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Solid-Axle Swapper Buyer's Guide

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on May 1, 2012
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Photographers: 4WOR StaffThe Manufacturer

Last year we proved with our Ultimate F-150 that a well-built IFS (independent front suspension) rig can perform great in even the most extreme off-road conditions. We also discovered that building an IFS frontend to survive extreme wheeling isn’t cheap. The fact is that most modern 4x4 trucks are equipped with IFS. And while we’re always up for pushing the limit with cutting edge independent equipment, sometimes reverting back to the tried-and-true formula of a solid front axle is simply the way to go.

Unlike expensive IFS frontends that have a lots of moving parts, solid axles such as a Dana 30, 44, and 60 only have a few heavy-duty key components. Another advantage of the modern-day SAS (solid-axle swap) is that many of the aftermarket conversions are designed with the daily driver and weekend wheeler in mind. Sure, there are still plenty of kits to transform your late-model pickup into a mud-romping monster that can clear 54-inch cleats, but for every monster truck mini kit there is also a well-tuned SAS designed with excellent handling and performance to accommodate both your on- and off-highway needs.

Since we know that fabricating your own solid-axle conversion is no easy task, we’ve put together a list of some of the industry’s top solid-axle kit manufacturers. Some of these kits are entirely bolt-on, while others require a bit of welding and fabrication. Either way, starting with a basic template can save you a ton of time, money, and aggregation on your solid-axle project.

Direct Swaps
For: ’88-’08 Chevy fullsize truck, ’82-’04 S-10
Solid Parts: Complete leaf spring and coilover conversion kits. Most leaf kits are entirely bolt-on. Kits include all necessary hardware, axle mounts, and brackets. Multiple shock hoop and spring pad width options available.
Source: Off-Road Direct, 801.208.2633,

GM Unlimited
For: ’88-’10 GM fullsize truck (2WD and 4WD)
Solid Parts: Complete leaf spring and coilover conversion kits. Multiple lift size options. Steering components as well as complete axlehousings are available.
Source: Off Road Unlimited, 888.365.0244,

Geared-Up Taco
For: ’951⁄2-’04 Toyota Tacoma
Solid Parts: Complete leaf spring conversion kits with A, B, and C levels. C kits include a new steering gearbox, complete axlehousing, brakes, springs, all necessary mounts, and hardware.
Source: Trail-Gear Inc., 877.4X4.TOYS,

Pure Nissan
For: ’98-’04 Nissan Frontier, ’00-’04 Xterra, ’861⁄2-’97 Hardbody, ’87-’95 Pathfinder
Solid Parts: Complete coilover and leaf spring systems. Most kits are designed for use with a ’80-’85 Jeep Wagoneer Dana 44 front axle. Kit prices, complexity, and options vary among the different applications.
Source: Calmini, 800.345.3305,

Toy Pros
For: ’86-’95 Toyota pickup and 4Runner, ’95-’04 Tacoma
Solid Parts: Complete leaf spring kits (’86-’95) and coilover conversions (’95-’04). Welding, cutting, and grinding are required. Tacoma kits can be optioned with a complete front axle and steering components.
Source: All-Pro Off-Road, 951.658.7077,

Solid Creations
For: ’94-’03 Chevy S-10 truck and Blazer
Solid Parts: Complete multilink front conversion. 6- and 8-inch kit options. Includes new crossmember with integrated link mounts, coil bucket, and shock mounts; coils; shocks; pitman arm; brake lines; and track bar mounting bracket. Designed to be used with a ’97-’06 Jeep Wrangler Dana 30 or Dana 44 front axle. Cutting and welding required.
Source: Diversified Creations, 810.227. 4777,

Chevy Blitz
For: ’67-’87 Chevy fullsize truck
Solid Parts: Complete 12- to 16-inch travel coilover conversions. Includes shocks, bumpstops, 4130 radius arms, heims, and steering linkage along with new brake lines, limit straps, and necessary hardware. Custom tubular engine cage (based on application). Some fabrication required.
Source: Blitzkrieg Motorsports, 714.524 .1099.

Full Size Fab
For: ’88-’98 Chevy fullsize truck
Solid Parts: Complete bolt-on leaf spring conversion. Multiple height, component, and steering options. Works with GM and Ford Dana 44 and 60 axles. Ships raw or powdercoated. Made in the USA.
Source: Fabworx, 707.578.9679,

Independent ZU
For: ’87-’91 Isuzu Trooper, ’88-’95 Rodeo, Amigo, and pickup
Solid Parts: Complete and partial kits. Stage II kit includes steering, leaf springs, brake lines, and shocks. Welding and fabrication required.
Source: Independent 4X, 804.550.0480,

S-10 IFS Eliminator
For: ’94-’03 Chevy S-10 truck and Blazer
Solid Parts: Complete and partial kits. Designed for leaf springs. Intended for use with either a Dana 44 front axle from either a Jeep Wagoneer or a 3⁄4-ton Ford without radius arm castings. Welding required.
Source: Metalshop Motorsports, 719.332.1295,

Sky’s the Limit
For: ’88-’08 Chevy fullsize truck, ’86-’95 Toyota pickup and 4Runner
Solid Parts: Complete and partial kits. Each system is designed for use of leaf springs. Multiple shock and width options.
Source: Sky Mfg., 541.736.3743,

3⁄4-Ton Performance
For: ’00-’10 Chevy 3⁄4-ton truck
Solid Parts: Complete multilink front conversion. Designed for use with 10-inch travel coilovers. Created around the ’03-present AAM Dodge 3⁄4- and 1-ton front axle. Steering systems available. Major cutting and welding required.
Source: Pure Performance, 518.270.9822,

For: ’88-’10 Chevy full-size truck
Solid Parts: Complete coilover conversion kits, each 4-link kit can be optioned for either a 7-10-inch or 10-13-inch lift, uses a ’05 and newer F-350 Dana 60 front axle
Source: XXX Traction, 831.899.2144,

Offroad Design
For: ’88-’98 Chevy fullsize truck
Solid Parts: Complete kit for both 2WD and 4WD trucks. It is 100 percent bolt-on and uses leaf springs from a ’73-’87 Chevy truck. Steering and axle options available. Minor drilling required.
Source: Offroad Design, 970.945.7777,

Evo Hummer
For: ’99-’08 GM 1500 pickup, ’05-’10 Hummer H3 and H3T
Solid Parts: Complete and partial three- and four-link conversions. Each kit uses coilovers. Multiple suspension travel, height, and control options available. Weld-on.
Source: Evo Mfg., 714.879.8913,

PhotosView Slideshow

On the Range
For: ’86-’95 Toyota pickup and 4Runner, ’95-’04 Tacoma
Solid Parts: Complete and partial kits. Weld-on leaf spring mounts and brackets. Intended to work with a ’79-’85 Toyota front axle. Steering and brake options available.
Source: Front Range Off-Road Fabrication,

TTB Graveyard
For: ’80-’96 Ford Bronco and pickup
Solid Parts: Partial and complete kits, or all parts and components can be purchased separately. Steering and front axlehousings available. Designed for use with a ’78-’79 Ford high-pinion Dana 44 front axle.
Source: Jeff’s Bronco Graveyard, 248. 437.5060,

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