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Old 03-18-2019, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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T-case strength

Awhile back I saw a thread on diffs rated for strength. I have some strong opinions on them and those opinions pretty much match the consensus.

But on transfer cases I don't have strong opinions. I would appreciate the well versed to rate them.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Search. There are lists on the Internet with them listed per the manufacturer's torque ratings. Though I would say that I believe the early cases, like the NP205, are rated a bit conservatively compared to modern cases.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Samurai/Track/Kick
NP231
D20
D300
NP241
NP205
Atlas.

There. There is my list. 241 not much further ahead of the D300 only because the weak factory outputs. Based of the case itself I would say 300 is stronger.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Search. There are lists on the Internet with them listed per the manufacturer's torque ratings. Though I would say that I believe the early cases, like the NP205, are rated a bit conservatively compared to modern cases.
Torque ratings is one factor. Real world experince is another. I believe a Ford 8.8 has a higher torque rating than a Dana 44, but I do not consider a 8.8 to be "stronger" than a D44 overall. I would assume the same could be true for T-cases.

Also, like you said, they could rate them conservative. (Or overrate) I have a friend that loves to show his pics of his 205 split in half. Lol. (I'm sure he was beating on it bad)
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Torque ratings is one factor. Real world experince is another. I believe a Ford 8.8 has a higher torque rating than a Dana 44, but I do not consider a 8.8 to be "stronger" than a D44 overall. I would assume the same could be true for T-cases.
The axle thread was a complete cluster with a lot of stupid shit being spewed as well as some good tech. The problem is no one has done any controlled testing to properly determine strength and there is little available data from manufacturers. Therefore we must rely on what we can observe as well as design priciples, which is far from definitive in most cases.

That said, a 31 spline 8.8 is stronger than a 44 in every way. Gears, shafts, and housing are all stronger. The only demerit for the 8.8 vs. the 44 is the C-clip design, but that has to do with failure mode rather than strength.

NP tranfercases are easily comparable since manufacturer torque ratings are readily available, but as to where the Dana, Borg Warner, and other cases fall is a lot of speculation.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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NP271 probably is about as strong or stronger than NP205, but NP205 certainly can take abuse, likely because of all gears and cast iron housing, however.

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Old 03-21-2019, 09:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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NP271 probably is about as strong or stronger than NP205, but NP205 certainly can take abuse, likely because of all gears and cast iron housing, however.

The list I posted was with cases Ive had experience with.

I feel any iron gear driven box beats its chain driven cast ally counterpart.

Now weight does become an issue to consider as well. Building a light buggy with day Toy axles and a Jeep drivetrain, (just to piss off the Yota guys ) I would opt for the 231 over the 300.

One ton Jeep where weight isnt such a factor the 300 is the obvious choice. And the 205 is an even better option, with the trade off of being a little bigger.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I run 650hp through a np205. I don't rebuilt it, I think it has a little oil in its water lubrication system.


If I had an atlas race case it would be rebuilt yearly or more often.

If I had a penny for every atlas I have seen take someone out of commission I'd need a wheel borrow. If I had a penny for every np205 that ended someones day I would have no penny's.

I'd run an atlas if I thought it made sense. At this point I don't think it does.
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That said, a 31 spline 8.8 is stronger than a 44 in every way. Gears, shafts, and housing are all stronger. The only demerit for the 8.8 vs. the 44 is the C-clip design, but that has to do with failure mode rather than strength.
Gears and shafts maybe. The housing if you don't count the tubes. (The tubes are paper thin) Also the connection between the tube and the pumpkin sucks. I've never personally had an issue with the C-clips, but I've heard stories. The big design flaw I hate is the outer wheel bearings riding on the axle. I don't think I've ever pulled an axle that didn't have brinelling on it.

