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Rockwall Rockcraw build

Old 09-10-2016, 01:15 PM
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Default Rockwall Rockcraw build

Building up my 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.. went from stock to 4" RC lift over the weekend


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As of now she's grounded unfortunately waiting for the JKS 127 track bar to come in .. the "drop bracket" RC sends is just bad engineering.

Besides that I clearly need bigger tires. That's where i'm a little stuck .. I plan to get some used tires to get me by for awhile.

I'm also planing on buying a set of steelies to buy tires one or two at a time and keep them in the garage ti'll I have a full set. I'm not real sure the right wheel to go with as far as back spacing/offset i'm pretty set on a 15" wheel probably 8" wide so I may go to a larger tire in the future. Would a 15x8 with -13 offset be good as far as clearance etc. would I have any rub?
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Old 09-10-2016, 07:14 PM
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I believe you will need 3.75in backspacing to make 15x8" wheels work, 4.00 in might work but could be pretty close to your brake calipers, not sure about how that measures up as far as metric offset, but in the Jeep world offset is typically measured as backspacing which means how far the mounting surface of the wheel is from its inner rim, essentially smaller number = more offset. Hope that helps.
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:08 PM
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Ok everyone .. all input welcome, everyone here is likely more knowledgeable than me as far as what is good and what is not. My next project for the jeep build is making my 2wd a 4wd .. I know almost everyone says for the hassle just buy a 4wd model .. but jeeps are built and I want to build her. I am fully capable of this modification according to the knowledge I have gathered. My plan is to buy a salvaged jeep off of a salvage auction that in theory only has cosmetic issues. I believe I want to find a wj with a type 3 nv242 select-trac transfer case. I believe currently I have a one wheel wonder while spinning my tires off the ground the rear has not tension off stopping the spinning wheel to convert power. I will also of course be swap front axles which will probably be a Dana 30 or 35 i'm assuming.

My question (along with input on this build) is as far as modifications to be made to the axle while it is not under the jeep, what should be done in your opinion to make her "trail" ready? There is alot of discussions back and forth about Dana 35 and Dana 44 etc being weak, some say they can be made better etc.

What do you think guys?
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:11 PM
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Also I am lacking in knowledge because this is my first WJ build. My last jeep was a Wrangler TJ .. different animal.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:20 PM
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If you can, try to locate a Chrysler 8.25. Or an 8.8 from a Ford Explorer. The Dana 35 is ok for mild to moderate trails, mud, etc. But if you plan on rock crawling, swap it out now, and save yourself the migraine later on.
As for a Dana 44, I can't help you. I don't know anything about them.
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:35 PM
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As far as bolt in, or close to, swaps the only axles you will be able to use are for the rear, Dana 35, well known as weak and not worthy you and probably already have one, and Dana 44 "hd" it actually is just a 44 with an aluminum pumpkin, some people have good luck with them most the criticism just comes from the idea the differential housing would be weaker because it's aluminum, Dana 44s came under 4.7l wjs only if my memory serves me, unless you are a skilled fabricator or know one I'd just swap in one of those. Now moving to the front, WJs had only low pinion Dana 30s up front on 4x4 models, all things considered it's a good axle for the stock wj but with a lift and bigger tires the weaknesses come out. For one the low pinion can cause driveline issues on large lifts, and the weak cv style u joints break under large tires. But overall it shouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately wj 30s are much different than xj, tj, zj, and mj 30s primarily because they are wider, different bolt pattern and different (better) steering and brakes. So you can't just throw in a trusty hp xj 30 and call it a day. Before the axles are installed I would recommend building them as much as your budget allows, definitely gears if you can, shops will probably charge less if the axles aren't under the Jeep, additionally you may as well beef up steering, diff covers, reinforce UCA and LCA mounts and do c gussets.
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Old 09-14-2016, 11:48 PM
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Scott, as far as this swap i'd much rather "build up" what this thing is suppose to have rather than fabricating up a new axle to go under what I assume is a smaller vehicle. (Jeep vs. Ford Explorer?)

Kyle, thank you so much for your input. It was very informative and insightful. My "plan" is to hopefully find me a salvage rig that was equipped with a v8 and the Dana 44, and hopefully the classic u joint design and not the cv shaft design (if that exists) I was told it does. As far as building up the axles before they are under the Jeep ... defiantly ... i'm going from what I have now (should be 3.55) to the v8 gearing (which should be 3.73) I believe that should be low enough of gearing for me. I'm only 4 inch lift and currently running 31" and the biggest i'll go is 33". That being said, I assume by UCA and LCA your talking control arms, I have the beefier LCA that came with the kit, with me staying with the lift tire set up I have, do you really think I need those? As far as steering, how exactly do you "beef" that up? Please don't judge, I just don't know the world of WJ's this is my first .. so i'm learning.

c gussets is a good idea, if I could find them for wj (haven't look that much)
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Old 09-14-2016, 11:51 PM
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ALSO 31's not installed in photo above!!
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:52 PM
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updraded track bar
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:00 PM
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Kyle, when you say "build the axle" what do you think I should have down/or do before I throw them under the jeep? Stronger gears? Half shafts? and lockers are nice, but you think i'll absolutely need them?
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeepinround View Post
Kyle, when you say "build the axle" what do you think I should have down/or do before I throw them under the jeep? Stronger gears? Half shafts? and lockers are nice, but you think i'll absolutely need them?
Well it all really depends on what you plan to do and what your budget is, if you are going to be wheeling alot a lunchbox locker (auto locker) would probably be a great idea, if you have it in the budget selectable lockers and gears and chromoly shafts would be even better. Just realize whatever your goals are down the road it will be alot easier to strengthen and improve the axles now than once they're already under the Jeep, especially if yours is a daily driver.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:39 AM
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She's definitely my dd for now, chromly shafts that's like $900 per axle so that's a lil out of my budget .. sport term goal would be to make trips to Gilmer tx .. not extreme trailing just mild. Long term I would like to make it to moab utah next year. Another obstacle I've run into is I was set on buying a 4.7 wj 4x4 to get the donar parts i.e. d44 rear, d30 front, transfer case, etc. But that's when I thought all the trans were 42re. V8 come with the 247 tcase to match the v8 trans. So I'm still wanting the v8 axles but what am I suppose to do about the tcase, can I match 247 to my 42re?
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeepinround View Post
She's definitely my dd for now, chromly shafts that's like $900 per axle so that's a lil out of my budget .. sport term goal would be to make trips to Gilmer tx .. not extreme trailing just mild. Long term I would like to make it to moab utah next year. Another obstacle I've run into is I was set on buying a 4.7 wj 4x4 to get the donar parts i.e. d44 rear, d30 front, transfer case, etc. But that's when I thought all the trans were 42re. V8 come with the 247 tcase to match the v8 trans. So I'm still wanting the v8 axles but what am I suppose to do about the tcase, can I match 247 to my 42re?
I have no idea about wj cases and Trans I have an xj, I suggest you check out the grand cherokee tech section or mall crawlin, it's a forum dedicated to grands, they have some good tech info.
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Old 09-22-2016, 03:06 PM
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Thank you
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