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Bkennedy's SAS and Rebuild Thread

As some of you know, I am working on building a parts list for a shortened Dana 44, long radius arm with coil overs SAS. 5:13 gears to match my rear axle and an ARB, maybe an electric locker. I have a pretty good list so far. At the same time, I am going to swap out the rear drum brakes for discs off of a 99 Explorer.

Please note: The plan is to keep this project as simple as possible with mostly off the shelf parts. I am not a fabricator, just a decent welder with a what I would consider the minimum required tools (chop saw, cut off wheels, air tools, welder, etc.), who likes doing his own work. Your opinions are welcome, but what I really need is technical advice. I have been thinking about this for several years and now have the time and cash to make it happen. Please keep on topic with your advice and don't go off on a side track about how you would do it as a four-link, or caged arms, or leave the axle full-width because that is not what I want. I want a simple-ish set up that works.
 


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gmanpaint

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You mean FJ cruiser? The third member? The 07-10 FJ uses the Toyota 8" rear axle...... in 2011 they upgaded to the Toyota 8.2 which is like bombproof compared to the wimpy 8.

Yes, the FJ Cruiser had the 8.0 in it. It was still in stock configuration when the carrier bearing gave up.
 


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RockRanger

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I have the Superior axle c clip eliminator kit. It came installed on the axle I bought fully built. I did have the ring gear bolts back out. Seems to be a somewhat common issue on the 8.8.
 




BKennedy

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Not the Explorer, but I have been busy with the tow vehicle / RV the past few days.
20200803_165400.jpg

Sucker holds over 6 gallons of coolant. The radiator cap is fairly easy to get too on this coach, but the drain plug is hidden by a cross member and there are two drains on the engine that need to come out as well. Over half the coolant was in the engine. Engine holds about 7 quarts of oil. Allison trans holds about 5 gallons. You get about half on a fluid / filter change with only changing the external filter. Internal filter isn't supposed to be changed unless rebuilding. While draining it I almost stopped and put the plug back in it was coming out so clean. Need to use a transfer pump to get the trans fluid into the dip stick tube. I bought two of the HF hand pump $6.99 versions and threw it away when done. Tossed the other one in the coach's storage. Allison recommends their 295 fluid, but its $55 a gallon. The transmission guys say to just use Dextron VI because with a RV you never hit the fluid change interval of 250,000 miles. I found out reading data sheets and interweb searching that Vavoline Max Life synthetic trans fluid is compatible with 295, but they didn't pay Allison to approve it so its not on the list. I used that for less than half the price of the 295. I have been using the Max Life trans fluid in the Explorer and the Silverado for years with no issues. A few weeks ago I changed the spark plugs and wires. RockAuto had Bosch Platinum IR Fusion plugs for $1.88 each on wholesale closeout. AutoZone price is $7.50 each.

At least there is a lot of room under there to crawl around. 5 gallon buckets stand up under there without putting the leveling jacks down. Its getting hard to find parts for the Workhorse W22 chassis, but this thing pulls and drives so good, and its in such great shape inside and out, I have no interest in another coach. I found that for drivetrain parts, I can usually do a search for a GM 2500 HD 8.1l truck and find what I need. Its usually cheaper than for the Workhorse, but the same parts. I had the turn signal, cruise, wiper, hazard, everything else multi-switch fail last year. I found one on-line for the Workhorse and it was $250.00. I figured there was no way they designed and build one just for the Workhorse so I started comparing it to the generic one GM installed in a bunch of model vehicles for about ten years. It sure looked the same so I ordered a aftermarket one for $25.00. Exact same part. Today, when I removed the radiator cap I noticed the rubber was failing. A Workhorse cap was $35.00+shipping. I cross referenced the Stant part number and its the same cap GM used from 1972 to mid-2000's on just about every vehicle that takes a 15 pound cap. It was $6.99 with free shipping.

Also am installing a WeBoost RV cell phone signal booster soon. While at the Arizona property I noticed that there is no signal on the lower section and a few bars up towards the end of the higher section. Figure it might come in handy just about everywhere I go dry camping.
 




410Fortune

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there is NO replacement for displacement! 8.1L yeah BUDDY!!
 




kmack

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That 8.1L is a bad-a$$ workhorse of a motor! I had a 2001 2500HD with it and the Allison...used it once to drag my buddies Z71 backwards, while he was driving forward! Still have the "tug-o-war" bar! Only issue I ever had was it was prone to popping exhaust studs, especially the two rear most ones on the passenger side. Easy enough to replace though.

Wonder if you can still find the old Wipple Supercharger kits for them? Saw one on flea-bay back in '04 for $1500.
 




410Fortune

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there is a Chevy 3500 back here with a 8.1 and Allison, it is about the only truck on the planet that can hang with our 7.3 turbo diesel trucks :) But of course it gets 9-11 mpg no matter what you do to it, I can get 18mpg from the 7.3 trucks!
 




