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SVO42's 1-ton SAS

I've been wanting to do this for a while, and I finally had the opportunity. I picked up my "new" axles yesterday: a HP Dana 60 front and a Ford Sterling 10.25" rear, both from an '87 F-350.

My plans as of right now are:
5.38 gears
rear Detroit Locker
? front
doubler transfer case: BW 1354/Dana 20
38"+ tires

So it begins!


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Monthly update, LOL!

Sorry about the long delay again, folks! Been busy with work, other home projects, other vehicles, and crappy weather problems. There is progress again, though! Neil snapped some more pics of the axle progress over a week ago--here's some before & after pics:





Closeup of the tube-to-pumpkin weld on the Sterling (I've heard of the tubes getting spun under high torque loads). Very nice weld, IMO. I hope I can do that someday!





They have been cleaned up and Neil even media-blasted them to get them purdy before primer and paint. Went with the usual semi-gloss black but I will admit I was tempted to get orange when I was checking out the paint section at the store!

More to come later this week! The Explorer is inside the shop now. If all goes well we might have the old axles out and at least the rear in! :cool:

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The major surgery has started! By the time I made it over to Neil's again he had the 8.8" out:


Then we got to work on getting the rear bumper and trailer hitch off. I had removed the bumper a couple of years ago to get the body lift on but it decided it didn't want to come off again--the captured bolts rounded off. Neil broke out his plasma cutter and torch and the bumper came off! :shoot:

Then we used a big breaker bar and impact gun to get the trailer hitch off. Neither will be going back on. Having them out of the way will allow more working room. I also plan on a new custom rear bumper anyway.



This is how the Ex sits now:

Hopefully the Sterling will be under it in a week or so--then it on to getting the D35 TTB out! :bounce:

More progress pics I took Sunday. Neil measured everything and we got it juuuust right (centered side-to-side, pinion angle, etc.) and he tack-welded the perches on. The perches, U-bolts, and U-bolt plates are some nice beefy pieces from Ballistic Fab.

Rear shots:

Sterling's under there!


Now it's hung: :bsnicker:





Note how the truck is supported--jackstands under the axle, so this is close to how it will sit under it's own weight. It'll go down a little once the front is also up.

Two shots from the driver's side--this was with a borrowed 35" wheel/tire (IIRC) put just up next to the axle for fun. The axle wasn't quite high enough to let the wheel center go over it. Note also how the rear fenders are trimmed now. Not sure if/where any more trimming will need to be done but these cuts go with the body lines.



Houston, there is a problem: the driver's side U-bolt plate is VERY close to the gas tank skid plate (and, therefore, the tank). I am planning on getting the coffin tank out and replacing it with one from an '89-'90 Bronco II tank. Neil already cut out the spare tire bracket/mechanism for it. Based on everything I've looked at, the '89-'90 BII tank will be a good swap--fits there, holds 23 (vs. 19) gallons, and the stock BII pump/sending unit assembly should provide enough fuel AND work with the stock gauge! :thumbsup:




More misc. shots:




We're planning on starting on the front this weekend!


Neil had some extra time today and did the mod that's the point of no return (which I'm kinda sad I missed, but I'm glad it's done). He sent me a couple of pics but I can't get them off of my phone. I went by after work and got these pics, though.

The Dana 35 TTB is out!!!

Swing arm brackets are cut off--no going back now!







We are going to use the FSJ 4" lift leaf springs I got a year ago spring over with the shackles in the rear. The springs will have to be outboarded due to the width differences between the frame and the Dana 60 front. We're still working on the details for the shackle mounts, but the front will be pretty straightforward--a new front "crossmember" near the very front of the frame with the spring mounts hung from that.

This next pic shows the area best out of the shots I took today to give you an idea. The shackle mounts will most likely be right in front of the body mount you can see.



More updates: Neil drew up some things in CAD and here's the first result:

New front crossmember with leaf spring hangers (this will be right behind the front bumper). Drawn up in CAD and water jet cut:



Here's Neil's prototype CAD drawing of the shackle mounts. Keep in mind that with my swap I am leaving the front axle full width. The '87+ Ford Dana 60s have the diff offset more to the side than earlier models which is why we're outboarding the springs. It might seem like an added hassle, but that pumpkin offset--to me--has worked to be fine since there likely won't be any interference with the pumpkin hitting the engine crossmember.

Top View


Rear Quarter View - a poly bushing goes into the hole in the bottom and standard shackles will locate the rear of the spring.


For anyone interested, Neil is contemplating making runs of these custom parts if anyone is interested...:hammer: Once we're done with the SAS on my rig we'll test everything out to make sure it's all good. Then those interested might have an easier time with a SAS using Ford '87 and up 1-ton axle sets. :cool:

More updates: Neil has the crossmember almost finished.

Neil said:
"Got the front crossmember almost ready to go in. I've had some sickness lately so I haven't got much done - but Im all good now and ready to rock on this thing to get it done!

I fired up my old TIG welder to stick this crossmember together. I've only got about 2 hrs of TIG time so don't give me too much **** because if you do, I'll just get better than you!

Here I am getting it all set up. I used 1.5"x.25" bar and formed it in my press brake so that it sit roughly .125" in from the edges. On the bottom edges where the front spring hangers will mount, I had to make it flush so it turned out real trick. "



Here's a section of weld.


And the somewhat finished product. I need to finish welding up the bottom and adding some weep holes.


Sunday I made a little drive to pick up a replacement hub for the Sterling. Mean Gene here was kind enough to give me one! The Lightning motor in his Explorer was looking pretty sweet.

I dropped the hub off at Neil's and while there got some more pics. Here's some more shots of the crossmember. Pictures don't do this thing justice!








