to match ur rear gear ratio.......... or u could just swap the rear-end from the xj to the MJ.... its probally got a chry 8.25 in the xj that is about 3 times stronger then the dana 35 that came with mj's.....

but the xj's r SOA from the plant so u would needlike a 2" spacer to level out the front if u did that..... but would be cheaper then buyin a ring and pinion ..... and u get the secutiry have havin somthin with some strength in the back.... i don't trust a d35 as far as i could throw it they r junk IMO

 

Not even sure where to start with this :dunno:

Almost the entire post is wrong.

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a mj drive shaft is allmost a foot longer i belive then a xj.......cause the wheel base is alot longer.....

 

find any xj from 93 and up 4x4 5spd to do a 4x4 swap with as u will have better chance of it havin a ax15 5speed tranny a 231 transfer case or a 242 but IMO go with a 231 t-case..

 

lets talk axels... ur MJ porbally came stock with 4:11's right? ok no 5speed xjs came with 4:11 usally had 3.07's so u will need to buy a ring and pinion set for a hp dana30 to match ur rear gear ratio.......... or u could just swap the rear-end from the xj to the MJ.... its probally got a chry 8.25 in the xj that is about 3 times stronger then the dana 35 that came with mj's.....

but the xj's r SOA from the plant so u would needlike a 2" spacer to level out the front if u did that..... but would be cheaper then buyin a ring and pinion ..... and u get the secutiry have havin somthin with some strength in the back.... i don't trust a d35 as far as i could throw it they r junk IMO

 

You are talking about 6 cylinder trans and gearing. He wants to keep his 4 cylinder and will be looking for a 4 cyl Cherokee.

 

I'm not sure what gearing 4cyl autos came with in 89, but if its not compatible with the gearing from the cherokee, you want to consider doing the cherokee rear axle anyways. A 4 cyl 5speed Cherokee should have 4:10's, your auto 4 cyl might have that too, but will need to be confirmed before doing the swap to see if youll need the rear axle or not. If you really want to upgrade, find as new a model Cherokee as possible, and swap out the port fuel injection and computer and harness for a little extra 2.5 power. Good luck.

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And as far as the 8.25 axle the early one is barely an upgrade over a D35.

 

Yes they are SOA but that makes no difference since the perches are wrong and would need moved anyway. Even if the XJ perches would work it would take a lot more then 2" spacers to even it out,you would be looking at about 5-6" to make it sit right.

 

The rest doesn't pertain at all to a 2.5l MJ

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First off, holy red squiggly lines Batman.

 

a mj drive shaft is allmost a foot longer i belive then a xj.......cause the wheel base is alot longer.....

A swb MJ wheelbase is approximately one foot longer than an XJ's. There are no "compatible" XJ rear driveshafts for an MJ. Fronts, yes. XJs and MJs used the same front driveshafts in regards to engine/trans combination.

 

find any xj from 93 and up 4x4 5spd to do a 4x4 swap with as u will have better chance of it havin a ax15 5speed tranny a 231 transfer case or a 242 but IMO go with a 231 t-case..

93 and up is what you look for when searching for an external slave cylinder with the AX-15. AX-15 started mid-year in 1989. In 92 it got a larger input shaft tip for the pilot bearing, but AFAIK, there's no other differences. Also, the NP 242 was never a factory option behind an AX-15. If you find an AX-15 with an NP 242 on it, someone swapped it. The NP 231 has been noted as marginally stronger off-road than the 242, as well as having less parts to fail. However, if you find a 242, I recommend getting it, as the Full Time 4wd is a nice option. Every bit of info about the AX-15 is moot, however, since he stated he has a 2.5, and while getting an AX-15 behind a 2.5 is possible, it is incredibly difficult and requires rare parts, so not worth it unless you have a habit of burning up AX-4/5s.

 

lets talk axels... ur MJ porbally came stock with 4:11's right?

No, he has a 2.5 with an automatic, which could easily indicate 4.56:1 gearing.

 

ok no 5speed xjs came with 4:11 usally had 3.07's

2.5/5 speed XJs came with 4.10:1 gears, as did 2.5/5 speed MJs. 4.0/5 speed combination got the 3.07:1.

 

so u will need to buy a ring and pinion set for a hp dana30 to match ur rear gear ratio..........

