• Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^

How To: Early Bronco Style Solid Axle Swap


This is becoming a pretty popular topic. I thought it would be time to make some resources available to those who really need to see what it takes.


I'm not going to get into why you should go solid axle vs. the TTB nor will I get into the debate of leaf springs vs. coils. Also I will not tell you that this is the absolutely best solution to a solid axle swap but to the likes of myself, Froader, Stic-o, KirbyN, JTX, Diff Whack Daddy, Muddwhore, and others there is proof out there this is a good solution that will put your Explorer or Ranger in Big Dog category and I believe I will be able to show you every part you need to get there in a bolt-on application.

What this topic will discuss is essentially a "Bolt On Solid Axle Swap"

Parts list (if you find a donor axle still on the vehicle at the junk yard you can get most of the parts or search the early bronco sites)

1) axle $50-500

Early Bronco Dana 44 or 70's style F150 Dana 44 without cast wedges cut down 6" (for info on cutting down look here http://www.4wheeler.ca/index.php?showtopic=391) If you get this at a junk yard take as much of it as you can get.



1) set of early bronco or F150 Radius arms (included in axle - $500

aftermarket arms like CAGE may also work at the same location. Get the retaining rings for your coil springs at the bottom as well. These are different from year to year and can be hard to match up.



This is a wristed arm, not hard to do and will gain flex, but not absolutely necessary.



1) set of 7 degree c-wedge bushings $55
http://www.wildhorses4x4.com/category/front_end




1) Crossmember $100-200
for radius arms to bolt up, Ford Explorer/Ranger skyjacker extended radius arm cross member is a bolt on application. Also radius arm mounts for a 78-79 F150 will bolt up as well.

(this photo is on a TTB truck, but thanks to DeRocha it shows how a nice clean extended radius arm setup is mounted)




2) Early Bronco/F150 Coil Spring Buckets $129
these will take some cutting out with a grinder to clear the bulge of the frame on the drivers side (you will see if you look at a bare frame after you cut off the stock coil buckets.

http://broncograveyard.com/bronco/i-13211_new_coil_spring_towers_1966_-_77_pair.htm


2) Late 70's style F250 Shock Towers $39.99
http://www.wildhorses4x4.com/product/Long_travel_shock_towers/Front_Shock_Mounts




1) Ford Explorer drop pitman arm for 6" lift $65
http://www.jamesduff.com/broncoII/radiusarms.html

2) extended brake lines with fittings for the Dana 44 calipers $100



2) 12" travel shocks any brand

2) Coil springs for Early Bronco 5.5" lift $159
http://www.wildhorses4x4.com/product/Rock_Crawler_5in_pr/coils

1) 70's style Bronco or F150 track bar with frame mount $129 + $ 35
here are a couple options from Wild Horses for not a bad price
track bar- http://www.wildhorses4x4.com/product/Adjustable_Trac_Bar/Trac_Bars
frame mounting bracket- http://www.wildhorses4x4.com/product/Trac_Bar_Drop_Bracket_7677yr/Trac_Bars

(note I braced my track bar to the engine crossmember, this elimited a major amount of stress that a track bar mount has to handle)




Steering $150
Some may not like my ideas on steering but I will share what I did.


1) 12' section of DOM tubing 1 1/4" diameter with 1/4" wall thickness for steering
4) 3/4" heim joints

I used castle nuts with a cotter pin and drilled out my knuckles and never had a problem. I have seen heim joints fail so I tried to use a large washer to retain the steering in the event of a heim failure. I've heard Chevy 1 ton is pretty good steering and the above mentioned early bronco websites will make custom steering.

refer back to the photo above of my steering to see it as well, my truck is winched down in this photo to a trailer so angles and coils look a little off





Tools & Misc parts $150

I purchased a box of grade 8 bolts, washers, lockwashers and I suggest nylock nuts plus I used locktite.

1/2" drill bit and a good drill because you will drill 4 holes in the frame per coil bucket, 2 for each shock tower, 1 in the engine crossmember for the track bar mount, 3-4 for the radius arm cross member. I attempted to use the same size bolt in each hole if possible, makes it easy to prep the truck if everything is a 3/4" nut.


******************************************************

My setup used a little different approach, I extended the radius arms long enough to replace the transfer case skid plate with a crossmember and used heim joints. I paid a fab shop about $150 to weld up that crossmember after I had it completely designed to bolt up in my existing transfer case skid plate mounting points.

This shows my equipmet which will someday hopefully be seen under RangerX's Ranger. I enjoyed it and it worked quite well.



What you see in this photo

custom crossmember that bolts to t-case skid plate mounting locations

track bar (I chopped the F150 one that came with my 44, drilled it out and tapped it to make it adjustable with heavy duty threaded rod. If I were to do it again I would have chopped it in half and had that threaded with a long hex nut (don't know what the real name is but it would look like this)


steering with spacer between tie rod and drag link to reduce binding

radius arms extended by welding a solid piece of stock to the radius arms and tapping for heim joints.

You should use jam nuts with heims to keep them tight and avoid damaging threads from vibrations.





