What is your favorite choice of cable junkyard gas pedal for flatfenders with a Chevy V-8 swapped in?
@og_4x4 Via Instagram @cappaworks
As you have likely already found, building a flatfender is an exercise in problem solving for fitment of every component. I have gone so far as to letting the steering box location dictate what the rear pinion angle will be. The whole vehicle is a puzzle, and there is not a lot of real estate to work with when swapping in other drivetrain components. It would seem that a throttle pedal would be a simple junkyard component to find and install, but of course the flatfender body has its ways of making that difficult as well. Like everything else on a flatfender, comfortable throttle pedal placement will depend on several factors including transmission selection and location, seat selection and location, and your height. Personally, I’ve never found a comfortable junkyard throttle pedal assembly that simply bolts in and works perfect. The flatfender footwell is cramped, so the firewall location in reference to the seats makes it difficult to locate a traditional throttle pedal. Also, the sloped flatfender floor decreases the amount of room you have for the throttle pedal to cycle. If you do find a usable junkyard pedal, you’ll more than likely need to cut it up and modify it significantly for it to be comfortable and allow use of full throttle. For all these reasons, I’ve always found it less of a hassle to simply start from scratch and build my own throttle pedals when working on flatfenders. You’ll need to take the available space and comfortable foot placement into consideration. Sit in the Jeep with the seats and steering wheel installed prior to locating where you want the throttle pedal. There will be a lot of trial and error, but in the end you will have a comfortable throttle pedal that functions properly.
If you prefer to start with a complete junkyard throttle pedal, you might take a look at the Jeep XJ throttle pedal. I have used them on other projects with some success, but it will be need to be cut, bent, and welded on to work in a flatfender. There are also a few adjustable aftermarket throttle pedals that could work. The Lakester and Steel Spoon throttle pedals from Lokar (lokar.com) look like they could be made to work in a flatfender without too much difficulty.
I am going to be resealing the oil pan on the Spicer 18 transfer case in my Jeep. I am having a difficult time finding the bolt tightening cross pattern. Any ideas?
The Spicer 18 is an incredibly robust, yet crude transfer case. The oil pan on the bottom of the Spicer 18 isn’t really a structural component, as evidenced by the thick gasket it uses for sealing, so tightening the bolts in a particular pattern is not all that important. The best method to keep the Spicer 18 oil pan from leaking is to use a factory-like thick gasket with generous beads of silicone on either side and around each bolt hole. Spicer 18 oil pan gaskets and complete gasket kits are available from companies such as Crown Automotive (crownautomotive.net) and Omix-Ada (omix-ada.com).
Start by prepping the sealing surfaces. Smooth the metal burs gently with a file and remove any old gasket materials with a scraper, wire brush, or other method. It’s not at all uncommon for the Spicer 18 oil pan bolt holes to become deformed from overtightening. You can flatten out the pan sealing surface around the bolt holes with a hammer and a small anvil. Let the transfer case drain thoroughly and wipe out the inside with a rag. Dripping oil from inside the transfer case can contaminate the sealing surfaces prior to installing your prepped oil pan. Clean the sealing surfaces with brake cleaner or solvent. Install the transfer case oil pan gasket with beaded silicone on the oil pan and hold it in place with two of the oil pan bolts on either end. Use the two bolts and bolt holes in the transfer case to line up the oil pan and start the bolts by hand. Lightly install the remaining oil pan bolts. I usually start from the center and work my way out when tightening the transfer case oil pan bolts, but there is no real pattern sequence that needs to be followed for a good seal. You can simply snug the oil pan bolts down or torque them to 15 lb-ft. For best results, let the sealant cure for 24 hours prior to refilling the transfer case.
If your Spicer 18 oil pan is bent up or damaged beyond serviceable use, you can purchase a new one from Kaiser Willys (kaiserwillys.com). If you want something a little fancier than the stock stamped-steel transfer case oil pan, Novak Conversions (novak-adapt.com) offers a billet aluminum pan. The Novak Spicer 18 oil pan is machined from 6061 aluminum and adds rigidity to the entire Spicer 18 transfer case assembly. It also increases oil capacity by 16 ounces to help keep the internals well lubricated and cool.
I have a tech question about transfer cases that I hope you can help me out with. I have a ’05 Wrangler TJ Unlimited with a 4.0L, NSG370 manual transmission, and an NV231 transfer case. I am in need of either a slip-yoke eliminator kit, or better yet, I would prefer to put in a transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear. The obvious first choice would be an NV241 Rock-Trac transfer case from a Jeep Rubicon. It would bolt right up and be much cheaper than any of the aftermarket transfer cases. The main problem is that they are hard to come by in my area. It is much easier to find an NV241 out of a JK. The JK doesn’t have the same output shaft speed sensor setup that I require for my speedometer. I daily drive my Jeep and the speedometer is a must-have.
