The BillaVista 60

Bomb Proof Dana 60
Part 3 - Drive Flanges
By BillaVista

The BillaVista-60 Super Dana 60 Front Axle Project.

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Introduction

No matter what the rest of your steering axle is built of - it has only one purpose really, to transmit drive to the wheels. And it can only do that with some kind of lockout hub or drive flange. In fact - a tremendous amount of torque is transferred to the wheels, and conversely shock loads from the wheels to the axle shafts through this interface - so it's important that it be up to the task.

In fact - long experience has taught us that factory offerings, especially 30 and even 35 spline manual lockout hubs are a rather large weak point in our drive axles - prone to breakage and failure - exactly what you don't want when you're on that killer tough trail showing off your rig with it's awesome Dana 60!

There are several offerings available for transmitting drive from the axles to the wheels - from Spicer, Warn, Superwinch and others - but there is one clear BEST choice - one product that stands head and shoulders above the rest...

... so naturally, that's what I used - 'coz this whole project is about building the BEST!

This article tells you what that single best choice is, shows you the product, and shows why it's the best.

Poly Performance 35 Spline Chrom-moly Dana 60 Drive Flanges

The Product

They come in a box...a small unobtrusive, unassuming box.

But you know what they say about great things coming in small packages...

Inside you get the paperwork, a couple of stickers, the installation hardware kit, and the drive flanges and caps themselves all neatly packed in styrofoam peanuts....

...which is pretty funny when you empty the box and realize the flanges themselves are 2 indestructible chunks of heat treated alloy steel :-)

This is the complete kit contents. You get:

  • 2 drive flanges
  • 2 custom drive caps
  • 2 large o-rings
  • 2 large snap rings
  • 6 stainless steel socket head cap screws
  • 6 little o-rings

The completeness and attention to detail are very nice.

The large snap rings are the more modern style that wind round several times and can be installed and removed with only a small screwdriver - personally I much prefer these to the style that require snap-ring pliers for installation / removal.

The little o-rings ensure a complete seal around the cap retaining screws - nice touch!

The drive flanges are manufactured from 4140 Chrom-Moly Alloy Steel and are heat treated throughout for maximum toughness, strength, and durability

They are drilled to reduce weight and the drive flanges themselves offer an unconditional, unlimited lifetime warranty. In fact, Dave at Poly Performance said "If you ever break one of these, you can smack my a$$ and call me Sally", but I know what he meant was "If you break it, we replace it free"

They also feature a black oxide coating treatment to eliminate/reduce corrosion.

In my harsh climate it's certainly more reduce than eliminate - they were left outside in the shop, untreated for several weeks in the humid, salty Atlantic air, and suffered very little corrosion, as the pics demonstrate

They come with a low-profile hard anodized top cap with groovy laser etched "skull & cross bones" logo.

I'm not one to succumb to form OVER function - but I do enjoy something that has all the function - AND looks cool.

Custom engraving is available on the caps for an additional charge. In order to have it done you need to have the image you want engraved in vector eps format. Custom colours are available too!
Backside of the cap.
Cap next to quarter for scale. It is the lowest profile cap available on the market, sticking out from the hub less than any other flange cap or lockout - keeping things protected from the rocks.

Compared to the competition

Here are the Poly Drive Flanges next to the Warn 35 spline units . In comparison the Poly units are lighter...

...stronger (better material and heat treat)...
...feature a lot more spline engagement...
...fewer parts (Warn has an extra piece to which the cap screws)...
lower profile cap (better protected from rocks and obstacles)...and don't forget the super-cool Pirate cap logo!

I measured a bunch of "hub stickouts" and here are the results:

  • Warn Premium 30 sp lockout >1"
  • 78 Ford OEM Spicer lockout (1/4 turn) .835"
  • Superwinch 30 spline lockout (the narrowest lockout I've seen) .758"
  • Warn 35 spline drive flange cap .345"
  • Poly Performance Chro-mo Drive Flange cap 0.252 "

 

The following pics show the Poly Performance units next to the stock Spicer 30 Spline drive flanges. They speak for themselves! The Poly units have more than twice the spline engagement between hub and flange!

