A stock Scout 800.
Although they are a nice looking ~ definately original design with uncommonly good off-road performance, there are several reasons to put Scout II axles on a Scout 80/800. Here are a few:
1) They turn sharper ~ making it easier to turn around without backing up
2) They are wider ~ this makes them more sturdy when lifted, as well as allow bigger tires without excessive rubbing on the frame/springs (which is common on early model scouts)
3) Better Brakes ~ Swapping old small drum brakes with more powerful disc/drums give MUCH better braking performance. They also don't pull to one side when in quick/emergency braking. They also don't fade after long hills or water crossings
4) Ease in turning ~ Some will say that, after the conversion, steering feels like power-steering. Even though its not, in comparison to the stock high-friction hard-to-turn manners, the open-knuckle design is MUCH easier to turn. Expecially in parking lots or at low speeds.
5) Parts availability. Scout II Dana 44s have Ford brakes, and standard gears/lockers/bearings. Not just cheaper to buid, but maintain.
Thats why you should consider the swap. Here's a quick 'HOW'.
Early Scout frames are wider than Scout IIs. Therefore you must move BOTH front and rear perches. This requires welding. The rear is easy. Strip the axle's stock perches then put it on the springs with new perches between it and the springs. I normally LOOSELY put the u-bolts in place as well.
Then, using a measureing tape, center the axle on the springs. LIGHTLY tighten the u-bolts to keep the axle centered. Then use your jack to possition the pinion angle (which whould point up at the same angle the t-case yoke points down).
The front axle is also fairly easy but much more involved. First you have to make the new U-bolts fit. To do this, simply grind a path so that they will fit securely around the housing.
Test fit the U-bolts.
Then measure the old perches distance from each other (center of hole to center of hole) and determine how wide you much place the new perches on the Scout II axles. I find its about 1" ~ but double check your measurements.
Instead of recreating the perche with weld or what-have-you, I simply take a small perch (Warior Industries 175) and cut off one leg. I then place it on the housing to match the amount it needs to be wider than the Scout II perch. Then I tack-weld it on.
Please note. Its easiest to use the stock perch to set the angle. This will give your front axle the stock amount of caster that is built into the Scout II front end from the factory. You can ADD caster with a pair of shims if you'd like more.
Put the other perch on, but you shouldn't have to weld it at this point.
Re-install the front axle. The springs center pin will/should fit into the passenger-side perch you've already put on. This will position the axle on the springs. You may want to put the U-bolts on to keep the pinion angle right.
With the shackles tight, you should be able to position the driver-side perch between the axle and spring. This should be the final placement of that perch ~ HOWEVER, make sure by taking several measurements to confirm the axle is centered under the scout. YOu can do this by measuring between BOTH perches and the outer parts of the axle. Standing back and looking can also be an easy way to see if something is immediately wrong.
Once you are SURE that the axle is centered, tack weld the driver-side perch, remove the axle for final welding, clean and paint it, and re-install.