Welcome to the Tech Garage! Here you will find:
  • The world-famous BillaVista Tech Articles
  • Technical product reviews based on real tech and facts
  • A wealth of technical reference documents, charts, and tables

BillaVista's Tech Based Product Reviews  

Jun 15 2011

12Volt Guy Custom Switch Panel

Dec 03 2010

Rugged Radios Complete Offroad Racecar Comms Setup


Nov 17 2009

High Angle Driveline 42° Durability CV Driveshaft & Chromoly Trophy-Truck Spline Driveshaft

Oct 26 2009

Griffin Thermal Products "King of the Hammers" Aluminum Race Radiator

Oct 06 2009

JMR MB1000 Manual Tube Bender

Jul 28 2009

JMR TN1000 Tube Notching Machine


Jun 26 2009

Turn Key Engine Supply 510hp LS2

Nov 14 2008

Ready Welder II #10000-CS

Sep 30 2008

Ballistic Fabrication Racing Shocks

Aug 17 2008

42" Pitbull Rockers


Jun 21 2008

Crow Enterprizes Driver Restraint Systems

Jul 04 2008

Twisted Stitch Custom Suspension Seats

Jan 25 2008

Vanco PBS Hydroboost Brake System

May 16 2007

Wet Okole Waterproof Neoprene Seat Covers


Apr 25 2007

Atlas 4-speed, Roark mount, & High Angle 1350/1410 CV Shafts

Apr 18 2007

Cognito Motorsports GM 8-lug Pitman and Idler Arm Support Kit

Nov 5 2006

42" Super Swamper TSLs

Aug 17 2006

ARB CKSA12 Compact Onboard Air Kit


Feb 15 2006

Dean Reed Custom Double Beadlocks

Nov 14 2005

ARB RD114 14-bolt Air Locker


Nov 14 2005

Yukon 14-bolt Gears and Install kit

Nov 14 2005

Jethro-Bilt 14-bolt Diff Cover


Nov 14 2005

Yukon Carrier Bearing Puller

July 04 2005

TeraFlex Dana 60 T-Locker


July 04 2005

Super Suspension Joints - RE Super-Flex vs. Evolution Heim vs. Poly Performance Uniball.

Jun 06 2004

High Angle Driveline 14-Bolt 1410 Series Pinion Yoke Kit


Oct 11 2004

Tera manufacturing Low20 low range transfer case kit.

Mar 18 2004

Poly Performance Dana 60 35 Spline Chrom-Moly Drive Flanges


Mar 18 2004

Superior "Evolution" Chrom-Moly Dana 60 axles and CTM Racing U-joints

Mar 18 2004

Crane High Clearance Chrom-Moly Dana 60 Steering Knuckles


Mar 18 2004

Crane High Clearance Chrom-Moly Dana 60 Diff Cover

Dec 18 2003

Fox Racing Shox 2.0 Series Airshox


Nov 26 2003

Performance Off-Road Systems' Hydraulic Steering System

Aug 08 2003

4WDFACTORY.com Dana 60 35 Spline Stub Axle Upgrade kit


Aug 11 2003

OTT Industries Dana 60 High Clearance Steering Arms

July 23 2003

4WDFACTORY.com Dana 60 front Kingpin Rebuild Kit


July 19 2003

1 Ton 1350 CV Driveshaft from High Angle Driveline

June 30 2003

Drill Doctor 750 Pro - Drill Bit Sharpening Machine


June 10 2003

MAD4WD 2" Corbeau Harness Install

June 07 2003

Advance Adapters Dana 20 32 Spline Output kit


May 29 2003

Rock Buggy Supply Composite Winch Fairlead

BillaVista's Data Mine

BillaVista's list of "Must Read" technical and fabrication books / references    BillaVista's HUGE collection of Technical and 4x4 related .PDF files (you need Adobe Acrobat to view these documents)