1. He's currently 2wd, doesn't have a D30. 2. You cannot simply swap the gears and have the new gear ratio. Setting up gears is expensive if you have it done, and is a very meticulous and precise procedure that the average mechanic cannot do or would not attempt without training.

 

or u could just swap the rear-end from the xj to the MJ.... its probally got a chry 8.25 in the xj that is about 3 times stronger then the dana 35 that came with mj's.....

"Probably" has a Chrysler 8.25 if it's new enough. Yes, the 8.25 is stronger than the D35, but it will still require perches to be welded. The D35 was also an option through 01, so it's still possible for it to be a D35.

 

but the xj's r SOA from the plant so u would needlike a 2" spacer to level out the front if u did that..... but would be cheaper then buyin a ring and pinion ..... and u get the secutiry have havin somthin with some strength in the back.... i don't trust a d35 as far as i could throw it they r junk IMO

XJs are SOA, but the perch width is different. Bolting an XJ rear axle directly onto MJ springs is dangerous. It's strenuous on the springs and could cause them to fail. Also, going SOA on an MJ nets you at least 5 inches above your current height. 2 inch spacers up front would not even begin to level it out... especially considering the MJ has a rake to begin with(The back is supposed to be a tad higher)

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IC... thanks for all the advice guys I really do appreciate it. I will try and wrap my head around all of it. Unfortunately for me I have very little experience in the mechanix department and would really only try and undertake this myself if it was all directly swapable. Seeing as it will be more I complex than this I would be letting my local Jeep custom shop do it for me. To buy a an xj and then have them do the conversion will likley cost thousands....

 

I am kinda thinking that just looking for a 4X4 comanche to buy and selling my RWD would be a hell of a lot cheaper. It is a shame though because my RWD has only 177,000 km and is is in really good condition. I looked for months for a 4X4 manual and only found one that needed a lot of work and a few others that had been moded and mudded already with huge price tags.

 

Got some thinking to do.

 

Thanks again, Ryan.

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Alright well I'm still thinking. Did another search around for other Comanche's on the market and there is still no real other alternatives. I am going to talk to my local jeep custom shop and get a quote to do just instal. I don't mind taking the donor apart but putting it back together again worries me. I am going to have them put a new cat on it this week so it can pass Canadian air quality tests (Just failed) and at the same time have them tell me the gearing that is in the truck.

 

I will also put together a parts list and narrow down the exact donor I am looking for. I have $2000 max I can put into this conversion at the momment so I hope I can make something work.

 

Can you guys help with a few questions:

 

How do you tell what gearing is in the axle? Will I have to take it apart to check?

 

Say I find a 2.5L, manual, 4x4, XJ with the same gearing as my MJ what other piece's will I have to source?

 

The drive shaft being longer on MJ's than XJ's. How do I overcome this? Can mine be easily cut down or will I have to outsource it from somewhere else?

 

How many hours would you estimate it would take a mechanic to do this conversion? They know Jeep very well and may have done similar work before.

 

Thanks, Ryan

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I would change the 02 sensor before doing a cat,its cheap easy and usually the problem.

 

You will want to get a rear driveshaft for a 4x4 4cyl MJ or have yours cut to fit.

As for gears the only for sure way is to pull off the cover and see what is stamped on the ring gear.

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jack up one rear tire. put the trans in neutral. rotate that tire around exactly twice while counting the number of times the driveshaft rotates. the driveshaft with spin 3 and a half times for 3.55, just over 4 times for 4.10, and 4 and a half times for 4.56.

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thanks pete! That makes sense. Really helped me understand the gearing. As for the o2 sensor it has been replaced already right before I failed aircare. It failed on the oxides of nitrogen (NOx) scored 2661.00 and max allowable is 1291.00.

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That method is good for getting a quick idea of gearing but still is not a good as looking at the gears.

 

You can roll a wheel and get a good idea or simply take off the cover and know for sure what you have. Your supposed to change the oil in there from time to time anyway.

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Alright, well the 4X4 conversion is on hold. I am gearing up for a much bigger bill than was previously expected to get the truck past aircare. Good chance it is the cat as well as the EGR that need replacing and that could be half my conversion budget.

 

I have decided to postpone the 4X4 conversion until I feel I have enough knowlege and cash to do a cherokee conversion or I find a 4x4 2.5L manual comanche in rough shape and do a swap that way.

 

I need to spend some cash on the truck itself anyway. Tires, windsheild, shocks, and rear bumper, locks all need some attention as well. I'll keep you posted.

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