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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.
Cheap Samurai Crawl Box?
Q: I have a pretty much stock '88 tin-top samurai and, as most, have a limited budget. It has a spring-over with 31s on it. my question is: I have a very small three-speed about 12 inches long from an old Crosley that is in great shape and was wondering if I put it between the trans and transfer case, would it give me enough low range for some mild rockcrawling? In First gear it is a 2.5:1, and in second it is 1:1 ratio. I have stock gearing in the transfer case and cannot afford new gears right now. I am just trying to do with what I have. Installing it would not be very difficult because of its size, and I believe it would even give me Overdrive in third gear. I want to try it, but a local shop said it would not work and just tried to sell me transfer-case gears, but I cannot do that right now. I just wanted your opinion if you think it is feasible, or if I am wasting my time. Thanks for your input and a great publication.D. Yeagervia e-mail
A: D, It would be very hard to determine whether this conversion would be possible without seeing the parts firsthand. What you're up against is more than just mating bolt patterns of cases because you'll also need to adapt the input/output shafts to the same spline and length for the transfer of power to be complete though I'm curious to see what you'd come up with, I'm inclined to say (and because you asked) that yes, I do think it would be a waste of time to attempt this conversion. however, this is based on my own value of time, since I can see such a conversion robbing me of many hours with little results. also for the fact that there are other such available crawl boxes that can be adapted to your suzuki with little effort, and that the cost of lower transfer- case gears isn't so exorbitant that I'd spend more than a few weekends tinkering with a "free" alternative. Good luck.
Quick - Lifting Toyotas
Q: I have a fully stock '01 four-door V6 toyota tacoma. I have been looking at the rancho quick-lift systems. I'm wondering if you have a review or any type of information regarding it. I'm pretty new to four-wheeling and don't know a lot about it. If you could tell me or point me to a little more information, that would be helpful. Thanks.Jeremiahvia e-mail
A: Jeremiah, I've used many varieties of rancho shocks and suspension systems over the years to good results, but I haven't yet tested the rancho Quick lift. So far, applications are available for many Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Dodge, and GM models, and even a few Mercury and Lincoln SUVs. the Quick lift is designed to clear larger-than-stock tires and also to level the front-suspension ride height. while the same leveling affect can be achieved through use of coil-spring spacers, the Quick lift also incorporates an adjustable strut, so the ride quality can be finely tuned to suit driver preference and road condition. Each strut uses a nine-position knob that can be adjusted to achieve a softer or firmer ride. Being that you're new to the sport, and that your preferences for tire size and obstacles will likely be in flux as you explore new trails, the rancho quick-lift system would be a good entry-level lift for your vehicle. Rancho indicates that your year tacoma will accept 33-inch tires with the Quick lift in place, and this is a sufficient tire size for tackling moderate-to-diffi cult obstacles. Wheel on.
4WD Lubs Good
Comment: I just picked up a copy of your November 2007 issue of 4 Wheel Drive And Sport Utility Magazine and wanted to briefly comment on both the letter, "we have attitude," as well as your reply to that letter. I found both letters' views very informative and helpful to understand the nature of why a lot of these clubs exist. living and working in the city does not afford one, such as myself, a lot of time to give back (i.e., spend time taking care of trails and such), but it is good to know that by being a potential member to a club is a way to help. Even if it is indirect via club dues. plus the whole potential social benefit. By the way, this was the first time I have ever picked up a copy of your magazine, and it certainly was a good first impression. though the main reason that I picked up a copy of your magazine is that I recently purchased a new '07 toyota FJ Cruiser, and I am starting to investigate places to go and possible destinations.
Reply: Frank, I hope you're thoroughly enjoying your new FJ Cruiser. I'm pleased that you're enjoying your first taste of 4wd&su and received a good impression about what we do. 4wd clubs do make a huge difference in how all of us use the outdoors in our 4x4s, and organizations such as these are our greatest asset in preserving our opportunities to recreate on public lands. as you pointed out, even someone such as yourself, who lives in the city far from any 4wd trails, can benefit from club membership. many clubs offer associate memberships for those who don't live in the area where regular meetings occur, and club websites are an easy way to keep up to date with the goings on of club members with information about events and work weekends. For those interested in finding a 4wd club in their area, the united Four-wheel drive association (uFwda) is a good starting point. For more information about the uFwda, call (800) 44-uFwda or check them out on the web at www.ufwda.org. Thanks for reading.