I also picked up some Ford F-250 shock towers recently:


Neil had one of the front leaves on the cart up ext to the Explorer for some measurements and you can start to see the eventual result. In Neil's words, "Those springs look like they were made to go there!"



Then I had a present waiting for me when I got home tonight. They're high-steer arms from WFO Concepts. I got the set with the double-ended passenger side arm to have all options available when it comes to adding hydraulic-assist steering later:


Now we can get the back end down on some tires and get the steering figured out!

'Bout time for some updates! I've been super busy w/ OT at work and building a fence. Anyway, the front axle is almost in! Here's some updates from Neil first:

Neil said:
Got the crossmember all burned together and its hella stout!


Turned up the heat on the machine and burned in much better this time I think.


I'm not perfect, but I think with some practice I can whip up a bead.

He sure can! Next:

Neil said:
Got Drunk and Got Busy! Cool Up till 2:00am just burnin the midnight oil.

Once we got the front bumper off the truck, I really got a good look at the front frame horns. The Exploder has crumple zones and we don't want them. I cut out some plates to alleviate the problem and burned them in. I had to hog the crossmember out, but she all fits now.

Frame Plates


I threw the knuckles on and one steering arm to set the axle in place.


Sorry Bryan, I'm letting the cat outta the bag on those painted steering arms! (Inside joke.) But, they will be Pink before I'm done with them.

Got about 3" of wheelbase to better the approach as well as get that draglink parallel. Bryan, this is about as far back as we can go. This will also help your fender clearance at full stuff. Also, that nut trick is patented, ask Bob - thats just Plumb Bob!


Got a roller, rolled into place... Of course this is not ride height, but it would be nice. (NOTE: Rollers are ~ 32" tall)


Somebody get that boy a new club sticker!


Also in the above shot, I got the old shock tower rivets torched out with the plasma. Just need to remove the bumpstop bolts, but was too tuckered to jack with it this morning. Plus, I had to remove all the old TTB brackets from the crossmember.

Next we are on to building the rear spring hangers and she'll be a roller!

Also, Uncle Rico came to visit Columbia all the way from Idaho!


Then I scored an AWESOME deal on some real tires! The Pro-Comp X-Terrains weren't on my "short list" but the deal was way too good to be true. They're 40x13.50R16s! This was the kind of deal only my dad or broncoIIguy seem to come across! I got 5 of 'em for less than a Grover Cleveland! (Benjamins eat ya heart out!)


Here's the "police lineup" shot. On the same trip to St. Louis to get these, I also got 2 replacement spare wheels/tires for our Excursion since we had a chunk of tread fly off after hitting a gator. I had 7 tires in the back of the beast!

First is the Excursion wheel & tire, a 265/75/R16, then one of my Explorer's old 33x12.50R15s, and then one of the new 40" Pro Comps:


The booty load!



Some shots of how the D60 sits now:



And finally some shots of Neil with his new toy he WON, a tube notcher--carnage included! He's working on the front leaf spring shackle mounts (the triangulated tube setup in a post above):




More to come soon!

Will it be ready for your Ouray trip? If not you should bring it to Smorr :) would love to see it in action.

I love how you use your suvs as trucks. I did the same thing before I got my f150! The fab work is top notch and I wish I could make **** as pretty as that!! :thumbsup:

I'm tired of using our SUVs as trucks! We've decided to sell Goldilocks' Firebird and get a truck. :thumbsup:

Brad, if Neil and I don't get the Explorer done before Ouray you might not see me alive again. :dead: The ultimate trip would be to go to the Ford Invasion at SMORR for part of the weekend and then drive from there to Ouray, but I only give that about 5% probability of happening.

Our NEW deadline is the 4th of July weekend for a test run at Potawotamie in Fulton. I'll post more info once it's closer ot then. I'd like at least a few people to come out with me for that. :burnout: Need to allow some time for tweaks before leaving for Ouray on the 17th!

I love how you use your suvs as trucks. I did the same thing before I got my f150! The fab work is top notch and I wish I could make **** as pretty as that!! :thumbsup:

You mean use them as trucks in the sense of hauling stuff (like his 1 tons) in the back, or are you saying 4 wheelin' is for trucks, and that its silly that we're wheelin' our suv's "as if it were at truck"??

use them as trucks in the sense of hauling stuff (like his 1 tons) in the back

I'm pretty sure this is what he meant. Let's not start hatin'.


You mean use them as trucks in the sense of hauling stuff (like his 1 tons) in the back, or are you saying 4 wheelin' is for trucks, and that its silly that we're wheelin' our suv's "as if it were at truck"??
I used my ford explorer to haul stuff that would have been nicer to use a truck to haul. I got an f150 for hauling and daily driving. My explorer is mainly my off road vehicle.

SVO42 hauled 1 tons in his explorer at the beginning of this thread. He secondly posted a picture with the excursion that had a cargo area full of big tires. I posted a reply because I found it funny that he uses his suvs the same way I have used mine. He's got me beat on hauling the most weight with the 1 tons. lol Hope this clears up the fog.

Whoa whoa whoa! That is a siiick crossmember! Great fabbin' there! :cool:

But f250 shock towers?? Where's the tube?? :p:

Is it a driver yet?? Updates pics please.

Will update tomorrow, hopefully--this weekend's the wrenchathon! :hammer:

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No doubler for now. We just need to get it rolln' in time to head out for Ouray in a week w/ time for testing. I believe I am going to abandon the BW1354/Dana 20 doubler project. I want bulletproof so what I am leaning toward, after we get back, is upgrading the shafts in the Dana 60 and then possibly swapping in a NP435 and 203/205 doubler.