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swapping axels

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i have know in my possesion two MJs. one is a short box 89 4x4, and the other is a longbox 86 4x2. i WAS going to keep the 89, but until i found out i might have to get a new 4.0 for it i decided to try another route....


i don't know why but i like the 2.5 in my 86. i would like to keep the 2wd jeep and switch everything that i need to make it 4x4 from the 89 to the 86. this would be an easy switch right? i have the donor vehicle now...what do i need to do? I'm not going to be using my 86 as a hardcore offroader...just mild roading so i can have it as my dd too.


my 89 should have a dana30 in front and the dana35 in rear right?


on the 86 the rear brakes are trash and it just so happens the 89 that i bought has all new brakes and instead of just getting new brakes i could swap the axles. that would save me the time of finding out which gears i have to match.


i want to have the experience of actually MAKING a 4x4...how do i do it and what do i need?

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I am getting started do something along this line other than I am taking my front 4x4 axle out and putting in a different front 4x4 axle. i tore my lower control arm mounts out wheeling. :roll:


Yeah it is a drop and switch with that being said as I see it. This is the plan of attack for me. Now this may change when I get my truck in the shop.


1. Jack the truck up and pull the tires off

2. Put the truck on jack stands at the frame just behind the lower control arm mounts.

3. Take you drag link off you pitman arm

4 disconnect you track bar at ether at the axle side you mount side

5. Take your shocks off.

6. Take you brake caliper off and tie them to the frame out of the way(this way you don’t have to bleed the front brakes later). Also take your rotors off and mark them for driver and passenger side.

7. Then I would jack one side of your axle up so the spring on the opposite side will come out.

8. Now with the springs out and the axle being supported by the jack I would take the control arms off letting the axle down and out I think this will work or this is my plan.




As far as the rear goes it is drop and switch as well. i would by some new u-bolts. And BB blaster is your friend. Just soak those bolt a couple of day before you take the axles out.


You are also going to need a 4x4 tranny and t-case. Then you’re going to need the front and rear drives to fit. Also make sure your gears match since your using the D30 and D35 from the same 4x4 they should match.


It is a lot of work but man it is a lot of fun. One more note I would beef up you control arm mounts why your axle is out this is one of those thing that can be over looked. Now that I tore mine off I just suggest why the axle is out plate them or put on new ones. If you look at them they are fairly weak part of the axle.


Happy :wrench:

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The 86 is a long bed. The wheelbase is longer by several inches. The shortbed box won't fit the longer frame correctly. Anything can be made to work, but it ain't a bolt-on.


Am I correct that the donor is a 4.0L and the 86 is a 2.5L? The tranmissions aren't the same, and you need a 4WD version of the 2.5L tranny in order to bolt up the transfer case.

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