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Embrace the Suck
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Discussion Starter #1
Have an opportunity to swap in a set of 2004 and earlier Ford F450 D60 & S135 combo w/ 19.5" wheels and a the NV271 w/ drivelines. I know I can make them fit and run without concern, but the ABS system and tone rings concern me. My Ram is a 2003 3500 DRW crew cab auto V10...yup a gasser, might drop an oil burner later, but could only afford this on disability checks. Any help would be appreciated as this truck will be pulling our horses and this upgrade has a lot to do with their safety as much as my family's.

I know the Fords all have rear tone ring mounted sensors like our Rams and have a similar unit bearing sensor design, but are they the same? If they aren't the same, would splicing them together cause a problem? If their tone rate (how many revolutions per mile) is different, is it something I could recalculate? Something like a Dakota box or something? This is really the only area where I don't have a solution and I don't want to pull the trigger on getting the parts blindly. Hope one of you has an idea since I haven't been able to play with a 3rd gen Ram unit bearing and 2003/2004 Ford unit bearing to compare. I would think they would be similar, if not the same, but my gut also thinks they would purposely make something different to try and charge extra.

I'm doing this because I can get a bunch on upgrades done at once with this swap: #1 is that I get bigger brakes, run 19.5" wheels, have unlockable hubs (though still unit bearings, but better than Dodge units), stronger and better designed ball joints, no concern with front axle bending and all of it will cost me about what it costs for a typical hub conversion kit along.

So if I can get enough selling my AAMs I'd like to do coil-overs. So anyone have an opinion? Am I going to lose ABS only? Is my dash going to light up like an Xmas tree?

On a side note, I have not found very many DIY threads on using a Ford NV271 to do a slip-yoke elimination on my Dodge 271. Anyone have a good thread link?
 

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Interesting...... wasn't aware they still were putting V10s in 2003 DRW trucks
 

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One thing I'd like to add; 99'-04' Ball Joints in the F-450/F-550 axles are the same design used in 92'-97' Ford F-350 and 94'-99' Dodge Ram. So going with the statement above, "stronger and better designed ball joints" that may not be true unless you are throwing in 05"+ Axles in there.

It seems Carli Ball Joints for the AAM axles have a better reputation over anything else for those years axles. Just a thought to consider.

Unfortunately I really have no help information on the swap. I do want to see a build thread on it though since I have been contemplating throwing those axles under my truck because of those massive brakes!
 

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Embrace the Suck
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Discussion Starter #4
yeah, 2003 was the last year of the iron V10, only V10s from then on were in the SRT trucks or Vipers and were all the car/Viper version of the motor. These trucks aren't rare, but aren't common either. I have a '98 V10 2500 and a spare V10 motor in the barn and have had really good luck with the V10s, so I took advantage of a good deal so I could get a crew cab!

In regards to the ball joints, IMO the older in-knuckle ball joints are stronger than the inner C type. Yes, the Carli joints have a great reputation and good warranty, but they make them for this style BJ as well if I ever want to go that route. Honestly it's the brakes and 19.5s that I really want! The F450 fronts actually have a longer driver side tube, as I already have one in the garage, and makes for a much easier bracket design/install.

I really need to look for information on the tooth count for the Ford unit bearings vs the Dodge and also compare the rear count. But, I'm also wondering if it even matters. I know on the 2nd gens that the rear axle sensor gives MPH, so what is the computer looking for from these sensors other than the ABS system making sure they are continuously moving? In other words, would having a different tooth count change anything? I'm thinking of calling someone who rebuilds these unit bearings for 35 spline and different bolt patterns to see if they have any info, but would appreciate any help from here as well.
 

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I don't think you'll have a problem, as the computer is just looking for movement up front. the rear gives your speed, and that's a simple speedo calibration. Worst case, you lose your ABS, which sucks anyway.
 

