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Rear axle question

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by '73 K5, May 31, 2000.

  1. '73 K5

    '73 K5 1/2 ton status

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    I'm just curious. It seems like everyone here is pro 14 bolt only. How many guys have either bought, or are going to buy a Dana 60 from Dynatrac. I mean everyone bitches about having to change out wheels and tires and 16.5's losing the bead all the time, changing yokes, maybe changing the master cylinder, 14 bolts being really heavy and taking up ground clearance, etc. I know Dynatrac stuff is expensive, but doesn't that extra initial cost kind of equal out since you won't have to mess with that other stuff. Opinions...

    '73 K5
    Chevy good...Ford bad
     
  2. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    I also thought about an axle from dynatrac. The $2000.00+ price tag was the main reason I didn't go for it. I built my 14 bolt for about a 1/4 of the price of a new dana 60 from dynatrac. And as far as the new wheels and tires go, I decided to run disk brakes in the rear. 15 inch wheels fit with very little grinding to the calipers so I got to use my same BFG MT's. I plan on running 38's so the ground clearance thing wasn't really an issue. Those were my reasons behind the 14 bolt buildup. I guess if I didn't get the 14 for so cheap then it would make sense to go with the dana 60.

    BIGJ
     
  3. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    I seriously considered a Dynatrac 60 a couple of years ago since the insurance company cut me a check for $2 grand to repair the rearend (based on a GM dealer estimate) after my Blazer was stolen and the rearend blown up. The main reason I didn't go that route was that it would have taken 6 weeks to get and the Blazer was my only vehicle at the time. I think Dynatrac gave me a price of around $2700-2800 with a Detroit locker installed and shipping..ouchhhhh!
    With the advent of Warn's full floating kits, I think a 12-bolt with the f.f. kit and some other upgrades would be a good alternative for a lot less money than the custom 60, and will probably be my next upgrade if or when I have trouble with the 10-bolt.
    BTW, I have had no problems (knock on wood) with my rear 10-bolt which is upgraded with aftermarket gears, Detroit TruTrac, and alloy axleshafts (30 splines), this has been with 35" tires and a lot of trail use.
     
  4. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    Yes, that Warn kit looks nice! ORD ditched their 14 bolt rear for a 12 bolt with a FF kit from Warn..

    That kit is in my future, just have to figure a way to swallow that $900 or so price tag!

    Mike
    82 GMC Jimmy "Emmett" "Built for function, not for beauty!"
    IN TOO DEEP Off-Road Club
     
  5. ken

    ken 1/2 ton status

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    HOLY MACKERAL!!! $900???? That's an expensive inch you gain from going from a 14 bolt to a full float 12 bolt. Dang, you that worried about scrapeing a rock with a 14?? So worried that you would spend $900 frigging dollars?!?!?!? WOW!!!! I'll keep my 14, and if I rub, I'll run bigger tires!!!

    ken
     
  6. BIGJ

    BIGJ 1/2 ton status Author

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    I second that bigger tires comment.

    BIGJ
     
  7. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    ORD quoted about $700 for the kit so it's a little cheaper than 9 bills. For the ground clearance, you save closer to 2" more than a 14 bolt which would equal 4" in tire diameter (31's with a 10-bolt gives you just about the same clearance as a 14-bolt and 35's).
    The following is my view on a 14 bolt and is only an opinion. I agree that there is a time and place when a 14 bolt is the only way to go, but I personally think it's overkill in a lot of situations.
    Yeah, I suppose if I put a 14-bolt in I could also spend $1,500 on 39" tires and new rims to keep the same clearance as I have now with 35's, but then I would also need to upgrade to a front Dana 60 (big $$$) to handle the 39's, then I would need to swap in 4.88 gears (another $800 or so), redo the suspension for more lift, lengthen driveshafts, etc, etc. Then I can deal with putting up with big heavy bias ply mud tires and increased height when driving the 200 mile round trip to the trails and the fast tire wear. For what reason, just so I can keep the same ground clearance as I have now and replace that weak 10-bolt (that has stood up to heavy fourwheeling for 2 years with 35" tires.....yes, it's thoroughly "beefed" and knock on wood).
    Again, please remember this is just my opinion based from my own personal experience..........
     
