Qtrac YJ


New member
OK so i started with my 90 YJ, 258 eng, ax15,stock dana 30 front and d35 rear. I bought this thing out of York PA (14 hrs from here) with a burnt piston for $1500, hauled it home and overhauled the engine. While I was at it I got rid of the feedback carb because i hate feedback carbs and replaced it with a rebuilt 78 cj carb. That bolted right up but without the correct carb in there the ECM couldn't control the timing. The first thing I did was go buy a points distributor for a 72 258. That worked ok but I was never very happy with it. After a while I replaced it with a GM style HEI unit from 4wd hardware and i absolutely love that thing It made all the difference in the world over 3000 rpms. So then we were going to start more offroading so I got a lock rite for the rear, some homemade shackle lift, and a new set of 31x10.5x15 Mudkings. At this point it wheeled ok but it wasn't my daily driver anymore and the guys I run with had better setups and i wanted to step up my game a little bit. So my cousin is telling me about this 79 cherokee he found that he wanted to buy so that he could put its 360 engine in his cj5. I did a little research and found out that the cherokee had a dana44hd front and d44 rear and a turbo 400 trans. I told him that if he could get it cheap enough I would split it with him and take the drivetrain. Well we got it for $100, stripped the stuff that we wanted and scrapped the body for $140, so thats cheap enough.:lol: We started out by stripping the perches and shock mounts off the axles. I got new 7" spring perches and shock tabs from a couple fab places and mounted the axles with SOA setup and I also had to do about
1 1/4" blocks on the front prches for the steering to clear the leaf springs. I sandblasted and painted the wheels black (they had a pretty camo thing going on) and mounted a used set of 35x12.5x15 MTRs i found on craigslist. With the tires, SOA, and lift shackles the top of the tub was at 52" high and the top of the rollbar was at 6'7".The turbo 400 went in pretty straightforward. I had to get a flexplate from napa and use the starter from the cherokee. Luckily the radiator in my jeep was not original and it had a transmission cooler circuit in it and all i had to do was run new lines to it. I topped it off with a Hurst Promatic 2 ratchet shifter. The quadratrac tcase was afunny thing. Low range was an option on those and my case didnt have it.The low range unit actually bolts onto the back of the tcase. I found a tcase with a low range on ebay for $250 and bought it thinking I got a good deal. Then, naturally, 2 weeks later I found one on craigslist for $50 and bought that one too. I have 3 tcases now and the chains are shot in all 3. The rear output is offset to the right which means all the torque is running through the chain all the time. The up side to this is that the rear output is also about 4" lower than it would be with a normal tcase which helps pinion angle alot. The down side is that if the chain gets to sloppy it jumps a tooth and the case literally explodes.:shock:
Also the rear diff is offset so that should make it a little easier to dodge rocks and stumps with both diffs on the rh side. So with all that done it made its first trip out of the garage in 2 months last night. There is no drag link on it so my cousin guided the front wheels. I know this sounds stupid but the thoughts of it moving under its own power were just to overwhelming to resist. Plus if that sounds stupid we also drove it up a mini rti ramp(just some blocks of wood) with no steering. My DOM tubing showed up so tomorrow I plan on making my z-link and doing the real maiden voyage, then it will probably just get parked until spring since i don't have a heated building to work in for the finishing touches. My future plans for this thing are gears and lockers, and reverse pattern manual valve body. After thats all done I think i'm gonna go propane.


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Sounds like a sweet buildup. I personally would avoid any blocks between the front axle and springs, and any type of Z style draglink. Since you have the d44 up front you should be able to put a highsteer arm on the passenger side steering knuckle and at least run the draglink to the top of the knuckle and over the leaf spring.

A flattop passenger steering knuckle is a little harder to come by than the drivers side, but there's plenty out there.

Having the diffs on the same side, more behind the wheel, has become very popular in the rockcrawl comp circuits. It allows the rig to straddle obstacles easier and tucks the diffs up behind the wheel, offering slight protection from getting hung up.

Yeah i agree that my steering setup is a little sketchy but i don't plan on making it permanent. My bosses snow plowtruck has flattop knuckles and it has 1 foot in the grave so i will get those before it gets junked. My budget was too tight to do everything right on the 1st try and this setup should get me around for a while until i can beg, borrow and steal the right stuff.
The Flat Top Knuckles are the way to go. Check out the build I threw up, there are some pics of the steering, I can send you some more too if you want. The biggest issue I had, and really the only one, the 1 ton TRE are huge, the pitman arm TRE was contacting the tie rod ever so slightly. I had to make a bracket that move the box foward a tad bit.
Also, if you can, you might want to go to a smaller shackle to improve the angle. having the shackle that close to 90* is inviting a bent spring. Trust me, prior to the boomerangs on the front, I used to invert the front srping all the time, it was causing a un-natural axle cycle and blowing front pinion yokes constantly. I went through 6 yokes this summer because of this. unfortunately one of the spring is bent so bad it is still breaking the yokes even with the bommerang shackles.

One thing to note. The QT is a RH drop case and the YJ is LH drop.
I figured it was time for an update. Rebuilt the the transfer case and installed a new chain a few months ago and that was fairly painless. Then not long ago while stuck in the bottom of a drainage ditch trying to free myself the transmission started whining and there was long pause after I would shift until it would actually go into gear. Time for a rebuild. It was my own fault for taking a neglected 30 year old trans and just slapping it in and abusing the fook out of it. Well as every good jeeper knows every breakdown is an opportunity for an upgrade. So I got on jegs site and got myself a B&M master racing rebuild kit, TCI sizzler torque converter, and a TCI reverse pattern manual valve body with engine braking in 1st and 2nd. If you don't know what that means it changes the shift pattern to
P-R-N-1-2-3. The manual part means that the trans will no longer shift on its own and will only shift gears when i move the shifter from gear to gear. This was great on the trail because in low range I have to keep the trans in first otherwise it wanted to upshift all the time making it go to fast and I had to constantly ride the brakes. With my ratchet shifter if Iwas in 1st and needed to back up i had to run through every gear to R then back through every gear to 1st. Now that problem is solved. The new valve body also made the shifts just right, much firmer than stock but not harsh like a race car. There is no internal difference between my AMC Turbo 400 and the GM Turbo 400 and all the parts i ordered were actually for the gm trans. The only problem was the torque converter bolt pttern was a little smaller than the pattern on my AMC flexplate. To remedy this I mounted my flexplate on the brake lathe to center it and scribed marks on it at he proper diameter for the new torque convetr, laid the flex plate on the bench, laid the converter on it and carefully marked the bolt holes and drilled them out. They dont have to be exact but they have to be very
close. If you try this at home when you pu it in the vehicle start all the bolts and see if the converter still turns side to side a little, it should, if it does you're good tighten er down, if not pull it back out and open up the tight holes a bit.Well thats pretty much it. Overall I love my auto trans and I love it even more now that I souped it up. Can't wait for next spring.:beer:
If you can find a Dana 18 case it has the offset to match the axles and is gear driven. Not sure how hard it would be to mount up to an automatic though.

If you find a NP219, it's also a QT and it's 23 spline input ('80 to '80 FSJs have them as an option)
I rebuilt my qtrac tcase and i'm just gonna run it and see how it holds up. From what i've read the chain is the weak point and thats because they never get replaced and they stretch/jump teeth/blow big chunks outta the case. Well
i put a new one in so i think i'll be good. Plus i'm not pushing big power through it, just my old 258. Another reason i'm not lookin to replace it is because i've started collecting parts for my next build.