NUTS & BOLTS
QWhat’s a good compromise between winch rating and line speed? I’ve found that the line speed of the winch I’m using is inadequate for the trail riding I do. In other words, when I’m helping my current winch with the truck in gear, I find that I have to stop frequently and let the winch catch up. It’s a 12,000-pound winch, and the vehicle is a Toyota truck on 37s. I’m thinking of going to a lighterduty winch in order to get more line speed.
ROBERT K. Via [email protected]
AThe answer depends a lot on the type of off-roading you do. Let’s tackle the winch rating first. A 12,000-pound winch is overkill for a Toyota for trail use, but it’s on the heavy side for mud bogging. The rule of thumb is that you want a winch capable of pulling 11⁄2 times the weight of your vehicle. This is because your winch needs to be able to pull your truck plus overcome whatever resistance the truck has encountered. Popping up and over a rock often just takes a little tug, while getting stuck frame-deep in a 150-foot mud hole is very different. For trail use, an 8,000-9,500-pound winch is just about right for your truck.
While heavier winches often have a slower line speed than their lighter-duty equivalents, there’s no direct correlation between winch rating and line speed. We’ve found that line speed depends much more on the quality of the winch itself. One of the many dirty little secrets about the cheap imported winches that have flooded the market in recent years is that they are painfully slow. Those manufacturers have figured out that people mostly pay attention to the weight rating of the winch and ignore the other important specifications like line speed and amp draw. If you are an overseas manufacturer and you need your crappy Chinese motor to pull 12,000 pounds so you don’t get nailed for false advertising, the cheapest way to get it done is with more gearing. This in turn means slower operation.
The better plan of attack with winch shopping is to compare all the specifications, but unfortunately the published specs can be misleading. For example, Warn’s (warn.com) Zeon 8 winch has a rated line speed of 11.7 feet per minute while drawing 255 amps for a 4,000-pound pull. A Zeon 12 winch has a line speed of 9.3 fpm while drawing 209 amps. These specs jibe with our real-world experience— the 12,000-pound winch is slower, but not substantially slower. Meanwhile a certain import winch manufacturer publishes similar numbers for one of its winches, but it has been our experience that real-world performance by that same winch is very different. As with many things, there’s often a reason why a product is cheaper. At the end of the day, we have never felt like we had to wait on a Warn winch to do its job, which is why most of our rigs have a winch with a big red “W” on it.
AWD V-8 XJ
QI am in the planning stages for a smaller all-wheel drive XJ. I’m thinking aluminum LS, 6L80, and am stuck on using a part-time versus full-time transfer case in a 2001 Cherokee. I drive where there is the possibility of bad weather and bad roads about half the year, and I am concerned about the road manners of a part-time transfer case on slippery pavement. A second consideration is the “sleeper” SRT8 possibilities in an XJ. I really am leaning toward the full-time
box. Axles are stock low-pinion Dana 30 and Chrysler 8.25 with 3.55 gears. Both have recently been rebuilt with TrueTrac differentials.
What Chevy transfer case should I look for if going to full-time? Will these axles hold up to the additional power? I am running stock-sized tires and am not hard on parts. What are the handling and longevity ramifications of a swap like this?
STEVEN M. Via [email protected]
AYour build is an interesting proposition:
V-8 power in a lightweight all-wheeldrive Cherokee would be a lot of fun! Shoehorning a V-8 under the hood of an XJ is difficult, but it’s doable, and with a low-profile intake manifold from a Camaro, GTO, or Corvette the LS engine would actually be an easier fit than a Gen I small-block Chevy.
As for your transfer case options, you have several potential avenues to achieve what you want. While the NP231 transfer case is the best known and most common in Cherokees, XJs also came with the NP242 transfer case. It offers a full-time four-wheeldrive mode in addition to traditional 2-Hi,
4-Hi, and 4-Lo. These are very popular in snow country and are generally regarded as being as strong as an NP231 in stock form. They are plentiful in wrecking yards and easy to rebuild, and there’s even a slip-yoke eliminator kit available from Tom Wood’s Drive Shafts (4xshaft.com). Both Novak (novak-adapt.com) and Advance Adapters (advanceadapters.com) offer adapters that facilitate mating an NP242 to a 6L80 (the round six-bolt pattern is the same, but input diameter and spline counts are different). With a stock LS, you are in the upper range of what a Jeep NP242 can handle, but it should survive as long as it’s not subjected to much abuse.
