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Nissan Sas Options
Q: I'm looking to do a straight-axle swap (sas) on my '91 Nissan Pathfinder, and I would really like to keep my rear axle, as it would be so much easier. The gear ratio is 4.375:1. What are my options for a front axle? What would fit? Or do i have to buy two axles? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
James L. Mills
A: James, though the Nissan rear axle in your pathfinder is plenty strong, the tough part in keeping your stock rear axle and gear ratio will be finding a front axle that accepts the same 4.375 ratio. You can keep the Nissan rear axle and install ringand- pinion gears in a ratio that will match your front-axle choice, but even then, the selection of ratios is somewhat limited. A few things to consider in locating a front-axle candidate are axle width, pumpkin offset in relation to the transfer case, and caster angle. Finding a donor front axle that closely meets your vehicle's requirements will mean less work in axle prep. The front output on the Nissan transfer case is on the driver side, so you will need a front axle with the pumpkin offset to this side. stock Nissan rear-axle width is about 59 inches, so a front axle at least this width or slightly wider is recommended. Getting the proper caster angle is tough to achieve using a donor axle, so it may be necessary to cut off and reweld the steering knuckles at the necessary angle. Dana 44 front axles found in '80s Jeep wagoneers and late-'70s Fords can make good swap candidates. For Nissan ring-and-pinion gears, check out automotive Customizers in pompano Beach, Florida [(954) 971-3510, www.4x4parts.com]. For more details about an sas on a '90 Nissan pathfinder, visit www.4wdandsportutility.com and check out the article in the technical section. Good luck.
Sye Need Not ApplyQ: I was looking at buying a 3.5-inch lift for my '01 Jeep wrangler TJ, and it always says I need a CV and slip-yoke eliminator. Is it a requirement to get these parts for a 3.5-inch lift, or would I be fine not getting them for the lift? What would be some problems that could go wrong if I were to get the lift and not put on the slip-yoke and CV?Michael Myers
A: Michael, if you plan to hold a suspension manufacturer to any advertised warranty, you best heed the company's word when it says that a slip-yoke eliminator and CV driveshaft are required. Most 3.5-inch systems for the wrangler TJ include provisions to drop down the transfer case and indicate that an SYE and CV are "recommended." This means that the professionals who designed the suspension system consider this an important item in achieving the best performance from its lift system. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that your wrangler won't function without one. An SYE kit replaces the factory slip-yoke at the rear of the Np231J transfer case with a fixed yoke. the fixed yoke then spins a driveshaft equipped with a constant velocity (CV) joint. The factory slip-yoke is long and is paired with a short driveshaft. an SYE kit and CV are much shorter and can lengthen the driveshaft 6 inches or more. This allows the suspension to flex more freely without risk of overextending the factory slip-yoke and also decreases the angle of the driveshaft, so it can spin without overstressing or binding the u-joints. This is because the CV driveshaft reduces the working angle of the u-joints. If you elect to not install an sYE and CV driveshaft with your lift, then you may end up spending the same amount of money making repairs further down the road. Driveshaft vibration will be the first noted negative effect and can lead to further damage. If the sYE kit is simply not in your budget, make sure to carry spare driveshaft u-joints and the necessary tools to change them out. Thanks for reading.