Installation

If you're doing a complete axle build then of course you will be dealing with an axle already in a state of rebuild. However, I'm going to detail the installation process from removal of old lockout to installation completed for those that may simply be upgrading to the Poly Performance flanges on a finished axle assembly.

Start by removing the 6 small bolts that hold the manual lockout cap on. They may be Allen head or Torx bits, depending on brand / age.

Once you have the cap off, remove the 2 snap rings - one on the stub axle, and one just inside the hub.

I find the "2 screwdriver" method the best to lever out the big snap ring just inside the hub. Some patience is required. The small snap ring in the end of the stub shaft can be removed with a screwdriver, or with snap ring pliers if it is the type with the holes for the pliers

Once the snap rings are out, you can remove the body of the manual lockout hub. If it is stubborn (as most will be), you can easily fabricate a hub removal tool. I use a scrap piece of 1" strap, drilled to take 2 of the hub cap screws, and a big chisel behind it. To use it, just screw 2 screws back into the hub through the tool, then put a bar or chisel behind it and yank out the hub.

Push the drive flange in so it engages the splines in the wheel hub and the big outside lock-ring groove in the wheel hub is visible (yellow arrow). DO NOT hammer it in, do not force it - the axle shaft or wheel hub may need to be rotated slightly to allow alignment of the shaft and hub splines.

Install large supplied lock-ring in groove in wheel hub to retain drive flange in hub body. Ensure that it is fully seated.

Gently seat the drive flange far enough into the hub body so that the stub axle snap ring can be installed in the groove (yellow arrow) in the end of the stub shafts splines.

Slip large supplied O-rings over the edge of the cap...

...till it seats like this.

Lightly lubricate the o-ring seal with wheel bearing grease

Place a dab of grease in the recess surrounding each cap screw threaded hole (yellow arrow) and place one of the small O-rings in each recess

Insert Drive Flange Cap into the wheel hub and align holes in cap with threaded holes in drive flange.

Apply a small amount of Loctite blue (medium strength) thread locking compound onto each cap screw, then insert stainless steel screws and tighten to 25-30 Inch-lbs.

I very much like the simple clean design of the Poly flanges with the cap attaching directly to the drive flange.

Just look at how impossibly small the stickout is - VERY cool!

This design is certainly cleaner and much less stickout than the stock Spicer press-on cap style, and a MUCH better seal as well.

I also like the fewer parts than the Warn "cap-attaches-to-seperate-disc" style.

There is however, one possible drawback to the Poly design. Should you have to remove the drive flange for any reason (e.g. less than full size spare on front end while on a trail tough enough to still require as many wheels driving as possible) it is a very quick and easy operation - but there will be no way to reinstall the cap without the flange installed.

It's not a huge deal, an old press-in cap could be used, a simple plastic cap fabricated or even a rag stuffed in there - but it's something to consider.

Maybe we can get Poly Performance to turn out some trick new "press-in" temporary caps for just this purpose?

That said - I love my Poly Performance drive flanges - they're unbreakable, elegantly designed, AND stylish - what more can you ask?

Combined with Poly Performance's aggressive pricing and Superb customer service - there is simply NO competition - these li'l beauties stand alone at the top of the options for drive options - and that's why they have pride of place in the BillaVista-60.

I HIGHLY recommend you get your own set too!

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Contact Info:

Poly Performance Offroad Products

725 Buckley Rd
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: 805-783-2060
sales@polyperformance.com
http://www.polyperformance.com/

CTM Racing Products, Inc.

32991 Calle Aviador #E
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone:. 949-487-0770
Fax: 949-487-0772
info@ctmracing.com
http://www.ctmracing.com/

Crane Hi Clearance

Phone: 303-917-4851

http://www.cranehiclearance.com

Joshua@cranehiclearance.com

Superior Axle and Gear
1477 Davril Circle
Corona, CA 92880

Phone (888) 522-2953
Fax (888) 747-2953

http://www.superioraxle.com/

ron@superioraxle.com

 


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