I have a lot of experince with a D-44 on 35's. (Scout II) I have lots of experince with an 8.8 on 35's also. (Bronco) I had zero problems with the 44 and I've had to put over a grand in upgrades on the 8.8 (now I'm running 38's, but had 35's at first and nothing but trouble)
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Old 03-21-2019, 02:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I broke the output on my 205 bouncing around on backdoor back in 2011. Changed to an Atlas 3.8 and it is holding strong in my rock buggy today.

But anecdotal crap aside, the 205 is slightly stronger than an Atlas II; but, the Atlas gives fantastic gearing options, mounting options, yoke options, output options, clocking options, etc. And it shaves 50# of weight off the buggy. So IMO, it is a better case even if it does give up a little robustness to the 205.

I went through a couple of 231s on my TJs, which seemed to break relatively easy.

I think anything can be broken.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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i chose to run a NV271 in my rig over the 203/205 that i also had to chose from. the 271 is a big heavy bitch for sure as about the same length as the doubler but like the 2.73-1 low over the 1.98 of the 205. mine is out of a first gen superduty so 31 spline outputs and stock with flange yokes ect. have been beating on it behind my BBF and other then not having front dig im very happy with it over the 205.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The list I posted was with cases I’ve had experience with.

I feel any iron gear driven box beats it’s chain driven cast ally counterpart.

Now weight does become an issue to consider as well. Building a light buggy with day Toy axles and a Jeep drivetrain, (just to piss off the Yota guys ) I would opt for the 231 over the 300.

One ton Jeep where weight isn’t such a factor the 300 is the obvious choice. And the 205 is an even better option, with the trade off of being a little bigger.
I can guarantee you a NV271 will handle more torque than a NP205 will. Are you suggesting that modern trucks with 3X the torque of any truck that came with a NP205, significantly more weight (as well as higher payload and tow ratings), and bigger tires have weaker transfer cases? Have you seen an NV271? They're massive. I cant find it now, but I remember seeing a max input torque rating for the NP205 of somewhere around 6,000FtLbs. compared to the NV271's 7,000FtLbs.+. I do however agree with TrailTamerXJ, the cast iron construction of the NP205 should hold up better to impacts with rocks and such. Neither are weak cases by any measure, but we have made progress in the last 30+ years.

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Gears and shafts maybe. The housing if you don't count the tubes. (The tubes are paper thin) Also the connection between the tube and the pumpkin sucks. I've never personally had an issue with the C-clips, but I've heard stories. The big design flaw I hate is the outer wheel bearings riding on the axle. I don't think I've ever pulled an axle that didn't have brinelling on it.

I have a lot of experince with a D-44 on 35's. (Scout II) I have lots of experince with an 8.8 on 35's also. (Bronco) I had zero problems with the 44 and I've had to put over a grand in upgrades on the 8.8 (now I'm running 38's, but had 35's at first and nothing but trouble)
First, both the Dana 44 and Ford 8.8 have cast iron center sections with tubes pressed in and plug welded, so I am not sure how you conclude this is a weak point on the 8.8, but not the 44. Now there are several variations of both Dana 44s and Ford 8.8s, but the torque capacity doesn't really change between models, just the housing specs.

Since you mentioned a Scout and Bronco, lets compare the tubes on those. From what I could find with a quick search, Scouts have 2.75" OD .25" wall tubes. I don't know of any factory 1st gen Dana 44 rear with tubes larger than 3" OD. The Bronco has 3.25" OD .25" wall tubes. Some 8.8s have .1875" wall tubes, but I think those were limited to some Explorers and lower GAWR applications. For the sake of argument, lets say the Bronco has .1875" wall tubes.

The Bronco axle tubes (assuming .1875" wall thickness) have a moment of inertia of 2.1228256786 in4, and the Scout axle has a moment of inertia of 1.5493205958 in4. The cross-sectional moment of inertia is directly proportional to the bending strength of the tube. Therefore, even with .1875" wall tubing, the 8.8 is ~37% stronger than the Scout Dana 44 in bending.

