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Off-Road Unloaded - Letters to the Editor - June 2012

Full Floating Axle
Posted June 1, 2012

Editor’s Note: If you want to say or ask something, email Unloaded at unloaded@off-roadweb.com or write:

Unloaded, OFF-ROAD Magazine, 1733 Alton Parkway, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92606

Remember, we’re giving away swag every month to the author of our favorite letter. Be sure to include your address, so we know where to send your goods.


Help Those Who Help

We are part of a group that delivers medical/rescue resources for off-road races and motorsport safety solutions. Our Care Convoy is a public charity that has delivered over $2 million to the Baja while going to races. We could deliver millions more to Mexico (and globally!) if we can get some donations. For every dollar donated we deliver $120 of equipment and supplies to Mexico or $70 globally (due to shipping costs). You can check us out at Facebook.com/#!/careconvoy. Since we go to the SCORE and other races where we donate our time and supplies, we are hoping that our brothers in the racing community can help us help others.

Todd Jaynes


A full-floating axle has a spindle and hub combo that holds the weight of the vehicle. The axleshaft is only used to transmit rotational torque.

Axle Queries

I have been reading your articles in OFF-ROAD for quite some time just thinking about the best ways to build my ‘95 F-350. I bought the truck cheap because it was totaled (according to the last owner) but not ever registered as salvaged. So I did a few backyard renovations and low and behold it was good as new! It’s a two-wheel-drive that I am converting to a solid axle four-wheel-drive, and I was thinking about putting a limited-slip front differential, but then I started seeing a lot of articles about a full-floating differential. What exactly is it and would you recommend it for my truck?

Also, where is a good place to get a lift for it? It has the 460 gas engine that runs like a top. But I am running into a roadblock with finding a highly recommended lift. Any suggestions would be great. I am currently in the Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and I won’t be back until January of 2013, but I would love to have a stockpile of nice new parts waiting for me when I get home. Thanks for any help and I love the magazine!

Josh via email

Josh, don’t worry; you’re fine with your original choice of a limited-slip differential. A limited slip is a great choice for added traction while still being a “friendly” setup to drive on the street. Semi-floating and full-floating are not terms that refer to the differential but instead ones that usually refer to the ends of a rear axle. Full-floating axles have a spindle and hub at the end of the housing that carries the weight (of that corner of the vehicle). Full-floating axleshafts only turn a wheel (transmitting rotational torque) and do not hold any weight. In a semi-floating setup, in addition to turning the wheel, the axleshaft rides in a bearing and holds the weight of that corner of the vehicle.

All front axles can be considered full floaters since they have either spindles and hubs or unit bearings that hold the weight of the vehicle.

As for lift kits...well, how much do you want to spend? You can get a nice all-spring lift kit from Tuff Country or Skyjacker, or you could spend a larger sum of cash and get custom leaves made by Deaver or National Spring. If you go the custom leaf spring route, then you’ll also have to match shocks, steering, and probably add new brake lines to complete your suspension lift.

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