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Crazy4x4RT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my Solid Axle Swap/Straight Axle Swap/Conversion (SAS).

After killing the front axle with 33in tires and a strong V8 5.9 Magnum.


I got a Dana 44 driver side drop from a 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

I pulled the axle compete with brakes, leaf springs, steering linkages, shock mounts from my local U-Pull It for $180.00. The axle has full time hubs, I will upgrade to manual locking hubs sometime in the future, very easy to do. It has 6x5.5 lug pattern (Very Common).



The plan is to do this swap with the least amount of welding. I have some ¼in 2.5x3.5 angle iron. I will bolt that up to the frame and mount up the spring hangers below it, and weld in some gussets. I will have the hangers and perches and various other brackets made by a local HD Spring shop.

I ordered 4.11:1 gear ratios for the new front axle and my rear Chry 8.25 (With No-Slip Locker). I ordered from www.ringpinion.com USA Standard gears. They are to be a little noisy but with the 33 Muds I will always have some road noises.

It all started by the removal of the axle from its donor Jeep. Then comes the clean up, the engine dripped oil all over the axle. After tons of wire brush cleaning and tons of quarters at the car wash it was all clean. Then disassembly and install the new gears.



Now the disassembly of the stock 4wd components. And the cutting of all the stock mounting brackets. I used a cut off wheel and a Sawzall. When I have more time I will grind down all the welds from the brackets.







I have 2 ProComp RockCrawler Black steel wheels that I put on the rear, I had slicks mounted on them for the dragstrip. I ordered 2 of the same kind for the front with the correct bolt pattern. I also ordered some Wheel Adapters to convert the Dakota 6x4.5 to 6x5.5, so I could use a 6x5.5 spare tire all around.

 

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Home of the Whopper
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1,769 Posts
Very cool. Can't wait to see it completed.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Front Crossmember cut to clear the driveshaft. I also cut it just below the factory anti-sway bar mount just in case I can reuse it. I made a bracket to hold up the Crossmember on the cut side. So I can still bolt up the transmission oil pan skid plate I made.





Quick test fit of the front axle.



 

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Nice work!
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I mounted the front mounts first. Then with the springs fully compressed I marked and mounted up the rear mounts. After tweaking I finally got the correct positions of the brackets. Except for one the passenger front mount. It shifted with the weight of the truck and I will need to reposition the bolt.

Front:








I had 2 3.5in long mounts for the front and 2in mounts for the rear, a local shop custom made them for $40 for all. The plates are ¼in thick, plenty strong.

Rear:






I had some ¼in angle iron that I cut 5in wide and mounted them on the front section of the frame rail. Bolted on the side and underneath for extra strength. Then mounted the leaf spring mounts under it, with a slight offset to have the leaf springs clear the front crossmember.

I used ½in bolts to mount them up. Yes they are Grade 5, but I will get it all fully welded once done. Grade 8 is not needed when it is fully welded up. Grade 8’s are too expensive when you need 20-up bolts for the project, plus welding services.


Stock on most front leaf spring trucks have the shackle in the front (including the GW), but it can bind up when you hit a bump due to the truck going forward and the suspension needs to compress forwar. Most offroaders will do a shackle flip. So I mounted my shackles in the rear of the springs. So when hitting a bump the suspension can go back and will allow it to absorb it without binding.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As you can see it is way too high, 3.5in then the rear. LOL! I will do a rear spring hanger flip, and lift shackles. I will order new 2wd hangers $35 each online. (Much better than trying to rip them off of a junkyard truck.)







Also my wheel adapters came in for my spare tire.









 

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So, are you going to only use the adapter when you need to put a spare on the rear?

I had a set of adapters about that thick on an S10 that I had Camaro rims on, and one thing to be sure of is to make sure you put some grease or anti-seize on the hub face so it doesn't corrode to it or it'll be a major PITA to get off.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, are you going to only use the adapter when you need to put a spare on the rear?

