WJ HUBS/BRAKE/STEERING ON THE XJ...
The Real Story!
I would like to start with the fact that this
is not an easy or cheap project. If you read the brunsville off-road write
up on this there is alot of missing info. For starters, the difficulty in
locating a left hand tap for the new drag link and tie rod you're going to
need to make. The WJ ones are too long. Also the washers for "spacers" is
just plain dangerous. Please read through this, I'll try to be as specific
as I can.
At the beginning I had a hard time locating the WJ knuckles. New price is
around $245 from Jeep. I found a pair at a local yard for $100 each with
the hubs on them. Add $59 for the caliper and rotor, The XJ ones are not
even close to compatible from 87-2001! With the right outer knuckle I
purchased the drag link and tie rod with the ends. The ends are huge with
24mm x 1.5 pitch thread. The stud is the same as the XJ and will bolt into
the knuckles and pitman arm the same. I tried using the XJ left knuckle
with the WJ right. Bad idea because the WJ brakes are so much bigger.I'm
not sure if it would have pulled to the left because the XJ caliper takes
less fluid to activate the piston or if it would have pulled to the right
because the WJ brakes are so huge,with double pistons.
For tie rod and drag
link I bought steel rod. 1 1/4" O.D. for the tie rod and drag link.
These are the hardest solid steel rod I could get. The machine shop is
going to drill and tap them. They had to have a tap made for the left
hand meteric thread. This takes four weeks to get the tap.
While waiting for the tap to be made
I used a section of 1 1/8" O.D. steel rod and used it to sleeve the
original WJ drag link, which I cut in half and took 2 1/2" off each end.
I drilled three holes through the side of the WJ link, in different
locations. Then I made certain all the measuerments where correct and
welded the steel rod into the link. straight bead around the WJ ends to
the solid bar in the center . Deep plug welds in the holes I drilled.
This is a temporary link till the big ones are done,but still 100 times
beefier than the XJ one was. It will also be a trail spare since this is
all custom and I can't just pick up a replacment should it be neccessary.
The end result was exactly three feet and the tie rod ends are in the
center of the thread length.
The WJ drag link is roughly the 1 1/8"
O.D. It uses the same thread as the tie rod but the tube is narrower.
The wall thickness is the same for both, But the tie rod tappers down at
the ends and is over an inch in O.D. at the center. The rod ends are
bent. they have a bend to the rear of the vehicle for the tie rod, so
they have to be on the correct side or the rod will hit the axle when
turning. The drag link rods are each different, the pitman arm end is
straight with the drag link but has bend to lower it for extra
clearance. The one to the knuckle has a sharp bend in it to clear the
stabilizer and coil perch.
The knuckles bolt right on the same as
the XJ ones. It is necessary to use the WJ hubs to avoid the dangerous
"spacers". It is true the XJ hubs need to be spaced 1/4" out to center
the u-joint between the ball joints. If this is not done the axle moves
forward and back while turning. If you look at the axle tube and turn
the knuckle you can see tons of movement.
This is very important, read this if nothing else........
When you put "spacers"
in between the knuckle and hub you lose very necessary strength, here's
why. The hubs have a tight fit into the knuckle. If you ever changed the
U-joints you know how hard it is to remove the hub from the knuckle.
With spacers in between, the hub is just barely inside the knuckle. The
only thing keeping the hub on the vehicle is the three bolts that attach
the hub to the knuckle.
With the three washers( brunsvilleoffroad) all
the weight of the vehicle and the stress from large tires are all on the
three little corners of the hub itself. This hub is not designed with
enough strength in the ears to handle this kind of stress. If the ears
don't break it is possible the bolts will shear.
The main reason
for using the XJ hubs is bolt pattern differences. Simple solution is to
have the rotors and hubs drilled to match the XJ pattern, And use all WJ
I took my old XJ hub with the lugs out
of it, old xj rotor, and WJ rotor To the machine shop. They used the hub
to align the centers of the rotors. This way the bolts aren't off center
at all. Then drilled through the XJ rotor into the WJ rotor between the
five WJ bolt hole so there's now ten holes in the WJ rotors. You could
do it yourself,to save money. It was faster for me to have them do it
while I worked on other stuff. They also drilled the WJ hubs to my XJ
pattern.If you notice the Xj studs are very close to the center of the
hub . You have to grind a flat spot on the head of the studs to get them
past the huge bearing and align them with the holes. Once they are
seated there are no clearance issues to worry about, it's just getting
them past the bearing it self to get them started in the new holes.
The WJ bearing is much larger in diameter and an upgrade in itself!!