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Bitten by the (SAS) bug!

Since I've been driving the Ranger a whole lot lately, and the Mounty has been sitting, a SAS project has been taking shape in my mind. I've been reading registries and have some ideas.

I want to do a SAS unlike anything I've seen for a few reasons. I want a low COG, moderate tire size medium travel build. My overall height would only be slightly higher than it is now with the 4" suspension lift. I'd work the fenders a little and run the tires I have until they are gone and then possibly bump to 34's.

Why? I still occasionally need to tow heavyish stuff and I'd still like to be able to drive this thing at high speeds and longer trips. Theoretically, this would be similar to a *eep Grand Cherokee, a solid axle daily driver.

The general plan-

Rubicon D44 with factory 4.10's and air locker.
12" or 16" Coilovers
Pretty long radius arms with big ole joints for nice flex
Keep the Superlift leaves I just bought and leave the rear as-is.
Utilize the ABS sensors in the Rubicon axle to keep the ABS
New wheels to accommodate the bolt pattern on the new front axle and spacers/adapters for the rear axle.

I'm too big of a puss to wheel this super hard, the body is too nice still, the 44 should be plenty, the extra travel will be nice and the reliability of a solid axle will be nice. IFS is hell on tires.

The nice thing is I won't have to have gears or a locker, I can buy a brand new axle complete for $1400. Pricey I know, but I think a used one can be had for far less.

This will be a long time coming, I plan to start collecting parts slowly and on the cheap to make this a wallet friendly build. (ha! ha!)

Thoughts?
 



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You should really check out Jefe's build. Not sure how much difference there is in the x-members from the 4.0 to the 5.0 but he used the same arms that you want. Since he used coilovers and made a brace around the engine, he just got rid of the x-member underneath. Still think you should find a LP44.

The first gen doesn't have much room for the pig under there. The x-member is definitely in the way, and you can't get rid of it like Jefe did because the engine mounts are on it. I only had 4" of up travel before it would hit, and my lift isn't very high. I had a notch cut from mine (courtesy of trckmagik) for clearance.
 



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You should really check out Jefe's build. Not sure how much difference there is in the x-members from the 4.0 to the 5.0 but he used the same arms that you want. Since he used coilovers and made a brace around the engine, he just got rid of the x-member underneath. Still think you should find a LP44.

The first gen doesn't have much room for the pig under there. The x-member is definitely in the way, and you can't get rid of it like Jefe did because the engine mounts are on it. I only had 4" of up travel before it would hit, and my lift isn't very high. I had a notch cut from mine (courtesy of trckmagik) for clearance.

Wow, I've never read through his SAS thread, but he did his nearly like I plan to do mine. Those are the exact arms I want to use, looks like he used the adjustable track bar also. The beauty of a build like that is axle upgrades are as easy as TJ compatible axle assemblies. You know for later when I go full width. :)

I've looked at my X member, I think I can cut it off no problem. I have access to a torch and sawzall. I do have the front frame hitch that is very beefy to tie the front together, it's just bolted on, I can weld it if necessary, but welding it on mine may pose problems for radiator repairs. The only thing is it may interfere with steering linkage.

spash_shield_006_Medium_.jpg


I can drill more holes and add a few more bolts possibly. :dunno:

Having the 5.0 means I won't have room under the hood for a cross brace like his, I'll have to use shorter C/O's and settle for less travel, but if it does half of what his does/did, I'll be happy. He used 14" travel, I'm thinking 10" or 12" will work for me.

Looking at his pictures, I think I can run a LP 44 and stay around 4-5" of lift and make it work well.

Are the TJ Rubicon axles HP or LP?

I am no heep expert so I had to look up the difference between the TJ and the JK, but the TJ Rubicon axle will let me keep my wheels and tires, I'll run spacers in the back to try to match the track width. If I end up going with an EB D44, I'll run 5 on 5.5 and get spacers to match the rear. But, that requires wheels, another expense.

After seeing Jefe's build, I am excited to get started on this, it's going to work out very nicely. Thanks for suggesting that Froader, I read lots of registries, just not Jefe's.
 






..."Are the TJ Rubicon axles HP or LP?

I am no heep expert so I had to look up the difference between the TJ and the JK, but the TJ Rubicon axle will let me keep my wheels and tires"...

...This might be a place for research...;)
http://www.offroaders.com/directory/axles/dana44.htm
 






Alright now, dammit. I've been reading and reading on 44's and 30's. The Rubicon 44 is basically a super 30, the center section is the only difference. Lockout hub kits would be necessary to make the axle useful as previously discussed. Lockout hub kits eliminate the functionality of the ABS, the whole reason I wanted a Rubicon axle. A D30 with custom shafts and lockout hubs would cost big money and not be strong at all.

The ABS will have to go, there is just no way to keep it.

So, its an EB D44 or Wagoneer axle, no ABS, 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern, and new wheels :(

I didn't really want to have to build an axle like this. I'd hate to put 4.10's in it only to later discover I want to go bigger and need to re-gear. Then, there is knuckles, how to mount radius arms, what radius arms, brakes, locker, on and on................