Now let's say you have a Dana 44 with 3" tubes and an 8.8 with .25" wall tubes. The 8.8" with .25" wall tubes has a moment of inertia of 2.6691265709 in4 (~72% stronger than the Scout Dana 44 in the previous example). The 3" tube Dana 44 would need a wall thickness of .375" to slightly edge out the 8.8 in bending strength. When it comes to bending, OD plays a bigger role than wall thickness.

The max input torque rating I found for a 31 spline 8.8 is 6,500LbFt vs. 5,000LbFt for a rear Dana 44. A quick search also reveals a GAWR of 3,800 Lbs. for the 8.8 and 3,500 Lbs. for the dana 44. This indicates that the 8.8 has a stronger housing and can take more torque than a Dana 44.

What exactly have you upgraded on your 8.8? Also what have you broken? Anecdotally, I have personally seen more broken Dana 44s than 8.8s. I personally am running a stock shaft Explorer 8.8 with 37" Pitbulls, a locker, and a crawl ratio of 125:1 and haven't broke anything besides the locker yet (Knock on wood).

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Old 03-22-2019, 10:11 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I can guarantee you a NV271 will handle more torque than a NP205 will. Are you suggesting that modern trucks with 3X the torque of any truck that came with a NP205, significantly more weight (as well as higher payload and tow ratings), and bigger tires have weaker transfer cases? Have you seen an NV271? They're massive. I cant find it now, but I remember seeing a max input torque rating for the NP205 of somewhere around 6,000FtLbs. compared to the NV271's 7,000FtLbs.+. I do however agree with TrailTamerXJ, the cast iron construction of the NP205 should hold up better to impacts with rocks and such. Neither are weak cases by any measure, but we have made progress in the last 30+ years.
Yeah. They are fucking huge.

So packing one into a crawler that is already limited on space is moot. Is it stronger, yes. Is it a viable option for what wed use it for? No, not really.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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and other then not having front dig im very happy with it over the 205.
are they 2wd-4wd and H-N-L shifted like a Toyota case then?
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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are they 2wd-4wd and H-N-L shifted like a Toyota case then?
2wd/4hi/N/4low
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:34 AM   #16 (permalink)
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What exactly have you upgraded on your 8.8? Also what have you broken? Anecdotally, I have personally seen more broken Dana 44s than 8.8s. I personally am running a stock shaft Explorer 8.8 with 37" Pitbulls, a locker, and a crawl ratio of 125:1 and haven't broke anything besides the locker yet (Knock on wood).
As far as the tubes, pressed and plug welded, I've heard of many people twisting the tubes out. (It has never happened to me.) I've never heard of the D44 doing this. Maybe they have better welding process. I don't really know what fails when they "twist out". I was not aware of .250" wall tubes. I have an old Bronco 8.8 in the corner of the shop. (Bent) I'm going to measure for fun.

As far as upgrades, As mentioned, I bent mine and now have a truss welded on.

The biggest PITA has been the wheel bearings. It wouldn't be so bad if they had a complete bearing. But the design has no inner race. So when the bearing gets stressed, it wrecks the shaft. When you pull a shaft and it has brinelling, you install a "repair bearing". This is a bearing that rides a little further out on the shaft. Once it wrecks it there, you must replace the shaft. If you don't, the shaft will break right there and you lose the wheel.

I have owned a Bronco since 92'. I use to replace shafts all the time. That was with 35's. (I'm running 38's now) Now I have a "full float" kit on mine. It solves the problem, but I had to do some other reinforcing to make the kit work. I now have a pretty good axle, but if I was to do it again, Sterling and be done with it.

If your running 37's, I would check your axles. There's not really any warning when your axle breaks.
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:18 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Where do the Atlas and Hero cases fall into the mix?
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:59 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Yeah. They are fucking huge.
Indeed.