BillaVista's Tech Articles

** Important note.  Most of the tech articles are large and with many pictures. **

2011 Articles
The BillaVista 12 Volt DC Series - Part 2 - The Alternator Bible. Part 2 of the BillaVista 12 Volt DC Series, the Alternator Bible covers everything you ever wanted to know about alternators from basic and technical descriptions of how they operate to model identification to performance and even failure modes and troubleshooting. Packed with tech info, diagrams, and wiring advice, this is a must read for anyone interested in maintaining, upgrading, or designing an automotive 12 Volt DC wiring system.
The BillaVista 12 Volt DC Series - Part 1 - 12V DC Basics. Electricity can be a very complex subject. My aim with this article is to try and strike a comfortable balance between being easy enough to be understood by the novice (and I include myself in that group); while having sufficient technical detail to explain things with some degree of thoroughness. Part 1 Covers the basics from electrons to ohm's law and covers the theory required by those looking to diagnose, repair, upgrade, design, or build from scratch an automotive 12-volt DC negative-ground wiring system.
2010 Articles
The Racecar Radio Comms Bible Comms are a force multiplier. You gotta have them.The right comms system, which includes the right hardware properly installed, the knowledge and ability to use it, and an effective plan for its use, has many beneficial effects on your racing effort. Read all about it here.
Engine Oil & Oiling Everything you ever wanted or needed to know about motor oil and engie oiling systems: oil tech, viscosity, selecting an oil, cooling, filtering and oil accumulator tech, and more - it's all in here.
MEFI-4 Tech The fouth-generation of GM's Marine Electronic Fuel Injection makes an excellent choice for off-road vehicles. This article explains the basics, the sensors, how to read and clear trouble codes, and includes an excellent daignostic manual.
2009 Articles
The BillaVista Cooling Bible Everything you ever wanted or needed to know about cooling systems: pressure, flow, radiator design, plumbing, surge tanks, thermostats, coolant types, and more - it's all in here.
Tube Bending Tech How to bend tubing using the JMR MB1000 manual tube bender. Includes a brave new attempt at video-tech! Learn about bender operation, what makes a quality bender, how to set up and operate the machine, hot to select dies and CLR's, and much more.
Tube Notching Tech. How to notch and cope tubing using the JMR TN1000 tube notcher, including large angle notches, offset notches, obtuse angles and notching from the "back side". Explore the features that make the JMR TN1000 a complete "notching machine" with capabilities that exceed even machines costing 10x as much.
LS2 Tech Packed with tech, this article is a thoroughly detailed look at the LS2, and includes tech on fuel injection, sensors, MEFI-4, and more.
The LS Primer - Part 2 Gen III/IV truck motors in detail, Gen III/IV motors by displacement, GM V8 Development Timeline, Weights and Dimensions, Car vs, Truck Engines, How to Choose a Gen III/IV Motor, FAQ and Factoids, References, and More.
The LS Primer - Part 1 RPO's, Generations, Vortec, LS(x), Gen III/IV Design Architecture, Active Fuel Management, Variable Valve Timing, and a detailed look at all the "car" motors LS1 through LS9.
Swapping an Atlas-4SP Input Shaft and mating the Atlas-4SP to a TH400 A detailed look at how to swap the input shaft on an Atlas-4SP transfer case, and the many options available for then mating it to the back of a 4wd GM TH400 automatic transmission, including discussion on tradeoffs between clocking angle and spline engagement.
