Read about answers to reader's questions on their 4x4 vehicles.
Q: I have an '89 Suzuki Samurai with an '00 S-10 4.3L Vortec V-6 mated to a 700-R4 tranny and a 4.0:1 Dana 300 transfer case. I found a pair of Dana 44 high-pinion axles I plan to install with 35x14.5R15 Boggers. What is the best axle gearing for this setup? Thank you.Samuel Mendezvia e-mail
A: Samuel, Your gear choice will depend on how you use your vehicle. For the setup you've described, we figure you'll be hitting moderate to extreme trails with limited highway time. If this is the case, a good way to start your gear selection is to calculate your final crawl ratio using the following formula: crawl ratio = transmission ratio x transfer case ratio x axle ratio. Guess at the axle ratio until you find a crawl ratio figure that best suits your needs. Considering your 3.06:1 transmission ratio, we'd suggest 4.88 gears, which will offer a 59.73:1 crawl ratio, yet still provide a decent degree of driveability on the highway. For more information about gear selection, check out the available online calculators at www.4lo.com.
How To Toast A Posi
Q: I have a '99 Dodge Durango with a 5.9L engine and 190,000 kilometers on the odometer. I'm having problems with the rear differential. After driving for about 45 minutes on the highway, if I slow down to less then 10 mph and try to take a 90-degree turn, the differential sounds like it's having a hard time "unlocking" (I'm assuming it's a limited slip). The sound is sort of a grinding/cracking, as though the clutches have frozen and won't release. The dealership suggested changing the oil and mentioned that a special additive is needed (confirming that it's a limited slip). I had the dealership service the unit, but it didn't help. I'm also having a problem with what sounds like driveline vibration at around 60 mph. I don't know if the problems are related, but I figured it might help with troubleshooting. I'm wondering if you've ever heard of any problems such as these with other Durangos or Dana rearends. Thanks for any help you can offer.Brent Toniolovia e-mail
A: Brent, If the grinding in your differential has persisted after the dealership serviced it, then our guess would be that the posi-traction unit is damaged. Posi-traction differentials do indeed require a special additive, which is designed to reduce gear and clutch noise, or "chatter," for overall smoother and quieter operation. There is a possibility that your posi unit became damaged due to a lack of additive, or low fluid. We'd suggest having it re-inspected at a quality gear shop to determine the extent of the damage. Having your driveshaft professionally balanced may solve your driveline vibration issues. The gear shop or dealership should be able to direct you to a competent driveline specialist.
Luv'ed The Itch
Q: I really enjoy your magazine. I loved The Itch buildup; it's given me a lot of ideas. I'm building a '79 Chevy LUV 4x4 that I received in a trade. The lack of aftermarket support, with the exception of a worthless body lift kit, has challenged me to build this truck into a capable off-road vehicle. I want Dana 44 axles, but what differentials from a salvage yard would be the correct width? Also, what type and size tubing should I use for building a multilink suspension? What should I use for joints or bushings? And finally, what companies offer custom-order steering components?J. PhillipsSusanville, California
A: J, We're glad The Itch got you scratching. We've seen a few Chevy LUV pickups on the trail through the years and they always seem to capture a good deal of attention. Finding the right Dana 44 for your application will most likely take a lot of hunting around salvage yards and probably a bit of trial and error. We've seen LUV builders use anything from Jeep Wagoneer Dana 44s to shortened Ford 9-inch axles. Toyota axles are also good swap candidates as parts are readily available and the widths are close to the LUV specifications. In building your multilink suspension, the stronger the tube you use, the less likely you'll be to break parts. In building his competition rockcrawler, Joel McClure of Xtreme Image used 1-3/4-inch, 3/8-inch-wall chrome-moly tubing and rebuildable high-misalignment joints, and has yet to experience any breakage. This isn't the only way to go, but it definitely works. You might talk to your local 4x4 shop for further ideas regarding material. For custom-order steering components, contact Factory Tubular Motorsports [(888) 338-8327, www.factorytubular.com] or Tellico 4x4 [(877) 465-5729, www.tellico4x4.com].
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