I had a set of adapters about that thick on an S10 that I had Camaro rims on, and one thing to be sure of is to make sure you put some grease or anti-seize on the hub face so it doesn't corrode to it or it'll be a major PITA to get off.
Yes these adapters are only for the rear when the spare tire is needed. The front has a different lug pattern 6x5.5 rear 6x4.5. So I can use the spare tire up front or in the rear. Thanks for the tip.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I didn’t notice till now the front tires hit the leaf springs while turning. I got my rims yesterday so I didn’t get to try test the tires/rims till now to check for clearances before mounting it all up. I wanted 2.5 backspacing on my new rims but those are custom made at request. So they would have taken a month to be made plus shipping. So I went with 3.75 backspacing. The tires are mounted now so there is no return. So my next option is to buy some 2in wheel spacers/adapters for the front, to ultimately give me a smaller backspacing on the rims. Which hopefully will clear enough on the turns. What sucks is by looks the tires now are EXACTLY the same place where stock was, tucked under the fender and not sticking out more that stock. That is the exact reason I got that axle to keep it stock looking. Now the spacers will though out that look. Oh well!

If the spacers are not enough the next option is a complete rebuild of the suspension. My biggest hurdle is the front Giant crossmember, I can’t move the leaf spring bracket in more or else the leaf spring will hit it on some compressions. I rather not cut off that crossmember but if I have to I will and just weld in a replacement out of the way.

The other hurdle is the axle itself, on the driver side right before the tube starts there is extension of the case. It is a mount for the original leaf spring to mount up on from the bottom of the case. (You can see it in the pictures.) Which leaves no room to move over the leaf spring, since I am mounting the leaf springs on top and on the tube. I can’t mount the leaf springs on top of that mount.

So we will see if it all will change in the near future. I may try to raise up the front leaf spring bolt. Maybe that will lower the truck a bit so it won’t be overly tall. The pictures don’t do it justice, its taller than it looks.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here is basically a copy and paste from the other forum.
I mounted the front mounts first. Then with the springs fully compressed I marked and mounted up the rear mounts. After tweaking I finally got the correct positions of the brackets. I had to redo it all once more, I was hitting the springs on turns. My last choice was to move the mounts inward and cut off the front giant crossmember under the radiator for clearance since the springs would hit it. Since I had the rears in the correct place from previous tries I just had to move the front over a good 3in or so in and just angle the rears to match.

I had some ¼in angle iron that I cut 5in wide and mounted them on the front section of the frame rail. Bolted on the side and underneath for extra strength. Then mounted the hitch underneath them with another angle iron plate. Then mounted the leaf spring mounts under the hitch. I was able to mock up the front mounts with the springs unloaded which the crossmemeber didn't get in the way.

I used ½in bolts to mount them up. Yes they are Grade 5, but I will get it all fully welded once done. Grade 8 is not needed when it is fully welded up. Grade 8’s are too expensive when you need 20-up bolts for the project, plus welding services.

Here are the pictures of it bolted and tacked in place, awaiting for final welding. Also threw in a good number of 1/4in gussets.







 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
For the transmission support crossmember I cut a 7in 1/4in wall round pipe basicly in half and notch it to fit the crossmember and added in some gussets. Weld it in so the bottom can be cut out to clear the driveshaft. Once it is fully welded I will cut off the bottom section so it won't get distorted during welding.





Also my wheel adapters came in for my spare tire. So my fronts are 6x5.5 Rear 6x4.5. I bought these adapters to be able to use a 6x5.5 spare for the rear if needed.



Here are my new rims for the front. Same as the rear just different bolt pattern.
http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/.../93 Dodge Dakota Solid Axle Swap/P3100218.jpg
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
It came time for final welding. I found a guy on Craigslist that is a retired welder and does it on his spare time. Reference samples looked good, and for $50 an hour for a mobile welder. It took 2 trips and about 5 hours total. $237 for 99% of all the welding done with quality/strong welds and done by an experienced welder. I still got the shock mounts and spring perches to be welded but that will be later on in the project.