The Plumbing Bible - Featuring Russell Performance A detailed look at automotive plumbing covering hose assemblies, fittings, safety, installation, chemical compatibility, pressure drop theory, hose sizing, and all the tech info on the most common fittings from AN to NPT to UNO/O-ring boss and much more. Includes a review of Russell Performance Advanced Fluid Transfer Systems.
2008 Articles
Creating the Ultimate Off-road Auto Shifter How I started with a stock B&M shifter and modified it to create the ultimate neutral-bumping, reverse-slamming off-road shifter.
PJF Parc Some stunning photography of a typical day at PJF Parc - a local private offroad park in Quebec, Canada. Photography courtesy of Lonny handwork at MTB Graphics.
Installing Driver Restraint Systems A look at the installation, adjustment, wearing, and maintenance of multi-belt driver restraint systems.
Driver Restraint Systems A detailed look at the technology of driver restraint systems. This article covers the components, functions, options and related technologies surrounding multi-belt driver restraint systems.
Fuel Cell Tech Modifying, installing, and plumbing a fuel cell. Includes a detailed look at the F.A.T.S. system designed by Frank Daless to eliminate fuel spill at any angle.
The Coilover Bible- Part 2 Part 2 of an exhaustive multi-part series covering coilover tech. Part2 covers hands-on tech including: installing & removing springs; installing helper coils; teardown, bleeding, and charging; miscellaneous pictures of the inner workings; and changing springs with shocks mounted on rig.
The Coilover Bible- Part 1 Part 1 of an exhaustive multi-part series covering coilover tech. Part 1 covers basic shock and spring tech, examines the types of coilovers and their parts, goes over their use and advantages, coves the concepts of installation ratio, wheel rate, and suspension frequency, and concludes with preliminary spring-rate selection.
The Brake Bible Theory, component selection, system design, troubleshooting, and everything else you need to know about brakes and braking.
2007 Articles
Installing an Electronic Brake Controller Installation of the Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller in a late-model GM truck.
2007 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Tech The story of a man and his truck - articles, tech data, product reviews and a continuing log journaling my life with my new tow rig.
2006 Articles
Tire Tech There's more to it than you might think. From bias ply vs radial design to load and speed ratings to the lowdown on ST trailer tires - there's probably something new to learn for everyone in this article.
Pneumatic Switches Imbedded in the ARB compressor review, this combined tech article / product review teaches you all about pneumatic switches and how to read ANSI pneumatic switch diagrams.
Chopsaw Notching, Tube Strength & Link Construction Something for anyone working with tube here. Shows how to notch tube with a chop saw, has tables and equations for comparing strengths and weights and dimensions of different tubes, and discusses the theory of designing and fabricating suspension links - theory that can equally be applied to other tubular projects.
Gear Setup - The mother of all gear setup articles - featuring the venerable Dana 60 but packed with info applicable to setting up all gears. Not only the "how" but the "why" of it all.
2005 Articles
ARB Tech - What started as a simple review of the new ARB 14-bolt locker grew into a mini-bible on ARB air lockers, including installation tips and techniques and a large FAQ section.
14-bolt Gear Setup - Detailed, step-by-step instruction for setting up gears in a GM 10.5" Full-Float 14-bolt rear axle. Contains theory and tech of interest and use in setting up gears in other axles too.
Doubler Basics - This article covers the basic theory of transfer case "doublers", advantages and disadvantages, component selection, and the basics of fabricating your own adapter to mate two transfer cases together.

