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-   -   2001 Silverado Solid Axle Swap 14FF/D60 (https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/chevy/1093018-2001-silverado-solid-axle-swap-14ff-d60.html)

DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:28 PM

2001 Silverado Solid Axle Swap 14FF/D60
A quick update for those just finding this thread.

The new goal for this build as of early 2017 is to make the Ultimate Adventure in 2018. Below is a pic of the truck as of April 2019 in Moab, UT for EJS & Fullsize Invasion.

UPDATE: Made the Dirty Dozen in 2018. :bounce2: :bounce: I didn't apply in 2019 since I got married and didn't have enough vacation time. My new new goal is to make the final cut of the Ultimate Adventure in 2020. :smokin:

Photo credit: Owen Rickford

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Original Post below:

Well, I've been planning this for over a year now and have gotten very close to actually finishing my plans. I figure it'd be time to make a thread. Apologies for so many pictures at once. It's mostly because I've been too lazy to make a build thread. Part of this is copied from another forum, so I apologize for any mis-linked pictures and formatting issues. Anyway... here goes.

Truck started out as a stock 2001 Chevy Silverado Z71 with the 5.3.


Of course the first thing I did was take it down a dirt road. I was young and dumb and thought mud was cool.


Got some bigger mud tires and cranked the torsion bars a bit.


DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:28 PM

That brings us a bit closer to now, because I'd started doing less mudding and more trail-riding offroading. So, since I've been offroading a lot more often, I finally gave it a bodylift ($75 used - score!) as I was tired of scraping the body off road. Doing the bodylift allowed me to add sliders without losing ground clearance (bodies on 99-06 half tons are almost even with the frame). Sliders would be lower than the frame without the bodylift.





Needed a rub rail:



In action:


DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:28 PM

Then it was time for a bumper with a little more clearance to keep this from happening:

New bumper:


Part of the reason for the SAS (also, of course it happened in mud... hate mud):


DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:29 PM

So that about brings us to last winter. I picked up a 14bff and Dana 50 housing. The housing was junk but I had other plans for it which I still havent followed through with (should make a nice grinder mount).

Found a bit nicer of a 14b, already shaved - has a pinion guard, disc brake conversion, and a hefty diff cover for not a terrible price so I grabbed it.


Tore it down, put a grizzly locker, 4.56 gears, and new seals in it when putting it back together:


Pretty nice contact pattern:

How I adjusted the pinion pre-load. :laughing:


DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:29 PM

Picked up a 1979 Ford HP Dana 60.

I don't have very many pictures of rebuilding it, mainly because I hated it - I fought it the entire way. It's funny because I very much enjoyed building the 14 bolt up. I had so many issues with it and I basically figured out how to do everything by myself and with the help of my friends along the way, since most of the documentation assumes that you have a complete Dana 60 and mine was in pieces (and thus missing pieces) when I bought it. Some issuses I had were breaking off a bolt in the brake caliper bracket, so I had to drill that out and use a helical insert to rethread it - not a big deal but just an example of a lost day. Numerous parts were missing because it was in pieces when I bought it, so I had to order the missing parts as I realized they were gone (it's hard to tell what's there and isn't as you build when it's one of your first axle rebuilds).

But the part I'm actually proud of (aside from finishing it) is the use of longer metric wheel studs in the hubs so I can use the factory metric lug nuts. I drilled the hub holes out to 39/64" and pressed in the new doorman studs. The heads of the studs needed to be turned down, so I did a little lathe work at work to do so. [DORMAN Part # 610326]




Rebuilt hubs, kingpins, brakes and lockouts. Got lucky and my buddy found a 5 foot long piece of 7/8" hex keystock that we bent into the biggest allen wrench I've ever seen to take the kingpins out. They came out like butter. Someday I plan to upgrade to 35-spline outers, so I opted to simply rebuild the old lockouts and when they wear out completely I'll do the upgrade. By that time, I'll probably opt for drive slugs anyway.


Complete Dana 60 (open carrier with 4.56 gears and rebuilt kingpins/brakes/lockouts). It will have high steer (pics soon) once it goes in the truck.


