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Axles: To swap or not to swap?


D60's and Stock  

  1. 1. D60's and Stock

    • Stock and pray I don't break anything with my large right foot
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    • D60's and build for months
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OK, opinion time...

 

If they do not get sold out from under me I have a set of Dodge D60's lined up for 9/1 pick up. The front has the powr-lok LSD (one of the best ever) and the rear has a full Detroit. It is packaged with a twin-sticked D300. I should be able to get the axles and then purchase the brackets to install them for about $1,900 with a long-arm kit.

 

Pro's: Mucho beef in the axles and transfer. Decent traction adders already in place. A very good deal on the axle set/t-case from what I have been pricing. All three pieces are out of running/streetable vehicles. rear has discs

Con's: LABOR INTENSIVE. Probably over kill for who I wheel with and where I wheel now. Width would be about 4" wider per side but no wider than a HPd44 front.

 

I have a 29-spline 3.55 8.25 rear and matching XJ D30 front to swap in. I already have pieced together 4.5" springs, adj lowers and track bar & shocks for the front and perches/u bolts for SOA on rear. Gears & kits to get decent gearing in the axles is > $500. True-trac for the front is $400. Lunch box for the rear $425. Almost alloy shaft kit $400. These parts alone are almost $1,800 with fluids, etc,

 

Pro's: ease of installation! Steering geomtery and brakes already in place.

Con's: It is still a D30 and even though HP, the tubes are smallish and the ring gear is tiny. $1,800 dollars in what really isn't considered 1/2-ton strength axles.

 

A wash is the tires. I would get surplus 37" H1 tires for the D60's for about what I could sell the almost new 32" TSL's I already have to use if I stay with the stock axles. Either route would require driveshaft fab/purchase.

 

So, what say ye?

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What is the purpose of your truck? How do you wheel?

 

I say you will end up with well over 2K in swapping axles. Lots of hidden costs lurking.

 

I also say don't do the swap unless you get heels with deep backspace. I don't like the look of wide wheel stance on the MJ or XJ.

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$825 for a D30 TT & a 8.25 lunchbox is a lot of $$.

Since you want an LSD ft,

You could find & rebuild a D30 Powerlock for cheaper.

 

8.25 drop ins are expensive, but $425?

Since you're regearing, why not just go full rear Detroit at that point.

 

 

What about gears for the 60/60? (didn't see them mentioned above).

4.56-4.88's+ for 37's?

 

Also,

of the Dodge/Ford/Chevy 60 ft's,

Dodges are considered the least desirable (and cheapest, especially on the East coast)

 

Don't pay west coast D60 prices,

east coast = 1ton plow trucks = rotted out trucks = cheap 60's.

 

You didn't mention what long arms your considering,

so $1900 for 60/60/300/long arm could be a great price, or ?

depending on details.

Also does the $1900 include steering linkage for the 60?

 

Keep in mind,

if you ever end up using that ft 60 to its potential,

the rear 60 (guessing ff 30spline shafts)

is going to be your new weak link.

 

 

That's why most people going with 60 fts end up going 70, or 14 out back.

I know you say the 60 is overkill for what you do,

then why run that heavy ft axle at all?

Go 35's, with a beefed HP30, or 44 ft, and have fun.

 

Personally, I don't like full width axles for tight NE trails (trees) anyway,

so width alone is a deal breaker for me.

 

My thoughts would be,

If your not going to use it to it's potential,

why go through the hassle of full width axles, and big lifts. :dunno:

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Go 35's, with a beefed HP30, or 44 ft, and have fun.

 

I run 35x12.50s on 15x8 wheels with 4" BS on a HP30, CAD delete, Spicer 5-760x joints and an Aussie locker.

 

On average I go through 4 or 5 unit bearings per year on top of a pair of u joints and two axle shafts. The u joints are the same as a Dana 44 unless you want to spend major $$$ on CTM ones. Lower ball joints don't last very long either, even Moog ones; uppers seem to do fine, though. A friend of mine runs pretty much the same setup without the locker and he went through 3 sets of spider gears in a year. 33s on a HP30 are okay, 35 is pushing the limit.

 

I was going to upgrade to a HP44, but that won't solve my u joint problem, so a D60 is in the future. Will have to up tire size just to keep the same ground clearance, but have not decided yet on what size. Easiest to find rear to match would be a 14 bolt, but then I'd have to shave that boat anchor.

