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14-Bolt Axle Shaving

14-Bolt Axle Shaving

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14-Bolt Axle Shaving
Looking for more ground clearance from your 14-bolt axle? I think we all know the answer to that question. The strength and relative low-cost of this axle has made it a favorite among many off-roaders for years but at a price, that price is ground clearance. With that being said, ground clearance can still be improved a bit by simply grinding (shaving) down the lower lip anywhere from a 1/2" - 1" depending on how ambitious you are.


Large 14-bolt lip


Lots of cutting room


After first bottom cut


After side cut
There are quite a few ways to clearance the bottom of an axle, anything from an angle grinder to using a plasma cutter, but because we only had a few basic tools in our garage we took advantage of what we had available, a Sawz-all and an angle grinder. The first thing we did was to pull the cover so we could get a good idea on how much we wanted to take off. A small hacksaw was used to start a cut across the bottom of the housing, then we fired up the Sawz-all to make the big cut being careful not to cut off the bottom bolt hole, we used the same procedure to make cuts on either side of the differential.


Lower lip removed


After a little grinding


Diff cover installed


No rock catching lip
At this point a grinder can be used to smooth everything up and take the differential down to the size desired, we chose to stop once the lip was even with the rest of the housing but more can be ground off if desired. We had Avalanche Engineering in Denver add a 1/4" ring & pinion shield to our rock ring (differential armor) as well as mill it down to match our new slightly smaller axle, we bolted the rock ring and cover into place and used the angle grinder to ensure that everything was a perfect fit in relation to the housing. We installed the cover and rock ring with a fresh gasket, filled the diff with gear oil and we called it a night.


Side shot


From the rear


Rock Ring installed


This ranks as one of the easiest and cheapest modifications we have done to date, with 37" tall tires the clearance at the lowest point of the axle went from 9-7/8" to 10-1/2", let's face it, it's still big, but we should now be able to slide over the rocks with a little more ease.
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