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July 2011 4xForum - Letters to the Editor

Posted in Features on July 1, 2011
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Send questions, comments, and suggestions to: 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine,
Attn: Christian Lee, 1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606, or christian.lee@sorc.com.

I just finished reading about Shane’s 1990 Ford Bronco (April 2011). Thanks for running an article about the big ol’ Bronco! I may be biased being a Bronco owner myself, but I feel big Broncos get little love in the 4x4 world. They are a strong and durable truck that is well equipped for off-road use (unless it gets too tight in the trees). That being said I’d like to comment on the front C-clip issue. For a year I ran an Auburn ECTED in the rear with no problems (so far). Having great success with that set up I wanted to run it up front. I soon ran into the issue of trying to install the C-clip. Of course it was a no-go. I contacted Auburn who told me to put a valve spring in between the two halves of the axle. I did have to cut the spring shorter to have proper play in the axle but it worked. I have been out with the truck all summer like this with no problems. I don’t run hardcore stuff, just blues and a few blacks at Rausch Creek and whatever trails I can find at home. I just wanted to send this fix to you guys to help other Bronco owners out there also, to know if this was a good fixI want to be safe. Thanks.

Chris Rothbart
Islip, New York

Chris, this is a fix that we’ve seen on a couple forums and have been hoping to try out. I am not certain that it is a fix that Auburn endorses, however, and since I have not installed and tested it myself, I cannot attest to its strength or safety. But, I like the idea of it and it seems to be working for those who have tried it without any detrimental effects. The fix involves eliminating the front axle shaft C-clip that secures the passenger-side inner axle stub shaft inside Ford TTB front-axle housings. Eliminating the C-clip not only allows use of lockers and limited-slip diffs intended for non-C-clip applications, but also saves tons of labor time should you have to replace an axle shaft or U-joint on the trail. Eliminating the C-clip makes it so the shaft can be removed without having to tear apart the whole assembly to get to the C-clip inside the housing. With the C-clip eliminated you will still need a means of retaining the stub shaft in the housing. There are actually two ways to go about this. The method you mentioned involves placing a small spring in the slip yoke between the shafts and welding the dust cap in place to secure it. Ford uses a similar method to this in some of its non-C-clip TTB frontends. Another method involves installing a small valve-spring-sized coil spring and retainer over the inner stub shaft splines where it connects to the outer shaft. With both methods, the spring creates tension between the inner and outer shafts so that the inner shaft is held firmly in place inside the housing. Many have used cut-down valve springs for this fix, but any coil spring with a large enough diameter to fit over the axle shaft splines should do the trick, provided it is the proper length and offers an appropriate degree of tension. The spring can be secured in a variety of manners, including adding a weld bead around the circumference of the axle shaft, using hose clamps, or manufacturing some sort of custom retainer. Thanks for writing. ’Wheel on.

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