Dynatrac ABS Retrofit Kit - Adding ABS To Your Solid Axle SwapPosted in How To on May 1, 2009
Back in the early 1990s, we used to fight the ABS braking systems built into trucks. They were junk back then, and on more than one occasion almost killed us in the dirt. But newer ABS systems are much improved over those systems of yesteryear, and the computer controls and ABS systems on late-model trucks are getting harder to bypass, leaving lights on your dash, and what's worse: braking systems that are actually functioning poorly once the ABS is disabled.
When we swapped a solid front axle onto a 2002 Chevy 2500 4x4, we knew we would be disabling the ABS system, and we assumed that it would be much like doing so on an early '90s truck--the brakes would work just fine and only the ABS function would be disabled. Such was not the case! With a 1980s Ford Dana 60 swapped into the front of our 2002 Chevy truck, the brakes seemed fine (pressure and clamping power-wise) during normal driving, but we were in for a surprise when we had to quickly get on the brake pedal. Any attempts at sudden stops became panicked sideways slides as the rear brakes locked up. And this is not when the pedal was slammed to the ground; it would happen during moderate braking situations. It was as if we'd disabled some type of fulltime electronic proportioning valve when we unplugged the front ABS wires (which very well might be the case).
Something obviously had to be done. We could have just Band-Aided the system with an add-on proportioning valve, but this really wouldn't be fixing the issue and only masking it.
Knowing that Dynatrac makes high-quality front axles with ABS sensors installed, we thought they might have an add-on ABS kit for those of us doing our solid axle swaps with junkyard axles. It turns out they do have something for those of us who like to scour around for crusty old axles to put under our nice new trucks.
Dynatrac's ABS retrofit kit needs to be put on by a machine shop experienced in retrofitting ABS onto a solid axle's hubs and spindles, as the tone ring-to-ABS sensor distance is extremely important for a proper reading. You can also buy already-retrofitted hubs and spindles directly from Dynatrac to save yourself the time and hassle of finding a shop that knows how to correctly add ABS to your solid axle. If you want to send Dynatrac your original hubs and spindles for them to add the ABS equipment, they absolutely must be in good condition and cleaned of all dirt, grease, and grime.