The BillaVista 60

Building a Bomb Proof Dana 60 Front Axle
Part 6 - Testing and Summary
By BillaVista

The BillaVista-60 Super Dana 60 Front Axle Project.

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Introduction

This part of the article will detail my ongoing testing and evaluation of the finished BillaVista-60, as well as serve as a condensed summary of parts 2-5 of the article.

Testing

Obviously, you can't thoroughly test an axle like this in a couple of weeks, or on just a couple of runs.

As such, this section will be an ongoing project that I shall periodically update with pics of wheeling, testing, and my observations and feelings as I spend more and more time with the BillaVista-60.

Pics below from the inaugural run with the project completed .  I certainly appreciated the bulletproof diff cover on this outing.
   
An early run, before the project was completed - at this time only the drive flanges, axles, and U-joints are installed and being tested.

 

There's nothing quite as brutal on equipment as heavy duty snow 'wheeling.  ESPECIALLY if you're breaking trail through a couple of feet or more of fresh snowfall.  In Feb 2004 we received a record snowfall of 95cm in <24 Hrs!!  We were snowed in for several days and the plows were still not on the way (we live about 2 miles back on a windy, dirt road) when I had to take matters into my own hands - we needed milk and bread for the kids!

I decided to pull the Wolf out of the garage where it normally spends the winters and try to bust my way through into the town to see if I could find an open store. It was brutally tough work - I had to put the two transfer cases in high range and juggle the 4 speed manual between 2 and 3 with my loud-pedal foot planted and the engine screaming to make any prgress.  Wheel speed was critical, and as anyone who'se tried to powershift an SM465 from 2 to 3 at 5000rpm can attest - it wasn't easy. The engine screamed, tires spun and grabbed and flung great roosters of snow, often the suspension hopped and hammerd as I alternatly grabbed traction and then hit looming walls of white stuff conspiring to halt all progress.    I twice overheated the engine - full-on boilover.  All 4 wheels spun, hopped, grabbed and skidded around - I thought for sure something would give - after all - I just kept hammering on - I had to - my family needed me to! (Great excuse eh?  It was a hoot, and I had fully rationalized flogging the beast to death :-)

Nothing broke

I was amazed

VERY Cool!


There it is - the beautiful, beefy BV-60 pressed into duty and ready to go!

 

 
I had to break trail, then frequently back up to get some more momentum to hammer on through the next section.  Here you can see wher Ihave broken trail, then backed up.  There was about 3 feet of snow on the ground and I was digging down through about 2 feet.

 

   
There were spots where it was ludicrously deep.

 

   
And inevitably, at one point even the mighty Wolf got stuck.  Somebody had plowed out a driveway and just pushed all the smow into the road, probably expecting the big plows to come and clean the road.  However, even the big plows were not able to keep up with the storm, so when they didn;t come when expected, that left a wall of heavy snow in the street that sucked me in. That's the tip of a 38" Michelin just peeking out there!

 


As luck would have it - I was just pulling cable to get unstuck when the first big plow came by.  He moved some snow and then I wrapped the strap around his blade, hooked my winch cable to the strap, and he slowly backed up. I was so well stuck that at one point he had all 4 tires spinning and hopping - but I gave her a snort on the ol' loud pedal and popped out!

 


It's not often I get to drive the buggy through town on paved roads! I got lots of looks, but didn't see 5-0.  Not that they would have minded this day - there were snowmobiles and ATVs all over the place all week. Had to snap a pic at the store - I parked in an open spot, and didn;t realise until after I got back that I had parked in front of a second-ahnd store called "pilgrim's Journey" - hillarious!

 

 
Overcooked the corner on the return trip.  A friendly local neighbour ventured out at the sound of the screaming 350 and kindly offered to pull cable.

 

 
Mitchell sure enjoyed himself!

Summary

A brief summary of the product's used in the BillaVista-60 project.