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I'm all for modifying stuff to make it better, but I have to ask what your hay burner hauler weights?
I ask because I have hauled many many miles with a 3rd gen dodge (CTD though) grossing 25-32k and have always felt safe with my family aboard.
Are the V-10 trucks a 10.5 or 11.5 AAM rear?
Being an 03 I would guess 10.5. What about swapping a 11.5 rear. It would bolt in. Put some good pads and rotors on it, bread truck 19.5's and with a V10 I wouldn't worry about the front axle bending. Just food for thought.
All the stuff I mentioned could be done way cheaper than what your planning on doing and it would be just about a weekend project.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think the front is only looking for a signal, but I was really hoping someone who has messed with the system knows for sure. The rear could be played with on a programmer if I did some complicated math I think, but again, like confirmation before diving in. Really don't want to lose ABS because the wife will drive as well and don't want to be blamed for anything...I'm sure everyone can understand that there is no way the blame will ever fall on her if anything ever happened and I deleted ABS


I already have the front axle from an 04 F450 in the garage, so it would just be a matter of getting a rear. Main reason I considered the swap was I know a guy selling axles, wheels, tires from an F450 that would trade for my flatbed if I can't get cash for it. I could always do a pattern conversion to the 8 on 200 for the rear, but if you ever had an opportunity to play with a S130 or 135 you'd see why I'd want one. I think they will start showing up in offroad rigs soon with someone making a sheetmetal housing for the dropout. I think it would fill the gap between those wanting danas and F106/Rockwells.

My 03 has the 11.5 and I don't think there are many negatives to it other than lack of ground clearance at the diff. I just cut up my D80s for a guy that wanted the chunks only, so I have a set of F-Superduty discs from a 90's 450, but no e-brakes in them.

You're right that the 9.25 is unlikely to bend with only a V10, but this will be an expedition truck someday and I don't want to dump all the coin into upgrading it when I have multiple conversion kits for earlier style BJ knuckles sitting in the garage. I mean even aftermarket suppliers are building upgraded Ford unit bearings, I doubt those will ever come out for the 9.25. Plus, I'll need to regear regardless with the 3.73s I have to get the pulling power I want and for what that would cost I can just get bigger everything. When I compared the F450 D80 and the Ram 3500 D80 after cutting them up today, the Ford was nearly twice as thick in the tubes as the Ram version....puts things in perspective on how much stronger the medium duty truck parts are.

Sounds like I have my answer. I may just use the F450 front I already have and use the leftover $$ to get some nice coilovers for the front to get some cush. I can run a set of adapters off the 8 on 170mm unit bearings to run my 17s....possibly, might not clear the calipers though, have to check. Overall no one has given me a reason NOT to do the conversion other than time. Just wish someone made a beefy set of Ram style brackets
 

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Swirvin21, What's the WMS-WMS measurement on the F-450 D60, withe the 10 lug adapters removed?
 

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Why would you do all that work? The 9.25 is a good axle. If you are worried about bending it, do the artec truss. Also invest in a good set of ball joints and maybe do the free spin conversion. I see no reasons to do all that work. Sell those axles and you can buy your parts needed. Brakes wise, Have you thought about getting slotted rotters with top quality pads? It makes a difference, Im not sure how "better" brakes you will be really getting.
 

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This is some information I came across a while ago when I first had the thought of swapping in some F-450 axles.

3rd gen rotors I believe are 13.9" in diameter for the front. So the differences in this chart wouldn't be as drastic. But here is some numbers comparing F-350 brakes to F-450.

2002 F350 gross lining area rear 34.72 Total swept area per axle rear 244.81
2002 F350 gross lining area front 49.60 Total swept area per axle front 264.48
2002 F350 rotor dia. Rear 12.83
2002 F350 rotor dia front 13.03


2008 F450 gross lining area rear 55.6 Total swept area per axle rear 361.9
2008 F450 gross lining area front 55.6 Total swept area per axle front 337.2
2008 F450 rotor dia. Rear 15.35
2008 F450 rotor dia. Front 14.53

(Brake size and stopping power F350 vs F450 - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com)
 

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Embrace the Suck
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Discussion Starter #11
I've been talking with some guys up at the local dealer and they believe this will work, but I think I'm going to hold out for one of the 2005+ "fat boy" Super 60s that I have a contact for, then I can either run an adapter in the rear or get lucky and locate an S130 to match. Either way, it would give me more improvements over the 2004 and earlier versions, plus allow me to run coils with less fabrication. It also gives me the more common 10 lug pattern which I can already get wheels for.

