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Old 11-10-2002, 06:32 PM
MJR MJR is offline
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WJ Steering and Brakes are done

Let me know what you think.

My WJ steering/brake conversion on my 1988 Jeep Wagoneer (XJ).

First I would like to thank all those who have helped me with advice, time, parts, and fabrication skills. Your help is greatly appreciated.

I would like to start out by talking correcting some information which is out there about this conversion. The WJ knuckles are approx .25" shallower than those used on YJ's, TJ's, XJ's, and ZJ's where the hub bolts in. The WJ hubs DO NOT correct this. In all my measuring of hubs for all the listed models they all have one measurement in common and that is the distance between the axle shaft mounting surface (on the inside) to the hub mounting surface. So the result of this is regardless of which hub you use IT IS NESSARY to space the hub out to maintain the "FACTORY SPEC" of the U-joint to ball joint relationship. This is important to prevent bottoming of the axle shaft on the differential center pin and binding of the axle shaft U joint on turns.

There are several ways to do this conversion and alot is going to depend on your individual setup. I will only be able to tell you what I have done and any reasons I did it this way.

My 1988 had marginal brakes to begin with not to mention lifting it, adding alot of weight, and larger tires. The most common thing that is done for these early XJ's is to convert to the later style dual diaphram brake booster and master cylinder. I also needed to improve the steering as the angles involved slop and toe change as the suspension cycles.

Fortunately the WJ had the answer to both of my problems. I bought some used 00 WJ knuckles, a used 00 WJ power brake booster, a used 00 WJ master cylinder, and a pair of used 01 TJ hubs. I also purchased new 03 WJ loaded brake calipers. This is written in three parts. The first is on installing and modifying the WJ's dual diaphram power brake booster/master cylinder to fit, next is modifying my brake proportional valve so the front and rear circuits have equal pressure (I added a rear 9" which has Explorer disc brakes altough I recommend adding a adjustable proportional valve for the rear after doing this mod, I will do this at a later date), and finally modifying/installing the 00 WJ knuckles/custom steering/brakes (03 WJ).

Below is the web link to the pictures I took during this process.

http://www.fototime.com/ftweb/bin/ft...-64620958E671}

Part One.

The 00 WJ brake booster/master cylinder modification was alot easier than using the later style XJ setup and it was not nessary to relocate either the washer bottle or air box on the early models. I also did not have to swap out the power brake booster pedal rod.

I started by removing my old single diaphram power brake booster and master cylinder. I had to have saved some weight in the process also as the original master was chunky steel whereas the new smaller one is aluminum. I did some trial fitting and found out I needed to do some things.

The first was to bend the sheet metal slightly just above where the brake booster goes for clearance.

Next I needed new nuts to attach the booster as the WJ uses smaller ones. I also used a .25" spacer between the booster and firewall for more clearance from a used 97 XJ booster I had sitting around. Setup this way the brake pedal will be a little lower (about the .25" spacer used) but this isn't a problem.

I took the WJ booster and drilled the pedal rod hole out (using a large Unibit step drill bit) to just under the hole size in my original booster and hand filed it to the same size. Then I ground a flat spot at the end of the pedal rod just like the original booster. This allows me to use my original brake light switch just as it was on the original booster. With all this done I bolted in the booster and master cylinder using blue Locktite. Now I had to make the brake lines.

I reused the fittings from the prop valve but it wasn't easy to find the fittings for the new master cylinder as they are metric. Everyone had the 10mm one for the front system but no one had the 12mm for the rear system. I ended up ordering the factory WJ lines to get the fittings. I simply rebent the lines and double flared the original prop valve fittings on. The original brake lines used double flares at both ends but the WJ master uses a bubble flare. This part of the project done I now moved onto the prop valve modifications.

Part Two.

The proportioning valve reduces pressure applied to the rear brakes to prevent premature rear brake lock up. These valves are vehicle/model/setup specific for maximum braking control. I earlier added a new rear axle that has disc brakes so I did this modification so that they will work as they should to help the overall braking I recommend either swapping in one that is setup for rear discs or adding a adjustable prop valve to prevent premature rear brake lockup.

I started by using a large adjustable wrench to hold the body of the prop valve while I unscrew the pressure hold off valve. Then using another wrench I unscrewed the nut holding it all in. Be careful as it is under spring pressure. Loosen it with the wrench and do the rest by hand. This spring is what sets the brake bias front and rear. Once the nut is out pull the spring out and using small pliers pull the valve out being careful not to scratch it with the pliers. You can see the little rubber seal at the end. Remove it and then reassemble everything else in reverse order. This is part is of the project is now done and I move on to the final part.

Part Three.