Poly Performance Drive flanges

Fact:

  • 4140 Chrom-Moly Alloy Steel, heat treated throughout
  • Super-cool logo on cap, custom colours and engraving possible
  • Super-thin cap profile
  • Excellent sealing, all hardware included
  • Black oxide anti-corrosion coating (works OK but not great)
  • The ORIGINAL thing
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Cap cannot be installed with drive flange installed

Opinion:

Love 'em.  Strongest AND coolest - and from a super guy with great customer service who has always supported the tech boards.  Not the cheapest, but definitely the best.

Get them!

CTM U-joints

Fact:

  • Forged from 300m chrom-moly steel, heat treated, machined, and cryogenically treated
  • Lifetime warranty against breakage
  • Fully greasable and re-buildable
  • Able to be run on street and trail
  • Strongest U-joint on the market
  • Can only be used with premium alloy axle shafts (not Spicer)
  • Premium price

Opinion:

You have to ask?  There are very, very few products in the world, let alone the 4x4 world that stand so alone, so in a class of their own.  The best Joint you can buy - there is no equal. Ultimately, this leave you with an awesome product, but you do have to pay for the best.

Gotta have 'em!

 

Superior Evolution Series Alloy Axles

Fact:

  • 4340 Cr-Mo alloy steel
  • Through hardened, dual heat treatment
  • Rolled or Hobbed Splines
  • Torque Equalizing Diameter Profile
  • DuraCoat™ Black oxide anti-corrosion coating

Opinion:

Quite simply the best axles available for your 4x4.  No other axles offer the same combination of material, manufacturing, and good ol' made in the USA Quality Control.  Expensive, yes, and the anti-corrosion coating isn't really, but otherwise these are a superb product, the ultimate match to CTM U-joints

Need 'em, want 'em, gotta have 'em!

Crane HSC 60 Knuckles

Fact:

  • 8630 Nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy steel
  • Cast as 1 piece - no weld stress or fatigue
  • Dual steering stops
  • Innovative high steer indexing system
  • Large 9/16" high steer attachment hardware
  • Only available in GM/Dodge/Chevy pattern (6 bolt spindle)
  • Much beefier than stock - extra material and ribs cast in
  • Weldable
  • Can accept "other' dana 60 high steer arms with modifications to arm
  • Ship unpainted
  • Premium price
  • Lifetime Warranty

Opinion:

Awesome.  Unquestionably the strongest knuckle you can buy.  They also have the best features: from dual steering stops to the brilliant indexing system for steering.  Not the cheapest, definitely the best.

Highly recommended

Crane Indexed Steering Arms

Fact:

  • 1" thick mild carbon steel "body"
  • Innovative indexing system - but fit is on the loose side
  • Beefy 9/16" sized hardware - however doesn't use studs and a tapered fit (washer or nut seat)
  • Separate cast aluminium cap
  • Kingpin inclination cancelling angle - machined into only 1 side - leaving arm only 5/8" thick or less in places and requiring custom machining for proper bolt fit.
  • Ships unpainted
  • Second generation "ultimate" design in the works

Opinion:

Not recommended.  As highly recommended as the Crane knuckles are, I'd pass on these steering arms and either await the second generation design or have my favourite Dana60 High Steer arms modified to fit the Crane HSC 60 knuckles.

Pass

Crane Extreme Duty Diff Cover

Fact:

  • Cast as a single seamless piece of chrom-moly alloy steel
  • Includes Holo Krome® button-head bolts
  • Cast as 1 piece - no weld stress or fatigue
  • Fully machinable and Weldable - perfect for custom and shaved diffs
  • Lipless
  • Raised fill plug for extra lube / cooling
  • Over 1/4" thick
  • Ships unpainted
  • Premium price
  • Lifetime Warranty

Opinion:

More of the best from Crane.   Best made, best material, superb customer service, and a no-nonsense lifetime warranty - break it and it gets replaced. The completeness of the kit adds a nice touch.  Once again, not the cheapest kit available - but if you want the best, look no further.

Nothing better for the job.  Get one.

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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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