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Bronco II Straight Axle Conversion Details and Photos

Discussion in 'Bronco II' started by jeepshop, December 13, 2006.

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    1. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      We just finished a straight axle conversion on a '84 BII using a Wrangler D30, is there any interest in my posting a writeup on what we did and it's ongoing process?
       
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    3. FROADER

      FROADER Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Sure there is. It's always good to see how people are doing it. Post it up! :thumbsup:

      Oh, and welcome to the site. :cool:
       
    4. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      Straight axle conversion

      Sounds good, glad to see a forum where ideas are accepted instead of put down, had enough of that on another BII related forum. I'll put together the pics from start to finish including before and after pics of the BII wheeling the same trail with a TTB and the D30. I'm very pleased with it's driving maners on the street as well as the trail, I even saw Fortune looking under the front as I passed him one morning going the other way!:D Long time no see by the way. Give me a few and I'll get this started.
       
    5. FROADER

      FROADER Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      That's because he knows he really wants solid axles under that BII of his. :p:
       
    6. SBJ420

      SBJ420 Active Member

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      And thats a really good question.... Why put it off this long? Unless deep down he likes it. :rolleyes:
       
    7. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      Everyone goes solid hahaha. I have not reached the full potential of a custom TTB yet!!
      IN fact its funny you bring this up because Brett just dropped off a complete TTB in my driveway, I get to break it down for parts and in return I get another spare set of beams. I am planning to build some really trick ones this time

      I would love to see some pictures and a write up in this here Bronco II forum, I would also love to go wheeling with some more BII's!

      If you see me again honk! or run me down or do something I would love to check out the solid axle.

      Also who is this? hahaha
      James Marcy? There are a few BII's around town I see all the time, but I dont really know many of the owners
       
    8. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      That's me!

      Hey, yup, that's me, we passed each other back in Sept on N. Turkey Creek going under 285. The BII belongs to my son who is stationed in San Diego in the Navy, so it doesn't get out but when he's here on leave. I did the SAS last spring while he was deployed and added the Duff bumper and winch after you saw it. This last week he's been here again for a couple of weeks, so we did a spring over. Was suppoed to use the new Teraflex fiberglass leaves but T-flex screwed up and sent the wrong ones. We had to use stock 5 leaf Wrangler leaves but they are bending backwards from the heavier BII's weight. The correct leaves are supposed to be here tomorrow but not sure if they'll get installed untill next fall as Daniel will be in Iraq from April till Oct. :salute: :usa: I have to re-make the front spring rear mounts as the new springs have way bigger eyes than the stock ones. I hope to get a short post with pics up soon.
       
    9. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      It works!

      Well we took the BII out for it's first trail (Slaughterhouse for Fortune's info), it did VERY well. As a comparison we brought my '91 XJ (extremly built) and another XJ very built and with a front long arm suspension. As it turned out my XJ flexed more than the long arm XJ, hmmm. The BII did very well, the leaf spring D30 flexed right along with everyone, hardly lifting a wheel on the very deep moguls. As soon as I can get pics back I'll post them from last years and this year on the same trail, boy what a huge difference! Daniel says the springover has given a much softer ride than the spring under, and MUCH softer than the TTB ever was. As a base comparison we brought a '88 Ranger with a 4" lift and 30's, man this thing really reminded us how far we came with all of it's wheel lifting and wheel spinning. Might put a D30 in it too sometime. Sorry for not posting pics yet, just have to find the time!
       
    10. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      You're not runnign long-arms on your XJ?

      I hope you post pics of your XJ and the long-armed XJ.
       
      Last edited: December 17, 2006
    11. 90ranajo

      90ranajo The Little TJ that could

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      Whats your son do in the Navy, also do you know where in Iraq he's goin yet? I ask because I too am in the Navy and currently in Iraq with our relief arriving sometime around April/May.
       
    12. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      both questions

      No my XJ has a 6" lift with hand picked parts, mostly Tomken and RE, and is short arms with Johnny joints. The long arm XJ has a RE kit that really flexes good, but looking at the video I see mine outflexing his by a long shot as the pics will show. We need to look and see if he's running front shocks that may be too short. As for Daniel, he is stationed on the Bonhomme Richard out of San Diego. His ship will be delivering a new group of Marines in April, then they come back to port in Oct. By the way, thank you so very much for your service. We keep all of you in prayer each morning at our shop. Thanks for keeping US safe!
       