Do you know of a way to make the factory TJ speedometer work with a JK
transfer case? Is it possible to swap out the output shaft and bearing retainer on the JK case to a TJ style? Do you know of any companies making a kit for this? Are there any other options I am not aware of? Any suggestions to make a JK case work would be appreciated. Lorne Baxter
As you have found, the ’07-’18 JK NV241OR Rock-Trac transfer case does not have a speedometer sensor and tone ring on the rear output. The JK gets its speed reading from the wheel sensors, which also control the ABS, traction control, and stability control. In order to use the JK NV241OR, you’ll have to add a three-wire square wave speed sensor and tone ring. The easiest low-buck way to do this would be to fabricate and attach a tone ring to the rear output yoke, then build a bracket that attaches to the back of the transfer case to hold the speed sensor. It’s a relatively cheap solution. However, the tone ring and sensor could get fouled or damaged by mud and other trail debris.
Realistically, I think your best solution is to look outside of your immediate area for the proper TJ NV241OR Rubicon transfer case, which will bolt up to your Jeep transmission and give you the speedometer output that you need. A quick search online revealed several TJ Rubicon NV241OR transfer cases on eBay (ebay.com). They typically run $2,000-$3,000 without a core.
I got to wondering if you people at Jp ever ran an article on trail repairs for broken axles, differentials, and so on. I never saw it if you did, so humor me. I have a ’14 JK Rubicon Unlimited with 35-inch Goodyear MT/R tires, a 4-inch Mopar lift, and a lot of junk that I haul around, which includes tools, recovery gear, jack, and so on. The suspension sits about 3⁄4-inch off of the bumpstops, so I guess it’s loaded heavy.
Anyway, if I break an axleshaft, will the tire and wheel just come off and roll down the trail? Is this Rubicon Dana 44 a semi-float axle? If the axleshaft breaks, but the wheel will stay on, is it OK to limp off of the trail, and if so should I keep it shifted in 4x4? Should I lock the differential on the broken axle? For some reason I assume it will be a rear axleshaft that breaks. Would it be better to yank the rear driveshaft and motor out in front-wheel drive or viceversa if it was the front axle that broke?
If I carry a spare axleshaft, assuming the rear shafts are the same length, would the bearings have to be pressed on already? Exactly how would you go about this on the trail? If this is doable, how do you get the broken splined stub of the axle out of the differential? If I blow up my brand-new G2 5.13 gears, will it wreak havoc if I try to get off the trail with the other differential, and would you pull the driveshaft at this point?
I realize I went over my quota of questions, but I don’t seem to understand everything I should know about this stuff. I’m going to Moab soon, so I figure I will be better prepared if anything exciting happens to my rearend. Bruce Williams
That’s quite the myriad of driveline trail repair questions. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a simple answer to each question. There are many variables and sometimes other obstacles that will need to be overcome. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with the JK axles, because some other popular axles would require a slightly different thought process.
If you break a rear axleshaft, it will generally break where the splines end. This is usually the narrowest and weakest area. Although, an axleshaft could fail anywhere along its length. Your JK rear axle is a semi-floating rear axle. The axle bearing is pressed onto the axleshaft and a retainer plate keeps the axleshaft and bearing in the axlehousing. If the axleshaft does fail at the splines, or anywhere between the axleshaft bearing and the splines, the bearing retainer and brake caliper will keep the wheel and tire assembly on the axlehousing. It will be wobbly and unstable, but it should roll well enough to get your Jeep off of the trail and onto a tow truck. Now, if for some reason the rear axleshaft fails on the outside of the bearing, the wheel will typically break free from the grasp of the brake caliper and exit the wheelwell. This type of axleshaft failure usually only happens in really abusive conditions.
The right and left rear axleshafts in the ’07-’18 JK are different lengths. The right shaft is 32 5⁄8 inches, and the left shaft is 311⁄4 inches. They are not interchangeable, so if you want to carry spares, you’ll need both sides. Companies such as Mopar (mopar.com), Spicer (spicerparts.com), and Yukon (yukongear.com) offer factory replacement axleshafts assembled complete with the axle bearing, seal, retainer, and ABS tone ring.
If you are concerned about the strength of the stock axleshafts under your loadeddown Jeep, you could replace them with heavy-duty 35-spline parts from companies like Dynatrac (dynatrac.com), G2 (g2axle. com), and RCV (rcvperformance.com).
Limping a Jeep with a damaged axle usually requires some assessment and repairs prior to getting underway. You should be able to figure out exactly what is broken and know if it’s binding in any way. Binding can cause a lot more damage, so it’s best to free up whatever is stuck instead of abusing the parts further. Locking the rear locker with a broken rear axleshaft with help get your Jeep off the trail more easily. Needless to say, you will want to baby it off the trail.