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there is NO replacement for displacement! 8.1L yeah BUDDY!!
Truth, bigger is better for loads.
That 8.1L is a bad-a$$ workhorse of a motor! I had a 2001 2500HD with it and the Allison...used it once to drag my buddies Z71 backwards, while he was driving forward! Still have the "tug-o-war" bar! Only issue I ever had was it was prone to popping exhaust studs, especially the two rear most ones on the passenger side. Easy enough to replace though.

Wonder if you can still find the old Wipple Supercharger kits for them? Saw one on flea-bay back in '04 for $1500.
It has a little knock on start up, which is very common with the 8.1's. It fades off after a few seconds at idle. My brother has been in the car business for 40 years, says its a common issue and doesn't hurt anything. The only issue I have ever had with this one was bad gas. I got some on the last trip and it threw some codes. I also think one of the plug wires was failing, which is why I replace all the plugs and wires. Runs like a champ now.

I will need to register it out of this commie state if I want to modify the engine. There is a company that has a tune for the engine and trans for RV's. Builds more torque and HP, modifies the shift points to better suit the new engine tune and increases line pressure. The PCM for engine and trans are separate units. They claim a 60 HP gain and about the same with torque. If I register it in Arizona, its the first thing I am doing.

A supercharger would be fun. Doing a dual wheel 35' RV burnout while flat towing the Explorer would be awesome.

there is a Chevy 3500 back here with a 8.1 and Allison, it is about the only truck on the planet that can hang with our 7.3 turbo diesel trucks :) But of course it gets 9-11 mpg no matter what you do to it, I can get 18mpg from the 7.3 trucks!
The mileage is about that, 8MPG no matter what. I like the 8.1 over the Ford V10 I had in my other RV. It pulls better on long grades and most of its power band is in the lower RPM ranges. The V10 was all higher RPM and it seemed like I was always either on the gas or on the brakes. It got about the same mileage or worse. The Ford chassis has better brakes like most Fords, great brakes. The RV chassis for the Workhorse have a column shifter like any GM truck. They did it that way to make it more like a regular car or truck. I wish they had used the electronic push button shifter like in the busses or diesel coaches. Its a lot easier once you get used to it.
 




kmack

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It has a little knock on start up, which is very common with the 8.1's. It fades off after a few seconds at idle.
That's what my truck would do from time to time, but it was always the exhaust studs. Once warm, the manifold would heat up enough to seal itself back up and the "tick" would go away. Until the engine was cold again, or I'd finally break down and replace the stud.

A supercharger would be fun. Doing a dual wheel 35' RV burnout while flat towing the Explorer would be awesome.
:burnout:
That would be a site to see! :cool:

I like the 8.1 over the Ford V10 I had in my other RV. It pulls better on long grades and most of its power band is in the lower RPM ranges. The V10 was all higher RPM and it seemed like I was always either on the gas or on the brakes.
I agree with you here. The 8.1 had a much more usable powerband. The 6.8 (V10) likes to rev, but only because it has to! It has no low-end grunt. We have a 2001 Fleetwood Jamboree GT 31' Class C with the 6.8. Not my favorite, but it only has 29k miles on it!

I miss our old '85 London Aire 27' Class C with the old 7.5 (460ci). That was a motor! And that RV had a dual-fuel conversion on it to switch from gas to propane. What a sound that old motor made when you stepped on it and those secondaries opened up on the Holley 4 barrell... the drivers next to me always turned their heads!
 




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That's what my truck would do from time to time, but it was always the exhaust studs. Once warm, the manifold would heat up enough to seal itself back up and the "tick" would go away. Until the engine was cold again, or I'd finally break down and replace the stud.

I always thought it was internal because its a knock sound. Now I need to check all the studs. Its not enough to fix if that is the problem, but it would be nice to know its just a exhaust stud. I have had a broken passenger side rear exhaust stud on the Explorer for many years now. It doesn't leak so I am leaving it alone.

When we were kids my dad had a a 1970 GMC long bed "Camper Special" with a 396. We used to go through Escondido, California when going out to the desert. On Friday nights, its was a cruising spot. One night we had the camper and a 5 motorcycle trailer behind that GMC truck. A guy thought he was being funny, next to us in a hot rod Camaro. He was revving the engine and laughing until the light turned green. My dad tells us to hang on, and does a huge burnout off the line. It was awesome. I wish he would have kept that truck.
 




kmack

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My dad tells us to hang on, and does a huge burnout off the line. It was awesome. I wish he would have kept that truck.
Ahhh... the good ole days!

I wish I had a picture of my 2500 HD when I would use it to pull my old 240Z down to the HPDE races. It was a 3 hour drive on Friday nights after work down to S. TX (near South Padre Island). I was always tired and would run 75-80 mph the whole way. 18' trailer hauling a 2,220 lb car. You almost couldn't feel the trailer back there. 12-13 mpg on those trips.