    13. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      Where?

      Amending to your question, Daniel is still searching for the rate he wants, but hopes to have it soon. He wants to know what ship you are based from, and why you are in Iraq instead of on the ship, what job do you do?
       
    14. 90ranajo

      90ranajo The Little TJ that could

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      I'm a Sonar Tech (STG) and stationed at Whidbey Island, WA with a military detatchment. I'm currently in Iraq doing detainee operations as an IA (Individual Augmentee).
      If your son is still looking for a rate, make sure that he finds one that he not only likes but also has good advancement. There are many rate now that have very poor advancement.
       
    15. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      How I did it! (that's overused!)

      Well now that I'm snowed in with the approaching blizzard I thought I'd post what we did to install the Wrangler D30 into my son's '84 BII. I'll put up some links showing the mounts I made. I still have to post the pics of the conversion we did last week going from spring under to over, that corrected some problems and greatly softened the ride too.
      To give a back ground, we got the BII as a sickly 2.8 with a 3 speed C5 auto, what a dog. It already had 31's and an old Rancho 4" lift. The 2.8 was yanked and the auto went into a V8 conversion on another '85 BII. Another 2.8 with Duraspark and a 350 CFM Motorcraft and a 5 speed went back in. After going through the frustrations of a new teenage driver trying to wheel a carb, a 2.9 FI engine was swapped in (a 4.0 is waiting in the shed). The gears were finally swapped out from 3.73's to 4.56's with a Detroit in rear and a very rare LSD for the D28 in front. It wheeled ok, but had a reputaion of looking like a dog peeing because it would constantly lift wheels, a lot! http://www.calvaryefree.org/4wheel/05DecSG/pages/05_SGDec039.htm http://www.calvaryefree.org/4wheel/05DecSG/pages/05_SGDec053.htm We had done a '89 BII long arm with a 35 for another BII in the past and was not pleased with the results for the $$ spent on the kit for the TTB long arms. That brings me to the straight axle conversion, or SAS. At first we thought about using a Jeep axle from a Cherokee using a long arm kit such as from Rubicon Express. After talking with folks that had done this, it was found that the BII had to have a substancial lift or the top control arm mounts would hit the BII cross member when flexed. That left a Wrangler D30 from a '87 to '95 YJ Wrangler. The YJ's frame is wider that the BII though so mounts from the YJ frame can not be used, that required some thought about how to mount the springs part way outboard. Here is a link to the mount pics, although they have changed a bit since the final install. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/P1010260.jpg these are Ranger rear spring rear frame mounts available from Ford welded to heavy angle steel. Here are the finished mounts for the rear of the front springs, although more welding was done later. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/P1010261.jpg Here are the rear mounts bolted in place. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/frontmount.jpg The front mount actually took less thought and produced a much needed cross member for the front. BII's and Rangers have a very weak frame forward of the engine cross member, when the TTB is removed the member under the trans goes too. This fabed cross member/front spring mount greatly strengthens the front frame. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/P1010262.jpg Here is the cross member bolted in place. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/rearmount.jpg As you can see we used Revolver Shackles in front, but they were swapped out with my son's '88 XJ because the XJ need less rear lift and the BII needed more front lift, yes they are just XJ rear shackles. By the way, Revolvers are perfectly safe for front use, they only open up when flexing not on normal road use. As it rurned out, the BII sway bar is almost exactly as wide as the YJ's, so a pair of YJ sway bar disconnects were used. They line up perfectly. The BII brake lines (braided steel) had to be ground a bit on the ends to match up to the flat alignment edge on the Jeep calipers. The YJ shocks even fit perfectly, we used 4" lift shocks. As it turns out the YJ mounts are spaced about right too so that the shocks are almost straight up and down. Even the drive shaft fit better than the D28 lifted did. Using the D28 the boot would pop off of the T-case, showing that the shaft was too short with a 4" lift. The u-joint fits perfectly into the D30 yoke. Here's a tip, throw away the stupid Ford Torx strap bolts and use the smaller hex head Jeep bolts, what was Ford thinking. The drive shaft is now the perfect length, very important since it has a short yoke that goes into the t-case. The steering presented the only real challenge, as the pitman arm for the BII uses a larger hole for the tie rod that the YJ uses. Plus the splines are not machined at the same clocking as the YJ's arm. I don't have a picture but ended up using a YJ dropped pitman arm, and ground out the 4 aligning teeth in the large hole with a die grinder so that the arm can be clocked correctly. Now, the YJ arm large hole isn't as large as the BII arm either, but I was able to get the pitman arm on enough so that the lock washer is on and the nut is almost all the way on. The pitman shaft comes right to the end of the nut. Several thousand miles have shown that the arm isn't going to loosen. Here is a pic of the final assembly. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/Thewayitshouldhavebeen.jpg Here is a pic of the BII finally sitting down for the first time. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/P1010263.jpg Here are some pics of the BII being flexed using "forkie", the trail pics still need to get posted to my site yet. http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/tazflex.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h228/cherokeenut/bronco pics/rightfrontbronco.jpg Some things were changed later, the steel rims were not going to work as the D30 is about 1" wider on each side, this put the tires into the fenders, so stock BII/Explorer aluminum rims were used on the 31's. And as said earlier the shackles are now solid long length XJ units. The rear axle is now a drum brake Explorer 8.8 with 4.56's and a Powertrax no-slip locker, the D30 has 4.56's and a Detoit Truetrack. When running a Truetrac you MUST NOT use the axle disconnect that the YJ D30 uses, the Trutrac will be destroyed. The YJ D30 uses the small 260 axle u-joints, so '97 and later TJ or XJ axles (or '87 and up XJ ABS axles) were used that have the big 297 joints. This and a kit from Randy's Ring and pinion were used to convert the right side axle from the 2 peice disconnect axle to a one peice unit. The front has no vibrations at all at high speed so we'll leave it this way even if we later go to a selectable locker. I'll post pics of the same trail but with the new axle, the BII is pretty much level, but with a huge amount of flex and no tires in the air on those very same moguls! Like I mentioned, we have since done a springover conversion, as the Rubicon Express 4" springs sagged about 1" after the Duff winch bumper and winch were installed. Also, the steering was a bit mushy with the lifted springs, not bad but the stock flat springs helped greatly. As a note, your BII will not have the nice crisp steering it had, but you'll get use to it. It just feels like driving CJ.
      DISCLAIMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I will NOT be responsible if this does not work for you, the work here was purely an experiment. I'm a shop owner with many many years of experience, you are most likey not. I offer this as an example of what was done, you may follow at completely your own risk.
       