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Go 35's, with a beefed HP30, or 44 ft, and have fun.

 

I run 35x12.50s on 15x8 wheels with 4" BS on a HP30, CAD delete, Spicer 5-760x joints and an Aussie locker.

 

On average I go through 4 or 5 unit bearings per year on top of a pair of u joints and two axle shafts. The u joints are the same as a Dana 44 unless you want to spend major $$$ on CTM ones. Lower ball joints don't last very long either, even Moog ones; uppers seem to do fine, though. A friend of mine runs pretty much the same setup without the locker and he went through 3 sets of spider gears in a year. 33s on a HP30 are okay, 35 is pushing the limit.

 

I was going to upgrade to a HP44, but that won't solve my u joint problem, so a D60 is in the future. Will have to up tire size just to keep the same ground clearance, but have not decided yet on what size. Easiest to find rear to match would be a 14 bolt, but then I'd have to shave that boat anchor.

 

 

 

That's alot of broken parts.

 

My trail MJ has been down for some years now,

but even when I was wheeling nearly every weekend, I wasn't going through parts like that.

The Q78's on my MJ now never made it much past the end of the driveway (so they obviously don't count),

 

but it's been wheeled hard on 33" Bias TSL's (34 tall, and weigh more than my old 35's), and 33 & 35" MT radials,

always on heavy @ssed steel wheels.

 

That's with the same axle combo since 1998,

starting out as open/Powerlock 30/60 combo with 4.56's (trying to not kill the 30 on 35's),

then open/Spool (with Moser rear shafts) ,

Lockright/Spool, and finally Lockright/Detroit (with Alloy USA fts).

 

I've replaced ball joints (mostly lowers), and unit bearings when they got loose,

but nothing like 4-5 bearings a season.

 

The difference might be location/trails,

but I've never been accused of wheeling with a light foot. :D

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My wheeling is probably closer to the basic east-coast style: forested trails, usually wet/muddy to some degree. Maybe not always as bad as mvusse's avatar but you get the drift.

 

The D60's price reflects the fact that they are Dodge. 4.10 gears. Not optimal but better than 3.55's. Bracket kit (motion) and a long arm kit, like Iron Rock, are about $1000 with some shopping. The steering linkage is still on the D60F including a high steer arm on the pass. side. The axles set purchase alone is about what a set of alloy front shafts for a "beefed" HPD30 would run.

 

Lunch box lockers for the 8.25 are limited. I know of 6 or 7 people who have destroyed Ausie's in 8.25's. I am one of them. I assure you it was within spec at install. Not meaning to make this an Aussie bash as I love their product for other apps, but to me at least that leaves the power-trax no slip as the lunch box of choice for the 8.25 and they run around $425. I could run a spartan or aussie in the front and save maybe $100-$150 but I am not sure how street-able the thing would be in the winter. I used the LSD front as a comparison because that is how the D60's are set-up. $425 no-slip plus $375 for TT = $800.

 

For the money it seems that beefier axles to lower the risk of being stuck 200 miles from home with a busted ball-joint or axle shaft with the ears torn off may make some economic sense.

 

A HP D44 is the same width as the D60F and would present just as many swap-in difficulties it would seem. Beefing even a HP D44 to near stock D60 strength would blow the budget right out. And adapting the D44 steering would most likely be just as involved as a D60. i think you would be hard pressed to find a detroited rear and a LSD front HPD44 axles set for what I would pay for the 60's.

 

My previous Cherokee ( not an XJ :thumbsup: ) ran a chevy drw D60 up front and the killer rear axle, a D70HD. The one GM used when the 14-bolt wasn't enough: 4" axle tubes and huge diameter 35 spline axles and bigger hubs. Sure they were wide but using un-recentered H1 beadlocks brings the track width back to normal srw width. they, too, were 4.10's but were usable if not optimal with the 37's. The T18 tranny may have made a difference but the D20 only had a 2:1 low range. Even so I don't think that a 36 or 37" tire will tax the rear D60 too much even if it is stock except for the detroit.

 

No big lift: 4.5 to 5" and bumpstops. The truck has undergone some moderate trimming to where narrow 32's would work with no lift. But that would leave the center guts pretty low on a kinda longish wheel base so the lift is going on anyway. The SOA would probably get some bastard leaf packs as I have several XJ, a 2wd MJ set, and a nice set of FSJ springs to choose from/use. Keeping the rear SOA to 4.5-5" or so should not be an issue. The truck in question is the maroon one in my sig: it has 31's on it in that pic with zero lift, just trimming.

