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Axle Upgrades - What are my options for the 10 bolt?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Agar426, Jun 27, 2002.

  1. Agar426

    Agar426 Registered Member

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    I apologize if this topic has come up before, but I am fairly new to this board, so I am not up to date on the topics that have been covered. I've got a '90 Blazer with the 350 tbi that is still running quite well after 130k on the engine. One of these days I would like to upgrade the motor, perhaps with one of Scoggin Dickey's performance TBI's or something like that. I am worried about the stock 10 bolts (Bad idea to begin with - JMO). If I upgrade the horsepower and torque, even slightly, I am worried if the stock axles will handle it. I realize there are 12 bolts that can be swapped in, 14 bolt ff's, etc., but I'm not looking to build a super duty vehicle. This is my hunting/camping vehicle and 1/2 time daily driver. It will never see 35" tires, or a 502 Rat, etc., etc. It's currently wearing 32" BFG's with no lift, and will not likely go up from there....maybe a 2 1/2" lift with 33X12.50's some time in the future...at the very most. I'm just looking for upgrading what I already have. For example, you can upgrade the AMC model 20 with a Warn full floater kit and one piece axles. This is the type of thing I was thinking of. Is there such a thing out there for what I've got, or is swapping in a 12 or 14 bolt easier/cheaper? I am open to suggestions. Thanks for any help you folks may be able to provide!
     
  2. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    For what you are describing, the 10-bolts should work just fine. I have a 300+ HP motor (souped up Scoggins-Dickey 350), 35" tires, detroit lockers front and rear, 4.56 gears, and I run 10-bolt axles. Haven't broken yet (knock on wood).

    My setup is pushing the limits and I have to keep that in mind when off-road. I try not too over exert the suckers. For general, light-duty off-raoding like you have described and the size of tires and engine mentioned, the 10-bolts will probably last you a very long time.
     
  3. BlazerGuy

    BlazerGuy 3/4 ton status

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    Off Road Design sells the Warn full-floater kit for 10 & 12 bolts. FYI the 12 bolt is pretty much the same as a 10 bolt, there's only a fraction of a inch difference between them.
     
  4. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    Utimately, it's just up to you what you want to do for your uses. Here are some things to keep in mind.
    -Swapping an axle is easier and ofter cheaper than swapping gears, so it is the "no-brainer" way to get a better gear ratio. Figure out right away what ratio you need before you buy anything.
    -It is often not worth putting money into 10-bolt axles. For example, converting your rear 10-bolt to a full-floater and changing the differential to 30-spline will run you well over $1000. In many areas, you can pick up a used 14B (super tough and cheap parts) for $500 or less. You see what I mean...
    -Try to figure out what your end result will be before you start. Make sure that everything you do will work with that end product, so that you have the same number of wheel lugs and the same gear ratios front and rear, etc.

    There is a ton of info here if you do some searches on axle swaps, gear changes, broken 10-bolts, etc.
     
  5. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    I know you covered it in your third point, but swapping in a 14BFF for a stock 10-bolt axle is not only the cost of the axle. Most 14-bolts won't have the same ratio as the common ratio for 10-bolts. So, gear change for front axle. let's not forget about the need for new wheels as the 14BFF is 8-lug versus the 6-lug 10-bolt. If you want to match front and rear and be able to carry a full size spare (only one), that will mean 5 new wheels. If you wanna run 8-lug wheels up front, let's be sure to include the conversion to 8-lug on the front 10-bolt. Or, spend a bit more time and find a 3/4 ton D44 for the front that is already an 8-lugger.

    Okay, that takes the ~$500 14BFF simple swap in excess of probably $1200 if you go the D44 route. Probably closer to $1500 if you stick with the 10-bolt and swap gears and lugs.

    We, as experienced K5ers, should be helpful in the advice we provide. For a 1/2 daily driver, that will "never" see tires larger than 33s (yeah right, heard that before), that is a hunt/camp rig, the 10-bolt axles will be just fine. That is what this rig was designed and originally built for.

    10-bolt axles usually only become a liability when tire size hits 35 and bigger, when outrageous amounts of HP/torque are supplied, when maintenance upkeep has been poor, or when used in highly agressive/traction-crazy situations like rock crawling.

