Here is some axle info for anyone that is looking into doing a SAS...
Words to know:
SOA=spring over axle
SUA=spring under axle
SAS=solid axle swap
SRE=spherical rod end
SFA=solid front axle
WMS=wheel mounting surface
TRE=tie rod end
There are a few different kinds of axles that can used for a SAS (solid axle swap) on a regular S-10 or ZR2. Most people want too try and keep a wider stance and want something stronger than the factory IFS so you can actually wheel on some difficult terrain with worrying about breaking CV shafts or front differentials. I am going to try and list axles from weakest too strongest. There is a way too do High Steer arms on all of these axles and I will go over that as well after I go through the most common axles that are used for the SAS.
Jeep TJ, XJ, ZJ, YJ, WJ, MJ axles–Dana 30 Front, Dana 35 Rear, Dana 44 Rear
There are only a few minor differences in these axles. The TJ XJ, ZJ, MJ, WJ, use a coil spring suspension to keep the axles in place, so there will be coil spring mounting pads, control arm brackets and a track bar (pan hard) bracket on those axles. That could be a good thing if you want too use that type of suspension on your truck. The XJ will have a HP (high pinion) type of front differential which is also good for keeping the drive shaft angle too a minimum and will also have SOA Dana 35. The ZJ and WJ’s can have a Dana 44 rear end if it had the 360 V8 in it, otherwise it will be a Dana 35. The YJ is the only jeep that uses leaf springs so there will be no brackets to cut off if you were going to use a leaf spring type of suspension. The YJ also uses a HP front axle. These axles do not use lock outs, or manual locking hubs as some call them, so you wouldn’t have to get out and lock them in to have to have 4x4, just push the button or pull the lever for the transfer case, but there is a conversion kit for the Dana 30 so you can have lock outs. The lockouts are much stronger that the factory unit hub bearings that they come with from the factory.
These jeep axles are very common and can be found very easily in any junk yard or on the internet. They are not very strong in comparison to some of the other axles I am going to talk about, but they are very comparable in strength to the factory IFS of the S-Series. These axles are fairly close to the same width as the factory width, but they actually have a narrower WMS-WMS than the ZR2 and the regular S-10. The width can be over come by using a wider wheel and/or one with less back spacing. I would not recommend using a tire size over 33s. If you can keep your foot off of the skinny pedal you could possibly run 35s if you are careful, but be prepared to buy spare parts if you wheel a lot.
Jeep Wagoneer–Dana 44 front, Dana 44 rear
These axles are fairly common and are also fairly strong. These jeep axle are wider than the other jeep axles and isn’t much wider than the factory track width of the S-series, so they are great axles to use for a SAS on these trucks if you don’t want to have something super wide and want something that is going to hold up too some wheeling with some bigger tires. The rear Dana 44 from these jeeps use and offset differential, meaning it is off center. This usually doesn’t cause any problems from what I have heard. I am pretty sure that all of these jeeps used a leaf spring type of suspension, so setting up your suspension should be easy. Another thing about these axles, they are a LP type of differential, so be careful not to use too much lift or your front drive shaft will have problems. These axles use lockouts, so you could upgrade the factory ones too stronger ones.
Ford ½ ton axles– Dana 44 front, 9" rear
I would have to say that these axles are by far the most popular for SAS’s on any S-Series truck. They are pretty strong, have a good amount of ground clearance and are full width. These axles are pretty easy too come by if you have a good junk yard to visit. By using a full width axle you are going to be able to have more stability on off camber situations. With these axles you could probably use up to a 37" tire. There are a lot of different aftermarket companies out there that you can get upgraded parts from for these axles. If you were too up grade the shafts too more splines and chromolly, you could probably go with a bigger tire and be able to have more ground clearance, but using those aftermarket parts, it just transfers the weakest point too somewhere else on the axle. These axles use lock outs.