The Tie rod I got was used and already cut to length. Unfortunately, it was cut to length for using a factory Chevy 1-ton tie rod on each side. The issue with this is that the left-threaded Chevy tie rod is super long and had a hole in it for the factory steering. This made the tie rod assembly far too long to use with high steer so I had to order a different TRE. Took a few tries, but I finally got it.

DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:31 PM

Oh yeah... here's the wheel/tire combo I'll be running. Newer H2 (silver, not chrome) wheels wrapped in 37x12.50 Goodyear Wrangler MTRs (over 75% tread left). Got a heck of a deal on them. I also have a 36" Super Swamper mounted to an 8-lug 16" steelie to run as my spare.


Got the high steer arms and tie rod painted and mounted.


Was busy for the past couple weeks but I took apart the rusty front springs for paint and to try and get the bushings out. Was only successful with one of them, until I got ahold of a torch.




DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:32 PM


DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:32 PM

Got the 14 bolt in this weekend. Pretty happy with how easy everything went down, though I did hit a few roadblocks. There's always a way around, right?

Axle ready to go in Thursday night. By bye 10 bolt.


Hello 14 bolt!


Adjusted and burned in the spring perches and shock tabs:


DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:33 PM

Axle completely in, just needed to plumb the brakes. You'll notice one of the calipers is missing. This is the point where I broke off a bleeder screw trying to get it loose. Tried heat, penetrating lube, tapping it. Nothing worked. Oh well; at least the replacement caliper was only $16.


Stole the brake hose mounts from the 10 bolt and welded them to the 14b housing.


Bent up the hard lines from the 10 bolt into the right shape for the 14 bolt and then reflared the cut-off ends. Also re-used the Tee from the 10 bolt. Going to swap this to a stainless braided line eventually, but that shouldn't be an issue.


Tires and wheels on and ready to bleed the brakes.



DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 04:33 PM

So at this point, I needed to bleed the brakes and then the truck would be driveable. Easy task. Except it wasn't. I can't clock the calipers correctly because they will hit the leaf springs, so I have them clocked under the leaves (you can see in some of the pictures). Because of this, there must have been an air pocket at the top of the calipers because the bleeder wasn't at the exact top of the caliper. Unfortunately I didn't think of this until it was completely dark out, so I left the truck at my buddy's house and continued the next morning.

I unbolted the calipers and clocked them up as far as they'd go. Then I bled the brakes an a bunch of air came out this time. Bled them completely and then rebolted them to the axle and it works great. Pedal feels about the same as it did before and the truck stops just as good, if not better.

The only other issue I had is that since I moved the axle back AND the shock tabs higher on the axle housing, the rear mounted shock was bottomed out at ride height so the ride was horrible. Took it out and will just have the one shock until I do the shackle flip. That will recenter the axle between the two factory shock mounts on the frame and everything should be fine then.



Now everything is up to date and my updates will be in real time. I don't plan on doing the front for about 3 weeks as I have a few weddings and such for the next couple weekends.

Here are the plans:

Sky 2.5" Leaf Spring SAS kit (31.5" Spring Perch Width)
ORD Shackle Flip Rear with Axle-Relocating Zero-Rate
Sky Pan Hard Bar/Kit
Sky Crossover Steering Kit
Sky High Steer Arms
1995 NP241, floor shift
Stock 52" Springs from a 1984 blazer (4+1)

slow600 09-23-2012 06:22 PM

looks good, reminds me i need to work on mine. why did you point your rear calipers down?

DMANbluesfreak 09-23-2012 06:33 PM

They interfere wth the leaf springs otherwise. Someday when I have time to kill I'll red drill the brackets to clock them almost level.

K5Cruz 09-24-2012 05:19 AM

Clock them to 5:30 or so. They'll clear. They'll bleed.


I'm running similar leaf springs up front, pretty soft for a driver, but manageable. I drive mine a few times a week, but its rarely on the interstate. Lots of body roll. Planning to keep a sway bar?

DMANbluesfreak 09-24-2012 06:54 AM

I planned on clocking them to about 5. Thats where I bled them at (just not bolted down).

And yes, I plan on giving it a sway bar for sure. Not a big fan of body roll on the highway.