    16. SkanlaxJMO

      SkanlaxJMO Well-Known Member

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      good stuff....how about a flex shot after you did the SOA conversion?
       
    17. Rick

      Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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      Thanks for the writeup:chug:

      Would you mind if I attached your photos to the thread so they will always be there?
       
    18. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      pics

      No problem, by the way the digital camera batteries died on the trail. I video'd everything with a digital video camera so hoping to get stills from that. Everyone was calling it a Brangler it flexed so nice.
       
    19. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      James so good to hear from you! I traded you my old BII Eddie Bauer seats for a James Duff coil and drop bracket kit years ago, I think you also got my old 2.9L :) We also went to look at that red BII that was a STEAL for $400, the guy couldnt walk anymore and had to let it go....man its been a few years since I heard from you.


      I drive up 285 every day, I work just up the road from Tiny Town.
      The dana 30 is aperfect fit for the light BII, good choice
      but I figured you for a Radius arm coil bucket type of guy?? I remeber long ago you telling me how easy a BII was to solid axle, and I said I know I know hahaha, I do know believe me, Brett has been trying to unload a fully build shortened D44 adn 8.8 with 4.56 and ARBS on me for years, he built them for his BII but now hes all about the mustangs hahaha




      Those steep moguls you mention on Slaughterhouse have been CLOSED all year in 06, you didnt go around the signs did you? :)
      Let me know next time you head up there I would love to go and show how a TTB can keep its tires planted :), you can check out my 5.0L GT-40 conversion as well hehehehe

      I am looking for a straight six and auto trans for a 90ish Cherokee, my neighbor has a long arm cherokee on 35's that needs a trans, with 200K miles on the sucker we made a deal, I do a drivetrain install and he will install my sprinklers next spring. So if you have a line or advice on a drivetrain for that sucker let me know.

      jamiesan@fortuneelevatorconsultants.com

      PS I do Slaughterhouse all the time, its just so close and the aspens are so pretty, although with this 20" of snow we are supossed to see up here I dont think I will be doing it this weekend!
       