Who has a 4.10 geared, 60" wide D44 sitting around?? :D
 
























...I edited the post #45 with a couple more including a $100 axle, in maine..:(
 






I know you can put 44 outers on a Dana35TTB so I'm curious (and this is just off the wall thinking).

The Dana 35 TTB spindles aren't the greatest, but readily available plus you can get ABS. If you can swap 44 and Dana 35 TTB outers is there any chance you could run 1st gen Dana 35 TTB knucle and hub assembly?

There are still weak points to this setup that many will say to steer clear of, mainly the bearings are close together and the spindle nuts come loose but Stage 8 has a pretty sexy fix for that. BUT since I've seen Dana 30 (and probably Rubicon 44) lockout kits running close to $700 is there any chance that you could swap on the knuckle or possible even a spindle (need to check spindle bolt pattern) from a Dana 35 TTB to a Rubicon axle to give you the benfits of ABS and lockout hubs while keeping your 5x4.5 bolt pattern.

I know lots of Ranger 2wd guys upgrade to 4x4 knuckles to get a bigger bearing and spindle assembly.

Only running 33s on that knuckle has proven to be decent.
 






Okay before you do all this and spend megabucks etc etc etc I'm gonna be the devil's advocate and take you right back to the start.

I don't know everything so I may be talking out of ignorance, but fill in the blanks. As I understand the situation, you want to do all this because the IFS has failed you and you want something dependable, but you're not wanting a gonzoid lift SAS super-rig right now and actually prefer the present driveability you have. It's just that d@m# IFS that keeps blowing your CVs. If it wasn't for that, you'd be fine, because you're not planning to take your nice Mountaineer on 5-rated body-damage-gauranteed trails anyway. Am I close to what your stance is about all this, or am I off-base?
 












well consider this a subscription to a thread that really peaks my interest. I'm sure you have read in the threads "take your budget and time and double them".... they aren't kidding. be sure to detail your link placements on the frame.
 






Okay before you do all this and spend megabucks etc etc etc I'm gonna be the devil's advocate and take you right back to the start.

I don't know everything so I may be talking out of ignorance, but fill in the blanks. As I understand the situation, you want to do all this because the IFS has failed you and you want something dependable, but you're not wanting a gonzoid lift SAS super-rig right now and actually prefer the present driveability you have. It's just that d@m# IFS that keeps blowing your CVs. If it wasn't for that, you'd be fine, because you're not planning to take your nice Mountaineer on 5-rated body-damage-gauranteed trails anyway. Am I close to what your stance is about all this, or am I off-base?

You are right Gerald- I'd like to take the Mountaineer places without fear. Wheeling and driving IFS to and from where you wheel is what keeps me from trying things. I don't want to break it and not be able to get home.

I haven't broken anything since Moab, I fixed the bent bracket that was causing the CV problems. I have spent lots of money on ball joints and alignments trying to get my tires to wear right and they still are feathering like crazy.
 






Okay.... if you're still having alignment problems then never mind. (But, how are you going to make sure a custom SAS is going to align right?)

My original thought was that you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Your problem is not necessarily the CVs but the misaligned used lift you had. You really confounded me in Moab - I've never seen someone blow a CV like you did (multiple times and all the breaks looked the same).

It's hard to describe, but your CVs looked like they sort of pulled apart rather than twist apart. You are the one and only person I've ever seen or heard of whose CVs broke like that. And when I saw you swap out your halfaxle, I knew something was wrong, because it was way too easy - you had just a fraction too much clearance to wiggle them in and out of place. When I've replaced mine it is an absolute bear to get them in and out and I have to have my steering turned just right to clear them. Of course later on you figured out what was wrong.

My "devils advocate" thought was that it would be a lot cheaper, quicker, and easier to get a new Superlift front and go with the CVs. You might break one every blue moon, but since you are not planning to take it on body-damage extreme trails, that may not happen at all. A lot of it is technique - don't hit the throttle when your steering is turned close to max and your wheel is at full droop (CV at maxed angle), and you won't break.

My only real CV break on the trail was on Steelbender and I had done exactly that. We were playing near the end of the trail and I decided to try to climb a vertical rock wall. My approach angle straight in caused me to hit my brushguard, so I angled into the wall at about a 15 ~ 20 degree approach, planted one tire on the wall, hit the gas while planning to straighten up, and with my front locker engaged I blew the CV when the other tire at full turn and droop planted on the wall while I was heavy on throttle trying to muscle up it. Stupid on my part. (I also had to replace one at the 10yr anniversary run in Indiana, but that was a result of rain, mud, and a split rubber boot that allowed all that $h!t into the CV).

That's it for me. I did the entire Rubicon which had gazillions upon gazillions of fairly tough obstacles without a hitch. Ray Lobato blew his CV on the Rubicon, but once again, he was between two trees on a ledge just past the Little Sluice when he fully turned his steering at the same time he dropped off, got full extension at full turn while he was hitting the gas, and kablooey.

