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Old 06-12-2013, 02:56 PM
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PabloCruise PabloCruise is offline
Rising Sun Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern CO
Posts: 2,626
Default Axle/Third Member Swap Quandary

This is a philosophical pondering, so probably equal parts tech and chat – likely to be long-winded…

As I move at a sloth’s pace toward getting my Cruisers back on the road, I have been contemplating what to do with the various third members and axle housings I have sitting around. I am thinking about what would be best for each Cruiser, and how to accomplish any moves in the least amount of effort and downtime. Also, given how long it takes me to complete projects on my Cruisers, it is likely that the ideas posted in this thread will not translate into action any time soon…

I have 2 Cruisers:
  • ’78 40 w/ lift (4 inch) and 33x12.5 MTs. Not a crazy rig, but not bad either. I damaged the original rear 3rd member trying to reseal a leaking pinion flange that had spun the shims. So I have an extra 3rd in the rear now with an Aussie auto-locker in the rear. Front axle is stock for ’78 with the long birfs and long body ASCO (Aisin) lock-outs.
  • ’74 55 on stock springs. This will be a little milder than the 40, likely to be a weekend Cruiser up the canyon with the family, pull the pop-up and drive-in movie duty. Rear axle stock. When I got this Pig we pulled the front stock axle w/ drum brakes and swapped in a front axle from a ’76 Pig (FJBen’s if people still remember him), so it has discs and ARB locker plus Aqualu passenger side steering arm for higher relay rod mount. Has the long birfs for ’76-’78 and Warn lock-outs.

I have extra parts:
  • Rear 3rd from my ’78 – needs service/rebuilding,
  • Front axle housing (complete) from the ’74 Pig with the drum brakes,
  • 60 series knuckles and discs
  • Short-body lock-outs (Aisin) to go with
  • Short birfs
  • Long-body ASCO lock-outs (spare set)

So I am thinking it would make sense to get the ARB into the front of the 40, and use it, as I am not likely to need it in the front of the Pig. Do I put the 60 series knuckles on the front of the 40 as well?

Would it be easiest/most convenient to build the front housing off the Pig w/ the 60 series knuckles and transplant to the 40? If I do that I have to pull apart the front axle on the Pig to extract the ARB to move to the 40.

Or I could rebuild the front housing that was originally on the Pig with the 60 series knuckles/birfs/discs and lock-outs and just drop the front axle out of the Pig when I have the spare housing built and ready to swap.

I also wonder about trying to rotate one, or both, of the front 3rds to the rear since they probably have so few miles (under power) on them vs. the rears.

I do not know enough about the differences between ’74, ’76 and ’78 front brake line routing to know how much of a hassle it would be to move the front housings around between vehicles vs. swapping 3rds and knuckles.

IIRC, there is a blue-ish colored gear oil in the housing with the ARB. Is this correct for ARB? Where do I get more?

What would you do? Again, at this point this is a mental exercise to simply arrive at the best combo of components for the individual vehicle with the fewest steps, and minimal amount of down-time.

Thanks for entertaining all my rambling thoughts!

1978 FJ-40
1974 FJ-55 w/ 3FE

TLCA #10713

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