    20. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      So your stuck at home too huh? No we didn't go up "stump hill" anyone that does should be shot right there. The moguls are coming out of the very lower part on the way out. A 4.0 and auto? shouldn't be hard to find at all, there was an XJ on cragslist yesterday that had a fire for $350, good deal. I'm sure we could have gotten the TTB to flex, but the cool factor is big with the straight axle, plus no tire wear issues. I've just seen people put way big bucks into a TTB to make them flex, and still have tire issues. You still have the Volkswagon thing going on when under a lot flex also.
       
    21. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      I know what bumps you are talking about :)
      I am not stuck, no way no how, the 96 Explorer I have as my daily makes short work of these snow packed roads, and dont make me get the BII out! hahaha I do plan to leave work in about an hour and go home though, so I can do more work hahaha

      I have a fair amount of $$$ in my TTB and it still has some downfalls but with 14"+ of ttb travel with minimal bump steer, front and rear ARB's, 35's and 4 wheel discs sitting on only 4.5" of suspension lift there are not many spots this BII wont go....so I am actually building another TTB for it, an imprioved version of the beams I run now and built yeaers ago with Brett.

      I look forward to wheeling with ya James! I figured you guys were still doing your thing up there in Evergreen, I see straight looking freshly painted, well running BII's up here all the time and I swear I can pick them out as Marcy's Auto specials, making new owners very happy with a great deal!
      You still re-do BII's?

      I am brand newish to the Jeep stuff, so I am learning, we plan to get started first of the year with a new engine and trans. I just need to learn what years will interchange with fuel systems and computers, etc, last thing I need to do is get in over my head and end up stuffing a 318 and converting it to OBD-II
       
    22. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      Nope, I don't mess with BII's anymore, not enough profit margin, most aren't worth more than $1500. I've had about 55 of them and they still hold a special place for me, I started wheeling in an '85. As far as Jeeps, ask me anything, I get stuff the dealers can't fix. I can help you with what you need to know as far as swaps. The cool thing about XJ's is that both auto and 5 speed are Toyota units, basicly bullet proof. The 4.0's are good for 400K if properly taken care of. Throw a 44 or 8.8 in the rear, and good lift and you'll rule. The D30 works good because of the same wheel lug spacing, and it can handle 35's with a V8 easily. The extra width is a pain but we got around that, no big deal. With a bigger lift it wouldn't be an issue. By the way here's a link to the guys I wheel with, good folks and we do a lot of camping as well with our wheelin. http://www.calvaryefree.org/4wheel/4wheel.htm Here's my ride these days.
      http://www.calvaryefree.org/4wheel/06KellyFlats/pages/06C4W_KellyFlats_0159.htm http://www.calvaryefree.org/4wheel/06KellyFlats/pages/06C4W_KellyFlats_0153_0408.htm My son however has had this BII since he was 12, I doubt he'll ever part with it. It's been a great father/son project and is now something he really looks forward to when he's home on leave.
       
    23. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      i COULD MAKE THAT CLIMB LETS GO! HAHAHA
      James once I get my ducks in a row with this Heep project I may pick your brain a bit, I will call the shop or contact you online, good hearing from you again for sure :)

      You are right BII's with a 2.9L, dana 28 and 7.5 will never be worth more then $1200-1500 at the most anymore, and thats just about the truth to what they are worth, sadly...but when I look at them I just see potential, kind of like beer goggles :p
       
    24. jeepshop

      jeepshop Member

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      BII worth

      Actually with BII value down, that's not that bad. Finally there is something for newbies to build that doesn't take much to wheel. Think about it, add a lockright to the back, remove the sway bar in back, make some kind of sway bar disconnect for the front and run some 30's. Then go have a pile of fun! I remember getting around anywhere I wanted and have great family memories in a BII. All mine had was a hot 2.8 and I had a LSD in the rear. Those were the days. Sometimes I think having a rig that can go anywhere isn't as much fun as we had back then trying to get those BII's to go places.
       
    25. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      thats how I got here, 12 years later, with my BII. I hated the idea of getting that stupid little truck, but it was a hand me down and I needed a car. I remember thinking how ugly I thought my brothers truck was, then after driving it for 2 weeks I was absolutely in love, so much fun to drive!!
      I used to beat her up then even more then I do now, jumping and thrashing around, now I am more careful because I have turned every bolt, most of them several time....
       
    26. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Moderator Emeritus

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      I stickied this thread

      James I think I saw another one of your BII's this am, black with a red pin stripe? hahaha
       

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