View Full Version : Solid FR axle swap... anyone?

05-03-2007, 02:06 PM
My IFS is getting pretty sloppy and I think it's time to replace everything (230,000) so I was thinking of a Dana 60 frontend something tuff and reliable.
Has anyone done this swap?

05-03-2007, 04:30 PM
Dana 60's are pretty expensive, upto $1000 even for an older one... you wont find a 1/2 ton d-60 and a dana 44 could be found for cheaper like $200 i paid for mine in my jeep with new calipers, knuckles and ball joints.

What your looking for is something out of a chevy 1-ton SRW before 1993. Is your suburban a 3/4 ton or 1/2 ton. The 1/2 ton is probably a 6 lug and the 3/4 ton is probably an 8 on 6.5" lug pattern, just something to think about wheel selection for the swap.

As soon as the lease on my dakota is up I anticipate either getting a 1-ton 4-door 6.5 or an avalanche and convert it to a 6.5. Either way I would do a solid front axle swap.

Here's a breakdown of some of the major costs that I can think of off the top of my head.

(1) Triangulated 4 Link, long arms, Standard Bushings. $400
(2) Axle D60 or 44, $300-$800
(3) High steer Arm + Flat Top machining $120
(4) Custom Drag Link $100
(5) 2wd Straight Axle Steering Box $150
(6) Springs/shocks $200 or Coilovers $800
(7) Custom CV driveshaft $300

I guess putting leaf springs in the front might be easier, but you can spend your money where you want to, I'd rather spend the extra money on the 4-link in front and save it on the d-44 axle. After I finish my CJ and beat the crap out of it for a few months/years im going to 4-link coil spring my CJ in the front.

05-10-2007, 04:18 AM
I would not waste your time with a dana 44 go with the 60. 44 will brake over and over.

Im running 36"superswampers on my 1ton dually with a 6" pro comp lift and am going to a d60 swap in the next month or sooner. Im just working on the new water pump being put in.

Im not doing it myself but from what i understand you need a dodge diff with the pumpkin on the drivers side and then you need to change the rotars to accomadate chevy rims.

Im looking at a d60 with histeer 4 10 gears welded (locked) and 12" lift. With this I will be fitting 39.5 boggers under it and air bags and blocks out back.

I really would like to go with a lower gear setting but since the one im looking at has 4 10's i only have to buy 1 set for the rear. I got a feeling i will be doing 4 56 in the future.

Anyone else done the this lift? I know a guy that just did it on a 92 blazer.

05-10-2007, 10:26 AM
If your using an arb/detroit locker and rock crawling on 40" tires your absolutely correct. A dana 44 will break over and over again.

If your running a posi/open diff in front and 33" tires on road/trail riding, A dana 44 will be more then enough to take that. I'm all for overbuilding things but some times you have to know when too much is way too much and you can get something that will work just fine for almost 1/3 the price.

I looked into it and your right, the IFS chevys are driver side drops. You need something off of a dodge or a ford. The good news is that you can find the cream of the crop 44's and 60's which are the high-pinion, reverse rotation models off the fords.

I know late model dodges use unit bearings and vacuum disconnects, its best to steer clear of those, You want to find something a little more old school with manual lock-out's and such.

ALSO FYI: Reverse rotation gears in the front are stronger then regular front gears. They are cut the same way as the rear gears.

05-11-2007, 11:08 PM
By all means if you're going to go to all the work of swapping in a solid front axle go with the Dana 60, and a Ford also has the pumpkin on the left side as well so it does help finding one a bit easier, just try to stay away from the balljoint versions of these and try to find a kingpin version like the one I have in my 78 F250, much stronger and lower maintance. If you need any help on deciding what front ends you want to look for just let me know and I'll do what I can to at least get you as much info as I can ;)

05-12-2007, 05:41 AM
I want to keep this at the top to see if anyone has anything to add or has done it themselves.

My front end is shot and i dont want to bother with that bullshit ifs again , plus i like to go larger.

Not to sure about the diff i was looking at now and need to get to the shop that will be doing it to see if it is even the right gear that i will need.

Want to work it out so that with 40's it will do around 120km redlined. I dont want top end i want lowend since i dont speed and tow heavy loads, big tires and big freaking mountain hills.

05-12-2007, 12:12 PM
Well for example on gearing I run 4.56's with 39.5 TSL's and on the highway I run around 2700@60MPH, now I realize that might be a little on the low side for what you want so I would consider running a 4.88 gear, that and the torque of the 6.5 you should be pretty much where you want to be.

If you like I have a few pics of my buddies 94 gasser project that we swapped over to a D60 GM front diff. PM me an email address and I'll send them to you. (they're too big to post here without losing the actual mounts that I figure you'ld want to see. ;) )

05-14-2007, 02:00 AM
I really have a hard time with the gearing since i dont want the motor revvin to shit on the freeway but i want more bottom , less top end.

With 4 56 what it ur top speed?

05-14-2007, 07:03 PM
Well my top speed is around 110MPH but remember I'm running a built 429 capable of turning alot higher RPM then our 6.5's.

Give me an idea how high you want to wind it up and I'll get back to you with what gear will be the best for you.

05-14-2007, 11:44 PM
you will get 92 mph screaming at 3,600 rpm for a short time. Now that would be with standard 245-75 x 16 tires, you have to make an ajustment for larger tires. Your speedo does not recognise change in tire size.

05-15-2007, 04:48 PM

I'm running 4.10's and 36" tires. That gives me a top speed of like 85 MPH
or 90mph if i step up to 40's. (of course thats because I don't have an overdrive transmission)

With 4.56's and 33" tires your looking at a top speed of 100mph. I would say go with something no higher then 4.10's and if you need the grunt turn the overdrive off.

08-02-2007, 04:28 PM
I have a dana 44 out of a 77 F-250 under the front of my truck. I have 4.56 gears and 35's. Here are some things to consider if you are planning the swap.

I went with the ORU bracket kit and it was worth the money spent. I bought it before they came out with the new long spring kit and believe that would be a serious improvement. I used 4 inch springs for a total of 8 inches of lift. I had to trim the cross member in the area where the lower a-arm mounted to clear the springs. ORU offers everything you need for the conversion. I fabbed my own shock hoops. The 77 dana 44 has larger wheel bearings than any other dana 44. I have a detroit locker and have not yet broken anything... but I also completely rebuilt the assembly. When I break something I will let everyone know. My t-case cross member needed some work to clear the custom front driveshaft. I have way too much info from this project, so if you want to know something specific, Ask, and I would love to pass on any information!