I will try to add up the price of all this stuff to help those guys out that are trying to pull this off. For the rear I used my same spring over axle you see in the $32 thread, I purchased 1.5" wheel spacer adapters for about $100 to make all of my wheels 5x5.5 that the disc brake front axle came with.

Once you get to this point you will need to get gears and probably a locker, you should really go through that old axled with a full rebuild if you plan to go out in the middle of nowhere and go wheeling.

My front drive shaft bolted right up to the Dana 44 and cleared, it came close to the engine crossmember.








also here is a comparison of a full width with 15x10s on 36s vs. stock width 15x8 on 37s.
 

Attachments

  • Picture3.jpg
    Picture3.jpg
    11.2 KB · Views: 51,742
  • 91Explorer1012Medium.jpg
    91Explorer1012Medium.jpg
    10.7 KB · Views: 29,613


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




410Fortune

SLUSH Season
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
August 3, 2000
Messages
26,568
Reaction score
2,207
City, State
NORTH IDAHO, 7B
Year, Model & Trim Level
B2 "Slightly" Modified
Callsign
FOURTEN
dangit, stop it! I knew all this already, but now its all here looking like a weekend swap and D44 all over CL

TTB FOREVER!!!!! LOL
I am getting sick of this IFS though, holey moley Gen II IFS = PITA, noisy SOB
 


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




Dannyboy

Other Make & Models Mod
Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
February 16, 2001
Messages
5,452
Reaction score
11
City, State
43°48′48″N 91°13′59″W
Year, Model & Trim Level
91 4 do'
im currently doin a SAS on my 92 Ranger, Im usin a 78 fw dana 44. I have removed all the old ttb junk an bolted my radius arm mounts. However iv ran into a problem, Im ready to mount my coil buckets but im not sure how to make the driver side bucket fit because of the bulge in he frame. What should I do? thanks


notch that thing out right around the bulge. It won't be enough to comprmise any strength and you will still be able to put 4 or 5 bolts through the frame.

Try to determine the height you want the bucket before you notch it. On mine I mounted it using F150 buckets and my front end was about 3" lower than I wanted so I relocated the bucket lower (which required notching the bucket again) and got it right the second time.
 




SuddenDeath

Active Member
Joined
June 22, 2008
Messages
229
Reaction score
0
City, State
Mays Landing, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Hey, I hate to revive an older thread but I have a question for Dannyboy or whoever has his SAS setup now. I'm doing almost the exact same setup, using Dannyboy's writeup as a guide. (Awesome Writeup, by the way. This made a SAS for me seem a bit more possible). My question is this. How long is your drag link and how long was your tie rod? Trying to get some measurements so I can build my steering without having to put everything on the truck and THEN build the steering. It's my daily driver so I'd like to just knock it all out in 1 swift install.
 




DB_1

Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
Joined
October 23, 2001
Messages
3,798
Reaction score
42
City, State
La Quinta, Ca.
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 SC Ranger xlt
How long is your drag link and how long was your tie rod? Trying to get some measurements so I can build my steering without having to put everything on the truck and THEN build the steering. It's my daily driver so I'd like to just knock it all out in 1 swift install.

Actually you'll want to get the axle centered and at ride height with all your trac-bar brackets in place and rotors perpendicular to the axle, THEN take all your measurements.
That way you'll know for sure what you need. We could give you measurements but everyone's set-up is slightly different.
Doing an SAS is not a cookie cutter deal like a lift kit is.
 




Ryder

New Member
Joined
April 28, 2010
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
City, State
La Verkin Utah
Year, Model & Trim Level
Ranger '02 xlt
Ranger sas

What backspacing did you do on your Jp. Stic-O
 




explorerNATE

New Member
Joined
December 25, 2009
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
City, State
lincoln nebraska.
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 v8 explorer AWD XLT
Nice write up Dannyboy:thumbsup:

One thing to mention about the Early Bronco axle is that it is pretty much the perfect width if you are using the stock rear with spacers.

I went a different route with my EB axle by fabbing my own long arms and added coilovers but for pure simplicity I dont think you could do an SAS on a RBV any simpler than using an EB axle with radius arms.

i know this is a stupid question, and yes i know this was a pretty old comment, however i would like to ask anyways. what is considered to be an early bronco, is a 78 an "early bronco"? or is it wider? because i want an axle close to stock width and i have a chance to buy one off a 78, but i don't know the width.
 




DB_1

Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
Joined
October 23, 2001
Messages
3,798
Reaction score
42
City, State
La Quinta, Ca.
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 SC Ranger xlt
Early Bronco's are pre-78'...they are a narrower axle. 78-79 Broncos are full width (solid front axle). 80 and up Broncos went the the TTB front axle.
 




ben2go

New Member
Joined
January 26, 2008
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
City, State
Upstate,South Carolina
Year, Model & Trim Level
01 Ranger XLT Splash
Dear DannyBoy,

I hope this post finds you in good spirits.I have pondered as to how I would SAS my 2 wheel drive 2001 Ranger.With this write up I have final found a simpler solution to my problem.May what ever god you believe in bless you for years to come.I personally pray to the automotive god that went by the name of Henry Ford.