Fastener Tech - In this monster article BillaVista covers all aspects of fastener tech, including answering the following questions:

  • Should I use Grade 5 or Grade 8 bolts?
  • Should I use a bolt or a stud? What's the difference?
  • Lockwasher, castelated nut, or Nylock nut - which works better and why?
  • What's the proper method for setting and checking torque?

Fixing a sloppy shifter.  A quick and dirty little article about fixing the notorious SM465 sloppy shifter problem. Worth a look for other manual tranny owners too, as the fix will likely work for other models too.

Best of all - it showcases the incredible talent of my new graphic/technical artist, Lonny Handwork. Check out the full size pic of the 3D cutaway of the Sm465 shift tower - amazing!!

2004 Articles

Inside the Dana 20.  Part 2 of project "Uber-20", this is a combined tech article / product review showing every single step of the teardown and re-assembly of a Jeep Dana20 transfer case with the Tera Manufacturing Low20 3.15:1 low range kit.

Also includes some calculations and discussion on available gear "ratio stepping" - a concept of great interest to all - regardless of which transfer case you run.

Speedi-Sleeve Install.  A "mini-tech" article showing how I saved my nasty 14Bolt spindles and cured my perpetually leaky rear wheel hubs with the trick Speedi-Sleeve from Chicago Rawhide.
The BillaVista 60 Project.   My hugely ambitious project to build, at home, with modest tools and average skill, the biggest badest Front 4x4 Dana60 axle possible, using the latest and greatest commercial, off-the-shelf components from the top names in the business.  Complete article combines tech articles on axle shafts and steel/material with no less than 6 thorough product reviews.
Axle Shaft Technology A part of the BV-60 project, this article also stands alone as a pretty thorough discussion and examination of modern axle shaft technology - from the materials and heat treatment methods used to the forming of splines.
The Steel and Materials Strength Bible. Also a part of the BV-60 project, this article will be of great interest to anybody who makes or buys or installs ANY part made from steel on their 4x4.  A MUST READ for all fabricators, builders, and bolt-on kings alike.
2003 Articles
Hydraulic Steering Bible. An awesome collection of tech on hydraulics and hydraulic steering systems. Not just how to design and install hydraulic steering in a 4x4, but system troubleshooting, reservoir design, hose and fitting catalogues - the works.
14 Bolt Bible. Just like the name says......
Front Dana 60 Axle 35 Spline Stub Shaft, Drive Flange, and "BIG" Inner shaft tech. Detailed installation of "Big" (non-neckdown, 1981+) inner axle shafts, Dana 70 35 spline stub shafts, and Warn 35 spline Drive Flanges in a Chevy dana 60 front axle. Ever wondered what the differences between the "small" and "big" shafts were? What the 35 spline stub shafts are like compared to the stock 60 30 spliners? Exactly what drive flanges consist of and how to install them? Well, it's all here - detailed pics, specs, etc. Also detailed instructions on installing u-joints in axle shafts, and what the heck are all those seals on the stub shaft and in what order/orientation are they installed? Read it here!
Kingpin Rebuild. Complete specs and pics of a Dana 60 front axle kingpin rebuild. Includes exploded diagrams, part numbers, and the US military CUCV manual on the procedure. Also - see my cool little custom grease nipple skidplates!
Driveshaft 401. That's right - this is no entry-level 101 level course - this is the full-on senior year tech article all about driveshafts. From definitions to operating principles, geometry to maintenance, this is a MASSIVELY detailed look at all you need to know about driveshaft tech. Includes product review of the 4x4 world's finest driveshaft - the famous High Angle Driveline 1350 CV shaft.
One Ton Rear Axle Disc Brake Conversion. Extremely detailed look at how I added disc brakes to the GM Corp 14 Bolt rear axle in the Wolf. Procedure can be used for other rear axles too (D60, D70, etc). Contains hints and tips on other axles. Includes detailed part numbers. Also contains excerpts from Military 14 Bolt maintenance manual on axle shaft R&R and wheel bearing R&R and adjustment.
Project Uber-20. An ambitious little gig to build an Atlas-killer transfer case at home, bit by bit, as time and money allows. Start with one dime-a-dozen Jeep Dana 20 transfer case, add a handful of the best upgrades and add-ons available, and hopefully end up with a truly world-class transfer case. When it's done, recruit one friend with digital video, go do something insane with the skinny pedal, and report back the results. Part 1 complete....more to follow.
Tapping a Power Steering Box for Hydro Assist.  A quick and dirty one on how and where to tap a standard power steering gearbox for Hydro Assist steering.
Recovery Bible.  This article is of interest to any one who owns a winch, pans to own a winch, pulls the cable for a buddy, or even just stands around watching a recovery operation.  Sections include force calculation, wire rope, hooks, shackles, rigging, slings, yank straps, and much more.  Technical data and fact you NEED to know for safe recovery and cannot find compiled anywhere else.  Also exposes the "dirty little secret" of the 4x4 winch industry.  Complete references, glossary, and links included.  Includes many excellent Industry and Military technical manuals in .pdf format.
Trailers and Towing Article.  For seasoned towing pros and rank amateurs alike.  Article includes several trailer owners manuals for those that have built trailers or acquired them used without documentation.  Many maintenance manuals, technical procedures, tips, guidelines, safety tips, and parts catalogues included.  Excellent link section and a page full of trailer pics to inspire and guide the designer, builder, or person contracting a custom trailer.
Front Dana 60.  This monster is some 66 pages long, and contains just about everything there is to know about Dana 60 Front Axles.  Sections include description, identification, dimensions, specifications, pictures, Bill of Materials listings, parts interchange, assembly specifications, yokes, gears, lockers, axle shafts, bearings and seals, lockout hubs, u-joints, as well as technical facts, how-to articles, and a HUGE FAQ.  Updated frequently.

Click here for some of our original tech articles written by various P4x4 staff members waaay back in the day.