Here are the pictures of the final welding. I didn't clean up welds or the slag from the flux yet.

















Here is my partial crossmemeber replacement. We used the welders tourch to cut the crossmember out. He over did the cut on the outside drivers and inside passangers. The other 2 came out perfect and are fully welded in. On the next trip I will cut lower end pieces to box in the tube and make a plate to get the frame to connect to the tube on the bad ends. Also decided to add in a gusset on the rear leaf spring mounts. And weld up the transmission crossmember. The tube is 2.75in round and 1/4in wall.







 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here is the transmission mount cut to clear the driveshaft. If fit back into place just like stock(Perfect no deforming/bending). I had time to cut and install it before work that day. Came out SWEET!



 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here are the final welding pics. I did clean up the flux/slag but I got tired and gave up, so I didn't take the grinder to it.





Here is the driver side of the tube where I had to make a adapter plate and I reseed it in the frame.












 

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ol faithful
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826 Posts
nice job brother!!
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Right now I am installing the new gears under the rear axle. But I got a few parts I'll list on here.

I got some Heim Joints (Rod Ends) 3/4in with some Jam nuts, Tube adapters 1.25 tube x .120 wall. I got those from www.summitracing.com

Misalignment spacers and Reducer spacers for the pitman arm (since I already drilled the tie rod end hole to 3/4). From http://www.ballisticfabrication.com/
The pitman arm is a drop from a Jeep TJ, bought it new from www.ebay.com
Damn that pitman arm is some strong steel. I recommend to take to a machine shop with carbide bits to get it done right. High Speed steal didn't it cut good. The tie rod end hole just needed to be enlarged, for my application.
I still need to buy some DOM tubing and cut and weld it to the Tube adapters.

What I had hard time finding is a good picture of a Heim Joint with and without the
Misalignment spacers. Notice in my picture the difference of the joints, one with the misalignment spacers and one without, big difference.





I bought some lift shackles from autozone. They are 2.5in longer than stock, they are adjustable and have a 9/16 holes while stock is 1/2. http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac...&fromString=search&itemIdentifier=204654_0_0_

 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I got the Zero Rate Add A Leaf installed. I REALLY HATE blocks, but in this case I have little choice. At least it is only 1in tall and solid steel and not aluminum, or hollow steel.

The Zero Rate has 3 holes 1 for the axle hole to line up the axle, then 2 for 1in and 1.5in offset for the leaf spring to be bolted to.


Here it is installed.


Here is the offset hole for the top bolt.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I finished up on some loose ends today.

I cut off the mount for the drop flex rear brake line, and welded it lower.


Here is the drop bracket for the Emergency brake cable. Bolted and welded.


Here is the rear shocks extensions. I don't like it so much but for now it will do. I may upgrade it in the future, I just wanted to have something done for now. I need to get it fully welded to my old extension bracket to keep it nice and tight.


I finally hooked up the front driveshaft. It is my stock Dakota driveshaft. I removed the slip seal and bought a shock boot to cover the splines. At the yoke I just had to SLIGHTLY open up the U-Joint socket to fit the Dakota larger U-Joint. It fit nice and tight and will stay in perfect. The driveshaft fits in perfect with enough slip in and out even at full suspension drop.




Here is the Transfercase skid plate, I just shifted it over to clear the driveshaft. Also the Transmission oil pan skid plate that I made, also shifted over for clearance.
 

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Crazy4x4RT
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1,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Now to some bad news. The driver side spring is starting to sag bad. That is what I get for getting junkyard springs. I will need to buy some Add A Leafs to pick it up. Passenger side has a good arch to it. Driver side is flat and in some angles looks a little inverted, LOL.

Here are a few pictures of almost the final ride height.





 
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