  8. chaka73

    chaka73 1/2 ton status

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    Me too.

    LOVE MY GREEN GIANT!!!
     
  9. ken

    ken 1/2 ton status

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    Points well taken, 6.2, but you obviously have not had the pleasure of grenading a 10 bolt, have you? I have seen SO MANY 10 bolts grenade while merely driving down the street that I would not want to leave the city limits with one!!! That explains my obvious bias toward heavy duty beef, the 14 bolt. I guess I just wanna relate to everyone the importance of NOT buying and building axles over and over again...do it once and do it right! But in the end...to each his own!!!

    ken
     
  10. Shawn

    Shawn 1/2 ton status Premium Member Author

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    I always think about other things you can buy with that money. Front locker, engine upgrades, maybe a new engine. Don't get me wrong, the rear Dana 60 is a great axle but the 14 bolt has larger ring gear and is stronger. No flames inteneded here.

    Here in Denver a 14 bolt is around $200 and parts are easy to find.

    Wheels can be 16" 8 lug so that you can air down.

    Usually, you can sell your old 15" rims and buy a used set of 8 lug rims and tires for the same price if your budget is tight.

    Yes, you will have to change the front to an 8 lug. The parts can be swapped easy with a front 10 bolt or Dana 44 or buy a used 8 lug axle and sell your old 6 lug.

    Driveshaft yokes can be easily adaped by using a trick u-joint.

    Master cylinder does not need to be changed. I'm still running the stock master with a 1 ton Dana 60 and the 14 bolt with no problems. Whenever I need to replace it, I will replace it with a 3/4 or 1 ton unit.

    After doing a disk brake kit, the 14 bolt is not much heavier than the 60. The TSM kit sheds alot of weight by getting rid of the large drums.

    True, ground clearance is less. Some have grinded up to 1/2" off the bottom with no problems. I haven't had any problems with the pumpkin actually stopping me. Usually, I take a line where the rocks are either to the left or to the right of the pumpkin. Mud is no problem either.

    Lockers are cheap for the 14 bolt.

    The Warn full floating kit is nice but I hate the price. I know of someone that just bent his 12 bolt with the full floater kit installed.

    IMHO- I would much rather have a cheaper and durable axle. If you can afford the 60 from Dynatrac, then go for it. Just for kicks, Steve called Dynatrac on a front Dana 60 recently. $3900! That did not include a locker or the 35 spline outer shafts. With an ARB, larger stub shafts, and 35 spline hubs, it was over $5k. Now that is A LOT of money!

    Shawn
    87 K5
     
  11. CK5

    CK5 In my underwear Administrator Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    OK ,heres my take and only my opinion, Fist off, I read a lot about spending big money on new rims and tires, but no one says anything about deducting the cost of the old wheels and tires (and axles) that can be sold, example I spent about 1,700. dollars on 5 new nice 16" wheels and tires BUT I sold the old set for 800.00, so in reality it only cost me 900. to upgrade my wheels and tires not the full 1500 - 1700 that everyone says. Also everyone buys new wheels and tires at some point so if you are smart (not me) you could upgrade the axles before you buy new wheels and tires making this expense a non factor. The 14 bolt cost about 250 bucks, not bad, I sold my front 10-bolt for 200. and bought my 8-lug Dana-44 for 200. a wash, with 4:10 gears (most popular). I now do not worry about strength allthough I would love a Dana 60 for the front [​IMG]. I am not that concerened with an extra inch or so of ground clearance, I just posistion larger rocks to the drivers side if I can. I just wheeled Prichard Canyon in Moab (rated 2nd hardest trail in Moab) with no problems and only kissed the 14 on a rock once, with no problem because it can take it. I am just looking for real world strength and driveabilty for my Blazer, don't care about cutting the fenders or what it will RTI or if it flexes more than the next guys - its all about finding what works for your surroundings and driving style. Bottom line it cost me about 1500 to upgrade from 10 bolts and 35" to 3/4 ton and 36", I can deal with that.

