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Jeep/Explorer D35 Hybrid?

Twisted1

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This is something I've been wondering for a while now after owning several Jeep Grand cherokee's (one to drive, several for parts!) And numerous Rangers and Explorer's. Has anyone here ever experimented with building a Hybrid Axle out of the 2? running the Jeep Dana 35 housing, carrier, gear set's with the Ranger/ Explorer Dana 35 outer's, spindle's, brakes, ect? I have a couple of each and have been thinking about strength testing a Hybrid set up under my Ex. I have a full width Dana 44 axle ready to roll under it worst case if this fails miserably but I was more or less curious if it could be done. That way you could gain the flex benifits of solid front and utilize the Ford outers with manual hubs with low weight being a priority. I tried searching but havent found much of anything on Explorer guys using the Jeep Dana 35 in general.
 
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Twisted1

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I'm basically trying to build a solid axle Dana 35 using jeep diff, tubes, inner axle's, and ford outers to convert it to manual hubs. Look at my sig, I already have a Full width Dana 44 under my Ex, this is just an experiment to see how much weaker or poss stronger the lighter smaller dana 35 would be under the truck than the full width 44. If it works out how I want it to I might keep it in there instead of the 44? Maybe help out some other members with a cheaper easier way to beef up the front axle for more flex. Most of the guys I 4-wheel with run full size trucks with Dana 60's and big blocks. We spend at least half the day fixing their trucks, pulling them out of the mud, letting them cool down ect... My trucks with the smaller V-6's and built light weight axles have always held up and never once left me stranded or needing a tow. I picked up a lifted ranger to run last season while my Ex was down and ran it all year on a custom built 8.8" rear locked with 4.88 gears and a stock Dana 28 front. I ran 36.5" tires on it all season waiting for the 28 to let go and it never did the only issue I had with it was lack of flex. Look at the pic and you can see the issue with flex.
View attachment 58113
I did make the hill climb but had 2 people counter balancing the truck while I feathered the clutch :D So I'm wondering if the Dana 35 would have any gains over the 44. Aside from bragging rights with all my buddies that are running the $500-$700 Dana 60's
 
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yellowford

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I guess if your bored then you could do it but I know the 35 is called the turdy-five for a reason.
 
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4x4junkie

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The Jeep front axle is a Dana30, and would be weaker than the D35 you already have under there (which is very close to the D44's strength, being that the two use many of the same components).

If you're trying to get more flex, have you thought about just swapping out the crazy-stiff coil springs that might as well be solid pieces of 4" dia. pipe? Also, that steering linkage is in need of some attention too, but you don't need no solid axle to get flex. ;)

 
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Twisted1

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The Jeep front axle is a Dana30, and would be weaker than the D35 you already have under there (which is very close to the D44's strength, being that the two use many of the same components).

If you're trying to get more flex, have you thought about just swapping out the crazy-stiff coil springs that might as well be solid pieces of 4" dia. pipe? Also, that steering linkage is in need of some attention too, but you don't need no solid axle to get flex. ;) [/QUOTE] The Ranger in the pic ha...rance. :bsnicker: I'll gracefully bow out now
 
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Twisted1

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4x4 Junkie, just out of curiosity how are you guys getting that much flex out of the TTB? not going to lie thats pretty impressive, I just prefer a solid set up with a 3 link. I know my Ranger was very much limited by the shocks and honestly I cant remember if the ranger still had the swaybar on it or not? It was just a beater that I made a rediculous offer on not expecting it to be accepted ($300) so it became the wheeling rig for last season and the Ex got forgotten about for a few. I've since sold it so I had the motivation and lack of another wheeling truck so I'd get my front suspension completed
 
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yellowford

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The Jeep front axle is a Dana30, and would be weaker than the D35 you already have under there (which is very close to the D44's strength, being that the two use many of the same components).

If you're trying to get more flex, have you thought about just swapping out the crazy-stiff coil springs that might as well be solid pieces of 4" dia. pipe? Also, that steering linkage is in need of some attention too, but you don't need no solid axle to get flex. ;) QUOTE] The Ranger in the pic h...he Grand Wagoneer, and the Rubicon wranglers.
 
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Twisted1

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The grand cherokee's as well came with D30 up front just like every other Jeep in the 90's. The Grand cherokee's had an aluminum D44 with the v8's, and a D35 in the back. The regular cherokee's also came with the chrysler 8.25 which is much stronger than the D35. The reason no one wants the D35 is it is known for being a very weak axle and can easily break with 33in tires. I know when I had my Wrangler with just 31's I always thought it was going to break when wheelin. The only Jeeps to come with a D44 in the front in the last 20 years was the Grand Wagoneer, and the Rubicon wranglers.

Yea, I messed up, you'll see my now edited reply. I trusted a group of Jeepers and didn't think much about verifying what I had been told. I ASSUMED they knew their stuff. :rolleyes:
 
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4x4junkie

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Yeah the Ford D35 does occasionally get lumped in with the Jeep D35 just because it has the same model #, but it's a whole different axle in a whole different application. It does not suffer from the same weaknesses as the Jeep axle.

As for flex, like I mentioned, the coils are the secret (stiff coils won't flex much on a straight axle either).
Take a look at my BII Cardomain page (link in sig below), I've detailed a lot of what I did on mine to get it to flex. Most of what you'd do with a straight axle suspension can be done on a TTB too (ext. shock mounts, radius arms, and so on).