P.S.

To the forum gods,

I am upset with you, forum gods.I am gone from the forums for a little over a year and in my absence you murder my post count.I shall seek revenge, you petty gods.



Well that's my shatty attempt at forum humor.
 




countryboy1225

New Member
Joined
October 29, 2010
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
City, State
winter haven, Florida
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 XLT 5.0
will a 1990 Bronco front axle work on a 1999 sport 4X4?
 




rickybobby

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 26, 2010
Messages
1,264
Reaction score
2
City, State
Battle Creek, mi
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT




adamsbro2

Bryan
Elite Explorer
Joined
January 30, 2002
Messages
618
Reaction score
10
City, State
Clearfield, UT
Year, Model & Trim Level
93 XLT
first of all this writeup is AWESOME!!!!! Secondly i am just dying to know where people come by the EB axles?? and for 250-500? i dont really think i wanna go full width but i dont wanna pay someone to cut down the axles either!! And i have seen alot about the james duff coil buckets that will work with EB springs and dual shocks, wont these work with this kind of SAS??
 




bronchole

Driveway flexing!
Elite Explorer
Joined
May 13, 2009
Messages
735
Reaction score
14
City, State
Los Angeles, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Monsterneer
Callsign
KI6MCO
You can try the for sale section over at classicbroncos.com It would be a good find indeed to get a complete one for under $400. Personally I wouldn't pay over $500 for a stock/complete one.

There should also be a local to you Early Bronco club. You can probably find them on ClassicBroncos.com also. That site is the hub of the Early Bronco world, like this one is for Explorers.

Keep in mind that many of the Early Bronco D44 's came with drum brakes. They can all be easily converted to disc, but that also works in to the pricing. There is allot of info over thereat classicbroncos.com on how to convert them to disc brakes.
 




dersch6221992

Active Member
Joined
June 16, 2009
Messages
753
Reaction score
0
City, State
Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 mounty
going to revive this... i want to start on a SAS next spring. so i am gathering a bunch of info so i can do it all write. This thread was just about amazing!
I have a question though, for the rear it seems like you kept the stock axle, and just geared it the same. My only question is that if i just did an SOA in the back would that be good enough? I saw you mentioned it would be good to switch that out for a dana 60 also.

My truck will see road, but not a whole lot. it will see it mostly on my offdays (have a company car) in the winter time, or when its raining. But mostly will be for offroading.
 




jrgaylor

Elite Explorer
Joined
April 15, 2002
Messages
2,775
Reaction score
9
City, State
Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
1985 BroncoII
first of all this writeup is AWESOME!!!!! Secondly i am just dying to know where people come by the EB axles?? and for 250-500? i dont really think i wanna go full width but i dont wanna pay someone to cut down the axles either!! And i have seen alot about the james duff coil buckets that will work with EB springs and dual shocks, wont these work with this kind of SAS??

Cut down the full width axle, you end up with better driveline angle, better u joints and disc brakes. It is not hard to do.
If you still want a EB 44 I have one and will be in Boise/mountain home Idaho area sometime before winter if you would want to meet up.
 




rngrxlt4.0

New Member
Joined
January 3, 2014
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
City, State
Prince Albert, Sk.
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Ford Ranger XLT
Great write up! will be using this soon! Might be gettin my hands on a complete D44 from a '77 bronco. just wondering is that considered an EB axle, or is it full width? it has disc brakes too
 




jrgaylor

Elite Explorer
Joined
April 15, 2002
Messages
2,775
Reaction score
9
City, State
Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
1985 BroncoII
Great write up! will be using this soon! Might be gettin my hands on a complete D44 from a '77 bronco. just wondering is that considered an EB axle, or is it full width? it has disc brakes too

All 66 to 77 Broncos are "early bronco"
 




Skippy_88Ranger

New Member
Joined
July 23, 2014
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
City, State
Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
1988 Ford Ranger
88 Ranger Dana 44 SAS

Okay so I've basically got everything I needed for a SAS in my Ranger. Just looking for a little help with Coil Bucket mounting and axle centring to make the track bar work properly. I'll add some photos to try and help with this post. Axle is a Dana 44 from a F150 so full size swap. Having a little
Trouble with the track bar, not sure wether to buy an adjustable one or use what I have. Also if I need to extend my buckets out from the frame
Or not. I bought duff tuff HD Coil buckets for a bronco because the stick out further for a SAS swap to help keep coils straight. :rangertan:
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    62.8 KB · Views: 826




jrgaylor

Elite Explorer
Joined
April 15, 2002
Messages
2,775
Reaction score
9
City, State
Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
1985 BroncoII
where in Washington are you
 




Skippy_88Ranger

New Member
Joined
July 23, 2014
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
City, State
Washington
Year, Model & Trim Level
1988 Ford Ranger
88 Ranger SAS

Puget Sound, Port Angeles if you know where that is. Haha
 


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.








Top