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1/2 Ton Axle Advice

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 4wheelin4Jesus, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. 4wheelin4Jesus

    4wheelin4Jesus 1/2 ton status

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    If someone who has been faced with this decision could give me some advice, i would really appreciate it. I have the stock front and rear 1/2 ton axles for my 78. Ive heard different oppinions on what to do. I would like to beaf up the axles. Weld gussets, etc. to ensure that it is bullet proof. Should i scratch that idea, and just swap out to 3/4 ton to 1 ton axles? Also, will i be able to beef up the front 1/2 ton axles any at all? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. josh86k10

    josh86k10 1/2 ton status

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    Well, are they worth spending thousands on? No, probably not. That said, depending on the tires you run and your driving style a few upgrades can make a pretty competent wheeler. If you get into the thousands range though you're better off going ahead and swapping to ton stuff, as it probably won't be much more money to buy and build ton axles. I've gone both routes. Originally sunk a couple grand into my 10-bolts (detroit NoSpin rear, Truetrac front, 4.10 gears, rebuild kits, labor, etc.) I've still got them by the way, I'll sell them for $625 for the pair, everything was professionally done about 20-25K miles ago (I'm near Chattanooga, TN). Then I bought a D60/14FF combo w/ 4.56 gears and stuffed some lockers in them for not much more than I had spent on my 1/2 ton set-up. I'd let a realistic estimate of my ultimate tire size make my decision, I warn you though; my realistic estimate keeps growing. Looking back I wish I had gone ahead and swapped ton axles in since I eventually did anyway, but for what I was using my truck for at the time the 10-bolts served me very well.
     
  3. toy4x4runner

    toy4x4runner 1/2 ton status

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    you got it. Tire size along with driving conditions will determine if they will break. I'm running a D44 in my rig upfront. I have a detroit locker, 5.38 dana gears, Dutchman chromo inner axle shafts, rotated the pinion up 12 degrees etc. My ultimate tire I'll run is a 38" Radial.... like a TSL or SSR. currently some small 35's. and I drive pretty easy on & off road. But that axle is in a toyota. My rig only has 160HP. and weighing in at a bit over 4,000lbs. In a K5, if you want bigger than 35's, go with the D60/14BFF combo. that's how I see it.
     
  4. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Forget half ton axles exist and grab yourself a 3/4T set with a 14BFF and front 10b/44 8 lugger. Preferably 4.56 but 4.10's shoud work with anything 37" and smaller. You should be able to find a set of 3/4T's for around 200-500 bucks. Wheel them stock and if/when you break the front end start hunting for a decent priced D60. Don't dump a ton of money on a light duty front axle when you will spend more beefing it up vs. a stock D60.

    As many people find running tires no larger than 37-38".....the front 44 or 10B doesn't hardly break and a D60 isn't needed anyway.
     
  5. 4wheelin4Jesus

    4wheelin4Jesus 1/2 ton status

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    I appreciate all your replies. I had originally took advice from my so-called master 4x4 builder friend. He turned out not to be as smart as he claimed to be. He told me to take the stock 1/2" ton axles, and beef um up. I was so green with 4 wheeling, that i didnt even know about lockers or anything like that. He told me to upgrade from the stock gears to 456 gears. i bought the full kit for the front and rear. I had the rear installed professionally. He ran into problems, and had to use ring gear spacers. The front hasnt been done yet. I have installed a 6" suspension lift, and will be using 36" tires. Do you all think that I am asking way too much from my set up, maybe im looking for them to break if i do some serious 4 wheeling, or will i be ok.
    thanks,
     
  6. Joshinator

    Joshinator Registered Member

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    I ran some 38" TSL's and 4.88 gears on my 1/2 ton junk and i beat on it for a long time without any problems. But back then i mostly played in mud, and it wasnt until i stepped up to 44" boggers i had a problem. So, my opinion, anyone with 38" or smaller tires, and with open diffs ...shouldnt have to worry too much.
     
  7. PhoenixZorn

    PhoenixZorn 1/2 ton status

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    Getting into anything more than trail riding or straight line mud bogging, I think you may be inclined to break an axle... I wouldn't go rock crawling with your rig (extreme) but the easy stuff should be ok. Finish up your locker install, build some trusses over the pumpkins, and wheel it till you break. Then upgrade.
     
  8. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    1/2 ton axles have there place in four wheeling. Alot of the group I run with run 1/2 ton axles or at least 1/2 ton front axles. They all do just fine doing some pretty hard rockcrawling with them.

    Anyone who says you have to have 3/4 ton or 1 ton axles to four wheel hard is narrow minded, misinformed, or spends to much time webwheeling. It is all dependent on your situation, wheeling conditions, driving style, etc.

    If you don't already have money dropped into your 1/2 ton axles this is a good time to upgrade to 3/4 or 1 ton if you can find the parts for a good price. Having stronger stuff is good if you can afford it.

    Harley
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2005
  9. PhoenixZorn

    PhoenixZorn 1/2 ton status

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    **raises hand** Web Wheeler here... until I can find a suitable place to go.
     
  10. CyberSniper

    CyberSniper 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    There are two kinds of axles when it comes to anything but jumping.

    1/2 ton
    1 ton

    3/4 ton is an illusion. You get a "bulletproof" 1 ton rear and a half ton front. The only way I'd consider it a "bulletproof" rear is if it's a 14FF, D70, or 35 spline D60. Then it's only bulletproof in the sense of it breaking... but maintenance is more costly and much more imperative ($90 for pinion bearings on a 14FF vs $25 on a 10 bolt and 12 bolt). A disced 14FF weighs twice as much as a disced 10 bolt.


    1/2 ton axles are dirt cheap. Dirt cheap to buy and dirt cheap to rebuild. Spares are cheap. But, they're pretty weak. If you disc the rear your biggest problem with a 10 bolt will be breaking shafts. For a 12 bolt the worry will be pinion bearings and shafts. Shafts have an easy solution: Buy Superior shafts for ~$100/each.

    The front axle is a little more difficult. A 3/4 ton front axle is a half ton axle with marginally larger discs and 8 lugs. Otherwise it is identical. So I call it a 1/2 ton axle. To make it strong enough not to blow up you should run aftermarket shafts and joints. Yukon shafts are affordable now. After spending about $900 on aftermarket shafts and joints you now have a 30 spline D60 driveline comparable strength. You still have weak balljoints, thin tubes, and a small carrier.



    The big decision maker is how big of tire do you plan on running, what kind of power/gear ratio, and what kind of terrain. You don't want to have to spend the money twice. The other option is to spend a little money, see if it'll hold up moderately well, and then make your decision. Don't spend more money than you think you can get out of it by selling it or on equipment you can't use on another vehicle.
     
  11. 4wheelin4Jesus

    4wheelin4Jesus 1/2 ton status

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    thank you for your reply. i am running 4.56 gears, 6" lift, and 36" tires. i will probably be 4 wheeling about once a month. I will also be riding it on the street about once a week to twice a week. whatcha think.
    thanks.
     

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