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The Data Mine (enough technical data and facts to choke a horse)
By BillaVista - Pirate4x4.com Senior Technical Writer


Page last modified: Monday, April 21, 2003 07:14 AM

BillaVista's list of "Must Read" technical and fabrication books / references


BillaVista's HUGE collection of Technical and 4x4 related .pdf files


BillaVista's Technical reference section


Important note: Some of the tech articles are large and with many pictures. As such, they take a long time to load, and if you're on a slow dialup, often the web browser will "time out" before all the pics or thumbnail have loaded. The result is: you end up with a bunch of little red Xs where the pics should be. The only solution I know of is to right-click where each red X is, and select "show picture" from the pop-up menu.

2003 Articles


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.

2002 Articles


The Wolf's new Paint. A short article to show what can be achieved as a super-budget paint job in the driveway with a can of rust paint, a brush, and a few rattle-cans. Really an excuse to show off pics of my rig, as much as anything else!


Tow Rig. Not so much tech as humour. Some good I.D. shots of a Ford RC Dana60 front axle though.


Trailer. Read along as BillaVista "scores" a dual axle trailer for $900 Cdn, then realizes it will take at least another $1500 to make it road worthy and legal. Follow along as our hero dumps paycheck after paycheck into a 35 year old trailer - see what he learns along the way. Contains some good tech info on mobile home axles.


Bill's Buggy. See all the pics, specs, and details of BillaVista's latest rig - a multi-link, coil sprung, 350 powered, dual 'cased, one ton driven, Military tire shod, rip-snortin', home-built wonder.


8274 Rebuild. A complete tear-down and rebuild of the king of all winches - the venerable Warn 8274. Tons of pictures inside and out. Includes pics of a cool custom in-cab remote control.


Rockstomper Beadlocks. Detailed article depicting the construction and mounting of a DIY weld-on beadlock kit. Lots of pics, and a good primer on how beadlocks work too.


Dragging Junk Home. 'Nuther humorous article about me wasting time and money in a foolish quest for cool 4x4 parts. Read and laugh along - heck, show it to your spouse and proclaim "See hon, I'm not the only complete loony!"


Valve stem protection. A quick but really cool article about re-locating valve stems for better protection. Cure that notorious weak point once-and-for-all.


Dana 70. Unfinished work of art about the big, bad Dana 70 rear axle. Some good Dana 70 1.5" vs Dana 60 1.31" axle shaft pics, and some spindle bore measurement comparisons too. I hope to add more info to this one when time allows.

2001 Articles


Hybrid Axle. A crazy ambitious project of mine - take my XJ's Front RCD30 (with it's 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker), cut off the inner yokes, weld on CJ D30 inners, then bolt to them Chevy 1/2 ton D44 from the knuckles out - with the idea being to retain my gears/locker investment, the light weight and high clearance of the D30, but get real locking hubs, bigger u-joints, stub shafts and balljoints as well as "flat top" knuckles for "high steer". Sounds great - see how it turned out. Of interest to those considering other Hybrid's too (like D44/D60) as the principles will be similar.


Steering Pages. Five separate sub-articles - four being versions one to four of the high clearance crossover steering I built for my XJ's custom hybrid D30/D44 axle (but with info and principles applicable to other steering systems too) and thefifth being all about custom steering - focusing on the popular Dana 44 "Hy Steer" High clearance steering system. Also shows exactly how to identify "flat top" knuckles, and how to convert Chevy/Jeep D44 5x6.5 outers to Ford D44 5x5.5 bolt pattern.


Anti-wrap bar. Booty fab homebrew ant-wrap bar for rear leaf "spring-over" suspension, built for nearly nothing out of tractor hitch "top links" and a piece of tubing. Ugly but effective.


D44 Buildup. See me find an XJ D44, strip, clean, and paint it, add 4.56 Spicer gears, Detroit Locker, ZJ disc brakes, a custom truss, and slap it in.


Disc brakes. See me convert an XJ Dana 44 rear axle to ZJ disc brakes with integral parking brake.


Dual battery. My super-simple bullet-proof dual battery setup using a HUGE orange marine battery switch. The setup isn't remarkable, but there's good electrical, battery, and switch tech included, as well as cool marine electrical suppliers.


Leaf spring conversion. The best, and cheapest, way to rid an XJ of the terrible geometry of a 9-10" lift ......convert to spring-over leaf springs in front!

2000 Articles


Rear bumper. Low buck home-made rear bumper with receiver hitch and D rings for towing, plus a swing out tire carrier that also holds a Hi-lift jack, two 20L NATO jerry cans, and steel ammo boxes for tools and parts. A little over-the-top but perfect for crossing a continent....and I was just learning to weld and couldn't put the thing down.


Snorkel. Is it booty fab if I make a snorkel out of a dryer vent and abs pipe? Oh well - it was cheap and effective.

1999 Articles


Front bumper. Back before I even owned a welder, my good buddy Karl Charest helped me build a custom XJ front bumper and brush-guard.


Box rockers. Way back when - I believe I was one of the first to cut out my unibody XJ's rocker panels and replace them with rectangular structural steel tubing. Still one of my favourite mods.


Roof rack. The first home-made mod for my XJ...a cool steel safari-style roof rack that Karl built for me for next to nothing.

SO - BillaVista can Booty-fab and BS Tech with the best of 'em - but does he 'wheel?

Wheeling the old XJWheeling the Wolf
Assorted action picsOct 12 02 - Slippery Creek
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