Adapting a Jeep case is easy enough, but a couple of other options are available that happen to be stronger. A version of the NP242 was also used in Hummer H1s and H2s. Though similar in many ways to the Jeep NP242, there are some significant strength and durability differences, including a stronger six-pinion planetary set, a thicker chain, and an integrated cooling system. Rated for significantly more torque input, these differences also make many of the internal components different. The GM versions also don’t have a 2-Hi option, and to our knowledge the H2 versions were all electric shift rather than a traditional lever. Information is a little vague on what interchanges between the GM and Jeep versions and what doesn’t, so it’s unclear if a Hummer NP242 could be converted to run in 2-Hi and manual shift (we would be willing to bet it’s possible). Most Hummer NP242s were used
behind 4L80s, but there were also H2s with 6L80s right at the tail end of Hummer production in 2008-2009. It might take some digging, but you could find a stock
6L80/NP242 combo with no aftermarket stuff required (other than a transmission controller). Heck, you could nab the entire drivetrain out of an H2 and have a complete
6.0L LS package. Plucking the entire drivetrain from an H2 donor would also eliminate a lot of common swap problems, including spline count differences, speed sensor inputs and locations, and much more. A complete H2 LS combination with a 4L80E is much more common, but if manual transfer case shifting is a requirement, you’ll want to limit your hunt to H1 transfer cases and adapt as you see fit.
As for your axles, you’re going to find it difficult to have 300-plus horsepower on tap and not use it. The Chrysler 8.25 would be a ticking time bomb with that much power even with stock tires, and why would you go through all the trouble of a drivetrain swap only to baby it due to weak axles? At minimum we’d swap in a Ford 8.8 from an Explorer. Anything more than stock-height tires would put the front axle in danger as well, and the TrueTrac in the front is going to make the Jeep drive funny in full-time mode.
SEMIFLOAT 14-BOLT DISCS
QAfter reading your article in the Sept.
2018 issue “Dol-Drums: Swapping Disc Brakes Onto a GM 14-Bolt Axle” (bit.
ly/2pWGsQx) I am wondering if the parts needed are the same for a 14-bolt semifloat GM axle.
MATT S. Via [email protected]
AIn short, no, the parts are not the same. The semifloating 14-bolt and its big brother the full-floater have little in common other than the name. Like most of the other components on the two axles, the brake brackets with a full-floater and a semifloater are going to be very different. Although the parts we used in that article aren’t compatible with a semifloat 9.5-inch 14-bolt, companies do offer disc brake conversion kits specifically for your axle. Both Lugnut 4x4 (lugnut4x4.com) and TSM Manufacturing (tsmmfg.net) offer disc brake conversion kits for six-lug 14-bolts. Both kits can be ordered with or without calipers brake hoses and several other options, should you choose to source some of that stuff on your own. Both kits are also available with or without calipers with a parking brake function as well. They will fit some 15-inch wheels, but 16-inch wheels are a safer bet. TSM Manufacturing also has a variant that works with eight-lug axles.
There is a year split with the semifloating 14-bolts, so it’s handy to know about what year truck your axle came from if it’s not stock and was swapped in. Keep in mind you’re going to spend about the same money on a disc brake conversion as you would swapping in an entire late-model full-floating 14-bolt that has disc brakes from the factory.
I-6 TO AMC V-8
Q Would all the brackets (alternator, power steering pump, and so on) from an inline six-cylinder 258ci engine will work on an AMC 304?
BOBBY G. Via [email protected]
A The accessory drive brackets are going to be very different between the AMC
258s and AMC V-8s. Among other things, the engines have different mounting profiles. If you’re considering a V-8 swap in your CJ, then you’re going to want to source all the accessory drive brackets with the donor engine. Just as with Chevy V-8s, there was a variety of accessory positions and configurations on AMC vehicles among all the different car and truck models, so if possible get all of the bracketry from the same engine.
It’s worth noting that while AMC I-6 and V-8 accessory drive systems are not interchangeable, the accessories within the I-6 and AMC
2.5L engines are largely interchangeable. This means you can use things like the power steering brackets from a four-cylinder 2.5L on a 4.2L in a CJ, and you could theoretically put a 4.0L serpentine system on and earlier
I-6 or I-4 engine (though there would be some issues with the intake manifold to sort out). This applies to the AMC 2.5L engine only; the GM Iron Duke 2.5L is a different animal.
T his H3 had several years of hardcore use under its splines, including UA
2017 and a couple trails of UA 2018. No wonder that returning reader Chris Paul started feeling a vibration and hearing strange noises coming from the Eaton
HO72 rear axle. When the Ultimate Adventure group pulled into the parking lot of the Attitash Mountain Resort, instead of riding the Alpine slide Chris busted out the tools. It turns out the factory coarsespline axleshaft had a really neat corkscrew and some twisted splines—probably from Chris’ new “hammer down” East Coast driving style he adopted during Day
1 of UA 2018. Like all good off-roaders, Chris had a spare ’shaft and was repaired and ready to go before the last rider was down off the mountain.