I really think that if you take out the used/custom "almost-within-a-fraction-of-an-inch-but-not-quite-perfect" lift equation that you are running, you'll do fine. For a lot less expense and a lot less time and a lot less frustration than what you are looking at doing. Plus I know that you're considering the coilover conversion and I have to say I'm really satisfied with how mine is working out dumping the torsion bars.

But then again, SAS is always cool :)
 


















Gerald makes a great point... you can buy a TON of CV's for what this SAS will cost you.

But what about changing a ton of cv's in the spot they broke, while the sas guys go on down the road.

Sorry, I just gotta push him back over to the other side of the fence for a minute-
 






Okay.... if you're still having alignment problems then never mind. (But, how are you going to make sure a custom SAS is going to align right?)

My original thought was that you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Your problem is not necessarily the CVs but the misaligned used lift you had. You really confounded me in Moab - I've never seen someone blow a CV like you did (multiple times and all the breaks looked the same).

It's hard to describe, but your CVs looked like they sort of pulled apart rather than twist apart. You are the one and only person I've ever seen or heard of whose CVs broke like that. And when I saw you swap out your halfaxle, I knew something was wrong, because it was way too easy - you had just a fraction too much clearance to wiggle them in and out of place. When I've replaced mine it is an absolute bear to get them in and out and I have to have my steering turned just right to clear them. Of course later on you figured out what was wrong.

My "devils advocate" thought was that it would be a lot cheaper, quicker, and easier to get a new Superlift front and go with the CVs. You might break one every blue moon, but since you are not planning to take it on body-damage extreme trails, that may not happen at all. A lot of it is technique - don't hit the throttle when your steering is turned close to max and your wheel is at full droop (CV at maxed angle), and you won't break.

My only real CV break on the trail was on Steelbender and I had done exactly that. We were playing near the end of the trail and I decided to try to climb a vertical rock wall. My approach angle straight in caused me to hit my brushguard, so I angled into the wall at about a 15 ~ 20 degree approach, planted one tire on the wall, hit the gas while planning to straighten up, and with my front locker engaged I blew the CV when the other tire at full turn and droop planted on the wall while I was heavy on throttle trying to muscle up it. Stupid on my part. (I also had to replace one at the 10yr anniversary run in Indiana, but that was a result of rain, mud, and a split rubber boot that allowed all that $h!t into the CV).

That's it for me. I did the entire Rubicon which had gazillions upon gazillions of fairly tough obstacles without a hitch. Ray Lobato blew his CV on the Rubicon, but once again, he was between two trees on a ledge just past the Little Sluice when he fully turned his steering at the same time he dropped off, got full extension at full turn while he was hitting the gas, and kablooey.

I really think that if you take out the used/custom "almost-within-a-fraction-of-an-inch-but-not-quite-perfect" lift equation that you are running, you'll do fine. For a lot less expense and a lot less time and a lot less frustration than what you are looking at doing. Plus I know that you're considering the coilover conversion and I have to say I'm really satisfied with how mine is working out dumping the torsion bars.

But then again, SAS is always cool :)

I suspect my alignment issues are due to alignment techs not dialing the alignment in, they get it just within specs, no more. If I could get access to an alignment rack, I'd get it like I want and leave it.

The CV issue is solved, I'd just want to add some limit straps for extra security. The bent torque bracket had my differential shifted to the passenger side by 1/2", thereby pulling the cv's apart. I pulled the bracket, put it in a press and got it back like it should be.

As for changing CV's like I did that day on the trail, I have done that a few times on stock trucks since then, it was tighter than it is on my truck, but still doable.

The torsion bars are the main reason I want to go SAS- they hang down so low back on the frame, the ride is too stiff and the travel is pretty limited. I initially wanted to do the C/O swap to get rid of them, but the $800 cost was keeping me from that. All that hardware is money spent that can't be used on a solid axle, and $800 is 1/3 of what I intended to spend on the Rubicon swap. (I had an idea of a budget of $2k)

Its all snowballed from a simple Rubi axle, keep my wheels and tires to a build a custom axle, buy wheels, tires, gears and so on. So, I may not be able to do the SAS until I'm ready to go full out, full width, 37's and 4.88's. I figure it'll take 5k to do that at a minimum.

So, I may get some limit straps, do the C/O swap, buy some HD CV axles and call it good.

I've been researching, reading and searching craigslist so much the last few days, its making me crazy.
 






...I pm'd you a link for a 4" lift that gets rid of your tbars and should save some money on your project, though it is still not cheap...I believe it fits your truck to..;)
 



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...I pm'd you a link for a 4" lift that gets rid of your tbars and should save some money on your project, though it is still not cheap...I believe it fits your truck to..;)

I got your PM, I was at work, wasn't really supposed to be on here, so I just posted here.

The Superlift kit keeps the torsion bars anyway- its what I have now. Shipping from Alaska would be killer too.
 






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