 

Each install would probably run a few hundred $ for "incidentals" that pop up.

 

The biggest issue is the labor. Some of this stuff is beyond my confort level and I would need to lean pretty heavily on some favors to get it done. I know the danger of major upgrades stalling a build completely, as well.

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Swapping from a 2wd to 4wd requires a new rear drive shaft or at least mods anyway. So that woudl need to happen eitherway I went. The front would be a hit or miss. Maybe a 1310/1350 conversion joint at the pinion and check to see if the added height made up for the longer snout? If not, like the rear, shortening a driveshaft is much cheaper than going full custom or lengthening one.

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With that route, it seems your drive shafts would be the new weak link. You might want to get new shafts made for the 60 swap. Turning 1 ton axles with 1/2 ton shafts doesn't seem like it would be the best set up.

 

And more for my curiosity than anything, will a front XJ shaft mount to a D300 case? Also, I have not even considered swapping full widths in my truck, so my understanding of the swap has been from casual reading and discussion from a few buddies doing the 60/70 swaps in their TJs.

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XJ/MJ NP231 to D300 swap requires a shorter ft driveshaft, & longer rear.

 

D300 yokes exchange with the 231 ft (& D30/D44's), so you could keep the ft double cardan, using the 231's yoke,

but the XJ/MJ ft shaft will be too long.

 

Coincidence,

some FSJ shafts (incl V8/T18 ft driveshaft)

are the exact right length for an XJ/MJ with a MT/D300 (or Atlas), & HP30.

 

So you can use all Jeep parts, if you plan on keeping the 1310 joints.

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Good points. IF i swap, shortening the front shaft is fairly cheep and the local bone yard has a pile of driveshafts I can chose from for the rear, even if it is one that is a little too long that need cut down. Of course the 2wd driveshaft is already too long and may be long enough as is or at least be a cut-down candidate. The goal woud be high zoot driveshafts and new yokes for the D300 to go to 1350's or 1410's but for now concversion u-jopints will work.

 

IF I go D60's..

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I went with the 44/9" out of a desire for a more interesting build. if I had to do it again, I'd stick with a 30/44 and 32s. but I'd also truss the 30 and upgrade the shafts/joints inside.

 

plus a pair of 60s mean carrying around another, what, 800 pounds of stuff? they are heavy. :ack: and I'm guessing those bigger tires will add another 300-500 pounds.

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I went with the 44/9" out of a desire for a more interesting build. if I had to do it again, I'd stick with a 30/44 and 32s. but I'd also truss the 30 and upgrade the shafts/joints inside.

 

plus a pair of 60s mean carrying around another, what, 800 pounds of stuff? they are heavy. :ack: and I'm guessing those bigger tires will add another 300-500 pounds.

 

 

Front 60 built is about 500#

 

Rear 60 semi-float 35 spline/discs are about 330#

 

Rear 60 full float (unless it is a D60HD)......toss it in the trash. It is 30 spline and worthless. A Dana 70 or a 14 bolt are a way better option.

 

Keep in mind one of the benifits of going D60 is not having to carry *any* spares. (I carried over 100# of spares for my front D44 that weighed 350# itself).

 

The tires do weigh slightly more but not 300-500 pounds :doh:

 

If you can build the 60 narrow it is well worth it in the long run. :thumbsup:

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Thanks for the replies...and don't forget to subtract the weight of the stock stuff...

 

Got a build thread link and/or narrowing tips Cracker?

 

Narrowing an axle is pretty simple. Basically grind the weld holding the knuckle out and start swinging at it with a sledge. Once you break it free, knock it off and cut the tube down to your desired width and pound the knuckles back on. I wouls suggest only shortening the passenger side of a ford axle and just turn the drivers knuckle to adjust the castor (doing it this way will only require the passenger shaft axle shaft shortened and splined).

 

I don't have a build thread unfortunately. I actually built my axle from scratch.

 

 

 

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Well, not a lot of opinions but I have pretty much settled on the D60's.

 

FWIW, I don't recall anyone ever complaining about having Dana 60s under their rig if they are done 'right'. I have heard lots of complaints about going full width 60s though.

 

Set up a build thread and good luck. image_209027.gif

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