• JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

2004 Nissan Titan - Project Titan, Part 2

Posted in Project Vehicles on June 1, 2005 Comment (0)
Share this
2004 Nissan Titan - Project Titan, Part 2
129 0506 11z+nissan titan+right front view

Project Titan, Part 1
Project Titan, Part 2
Project Titan, Part 3
Project Titan, Part 4
Project Titan, Part 5

The last time we visited our project Titan, it had just been lifted with a silky-smooth 6-inch coilover kit from Pro Comp Suspension. We're happy to say the suspension system is still living up to our expectations, and we're still amazed with the improved ride quality and overall stability the system added to the vehicle. We do wish, however, that we could say the same about the stock Dana 44 axle assembly under the rear of the truck. Like an Achilles tendon, these lightweight axles plague Nissan's first attempt to capture America's healthy 1/2-ton truck market.

We have already destroyed two of them on our watch. Luckily, Nissan was cool about the first unit we roached while towing another project vehicle to Moab last year. However, figuring our replacement-axle credit with Nissan was close to tapped out, we decided to look elsewhere for a solution. The answer required a trip to Huntington Beach, California, so the expert axle builders at Dynatrac could get some critical measurements and order some parts to resolve our Titan's rearend problem once and for all.

129 0506 01z+nissan titan+damaged rear differential

1.) Ahh, the culprit. Our lightweight Dana 44 with only 20,606 miles on it failed because of a simple roll pin that sheared off. This allowed the center pin to walk around within the carrier, creating a noisy racket.

129 0506 02z+nissan titan+axle tube

2.) This is where the high quality of a Dynatrac axle begins. The part on the right is the axletube. The part on the left is where the axle bearings are housed. The arrow points to the taper on both pieces. This interference fit allows oil to flow through the tubes without obstructions, such as butt-welded seams. Even OE axles don't offer this unique feature. This helps to prolong bearing life.

129 0506 03z+nissan titan+axle housing weld

3.) Here, the bearing housings are welded to the axletubes. This machine rotates the housing slowly while the technician welds each seam. This ensures smooth consistent welds.

129 0506 04z+nissan titan+axle press

4.) This is our Titan's new axle right before the tubes were pressed into the centersection. Notice that the press is horizontally positioned; this ensures the tubes are aligned correctly with the centersection. The press operates at nearly 2,000 psi on a 100-ton press.

129 0506 05z+nissan titan+axle plug weld

5.) Once the axletubes are pressed into the centersection, the housing is rechecked for tolerances. Next, the tubes are plug-welded to the centersection. Plug-welding is the correct way to attach the tubes because virgin material surrounds the entire weld. This prevents the material around the weld from becoming fatigued by the weld's heat.

129 0506 06z+nissan titan+axle housing cleaning

6.) Next, the axlehousing is given a thorough cleaning. This ensures tiny microscopic metal shavings are removed from inner surfaces.

129 0506 07z+nissan titan+precision gear set

7.) A set of 4.56 ring-and-pinion gears from Precision Gear was installed next.

129 0506 08z+nissan titan+locking differential

8.) We picked a Detroit Locker as a traction aid. Simple and strong, this differential is hard to beat.

129 0506 09z+nissan titan+axle shaft

9.) Thirty-five-spline alloy shafts were used in our Dana 60 buildup.

129 0506 10z+nissan titan+rear axle assembly

10.) With all the parts of the axle assembled, the housing was serialized in two places. This number is recorded on a build-sheet record, which remains on file at Dynatrac. This way, anyone can track down what parts were used in the axle. This helps prevent fraudulent activity as well. Then the axle was installed in our project Titan. It almost looks like it came with the truck, except for the trick Dynatrac diff cover.

Project Titan, Part 1
Project Titan, Part 2
Project Titan, Part 3
Project Titan, Part 4
Project Titan, Part 5


Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Precision Gear
Suwanee, GA 30024
Detroit Locker
Madison Heights, MI
(800) 328-3850

Related Articles


Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Sponsored Content