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Any Downside To Rolling A 4Wd Front Axle For A While In My 2Wd?

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Hey gang!

Another day, another weird question from me.


I'm slowly gathering parts to do the 4WD swap on my 2WD LWB 88' 4.0L.

Currently, I need to do the ball joints on the 2WD.

What I want to know is can I just clean up/rebuild the 4WD front axle and go ahead andswap it in (without a driveshaft connected, obviously) while the truck is still 2WD? Is there any potential problem that this could cause?

It all seems pretty plug-n-play and I don't want to double work/spend to fix a dummy front axle that is heading for the dump anyway.

Thanks for the input!!


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I ran a 4wd front axle in my 2wd truck for over a year until I found all of the transmission and transfer case parts I needed to complete the swap. I was in the same boat as you the front end needed some work and I didnt want to waste anything on the 2wd front axle. It will work fine.

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  • 1 month later...

Some hints: the shifter linkage can be a major pain. In the rust belt the part that attaches to the tunnel can be a pain in the butt to deal with. There is a hole for the t case shifter already in the floor. Just unbolt the plate that covers it. The locations for the mounting holes for the aforementioned tunnel piece are dimpled and just need drilled out. If I had to donit over again I would dump the factory linkage for something like the BSFab (Google it) one.


The top two bell housing bolts on an AW4 are an inverted torx and can also be a pain without the correct socket. It will be much easier to attach the tranny and t case breather tubes before you install those components if you are going to run extended breathers.


Now is a good time for new driveshaft u joints. Your 2wd shaft will also be too long. They can be a pain to shorten and rebalance due to an internal rubber dampner. I bought a junkyard shaft that used the same 297 u joints and had it shortened. There is a chart on here somewhere for the correct length depending on your drive train combo.


The tranny mount on the crossmember can be installed 180* out and it does make a difference. Trust me on this....lol.

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