Dana 30 solid axle and ride height questions


cstarbard

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Hey guys,

I'm getting really sick of my TTB front end on my 96 Ranger. Just about every original bushing is shot and it handles like hot poo even with an ok alignment done by me. I've thought about overhauling all the bushings and getting camber/caster bushings with more adjustability, but by the time I've done and money required to do that I'd pretty much rather have the Dana 30 solid axle up front.

Here's my problem. I live in Massachusetts and the inspection laws are super ridiculous now, which means I have to be very careful about lift if I want this truck to pass inspection. I've heard that you need about 3-4" of lift in order for the Dana 30 solid axle to clear the engine/crossmember. Is that true?

Is there any way to put the solid axle Dana 30 in there while maintaining what looks more or less like stock ride height? We are still allowed 2" of suspension lift in MA and 2" taller on tires.

Thanks in advance.
 


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bobbywalter

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yeah. you can actually lower it.

you build a custom k member (which is simple as a sawzall and a piece of flat stock.. and some time with a good drill bit) and then incorporate some wrangler leafs with slider boxes which would allow you to put that thing in the dirt compared to stock..




in your case, i say no. you have the best ttb 35. re bush it and get on with things.

no matter what you do your still going to have to rebush and rejoint it periodically.

if you were starting with a 2wd...i would strongly suggest using the 30.

but you already have a better axle.
 

cstarbard

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Hey, thanks for the response. That is super cool to know that I could put it in and still pass inspection.

I understand that the Dana 30 solid axle is not the strongest axle out there, but I do zero wheeling or off roading minus traversing the crappy gravel roads in my town (lol) so I'm not worried about braking stuff.

I have a Dana 28/35 hyrbid axle now (its a 4 cyl 4x4 truck) so I would have to imagine the Dana 30 solid axle is probably a slight upgrade at that rate?

I totally hear you, I realize the Dana 30 solid axle would still require some of the same maintenance from time to time, I'm just sick of the constant awful alignment, terrible on-road ride quality, ever failing bushings, etc etc.
 

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on hiway.... i prefer my leaf d60 setup over ttb. tire wear is much better and depending on actual tire/toe situation it handles much better.



off road..60-70 percent of the time i like the ttb ride and working characteristics better. well if it was as strong as a 60.


the irony of that is is huge.
 

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I'm just sick of the constant awful alignment, terrible on-road ride quality, ever failing bushings, etc etc.
"Shot bushings" will do that. :icon_thumby:


Your D28 (hybrid) axle has much greater weight-carrying capacity, but the D30 would have the stronger axle shafts. Though you can fix that by swapping out your D28 pig for a D35 one, you mentioned not needing it for off road use, in which case I completely agree, just keep what you have and freshen it up. A TTB suspension in proper shape (inc. the steering) normally rides & handles better than a solid axle suspension will.


Will MA inspectors even pass a vehicle who's frame crossmember is butchered up to accommodate a low-ride-height solid axle swap?
 

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Thanks for the responses.

I understand the shot bushings is not the TTB design's fault and that doing them would greatly improve handling. It just seems like a lot of work to re do them all and name brand kits for all the bushings aren't super cheap either which left me wondering if I wouldn't just be happier with a solid axle long term. I used to drive a 1984 Chevy CUCV which had solid axles front and back, and granted there are a million other differences between it and a 96 Ranger that would affect handling, but for a dual solid axle, four point leaf spring truck, I thought it rode and handled great.

I would not have guessed that the hybrid axle actually had a better weight rating than the D30 Jeep axle. Any chance you know the difference in weight capacities between the axles?

Very fair point on the engine crossmember. I don't know how they would like that. I have quite a bit of welding experience and I'm confident I could make the crossmember look good to the point that no one might even question it, but that is a huge risk of course.

Thanks!! Chris
 
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The hybrid axle shares all the load-bearing parts with a D-35, it's just the gears and inner portion of the axle shafts that are down-graded.

The 35 can hold the weight of a V8 swap. The D30 has been know to break under the weight of the Jeep 4.0.


Also, sounds like it might be time to look at getting out of Facistchusetts.
 

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Will MA inspectors even pass a vehicle who's frame crossmember is butchered up to accommodate a low-ride-height solid axle swap?



really mang? why would it have to be butchered.?.?.?

especially with sliders and a spring under leaf 30...


i absolutely mangled 10 or more dana 35 beams with v8 and no locker.
 

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The hybrid axle shares all the load-bearing parts with a D-35, it's just the gears and inner portion of the axle shafts that are down-graded.