    Just my 2cents worth
    Steve
     
  12. Shawn

    Shawn 1/2 ton status Premium Member Author

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    Like Ken, I also exploded my 10 bolt axle with 31" tires twice. I'd rather pay a little more to get the strength. Now that I run 36" tires (38's for the future) and a 454 engine, a rear 60 or 14 bolt is must. I've seen so many others break their stock 10 bolt rear. As far as beefing a 10 bolt, I'm not sure if thats the best answer. A locker and large tires will definitly take its toll on a 10 over time. I think by not having a locker in a 10 bolt helps a little. Some like 6.2Blazer have had good luck with theirs and thats great. Maybe he'll never have a single problem. 12 bolts do seem stronger. I had one on my 79 Chevy with 35's with locker and never had any problems. Depdog hasn't had problems with his 12 and he wheels hard. From my personal experiance, I will stick with the 14 bolt. If you really want to do this cheap, buy a 3/4 ton or 1 ton truck and swap the axles/wheels and re-sell the truck. Again, no offense to anyone running a 10 bolt.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to get off the Dana 60 topic.

    Shawn
    87 K5
     
  13. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    I wouldn't disagree with the reasons anyone has given for having a 14-bolt. As in Shawn's case, I wouldn't even think about running a 10-bolt with 36x14 Swampers and a 454. Steve really hit it hard on the head about building the truck for the way you drive and the trails you take. Here in the midwest, we don't have many rocks, but the biggest problem is that there are a lot of deeply rutted trails that you cannot straddle when muddy (you just slide right in) and axle ground clearance is a huge factor. About the only thing that stops my Blazer on the trails around here are the axles hanging up on these ruts, and switching from 33" to 35" tires (gaining only 1" clearance under the diffs) really made a huge difference on the trails.
    About grenading 10-bolts, yes I have had the pleasure to experience this first hand. The factory Gov-lok was in pieces after my truck was stolen, taken for a joy ride through the creek, and then stripped (32" tires at the time). But the factory carrier is the weak point on these and the Gov-lok makes it even worse.
    Concerning the comment about 10-bolts just exploding while driving down the street, I will disagree with that statement. I guarantee that the actual failure began at some other time (such as that burn-out last Saturday night, trying to climb that steep hill two weeks ago in Moab, or just from years of hard driving) and was on it's last leg when it finally let go while cruising down the street. When my stock one let go, yeah, I was just driving down the street a week after I got it back from being stolen A 10-bolt will not just randomly explode under normal driving conditions unless it has been stressed previously.
    And as a final note, I do use the my truck hard on the trail. In fact, I have broken both left and right side front axle u-joints in the last three months. Oh well, that's a good excuse to get chromoly shafts, and by the way, anyone ever try to find 30 spline front 10-bolt axleshafts at the junkyard or new ones through someone else besides the dealer (big $$$$, if they can get them)......good luck, you'll need it.......
     
  14. Burt4x4

    Burt4x4 3/4 ton status

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    My story is simple
    I whent wheelin after reciving a brand new Pro Auburn Posi[​IMG] in my rebuilt 12blot(brearings and seals + R&P (stock axels)) and had about 2500 miles on it and while doing a hill climb (blocks in the back too[​IMG]) I felt a hop then BANG!!![​IMG]The driveshaft hit the floorboard and I roled back down the hill. The 12 bolt now looked like a half smile with a nice crack in the casting shaped like a sidways V[​IMG]!!My 33s were tilting inward from the top as the pumkin saged tward the ground.I had an axel truss on there and that was what held it together in order to get home in front wheel drive! I picked up a rear D60SF for 300 bucks and had it rebuilt w/Dana Power-Lok w/R&P and MarkWilliams 35spline 6lug axels, bearings and seals for a grand total of 1100 bucks.
    The thing is 3/4 ton axels are not that expensive to 'beef' up. But to buy them allready 'beefed' up is a top dollar business!!
    .02
    PS another 500bucks and I ditched thoes damn blocks for spring packs!!