    The fact is, for this purpose, there is NO NEED to upgrade the axles. If you are concerned, install new u-joints (driveshaft and steering) and new ball-joints, keep the vehicle well-maintained, and be resonable in your application of power. If you do those things, your 10-bolts will be just fine. spend your money elsewhere.
     
  6. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

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    If you stay with what you have described then I would say the 10 bolts would be fine. If you ever do plan on wheeling hard or going with anything bigger than 33's then I would say it is time for an upgrade. Just my opinion but I would never upgrade half ton axles for the money just get a 14ff I see them all the time in my area for around $100 complete and ready to drop in (thats what I paid for mine /forums/images/icons/smile.gif ) so with the wheeling you have described I would say keep what you have and use that money for other upgrades /forums/images/icons/smile.gif just my.02
     
  7. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    tx85,
    I am sorry that you don't find my advice helpful. I guess I should just unplug my keyboard /forums/images/icons/wink.gif . I never said that he needs to go out and buy a 14BFF. I only mentioned it as an example of why upgrading 10-bolts isn't always very cost-effective. My main point was to not spend money on something that isn't right for you in the end.

    Don't forget that the Warn full-float upgrade that was suggested above also requires new wheels if you still have stock ones.

    The other option that wasn't discussed is to use a 14Bsf with 6-lugs, which requires almost nothing else to be done to the truck if the same ratio is purchased.

    I think that we are all in agreement on the bottom line here. The 10-bolts are probably OK. If not, don't spend money on them, put it into something else.
     
  8. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    Didn't mean to jump your case, but by your post I didn't really see any advice as to whether he should or shouldn't even do it, simply that here are the choices. Yeah, that is what he asked, but sometimes newbies aren't really asking the right questions. This one would probably be better phrased "Do I need to upgrade my 10-bolts" versus "What are the options".

    I guess I get tired of when people always insist that the ONLY way to go, practically no matter what you use it for, is to ditch the 10-bolts and go 14. I run power and 35s and am locked. But have never broken as much as a u-joint. A while back a poll was run and not too many people have actually really broken their 10-bolts. Most is because they upgrade before they get knarly or they deliver the power and such responsibly considering they have 10-bolts.

    Your comments were reasonable and fair responses if an upgrade was necessary. But, in this case, I think we all agree it isn't necessary. I also get upset sometimes when people say that upgarding to a 14 bolt is simply the cost of the axle. That isn't all there is to it and we shouldn't imply that.

    Sorry for flaming you!
     
  9. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    BTW - If I shatter an axleshaft this weekend, it will ALL BE YOUR FAULT FOR MAKING ME POST THIS!!

    /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif
     
  10. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I have shattered my 12 bolt twice once right after I got my blazer (I think it was bad when I got it) and once with 33's in the sand when it went it put 8 holes through my diff cover so for me and my wheeling I went one ton front and rear but that is not to say everyone needs one ton stuff/forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  11. rocko

    rocko 1/2 ton status

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    Swap in a nice 12 bolt w/ 3.73 gears.. and a Dana 44 front . Alot stronger than the corporate 10 bolts..
    And these axles aren't expensive at all.. and should be relatively easy to find..
     
  12. Agar426

    Agar426 Registered Member

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    Thanks everyone for the responses (don't stop now, keep 'em coming!). I understand what you guys are saying. I have no intention of replacing anything until it breaks. I just don't want to spend "bad" money, and then turn around and spend "good" money. I'll replace items as they are neededed; hubs, engine, axles, u-joints, etc., etc. At the same time, I plan on upgrading as I replace, I just don't want to go overboard. I realize that my needs aren't too extreme, however, better safe than sorry. I learned that one the hard way on a hunting trip this past winter....my cousin blew a u-joint on his 1 ton diesel in the middle of nowhere, and if it wasn't for his hi-zoot radio that his outfitter supplied him with, we may have spent the night in 4 1/2 feet of snow. I just want to err on the "too much" side vs. the "not enough" side, without going too far. This board is a fantastic source of information, and I plan on "staying tuned" to other topics to learn as much as I can. Great work guys and gals!
     

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