The 35 can hold the weight of a V8 swap. The D30 has been know to break under the weight of the Jeep 4.0.


Also, sounds like it might be time to look at getting out of Facistchusetts.
Man if only I could leave this awful state!! I honestly might move to Connecticut sooner or later the way all this is going

Supposing I drive on road 100% of the time with a 2.3 engine, no front locker etc, not carrying much loads, the only 4x4 use ever being in winter, running no larger than a 235 75 15 tire, would a Dana 30 hold up to that? I'm seeing a lot of mixed opinions on how tough it really is. Most people seem to think its very weak but others are saying its really not so bad and that staying under a 33" tire it will do fine.
 

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Entirely up to you... In your particular case (4-cyl 4x4, I assume standard cab), a D30 does stand a fairly decent chance of survival...

I'd be more interested in knowing though how you figure that ripping out and attempting to re-engineer a whole axle & suspension under your truck is somehow easier than replacing the four (4) bushings on your existing suspension. :icon_confused: Everything else about the axles (such as ball joints and steering linkages) are for all intents & purposes the same (similar cost & procedure to replace), so your proposal makes very little sense.
It's beginning to sound like another project doomed from the start because the owner didn't realize what he was getting himself into and got in over his head after ripping the truck apart while sitting on jackstands... I've lost count the number of vehicles I've seen hauled off to junkyards because of stuff like this.

really mang? why would it have to be butchered.?.?.?

especially with sliders and a spring under leaf 30...


i absolutely mangled 10 or more dana 35 beams with v8 and no locker.

I'm surprised to see you of all people ask this, especially with having already done a SAS yourself...
If you recall at stock height the axle tube would almost be making love to your engine's oil pan, forget about the crossmember. Hacking out the crossmember may get you another 2-3 inches clearance, but you're still going to be a few inches above original ride height if you don't want to be kissing the bumpstops that protect your oil pan over every bump (and this is provided the D30 diff itself is far enough to the driverside to clear the oil pan... If not, then you can add an easy 3-4 more inches to the amount you'll need to raise it).
 

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:icon_confused:




your saying you can not lower the ranger with a sas?


maybe not with an eb 44....but for damn sure with a leaf 30. pad spread is almost the same as the 60 and it has a 60 in wms. the pumpkin wont fawk with the pan at all. i would do it the same as with a 351 swap when the truck is already sas..."post" style tower mounts to use the truck pan. with stock engine lowering truck with yj 30 would be cake.....(yj axle waggy springs) and a waggy 44 is better of course...


you can easily do it with more up travel and down travel then the ttb and lower the overall ride height an inch or so..


the ttb crossmember is ginormous...the center to top of the axle tube on a 30 is less then the 35. so ditching the k member and less tube makes lower truck.

if guy said he was running a big motor and 35 or larger tires i would suggest a real axle of course.


and i sure as fawk dont suggest an axle swap at all in this case....rebush and get it awn.
 

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Sorry, but that is not at all what I see... I see maybe 5" clearance where the axle shaft (u-joint) passes under the crossmember on mine... which also currently has approx 4" lift on the suspension.
Imagine at stock height that instead of a TTB shaft it's the tube of a solid axle tucked under there, and you'd see right away how there would be a whopping whole inch available for your uptravel before the tube smacks into things. Cut away the member and you'll now have maybe 3" to the engine's oil pan.
Then there's bumpstop deformation you have to allow for too, so this effectively limits you to a paltry 1½" of travel from stock height while still protecting the pan.
The best I see happening here height-wise if you want to have acceptable uptravel is 2-3" above stock.

You need to remember that, unlike a TTB, a solid axle moves straight up/down at the same rate the suspension compresses, it is not possible to have the same amount of wheel travel available in the same space with a SA as you can with a TTB.
 

bobbywalter

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well...i know there are at least 2 leaf swaps here that are lower then stock.


and holy fawk the search feature sux. the older one is black...i dont remember build threads, just pictures wheeling.

there are some coil trucks that are right at stock incorrectly done with welded tight radius arms. could be a different sight on those.


i remember asking and getting the details on the older truck like mine and was shocked at how well it worked. i consider my truck a low rider...but it also has the caveat of low rider on 44's. which is about 6 inches of suspension lift and 3 inches of body with copius fender removal.

and its very doable. more travel and lower then stock. wont hit pan. 215-15 tires...
 

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Seeing a lower-than-stock-height SAS on a RBV would be a first for me (and as you know, I've been on here since almost the beginning). If you find it, then I'm all ears (or eyes, I guess it would be).
 

bobbywalter

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you probably have seen it. i did not realize it was an sas initially.
 


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