I started this project using a 2wd beam axle that I had a stand welded onto so I could measure the differences between YJ/TJ/XJ/ZJ/WJ parts for prototyping parts and then fit them on a axle without tearing down my front end until it was nessary. In all this measuring I decided to use 01 TJ hubs as they allowed me to use a .230" spacer to recenter the axle shaft U joint between the ball joints on the WJ knuckles and have the WJ brake rotor line up within the calipers. I had to custom modify the hubs and find suitable aftermarket brake rotors. When spacing the hubs out I found that to properly support the hub in the knuckle required custom mods. There are several ways to do this but I can only tell you what I did to deal with this problem.

First I had the 01 TJ hubs pressed apart and machined down so the were both the same in the area where it goes into the knuckle. The hubs were then pressed back together.

I then had custom hub spacer/adapters machined to not only space the hub out .230" (for axle U joint alignment) but also support the hub within the knuckle even more so than the factory did. With this done I now needed to get suitable aftermarket brake rotors.

I did not like the factory WJ rotors due to a cast in depression area inboard of the stud holes. If I redrilled these rotors to 5 on 4.5" the new holes would be to close to this area. This can be seen in the photo showing a rusty redrilled stock one next to the aftermarket one I chose to use. I only found one aftermarket brake rotor that was machined smooth through this whole area. It was the Aimco SuperPremium 5118. I made a redrilling jig to drill the 5 on 4.5" bolt pattern into these new rotors and drilled them to my bolt pattern.

I chose to use the newer 03 WJ calipers but could have used the 99-02 ones. Both are 48mm dual piston calipers and mount to the knuckle the same way but the newer ones have a few improvements. The newer ones have a better slide setup, metal pistons, and the brake pads are narrower/longer. This reduces the rotor warping problems that the earlier calipers/pads may have caused. These brakes are meant to be used with 16" wheels but I didn't want to change my 15x8" TJ Canyon ones. I use a 1.25 wheel spacer so that I can use these wheels and have 4" backspacing which is needed for the 7" of lift I have. I recommend switching to 16" wheels rather than dealing with the clearance issues but I did make them work for my setup. The earlier calipers would have fit with less grinding of the caliper for my rims to fit. There is a picture at the end showing the older style caliper.

I had to assemble the custom machined spacer/adapters, custom machined hubs, aftermarket rotors that were redrilled to 5 on 4.5" bolt pattern, and the new calipers on my test axle stand. With this stuff assembled I them test fit my wheels and determined where and how much to grind off the calipers so the wheels would clear them. I used a 4" grinder to do all the major grinding and followed it up with a belt sander to smooth it all out. I ten painted them with some matching silver paint. I have a little over 1/8" clearance to the rim which is just fine. After the grinding was done to the new caliper I noticed how the shape was more like the older style caliper but it would be alot easier to just go to 16" wheels. Now that all this was done I was ready to dive in and tear down my front end knowing that there would still be some problems to deal with.

I supported my front axle on jack stands and removed the wheels, wheel spacers, brake rotors, brake calipers (I left them hanging until I was ready to connect the hoses to the new ones), axle shafts, hubs, knuckles, and steering links. I painted the hubs, spacer/adapters, and knuckles black. I installed the 00 WJ knuckles (I recommend you check or change your ball joint before you do this), reinstalled my axle shafts, installed the hub spacer/adapters using anti-seize on all mating surfaces, installed the 01 TJ custom machined hubs also using antiseize, torqued the hub bolts to 75ft lbs, torqued the axle nuts to 175ft lbs, installed the redrilled 5 on 4.5" aftermarket rotors, and installed the custom ground 03 WJ loaded calipers. Now I disconnected the brake hoses from the old calipers and installed them on the new ones. Be careful to make sure the brake hoses have clearance between the tires on turns. Once this was done I bled and flushed the brake system.

I was going to use modified stock WJ steering links but due to time and not being able to get them I had custom chromoly links made with heim joints. I also moved the steering links on top of the knuckles for better clearance and angle on the drag link. I reamed the holes in the knuckle out to 5/8" and I will be using grade 8 bolts with crimped lock nuts (not nylocks). The bolts have long shoulders and I cut off the excess thread for clearance. On the drag link I am also using anti seperation washers for the heims. The tie rod heim are standard 3/4-16 with a custom sleeve pressed in the bolt hole to make a 5/8" bolt work. The drag link uses high misalignment 3/4-16 heims that already are setup for 5/8" bolts. The links are made out of 1.25"dia 1/8" wall chromoly tubing which has another piece of smaller 1/8" wall chromoly tubing inside making it 1/4" wall in total. To this I had right and left hand threaded 3/4-16 chromoly billet bungs TIG welded on.

When I put the new steering links on I ran into a problem. The tie rod hit the factory track bar mount, the left spring mount, and sway bar links on turns. I knew I would have to redo the track bar anyway for proper angles altough I was hoping to not have to for the short term but now I had to.

