The Kluge-V With Photos and Explanations Or how to Make 60 year old stuff ROCK

So I’ve had some people asking for pix of the mythical Dana 18 / Borg Warner low range that I built about 10 years ago….Please understand that I built this thing on ancient equipment. Made it with hand made stuff. It is flame-cut ugly throughout. Really built it as a prototype.  For what end I don’t even remember. Not like there is a huge market for people needing crazy rockcrawl gearing in an ancient transfercase..And it is all made of antique castoffs, freebies, borrowed equipment, mooched machine shop time, inestimable free time likely better spent doing more worthwhile things like drinking, boozing, whoring around and postage stamp collecting.  The true machinists among us will likely be aghast.  And there were some oiling issues early on….. but… I digress… Here is the thing in it’s glory….or lack thereof

Here it is all together before installation.

This is the hollow shaft in position The adapter plate has the original q-trac bearing and thrust washer going on next. I don’t have a pic of it currently.

This is the side view of the hollow shaft that connects the q-trac to the 18 drive gear. It is the q-trac Chaindrive sprocket with enough gear turned off it to fit through the pto opening. It then has just the center of a 18 lowrange gear tig welded to it to engage the teeth on the 18 transfercase drive gear that is actually another driven 29 tooth gear (the one with smooth inside from the bottom end of the t case.)

This is the output shaft in the 18 case. Note the bearing. This sits on top of the main support bearing  in conjunction with a couple spacers to set depth for the drive gear.

This gear is held in place by the hollow shaft assembly and the thrust washer that is between it and the Q-trac adapter. When on the throttle it pulls the gear forward and the thrust load is taken by the bearing in front of the gear. Off the throttle load is taken by the thrust washer. Im probly going to make it a torrington thrust roller bearing someday. So far, the washer is doing fine. The jeep its in sees almost no road miles in a year so not a big deal.

This is the output shaft and T18 to Dana 18 adapter. This is the much easier to find large hole adapter that is commonly found in  newer  CJ’s and J trucks up thru 79. This case started life as a Dana 20 as they have a bit more strength. 18 guts go right in them.

Here it is in the jeep showing the shifter mechanism. I ground some metal off the backside of one of the shifters and used a piece of  1/8″X 1″ flatstrap to Make a third shifter pivot. There is round stock welded to it to make the actual shifter stick. Everyone thinks it’s a Warn overdrive shifter.

Another view installed. Note floor mods. Stock gas tank still fits.

This is the Jeep its all stuffed into. Currently has a Mercedes diesel, 9″ford rearend and a Dana 44 front. Its a strange combo of stuff, Certainly not everyones cup of tea….But its mine and I like it.


6 responses to “The Kluge-V With Photos and Explanations Or how to Make 60 year old stuff ROCK

  1. I have been thinking about stuffing a 1339 low range unit into the back of a D18 for a couple of decades. Couldn’t one borrow part of a Warn OD and avoid the thrust bearing issue and still have the retaining nut on the mainshaft? Have any problems with the gear weld job? Too bad someone doesn’t build a conversion kit for this.

    • So far the lowrange unit has given me no real issues. The welded together part is TIG welded in a way that makes the weld astoundingly thick. Probably over 1/2 of weld there. What I do worry about is the stock Dana 18 10 spline output shaft. But, so far It’s held together thru some of the nastiest stuff Moab has been able to toss at it….

  2. I’ve abused the dickens out of D18’s and have not had one fail. I worry more about the tiny front output diameter. Still, has to be one of the most over-designed gear boxes of all time for its original application. I have had V8 power on several since the early 70’s and have yet to really tear one up.

    • I’d certainly agree on the toughness of the Spicer 18. They are amazing little ‘cases. Only ever had problems with ’em with a 375 horse 327 Chevy smallblock. That same engine claimed a pile of t90 transmissions, several Dana 25,41 and 44 axles. Countless driveshafts and U-joints. Most people I have seen fail 18 ‘cases were low or out of oil and or had already worn out intermediate shaft bearings. Also when rebuilding these ‘cases buy a Novak hardened intermediate gear shaft and bearings. All the other ones I have tried were made out of an awfully soft grade of metal. These “other” nameless ones will wear out with a 60 horse flathead putting around. Like, inside a couple thousand miles.

  3. Homer, do you have a total length measurement of the hollow shaft assm? Also the thickness of adapt. plate.

    • I don’t have those dimensions. I need to take it apart to fix 3rd gear in the t18 but life has kind of gotten in the way. When I do the next dissasembly, I’ll document it much better than I did when I originally did it. I never thought this thing would be more than a passing curiosity, of interest to only myself. Boy was I ever wrong.

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