This is pirate, find a way to make it fit

I did the 271D swap in my tow pig. 271D next to 241DLD
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:10 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah. They are fucking huge.

So packing one into a crawler that is already limited on space is moot. Is it stronger, yes. Is it a viable option for what we’d use it for? No, not really.
I am not saying a NV271 is the answer for everyone, but definitely an option for the fullsize crowd or many people running a 205 or 203/205 setup. Snowracer who posted right before me said he put one in his rig and is happy with it, so your claim that it is not a viable option is untrue.

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As far as the tubes, pressed and plug welded, I've heard of many people twisting the tubes out. (It has never happened to me.) I've never heard of the D44 doing this. Maybe they have better welding process. I don't really know what fails when they "twist out". I was not aware of .250" wall tubes. I have an old Bronco 8.8 in the corner of the shop. (Bent) I'm going to measure for fun.

As far as upgrades, As mentioned, I bent mine and now have a truss welded on.

The biggest PITA has been the wheel bearings. It wouldn't be so bad if they had a complete bearing. But the design has no inner race. So when the bearing gets stressed, it wrecks the shaft. When you pull a shaft and it has brinelling, you install a "repair bearing". This is a bearing that rides a little further out on the shaft. Once it wrecks it there, you must replace the shaft. If you don't, the shaft will break right there and you lose the wheel.

I have owned a Bronco since 92'. I use to replace shafts all the time. That was with 35's. (I'm running 38's now) Now I have a "full float" kit on mine. It solves the problem, but I had to do some other reinforcing to make the kit work. I now have a pretty good axle, but if I was to do it again, Sterling and be done with it.

If your running 37's, I would check your axles. There's not really any warning when your axle breaks.
I have actually seen axles twist tubes, and it is not an 8.8 problem, it is a cast center section with plug welded tubes problem that any axle of that type is susceptible to. I believe that you bent your 8.8. I am not claiming that 8.8s are unbendable or even particularly hard to bend. My point is solely that an 8.8 is no easier to bend than a Dana 44 and in fact more resilient to this kind of abuse.

I agree that a semi-float pressed taper-bearing design (as the 44 is) is preferable to the C-clip design of the 8.8 that lets the axle slide in and out on the bearing surface, but I have not had issues with wheel bearings or bearing surfaces on the axle shafts of my 8.8 (and yes I had the shafts out when I put new bearings in after pulling it from a junkyard and when rebuilding my locker fairly recently). I believe a big part of the difference between our experiences lies in the weights of our rigs. My rig has 1,790Lbs. on the rear axle ready to hit the trail without me in it, and I would assume your Bronco weighs a good bit more.

Sorry for the thread Hi-jack, I'll leave the axle discussion at that.

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Old 03-24-2019, 06:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Samurai/Track/Kick
NP231
D20
D300
NP241
NP205
Atlas.

There. There is my list. 241 not much further ahead of the D300 only because the weak factory outputs. Based of the case itself I would say 300 is stronger.
swap spots between 241/300 and atlas/205 and i would agree
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:07 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Samurai/Track/Kick
NP231
D20
D300
NV241
BW (ford)
Atlas II = NV271
NP205
Hero = SCS
I fixed it for you
Although the Atlas and Hero open things up to gearing. But the 205 , 300, Atlas, Hero and I believe the D20 have the twin stick availability and easy mounting.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:19 PM   #22 (permalink)
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No love for the Toyota case/s?

I would think they would fall right below the D300, but I don't know much about the D20. The out puts are the weak point on a stock case, but there are upgrades available.

I'm not one of those guys who thinks they are the end all of tcases, but they definitely have some advantages and are a great tcase for certain applications.