I started by grinding the sway bar mount welds and removing them (I still need to make some new ones later but for now I don't have them on).

Next I had to cut out almost the whole factory track bar bracket and some of the spring pad mounts underneath. I am using a modified Shyjacker bar currently but will make a new setup later that is better suited for these mods. I had some plate welded in to reinforce the original steering dampner mount which is where the Skyjacker track bar mounts to the axle as this is normally weak and not suited for a trackbar. On turns the tie rod now fits nicely under the new track bar mount although close. I plan on adding a steering dampner later like the setup on a WJ but for now it is working fine. Now that all this steering clearance and track bar stuff is done I can bolt everything up and take it out for a drive.

The steering is very tight and sensitive now but the biggest total improvement is the brakes. I expected an improvement in braking but didn't think they would work so well. To say that they work better than when the vehicle was stock is an understatement. I am impressed with the improvements to my steering and brakes. I consider this a very important and worthwhile modification.



Mike R
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  #2  
Old 11-10-2002, 06:57 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Great write-up Mike!

Thanks for taking the time to share the information and for taking the pictures to go along with it.

Frank


PS: Are those the Unit Bearings you were showing me over at Blaine's shop a few weeks or so back?
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Old 11-10-2002, 07:02 PM
MJR MJR is offline
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I did bring one over to his place and he also had a one that was setup differently so I don't which one ypu saw off the top of my head.
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Old 11-10-2002, 08:24 PM
MJR MJR is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daless2
Great write-up Mike!

Thanks for taking the time to share the information and for taking the pictures to go along with it.

Frank


PS: Are those the Unit Bearings you were showing me over at Blaine's shop a few weeks or so back?
Yes that was them I just remembered.
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Old 11-11-2002, 12:59 PM
Jes
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Nice write-up and nice work Mike!
You definately had a few of the boys drooling over it in Moab.
Seems like something I should do seeing as my brakes are brand new(F&R) and they pretty much suck.


Jes
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Old 11-11-2002, 04:31 PM
Ary'01XJ Ary'01XJ is offline
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Mike, question for ya...
Is there a reason you couldn't have used the outer shafts from a WJ and mated them to the inners from an XJ and then just used the WJ hubs?? I'm getting everything from the outers out from a WJ axle including brakes, hubs, etc. As well as the shafts. I was thinking I could just make up bastard shafts and bolting it all together. Am I missing something?? Thanks

Ary

P.S. I'm going to be doing this soon, so any help would be good.
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:41 PM
MJR MJR is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ary'01XJ
Mike, question for ya...
Is there a reason you couldn't have used the outer shafts from a WJ and mated them to the inners from an XJ and then just used the WJ hubs?? I'm getting everything from the outers out from a WJ axle including brakes, hubs, etc. As well as the shafts. I was thinking I could just make up bastard shafts and bolting it all together. Am I missing something?? Thanks

Ary

P.S. I'm going to be doing this soon, so any help would be good.
All WJ's use rubber booted CV joint front axle shafts so you can't mate this to a U jointed shaft. There is no reason to use the WJ hubs unless you want to go to a 5 on 5" bolt pattern. The reason I say that is there are stock hubs with the 5 on 4.5" bolt pattern that have the same rotor mounting surface to hub mounting surface as the WJ ones so you don't have to redrill the hubs. But the problem then becomes that you need to space the hub out for the axle U joint to center between the ball joints like stock. This is why I used the 01 TJ (really 00-02 TJ and 00-01 XJ hubs) hubs because they have a different measurement (shorter) from the rotor mounting surface to hub mounting surface that allows the use of a spacer.
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Old 11-11-2002, 11:05 PM
Ary'01XJ Ary'01XJ is offline
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OHHHHHHHHHH, now it makes sense I do have another question...

Are '96 XJ hubs and '01XJ hubs interchangeable?? I've got a HP D30 from a '96 that I'm gonna swap in, and I'm wondering if I should hold on to my '01 D30s hubs for spares or just sell 'em off for more mod money? Thanks

Ary
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Old 11-11-2002, 11:42 PM
MJR MJR is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ary'01XJ
OHHHHHHHHHH, now it makes sense I do have another question...

Are '96 XJ hubs and '01XJ hubs interchangeable?? I've got a HP D30 from a '96 that I'm gonna swap in, and I'm wondering if I should hold on to my '01 D30s hubs for spares or just sell 'em off for more mod money? Thanks

Ary
Hubs and rotors go together as a set. As long as both are changed together they will work but you can't mix and match because each has a different offset. On XJ's 84-89 hubs are interchangeable, 91-99 hubs are interchangeable, and 00-01 are interchangeable.
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