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E-Locker or Bust!
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Awesome! I know it's a different part that you're using, but I've had wonderful luck with my Borgeson box in my truck. I may have missed it, do you have plans for hydro assist?
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
No plans for hydro assist right now, we'll see how everything feels and holds up. If I don't have enough turning power I'll start looking into hydro assist. If I start eating sector shaft bearings I'll fabricate a sector shaft brace to put it in double shear.
 

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Way too late now, but as dman said, the stock box works great when setup with assist... sucks in stock form though.
 

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E-Locker or Bust!
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No plans for hydro assist right now, we'll see how everything feels and holds up. If I don't have enough turning power I'll start looking into hydro assist. If I start eating sector shaft bearings I'll fabricate a sector shaft brace to put it in double shear.
That's fair. Before I had a locked front end, the Hydro assist was helpful but definitely not required. When it was welded, it was absolutely required but a selectable locker would probably still be OK if it was unlocked most of the time. It all depends how extreme you want to use the truck, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Years ago I had a Cherokee XJ on stock axles and 33s with a Detroit in the front that severely needed hydro assist but never got it. It was horrible turning on extreme trails. For the last decade I've been using an '88 MJ on one tons and 37s with a Grizzly locker in the front. It has a stock steering pump and stock Durango steering gear and it turns fine on extreme trails without any hydraulic assist. I never looked into why one worked fine and one didn't, but that's why I was just going to wait and see how it went with the Suburban. I figured since I was relocating the steering gear and building a new steering shaft it was a good time to upgrade the box though. I went through 8 or 9 steering boxes in that MJ because it would eat through sector shaft bearings and start to wobble and clunk. They were all lifetime warranty replacements, but what a pain. The Ram 3500 box has a much thicker sector shaft output than the stock Suburban box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 · (Edited)
I'm messing with steering hose issues now and front driveshaft issues. The stock suburban pressure hose bolts right up to the 2012 Ram 3500 Steering Gear. The stock suburban return hose (steering gear to cooler) is a 3/8 line, the Ram 3500 return port has a 5/8 line and a 20mmx1.5 thread in the box. I ordered a stock Ram 3500 return hose adapter and a separate 5/8 to 3/8 hose barb to change the rubber hose diameter. I tried tig welding a custom hose adapter since I have a welder capable of it now, but I have not developed the skill yet. I gave it a shot and just melted the aluminum away and ruined the first part I tried.

The front driveshaft uses a male 32-spline slip yoke at the transfer case that connects to a GM 3R u-joint, then a solid shaft to another 3R joint. My new axle has a 1350 pinion yoke so I'm working on figuring out a CV shaft that will work. There is not a lot of room for the front shaft, and I'll be measuring tonight to see if there is enough space for a 1350 double cardan joint right there. A 1350 CV joint needs about 5.375" dia of space right at the t-case and 4.5" dia of space where the h-yoke is. Have any of you guys done this, or did you swap transfer cases right off the bat? Or just go without a CV joint? An Atlas is probably not in the budget, but a 271 or 273 might be, I'll have to do some research and see what bolts up easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 · (Edited)
Turns out there was no good way to get a front drive shaft to work with the 246 transfer case, so I am swapping to a 241. The 246 didn't even have enough space for a 1350 double cardan joint at the transfer case, and the male slip yoke was awkward and not useful at all.

The electric shift garbage takes up too much space. I had too much angle to deal with to run a shaft with just a ujoint at each end. I bought the 241 today, and ordered a flange output for the front drive shaft that will be here in a few days from JE Reel. They have been extremely helpful and I will be ordering the driveshaft from them once I get the flange installed, the transfer case installed, and get a good measurement.

 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
Since I no longer have the ABS sensors on the front axle, and I no longer have the extra sensors on the transfer case that ABS used, I decided to just remove the system since I have to redo all the front brake lines anyways. I removed the ABS pump from the driver-side frame rail, removed the extra lines to and from the front, and created a small horseshoe shaped tube to connect the forward and rearward parts of the rear brake line using two 1/2-20 inverted flare unions. Someday when I lift the body off the frame I'll remove the lines, straighten them, and re-flare for a cleaner installation, but there is no easy way to remove the lines without removing the gas tank, so this will work for now. I'm still working on a custom hose to get the front line from the proportioning valve down to the axle where I will do a T to each caliper.

I wired up the speedometer on the NP241C using a pigtail I found on amazon titled Vehicle Speed Sensor Connector Wiring Harness Fits for GM 700R4 T5 4L60E 12085498 88987187.

I have another pigtail coming for the transfer case switch (Part # PT2782) so the transmission will shift while I'm in low range.

My trip is in two weeks and I still need to wire up the rear locker as well. AU5Z14489AAA is the part number for the 2011+ Ford / Sterling rear e locker seal/connector that bolts to the diff housing. WPT829 is the part number for the green connector/pigtail to ease in wiring it up.