And yes I do see the steering in that above pic is stretched up quite high (the suspension being at droop only makes it worse). The driverside tierod should actually be down almost in front of what appears to be a steering stabilizer on there, however it's angled way above it (I'll bet sitting on flat level ground the linkage was still pulled up from horizontal). This is because the drop pitman arm is too short (and is not your fault, it's the fault of the lift industry. Virtually every suspension lift sold comes with an arm that's too short, and is the reason behind most of the tire wear complaints that often surround this suspension when lifted).
If you want to run good flexy coils, this of course would have to be addressed. The linkage has to sit dead-flat parallel with your axle beams, otherwise the resulting bumpsteer (toe-in/toe-out) will cause some rather interesting issues with the suspension trying to jack itself up (the tires driving toward each other due to bad toe will try to pinch the suspension into a bind, causing it to raise up like a scissors lift lol). Softer coils won't be able to restrain this from happening like the stiff TTB coils will.

Fortunately there are a couple different pitman arms to pick from out there, although they are mislabeled for their lift heights.
If you have a 4" lift, the Skyjacker #FA600 drop arm matches up perfectly with that.
 
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Maniak

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Just to illustrate the flat steering 4x4junkie was talking about here is how we have ours setup

3454400636_5bb18eabc5.jpg


Thats the drop arm for a 4-6" lift (I'm pretty sure its a fa400) on a 3.5"-4" lift.

~Mark
 
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4x4junkie

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That looks to me like it might be a little shorter than a 4" lift (maybe 2.5-3"?), but yes, that's precisely how it needs to be.

Here is the Skyjacker #FA600 arm on a 4" lift:
linkage.jpg
 
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Maniak

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That looks to me like it might be a little shorter than a 4" lift (maybe 2.5-3"?), but yes, that's precisely how it needs to be.

I am running Duff 2.5" axle pivot drop brackets with Duff 3.5" progressive springs and 1/2" spacers. So, its an advertised 3.5" lift + 1/2".. which is why I call it 3.5-4". I am just about maxed out on the camber cams. There was a big difference in steering feel when I got the steering flat. The 2 lane road I have to take to get to town isn't exactly flat or smooth and the steering wheel used to bounce all over the place. The dropped pitman arm took care of that.

~Mark
 
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Twisted1

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yea I'm not denying that it could prob use a bigger drop on the pitman arm but I've got more lift than you guy's do too. I'm running 36.5" tall by 15.5" wide tires and thats a 6" lift under the ranger with the appropriate pitman arm for a 4-6" lift. In NH we have some decent rock crawling/trailing as you do out west (not as many spots obviously) but in order to get to them your usually going to be tracking through some pretty deep mud which is where the extra lift and larger tires are a must even with setting up a super flexy suspension for the rocks. Thats another advantage for running the solid axle over the TTB IMO. I'll be solving the steering issue on the ex with a full hydro set up. Thats basically where I left that project at was needing to rework the steering and front suspension for articulation as well as stability during high speed mud runs. My Ex will be running between a 37"-42" tire when all is said and done with the suspension being dropped a bit and massive body trimming/fabrication with an exo cage in the works right now for tire clearance.
 
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Twisted1

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I had another question about your springs, I'm running 6" trail master front springs out of an 88 Ranger application under my explorer now with the solid axle. How much softer are these jeep springs comparably? I'm affraid I'd be bottoming out the suspension if I ran too soft a coil which is why I had started my build with a slightly beefier spring and aimed more for gaining flex out of droop rather than compression. I do get the front aiming at the sky on nearly every trip weather it be coming out of a mud pit quick or hitting a nice berm
 
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4x4junkie

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Ranger TTB springs are usually around 450-550PPI. The Jeep XJ coils I have are closer to 240PPI. You can see why TTB coils don't flex for $#!t.
A little in-between those are the Deaver Superflex coils sold for F-150s and early Broncos. These are usually around 300PPI.

And the more lift, the worse the problems with steering become. You may need to drop the lift down some before you'll be able to get the steering geometry correct.
If a really really tall lift is what you're after, the straight axle does offer an advantage here.



I am running Duff 2.5" axle pivot drop brackets with Duff 3.5" progressive springs and 1/2" spacers. So, its an advertised 3.5" lift + 1/2".. which is why I call it 3.5-4". I am just about maxed out on the camber cams. There was a big difference in steering feel when I got the steering flat. The 2 lane road I have to take to get to town isn't exactly flat or smooth and the steering wheel used to bounce all over the place. The dropped pitman arm took care of that.

~Mark

Gotcha. I guess was looking more at the length of the axle brackets themselves.
 
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Twisted1

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I was wondering about the F-150 springs as a happy medium. Just by looking at them you can see the coils are spaced a bit more but are thicker than the TTB coils which I would think would give it a softer ride even though they're designed for a heavier truck ,I dont think the Jeep coils would be stiff enough for my set up. I am planning on using this truck (set up in street trim) as a back up plow for the winters here so between a winch all summer and a plow all winter it'll have a bit of extra weight on the front. thanks for the info, we just managed to turn my mis informed question into some useful info for my build anyways
 
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glfredrick

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The Jeep springs are way too light. The F150 are even light, but will work with aggressive shocks. Just don't expect a suspension that lets you strong-arm into stuff (like corners).

Here's my 'Sploder with F150 springs, no lift, F250 shock mounts, superduty brake lines, 2007 Dodge 1 ton shocks and some selective grinding.

top_of_carb_hill.jpg


15014Explorer_front_flex.jpg
 
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