    Rock ON![​IMG] 72 K5 [​IMG] Led Zeppelin
     
  15. CK5

    CK5 In my underwear Administrator Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    I hear ya about the 30 spline front axle shafts, I broke the long side inner and stub shaft last weekend in Moab trying to get up the bump dump (pics coming). Moab off-road just hapened to have one new assembly left (yeah right) for 219.00, so how bad did I get it? The 219.00 was for the long side inner shaft and stub shaft and the joint allready pressed in, maybe that price wasn't as bad as I thought.
    As far as 10-bolts go, one thing I noticed about most that fail is most have had a gov-lock in it, that might be the first thing to replace to make them stronger.
    Steve
     
  16. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    FYI, Randy's Ring and Pinion quoted me just over $200 for a complete set of Dana 44 front axle shafts (left and right, inner and outer), and these were new Spicer shafts. Shipping and u-joints with installation were over $100 or so your price probably wasn't too far out of hand.....but what are your choices in a time like that?
    Anyway, the whole story is that I asked for 10-bolt, 30 spline front shafts and they said they could get them for the above price......okay, cool, send them down. The receipt says "30-spline GM 10-bolt and Dana 44"......wait a second, Dana 44's and 30 spline 10 bolt axleshafts don't interchange..........okay, call them, argue with the guy for a while, get mad, pull out the 10-bolt axleshaft from the truck, lay it next to the one they sent, took a digital picture, sent it to them (overall length is different and seal surface is in different area)....finally get them to agree a full refund on them......what a day.
     
  17. Shawn

    Shawn 1/2 ton status Premium Member Author

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    Hmmm... Make mental note.... Avoid Randy's Ring and Pinion when buying new gears...

    I think we all have good pros and cons for each axle. Like you said, it's all what you want to do with it. You may find a deal on an a axle like Burt or want the best clearance for severe ruts. Ken is running 40" and 42" tires on his machines so a 14 bolt is a requirement for him. Steve listed some good values on each axle in his swap article.

    Shawn
    87 K5
     
  18. ken

    ken 1/2 ton status

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    Hey wait...not ALL my rigs are running 40s and above...the wife's '90 Sub is running 35" BFGs with full floating 14 and Dana 60!!

    Hey Steve, how many axleshafts for a 10 bolt/44 do you have to buy till you can afford a Dana 60 front (which run about $900 or so)...seems to me not many!!! I think if I had a 10 or a 44 that if I broke one, I wouldn't buy a shaft, rather save the money towards the purchase of a Dana 60...course when you're in Moab already and just hafta wheel...!!!

    ken
     
  19. ken

    ken 1/2 ton status

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    Hey wait...not ALL my rigs are running 40s and above...the wife's '90 Sub is running 35" BFGs with full floating 14 and Dana 60!!

    Hey Steve, how many axleshafts for a 10 bolt/44 do you have to buy till you can afford a Dana 60 front (which run about $900 or so)...seems to me not many!!! I think if I had a 10 or a 44 that if I broke one, I wouldn't buy a shaft, rather save the money towards the purchase of a Dana 60...course when you're in Moab already, and just hafta wheel, you gotta do what ya gotta do!!!

    ken
     
  20. Burt4x4

    Burt4x4 3/4 ton status

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    Ahhhh, Not even a K5er are ya Ken!![​IMG]
    shame on you!!
    [​IMG]

    Rock ON![​IMG] 72 K5 [​IMG] Led Zeppelin
     

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