I do not know the specifics for a Jeep but I have always been under
the impression that these shields were to keep dirt off of the seals. Less
dirt in contact with the seal surface meant the seal would last longer.
They were used on many civilian 4X4s at least until 79. My guess is that
the earlier Jeeps were built for less than perfect road conditions, so the
dust shield helped to extend seal life. The majority of todays 4X4s rarely
see off road conditions so the dust shield isn't really necessary. Whether
you need it or not will depend on your use for your Jeep or how detailed
you are in restoration. If it only sees dirt and muddy roads rarely you
could probably do without it. If you are restoring it to factory original
you will need it. If you decide the shield is necessary and can't find
original you may check with a local truck dealer you may find one very
similar setting on their shelf.
Hope this can help.
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