I'm still waiting for the correct front driveshaft yoke from JE Reel, but should get that in and the driveshaft ordered in the next day or two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 · (Edited)
I figured out why the axle would not spin freely when everything was bolted up. There is more material on the aftermarket Branik Motorsports shafts compared to the stock shafts. That extra material is hitting the end of the tube inside the inner knuckle, causing a lot of friction and stopping any rotation. I'm going to have to take it to a local machine shop and have some material removed on their lathe, I'm supposed to leave on my trip next Sunday.

The upper ball joint goes into an adjustable tapered sleeve, and I thought the position might might affect the drive slug / unit bearing alighment (I had trouble getting the drive flanges in), but it's likely just another symptom of the axle shaft hitting the axle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #91 · (Edited)
I took the shafts to a local machine shop, they did one correctly the way I asked but totally screwed the other one up, so they bought me another Branik shaft and I had Branik machine off .200 to prevent interference. I replaced the TIMKEN 710492 inner axle seals that I have had trouble with. I'm using NATIONAL 710865 seals now and they're a slightly different design that I think will work better. Time will tell. The axle is back together just waiting on some gear oil.

I installed some OEM Ford locking hubs instead of the drive flanges I had since I have a selectable transfer case now (no more Auto 4x4).

I bent up and flared the brake hard lines and added brake fluid. I just need to bleed the system.

Once I complete the above and a wheel alignment it should be ready for street use at least. There will still be a lot of fine tuning, fender trimming, installing the 4x4 shift lever, sway bar, exhaust, etc. ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #92 · (Edited)
I did an alignment and finally got it out of the garage, first time in ~9 months. I had to pull the rear tires and set the axle on car dollies so it would clear the garage door. It was too heavy to push by hand, so I hooked up the Comanche and pulled it out. It rides decent but wanders a bit, so I'll mess with the toe some more and check the caster angle again. I only have about 1/8" toe-in right now. The steering is a bit heavy as well, not sure if it's a flow / pressure mismatch issue between the pump and the gear, or something else. I could always try a smaller pulley to see how that feels.

3117930
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
It drives fine at low speeds, but seems to wander quite a bit on the highway at speed. Anything above 60 or so doesn't feel very safe. Initial toe-in was 1/8" (measured at the outer edge of the tires). I added a little to see if it would help, it did slightly. I then re-measured the caster, and came up with 4.2*. I'll adjust caster to 6* and see if that helps. I also checked out my radius arm angle (from pivot point at the body to center of axle tube), and it's at a 2.7* downward angle. I don't yet have a sway bar, so that might help as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
I started building a bumper, it's taking me forever because of everything else going on, but I have the basic shape of the bumper built and I finally got the mounting points built. The center section of the bumper will have a curve to flow better with the grill. I will eventually build out the sides with multiple plate pieces and angles.


Sent from my VS988 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #98 · (Edited)
It is still wandering, and it's really annoying. It could be partially caused by roll steer coming from the rear axle since the stock control arms are still being used at poor angles with the lift. It could be because there is a slight angle on the front radius arms causing a tiny bit of roll steer. I think a sway bar would minimize all of those effects before I go in and redesign the rear suspension. I'm having a heck of a time trying to get a sway bar to fit the front though.

I had a 1971 Buick Skylark at one point in time, and the rear sway bar was only connected to the rear lower control arms, not to the body at all. Any reason a setup like this would not work on the front axle? Would it minimize roll more with it closer to the body? The only place that it doesn't hurt ground clearance is near the axle.

The steering box still has a little bit of slop too, even though I have tightened it up twice to the point that I lost a little bit of the return to Center. Everything else is tight, all tie rod ends, control arm joints, ball joints, wheel bearings, Etc.







 

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Discussion Starter · #99 · (Edited)
I tried and failed to mount a sway bar a couple weeks ago. I now have two reinforced mounting points on the frame that don't work for anything. I have a 15-hour drive coming up since the kids and I are heading down to Florida for Spring Break. So I'm re-doing the rear suspension to minimize rear roll steer. Right now the stock control arms are in the stock locations at angle because of the 6" Fabtech lift. The track bar is already parallel to the ground though, I did that when I swapped the Sterling axle in. I am extending the upper control arms from 17.5" to 21" and setting them level at ride height. The lower control arms are going from 22" to ~37" and will be level at ride height as well.

The UCAs will be stock arms cut, extended, and reinforced. The LCAs will be 2.25" .250 wall DOM with Ballistic 3" joints at the frame and clevite rubber bushings at the axle (I've had them kicking around for years and it saves me money).
 

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Discussion Starter · #100 · (Edited)
I raised the rear upper brackets at the axle so the upper control arms sit level and they are longer. I redid the brackets for the lower control arms at the axle and on the frame, and you can see how long the lower control arms are now. It rides much better. I also figured out that some of the steering looseness was due to loose components. The new ballistic joints needed to be tightened up. Once I did that it fixed most of the wandering. The drag link tie rod ends are still loose though, even though they are brand new as well. I will eventually redesign the entire drag link and tie rod setup.
 
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