Btempy 09-24-2012 09:14 AM

looks good.
diff get a sway bar/panhard, helps alot. Before the panhard had tons of steering play and body roll. Now steering has no play, body roll havent noticed any, and tracks better going down the highway.

Nickb45 09-24-2012 09:20 AM

Lookin Good.

DMANbluesfreak 09-24-2012 09:42 AM


Originally Posted by Btempy (Post 14825455)
looks good.
diff get a sway bar/panhard, helps alot. Before the panhard had tons of steering play and body roll. Now steering has no play, body roll havent noticed any, and tracks better going down the highway.

Yep, I plan on both a pan hard and a detachable sway bar.

DMANbluesfreak 09-24-2012 12:19 PM

So I’ve driven the truck about 100 miles total, with the last drive I made being about 50 miles straight. After it sat in the parking lot for a bit I noticed a small wet spot under the truck, near the fuel filler (where the diff breather is). I looked under the truck and sure enough the gas filler neck is covered in gear lube. Could the axle be getting hot enough that its spewing bits of gear lube through the diff breather? At first I thought it was a bad hub seal as there was gear lube on the brake rotor, but it looks like it traveled down the filler neck, onto the leaf spring, and then onto the hub/brake rotor. Thoughts?

I figure I'll make sure to get the truck on level ground and open the fill hole to make sure it isn't over filled first.

EDIT: Fixed it. Not only was it about a pint overfilled (filled the diff on a slight hill with truck facing up - didn't think it would make as big a difference as it did), the diff breather tube seemed extremely poor flowing so I picked up some larger I.D. fuel tubing at the hardware store today and one of those goofy valve cover filters that they only sell in chrome at craptozone to lengthen my rear diff breather to inside my toolbox. I noticed that there was a tiny bit of oil seeping from the hub seals so I figure there was a pressure buildup and then blam - the pressure released out the stock breather making the huge mess. I'll keep an eye on things, though.

Horns 09-24-2012 03:00 PM

The truck is coming together man. Now you need to hurry up and get that front axle under her!

DMANbluesfreak 10-01-2012 11:53 AM

So I'm pretty sure I figured out why the diff is running so hot. I used the bearings that came with the axle because they were in good shape, but when I assembled the diff, I set the pinion pre-load at the "new bearing" spec instead of the "used bearing" spec. I figure I'll take it apart, put a new crush sleeve in there and reset the pre-load before tearing into the diff even more.

iridektm 10-01-2012 08:54 PM

16 Attachment(s)
Looks good man. Just got done doing a very similar setup early this year.

Bumper and sliders look good :smokin:

DMANbluesfreak 10-01-2012 09:03 PM

Thanks man. I loved the shit out of your build. Can't wait to get mine done. It's slow but steady progress at least.

vic_v8 10-01-2012 09:55 PM

do the GMT 800s not have the same spacing as the GMT 400s?

here is mine


DMANbluesfreak 10-01-2012 10:10 PM

No they have wider rear spring widths I believe.

Either way, the reason I have them rotated down is because thats where the bolt holes were for the caliper brackets. They wont stay there forever.

DMANbluesfreak 10-03-2012 06:42 PM

Well I figured out why my diff was running so freaking hot...

I pulled the driveshaft off today and there was almost 1/8 turn of play on the yoke... seeing as that was likely the problem and unrelated to pinion pre-load, I pulled the cover.

Turns out I set them up incorrectly and didn't give the carrier enough preload... actually zero preload. I guess I forgot to turn the adjusting rings after the gears were set up. Pulled the carrier and the bearings are toast, so I'm gonna press some new timken ones on tomorrow and get it all sealed back up after work. The gear teeth had slightly unusual wear (obvious what the cause is), but I'm just going to run them and hope for the best. Since they don't look horribly worn they'll probably be fine for the life of the diff.

While I had it apart, I checked pinion pre-load. Turns out it was only 10 or 12 in-lbs so that wasn't the source of my problem (Spec on used bearings IS 5-15 in-lbs so its right in the middle). Actually, I'm glad I don't have to mess with another crush sleeve.

Will fill it up with some 85w-140 instead of 75w-90 just to be safe.

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