I'd be interested to see more on the 271, I'm sure some would argue it's stronger than the 205, but you just don't see them in many rigs getting beat on so it's hard to say.
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:03 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I think if you are talking about how much hp and tq it would take to break an internal part the 271 would be right with a 205. I think the big problem comes in with the 271 case itself being aluminum. Shock loads of power in high traction or a direct bang from a rock and the aluminum is going to be its downfall, not to say you cant crack a 205 by hitting it off a rock or anything but if your talking about exact same amounts of force the cast iron is going to win everytime. I would love to see what a cast iron or billet steel cased 271 would handle and weigh compared to the cast iron\gear driven 205.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:41 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I think if you are talking about how much hp and tq it would take to break an internal part the 271 would be right with a 205. I think the big problem comes in with the 271 case itself being aluminum. Shock loads of power in high traction or a direct bang from a rock and the aluminum is going to be its downfall, not to say you cant crack a 205 by hitting it off a rock or anything but if your talking about exact same amounts of force the cast iron is going to win everytime. I would love to see what a cast iron or billet steel cased 271 would handle and weigh compared to the cast iron\gear driven 205.
If you're hitting rocks with your transfer case you're doing something very wrong.

The gear driven cases are going to be in tension when you shock load them (the gears want to spread out). The aluminum chain cases are going to be in compression (the chain wants to pull the front output closer to the rear output). The case design on every "good" modern transfer case is an aluminum lattice which should be pretty hard to compress or flex with force in that direction. It's hard to make a direct comparison. I think the weak link is probably going to be the chain every time.

With their larger rotating assemblies and output shafts, not to mention the availability of good computer simulations available to the engineers designing the case, the rear output portion of modern 1-ton transfer case is going to beat the 205 every time when it comes to dealing with shock loads.

That said, the 205 is stupidly compact for how strong it is.


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Yeah. They are fucking huge.

So packing one into a crawler that is already limited on space is moot. Is it stronger, yes. Is it a viable option for what we’d use it for? No, not really.
The NVG271 is massive because it uses huge diameter sprockets in order to make the chain withstand some idiot doing clutch dumps with all the rotating mass of a 7.3.

Ford used the BW 4407 transfer case in F250 and the F350 the mid 90s. The 4407 is a much thicker case length wise and not much wider than a BW1356. It solves the "idiots doing clutch dumps" problem with a wider chain.

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Old 03-25-2019, 09:35 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I fixed it for you
Although the Atlas and Hero open things up to gearing. But the 205 , 300, Atlas, Hero and I believe the D20 have the twin stick availability and easy mounting.
Ford used various different Borg Warner cases and they are definitely not equal.

Here's my rough ranking based on what I have seen/read:
NP231=BW1350
Dana 18
BW1354
NP208
Dana 20
Dana 300
NP203
BW1345
NP241
BW1356
BW4407
NV261=NP205
NV271

This list is far from definitive, but I am just trying to place the BW cases in the hierarchy. I honestly have no idea where the aftermarket cases fall.

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I think if you are talking about how much hp and tq it would take to break an internal part the 271 would be right with a 205. I think the big problem comes in with the 271 case itself being aluminum. Shock loads of power in high traction or a direct bang from a rock and the aluminum is going to be its downfall, not to say you cant crack a 205 by hitting it off a rock or anything but if your talking about exact same amounts of force the cast iron is going to win everytime. I would love to see what a cast iron or billet steel cased 271 would handle and weigh compared to the cast iron\gear driven 205.
Just because the case is made out of aluminum doesn't mean it is weak. There is no question about HP/torque capability of the NV271 vs. NP205. Look at what the diesel drag/sled pullers are running. I haven't heard of many guys replacing NV271s with NP205s.

As to impact resistance, as mentioned prior, you shouldn't be hitting your T case on things to begin with. An aluminum case won't shatter the second it gets hit or you put any weight on it either. Granted I do believe the NP205 would be more resilient to this type of abuse, I don't believe it is a big enough advantage to get hung up on.

If people really want, I can take a picture of the gashes in the case of the NV271 under my Superduty.

Last edited by '84 Bronco II; 03-25-2019 at 09:57 AM.
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