For some reason I had a hard time keeping tires on the back end of that truck...they always seemed to wear out rather quickly... :dunno:
 




410Fortune

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It has a little knock on start up, which is very common with the 8.1's. It fades off after a few seconds at idle. My brother has been in the car business for 40 years, says its a common issue and doesn't hurt anything


I had a 01 GMC 2500HD with a Vortec 6.0
cold start = knock knock knock
OIL STARVATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew the sound right away.....its oil pressure problem
WHY? the friggin engine used a two piece oil pickup tube for the oil pump WITH an O ring in there.
Two piece oil pickup tube!!!!
I dropped the pan in the truck (4x4 so it was a pita) replace the O ring and the pan gasket = NO MORE TICK on cold starts.
The noise for me was cavitation.....just like having a hole in your straw
That engine lasted another 2 years before it threw a rod at 180K. When I got the truck at 150K it had bean BEAT TO CRAP as a carpet layer truck for many years...the oil cavitation noise had been there for ??? 80K miles or so I was told. On Cold starts in Colorado winters it was getting worse and worse, tick was lasting for 3-5 minutes now............I knew it was on borrowed time.
The cold start tick was indeed a oil pressure issue on that engine. I replaced exhaust studs, coil packs, and lots of other stuff chasing that tick

I also had a Ford V10 before my 7.3 = nice truck but I cannot afford the fuel! It was my shop truck and was used to haul rangers and explorers home. 2000 F250 V10 = 11.5 mpg no matter what! 7.3 (turbo diesel) is far superior but I also spent the last 8 years in the school of turbo diesel hard knocks!
 




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I spent time listening to the knock sound on the 8.1 upon cold start. It sure sounds like a exhaust manifold leak that goes away after a few seconds. The exhaust manifolds don't look like fun to remove since the way the RV is built it will all be mostly by feel, so I'm leaving them alone.

I must be getting bored because I decided to order the Yukon 8.8 kit. I am just looking for the best price.

We took the Explorer down to Fiesta Island, Mission Bay and hung out for the day on Tuesday. Since its pre-loaded with chairs, a folding table and a awning, its easier than getting out the RV. We can also park closer to the water with no worry about getting stuck. On the way out we came across a 2WD Expedition that the driver had buried to the axle in sand, about 15' off the paved roadway. I stopped and winched them out, think it took about five minutes total. Had to move quickly because the only way to pull them out was to block the road. Backed across the road, pulled out the winch cable, hooked it to their tow hitch, yanked them 5' backwards, unhooked and was on my way. I use the winch whenever possible or decline to pull on vehicles that weigh twice the Explorer because that's how stuff breaks. If I couldn't use the winch, I would have kept driving.
 




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My rig is proof positive that pulling big rigs breaks things. I busted teeth off of my rear ring gear after pulling a Ryder box truck out of the mud, and a week later pulling a truck with a locked rear axle off the road.

Sounds like a nice time at the beach:chug:
 




BKennedy

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I have seen it happen dozens of times, even when Rock Ranger was trying to pull my rig backwards up a ledge and he snapped a front axle shaft. It was a 20 year old axle shaft, but it was fine until then.
 




gmanpaint

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I winched a heavy RV up my inclined driveway a few weeks ago. I didn't pull it, just in N, brakes applied, and winch only with a snatch block. Wheels locked and rig slid forward a couple feet, then got traction and held. That was sketchy! lol

A nice relaxing getaway, sounds real nice right now. I'm Jelly.
 




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I ordered a new set of Spicer U-joints for the rear driveshaft, even though they are not very old. I am thinking that the driveline angle might have worn them out prematurely. Its a few hours time at best, and not much money so what the heck. I also ordered the C-clip eliminator kit. I will do it all at the same time.
 




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I received the C-clip eliminator kit today, superfast shipping. All the parts are there. Didn't know I was going to have to press on the bearings. Looks like I will need to pull the brake rotors, drill them out for the 5x5.5 bolt pattern using the axle flanges as a guide, install the wheel studs, then take the axles, bearings and other related parts to the transmission shop I do business with who has a press. Then I can do the rest of the install all in one shot.

For those of you who have installed this kit before; Do I need to install the wheel studs before having the bearings pressed onto the axles? It looks like there is room to install the studs after, which would make it easier for the shop to use the press. I have pressed in wheel studs on a couple of Rubicon rear axles that already had the bearings pressed on, but this is a little different. This should be easier since the wheel studs are threaded, not pressed.
 




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I haven't installed the kit. I have installed studs by pulling them through the flange by torquing down a nut. I would think there would be enough room to get the stud in there with the bearing and retainer installed.
 




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You can also install the studs with a hammer and a stump of a tree in the middle of the forest. At least you can for a JK.
 


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BKennedy

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You can also install the studs with a hammer and a stump of a tree in the middle of the forest. At least you can for a JK.
As long as you drill holes into the stump so you don't warp the flange. These axles have screw in type studs, so no issues with that. Only issue is holding the axle while torqueing the studs to 90 foot pounds.
 




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