A broken ring-and-pinion could have the busted teeth jammed into other areas of the axle. Ring-and-pinion failure usually requires that you pull the differential cover and remove the broken bits. Loose gear teeth in the axle assembly will cause it to unexpectedly and randomly lock up. Not even removing the driveshaft can guarantee this won’t happen. If the rear ring and pinion are completely shot, you can remove the rear driveshaft after clearing the broken bits out of the housing. In some extreme cases you may need to remove the ring gear and reinstall the empty carrier in the axlehousing.
Removing the splined section of a broken axleshaft from the carrier is tricky business. Sometimes you can pull it out with a powerful magnetic telescoping retriever tool; sometimes you can tap it out with a rod from the other side; and sometimes you have to remove the carrier from the axlehousing before pounding it out. It’s usually not at all a fun job in the dirt.
Like the rear axleshafts, broken front axleshafts require similar evaluation prior to limping out. They typically fail at the steering U-joint. If you hear popping up
front, it’s important to let off the throttle immediately. A broken steering joint can lead to the axleshaft ears trying to pass each other if you stay in the throttle. This can cause the ball joints to pull apart and the entire steering knuckle and wheel to free itself from the axle assembly. The broken axleshaft ears can also keep the steering from functioning properly. Front axleshafts with a broken U-joint or ears should be removed or replaced before limping off the trail. If a splined end of a front axleshaft breaks, it’s not as big of a deal, although you should disassemble the axle and remove the broken bits before continuing on. A broken front axleshaft can flop around inside the housing, bind up, or potentially cause damage to the inner axle seal and seal mounting surface. The JK unit bearing does not require the stub shaft to be installed like some other unit bearings, so you can completely remove the offending axleshaft, stuff a rag in the axletube to keep the oil in, and limp off the trail in threewheel drive. You can use the front locker in this scenario, but you should baby it.
Ideally, you can avoid all of these axle failures. Driving sanely and matching the tire size and load capacity to your axles is the best way to avoid this kind of destruction. You may want to consider carrying less equipment, especially if you don’t need it for every trip. The 35-inch tires are about the maximum tire diameter I would recommend for the factory Dana 44 axle assemblies.
What are the reasons or benefits of leaning coilovers at an angle in certain applications?
@realjeepsarefullsize Via Instagram @cappaworks
Custom-fabricated suspension conversions come in all forms. Coilover shocks have become a popular, versatile, and compact package that provides weight carrying capacity and suspension damping. Coilovers are easier to mount than most spring and shock suspension designs, especially when space is at a premium. They also offer near infinite adjustability for spring rates and shock valving.
In most cases, coilovers are mounted to the axle and in line with suspension movement. However, there are situations where this is not always possible or desired. Mounting the coilovers at an angle can help fit a longer shock into a smaller area or help keep it clear of other components that may make contact as the suspension cycles, such as the tire, frame, and so on. Some people inaccurately believe that tilting the shock at a slight angle will significantly alter the motion ratio of the shock and the effectiveness of the shock valving. This could not be further from the truth when dealing with the 1:1
movement of a solid 4x4 front or rear axle. The motion ratio of a shock bolted directly to a solid axle is only minimally altered when the shock is angled. For example, on a typical link suspension with a coilover mounted vertically on the axle, the coilover will compress 1 inch for every 1 inch of suspension travel, providing a 1:1 shock motion ratio. When you angle the coilover to even an extreme and unheard of 30 degrees on the same suspension system, the result is a motion ratio of 1:0.866, meaning the coilover shock travels 0.866 inches (or about 7⁄8-inch) for every 1 inch of suspension movement. Tilting the shock to a more reasonable 15 degrees results in a motion ratio of 1:0.966. Neither of these scenarios would require special shock tuning above and beyond a 1:1 motion ratio application. By comparison, a performance A-arm suspension might have a shock motion ratio as high as 2:1, where the shock only travels 1 inch for every 2 inches of actual suspension travel. In this situation, the shock valving would need to be changed to compensate for the motion ratio. Motion ratio and other important coilover calculation data can be found on the Hyperco (hypercoils.com) website.
Hi-Low Steering Swap
I am preparing to do a high-steering revision and a track bar relocation to my ’01 TJ. It has a Ford Super Duty Dana 60 front axle. Is there any reason or benefit to mounting the steering linkage to the top or bottom of the arm at the knuckle? Thanks for any insight. Bob Crooker
Generally, the reason for installing highsteering arms on an axle is to get the steering linkages up and out of harm’s way. With this logic in mind, you’ll want them to be as high up as possible. So you’ll usually want to attach the linkages to the top sides of the steering arms. However, when installing high-steering arms on any axle, it’s important to check for clearance, especially on Jeeps with low center of gravity suspensions. It’s not uncommon for the tie rod or drag link to bump into the frame, steering box, or other chassis component. You may need to cycle the suspension to properly check the clearance. While doing this, you can mock up the drag link and tie rod into both locations to see what fits and what doesn’t. Don’t forget to cycle the steering back and forth as well as cycle the suspension through all different scenarios. This can be achieved by safely supporting the chassis of the Jeep, removing the coil springs, and articulating the axle with a pair of floor jacks.