If someone is interested in acquiring the set of 2004s I found locally I can set you up, pretty good deal at $1500 for the axles, tires and 19.5s
 

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On a side note, I have not found very many DIY threads on using a Ford NV271 to do a slip-yoke elimination on my Dodge 271. Anyone have a good thread link?
You need a big strong snap ring plier.
Use the F mainshaft and tailhousing in the D case (rear case halves seem identical), and you'll have to push the pocket bearing a little deeper.
Pre'02 F mainshafts have a lube problem, you can see a comparison if you look for thread started by me.
 

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Did you ever persue this? I've been thinking about this for my 2010. Google brought me to pbb. The tone ring and abs is the main hang up for me. Loosing abs would be be a deal breaker for me. I like the idea of lock outs with off the shelf parts. From the supeduty Dana 60 thread they're 60 tooth count. Will it work if they're the same tooth count? What is the tooth count on the dodges?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm still working on it, but have a 2004 F450 D60 from a leaf spring truck and a 2014 F450 Dana Super D60 housing w/ gears, but no inner Cs or knuckles, that I'm collecting parts for while collecting parts. My assumption is that like the 2nd gen rams, (pre '99 bj style) the pre-2004 F450 axles can swap directly in place for 2nd gen Ram knuckles. So, you could easily convert your Dodge to freespin and then swap onto the other axle.

I'm trying to use the F450 brakes as they are massive and would make for lots of stopping power! My plan was to either play with tire size until I had a combination that worked well with the Ford ABS sensors. The other option is to use a Dakota Digital box to modify the signal and fix speedo.

On a separate note, my understanding is that the Spidertrax spindles can fit the Ford unit bearing knuckle provision, but don't know if they have ABS capability. Happy to discuss further...have another F450 housing w/ 4.88 gears, but not inner C's or knuckles if you want to have a good place to start building your axle from, $300
 

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I'm not sure but I didn't think the AAM axles in the 03 up dodges would work with the SD or pre SD BJ outers like the 60s in the 2nd gen dodges. Also, with your thoughts on adjusting tire sizes to compensate for the wrong tooth count. Won't the truck still see different speed between the front and rear axles? Seems the only way that would work would be if the front and rear tires were drastically different size tires. I wonder if someone could fix it with efi live? Does anyone know if the ecm actually measures speed by the front tone rings? Or just looks for movement?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You absolutely correct on the tire sizes, think I had another question on the brain when I responded. I think installing a Dakota Digital box between the front ABS sensors and the computer would work, but would prefer to have it programmed out if that's possible. I know very little about what you can or can't do with custom tunes. I've always been under the impression that the rear axle speed sensor commands the speedometer, but newer models could be different. I would bet that it's the rear axle though since I don't picture the engineers gauging speed off the front axle of a 2wd....now traction control could be a completely different ballgame though!

The AAM inner shafts can be machined to run a standard 60 ujoint, but no, they don't fit without machining. Having spent the money on a hub conversion for my '98 Ram, I've learned not to do that again. Great kit and all, but could drop in any D60 I want w/ coilovers for the cost of most kits now.

I wanted to run the 2005+ F450 axle in front since it has the 45* steering to help w/ tight trailer maneuvers, strongest unit bearings (my understanding), and still allows the use of a lockout to disengage the shaft while using a unit bearing ( Warn just came out with their design.)


I've heard too many complaints about the AAM bending, transfer case issues with turning constantly, vibrations from dshaft, etc etc. I plan on running 20" wheels anyway, so having the larger 450 front brakes makes doing the swap worth it, IMO.
 

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In a conversation about mixing and matching Ford and dodge parts a buddy mentioned that the Ford had exactly 2x the amount of teeth on the rear tone ring, and that grinding every other one off would give the correct signal. Maybe it's backwards, maybe it's bull shit, but worth looking into.
 

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In a conversation about mixing and matching Ford and dodge parts a buddy mentioned that the Ford had exactly 2x the amount of teeth on the rear tone ring, and that grinding every other one off would give the correct signal. Maybe it's backwards, maybe it's bull shit, but worth looking into.
That's interesting. I'd like to know if that's true or not
 

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Discussion Starter #19
it is an interesting idea....
 
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