There is no real difference between the 1/2 ton D44 and the 3/4 ton D44, except some have slightly heavier tubes, they have different wms-wms numbers, different hubs (usually external on a 3/4T and internal on a 1/2T). Same spline count, diameter and joint size....same strength...(thanks Sean)
Ford 3/4 ton axles–8 lug Dana 44 front, Dana 60rear
This front axle is the same as the front axle on the ½ ton trucks, except for the fact it uses 8 lug outers. The rear axle is going to be the Dana 60. It is very strong and still offers a decent amount of ground clearance. With some of those rear Dana 60s you have to watch what one you purchase. There are a couple of different models, one with 16 spline axle shafts and one with 30 spline axle shafts. The 16 spline version is going to be a little bit weaker than the 30, but it will be strong enough for weekend wheeling with 35-37" tires, more than likely. Also another thing with the rear 60, it could come with a rear locker, well sort of, it is the Track Lock, it is kinda like the Gov-Loc, unwanted. It is definitely better than an open rear end, but I would never buy one too put in the differential. If I could afford a new locker to replace it, I would replace it with a Detroit or ARB.
Ford 1 ton axles– 8 lug HP Dana 60 front, Dana 60 rear
These are probably the most sought after 1 ton axles for any kinda of an axle swap since they are quite common and very strong and reliable. Be prepared to spend anywhere from 500-1500 dollars just for the front, depending on what kinda of shape it is in and what is with it. One of the best things about the front 60s, are the king pin style knuckles. They are very strong, and will last a while longer than the standard ball joints when using big tires and wheels with large amounts backspacing. I will talk about the difference between the two types later on. Another thing that is good about the front 60 is the HP type differential. Since it is HP, the drive shaft angles will better.
Apparently from 1980 to about 1988 Ford used the TTB D50 on even the F350 single rear wheel models (or at least that's what I've heard). 89-91 used Kingpin 60s and then they used balljoints after 91. When the F250 Superduties came out in 99 they were Dana 50 fronts until 02 when they upgraded again to the 60. F350 Superduties had D60 fronts from 99.
Some more Ford D60 info
1978-79 F-350 and some F-250 (Snofighter and High GVW packages)
1986-88 F-350 with dual rear wheels (DRW)
1988-91.5 F-350 with single rear wheels (SRW)
1992-95 F-350 (all) (balljoint)
1996.5-98 F-350 (all) (balljoint)
2000 F350/F450/F550 DRW (balljoint, metric 8x170mm wheel bolt pattern F350 / 8x220mm F450/F550, unit bearing hub)
2000.5 F350/F450/F550 DRW (balljoint, metric 8x170mm wheel bolt pattern F350 / 8x220mm F450/F550, unit bearing hub)
2001 F350 DRW (balljoint, metric 8x170mm wheel bolt pattern, unit bearing hub)
2001-02 F450/F550 DRW (balljoint, metric 8x220mm wheel bolt pattern, unit bearing hub)
Chevy 1 ton axles–14 Bolt rear
Just about the only axle that is worth using for SAS from a Chevy is the 14 Bolt rear, the front axles can’t be used since the differential is on the wrong side, but if you were to change transfer cases, you could use the Chevy front ends. The 14 Bolt gets its name from the amount of bolts holding the cover on. This axle is probably one of the strongest and cheapest 1 ton rear ends you can find. One good thing about this axle is the extra pinion bearing support that it has and its ease too set up the gears compared too other axles. Sometimes if you are lucky you can get this axle with a Detroit locker from the factory, which is a BIG plus.
Dana 30 ring gear size-7.2"
Dana 35 ring gear size-7.562"
Dana 44 ring gear size-8.5"
Dan 60 ring gear size-9.75"-Rear is full floating
Chevy 10 Bolt ring gear size-8.5"
Chevy 12 Bolt ring gear size-8.875"
Chevy 14 Bolt ring gear size-9.5" and 10.5"-Rear 10.5" is full floating
Ford 9" ring gear size-9"
This little chart shows the weakest point on most common axle shafts. The 14 Bolt is not in this chart, but here is a couple of number about it. The shaft O.D. at the weakest/smallest point is 1.367" and it has 30 splines.
There is a lot of other info I could put in this section about all of these axles, but there is really no reason to go into depth about all of them when I could post links to other sites that already have all of it. We will post as many links to other web sites with any other info that someone might want to look over.
There are so many different ways to lock the front and rear axles. There are manual lockers, air lockers, electric lockers, spools, welded and auto lockers (like the Detroit or lock-right). There is also a clutch style locker that not many people in the off road community like too use since they tend too wear out and start slipping.
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