DERANGE ROVER

PART 2: 2018 UL­TI­MATE AD­VEN­TURE BUILD GETS BEEFY AXLES

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Verne Si­mons BY EDI­[email protected] PHOTOGRAPHY VERNE SI­MONS

PART 2: Beefy axles for our next Ul­ti­mate Ad­ven­ture ve­hi­cle.

THE DERANGE ROVER IS A GREAT name for this project, if we do say so our­selves. Some folks think maybe we bumped our heads one too many times, or went slightly in­sane. The truth is we’ve bumped our heads plenty of times, and san­ity is some­thing we’ve al­ways had a loose grip on at best. Meh, san­ity is bor­ing. We al­ways say that you can’t trust a skinny chef or some­one who claims they are com­pletely sane. So we’re crazy, or at the very least deranged, which is why we’re build­ing this slightly off-the­wall 1989 Land Rover Range Rover Clas­sic for our 2018 Ul­ti­mate Ad­ven­ture.

If you don’t un­der­stand why we might like to try some­thing dif­fer­ent for once, we can’t help you. Land Rover is def­i­nitely one of the world’s off-road OEM icons, and we know a thing or two about mod­i­fy­ing a rig to make it more gooder off-road while still be­ing driv­able down the high­way.

As with prior Ul­ti­mate Ad­ven­tures, we are lean­ing heav­ily on loyal spon­sors. Be­cause of the gru­el­ing na­ture of the UA, only the best parts will get the job done. On that note, in this in­stal­ment of the Derange Rover build we in­tro­duce you to our axles. Last year’s UA ve­hi­cle, the UACJ-6D, had a set of Dana’s brand new Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 axles front and rear, which are a boltin swap for a JK Wran­gler. And with Dana hap­pily re­turn­ing as the Of­fi­cial Crate Axle of UA2018, pick­ing axles for the Derange Rover was a no-brainer. Even though the in­stall won’t be quite as straight­for­ward in a Range Rover (the UACJ-6D used a short­ened JK Un­lim­ited frame), th­ese Ul­ti­mate Dana 60s are more than beefy enough for what­ever we can toss at them.

To see how we mod­i­fied th­ese po­tent crate axles and some de­tails about what buy­ing a pair get you, fol­low along in the pho­tos and cap­tions.

“The Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 front axle uses an old-school re­build­able spin­dle and bear­ing de­sign like a tra­di­tional Dana 60”

1 Since we knew that most of the brack­ets on the front Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 axle were go­ing to be use­less for our non-JK ap­pli­ca­tion, we started with a lightly used axle we had run in a dif­fer­ent project. This axle shows a lit­tle wear and tear that you won’t see on a fresh Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 right out of the crate. We started prep­ping the front axle by cut­ting the Jeep four-link brack­ets off the hous­ing. We used our Miller Elec­tric plasma cutter, a sabre saw, and a 41⁄2inch an­gle grinder.

The front Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 axles are beefy and give you a lot of cool af­ter­mar­ket parts for your money. A high-clear­ance ribbed hous­ing and a nodu­lar iron diff cover give the axle a unique look, but be­low that black paint is where the real strength be­gins. First, a 10-inch ring gear is larger than the stan­dard Dana 60. Sec­ond, com­pared to a stan­dard old-school 1-ton 35-spline Dana 60 shaft, the chro­moly axle­shafts in an Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 (top and left) are mas­sive by com­par­i­son. The in­ner shaft doesn’t neck down like the stock Dana 60 shaft, and the UD60’s mon­ster SPL-70 U-joint ab­so­lutely dwarfs the older U-joint.

3 In ad­di­tion to far su­pe­rior chro­moly met­al­lurgy, the UD60’s stub shafts mea­sure a big 11⁄2 inches with 35 splines (left) rather than the 30 splines of the junk­yard Dana 60 (right).

So if you are lucky enough to come across a Dana 60 front axle, you can spend money on the used hous­ing ($500-$2,000) and new chro­moly 35-spline shafts ($700-$2,300), and eas­ily an­other $2,000-$2,500 on lock­ers, gears, bear­ings, steer­ing parts, diff cover and more for a junk­yard axle, but you won’t get that huge U-joint be­cause it just won’t fit in the knuck­les of an older Dana 60.

4 With the front Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 stripped down of brack­ets and with the brakes re­moved to make it a lit­tle bit eas­ier to move, we hoisted, pushed, slid, and po­si­tioned the axle roughly in place to see how every­thing would clear. The Derange Rover has rel­a­tively nar­row fram­erails, which is nei­ther good nor bad, but it means we need to be sure the pump­kin of the axle will clear every­thing. We are go­ing to build a bump­stop land­ing pad over the axle vent and E-locker wiring pig­tail. We may also build a bit of a bridge or axle truss over the hous­ing since the Rover’s ra­dius arms will want to spin the axle­tubes in the hous­ing.

5 Look­ing at the pas­sen­ger side of the axle (U.S. pas­sen­ger, that is) you can see the out­side of the 35-spline Warn Pre­mium lock­ing hubs and the high-steer arm bolted to the knuckle, which will keep drag link and track bar an­gles down. The Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 front axle uses an old-school re­build­able spin­dle and bear­ing de­sign like a tra­di­tional Dana 60. Also, the axle­tubes are mas­sive, with a 31⁄2 inch OD and a 0.370-inch wall thick­ness. Axle­shafts are 35-spline chro­moly units with full-float axle ends and spin­dles. Front and rear axles are avail­able with ei­ther an ARB Air Locker or our choice for UA2018, an Ea­ton ELocker.

6 The rear Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 we are us­ing is fresh out of the crate. Th­ese crates are a beau­ti­ful sight to any­one who loves off-road gear. We used a pry bar and a saber saw to dis­as­sem­ble the crate enough to get the new axle out. Did we men­tion that th­ese axles have a one-year lim­ited war­ranty?

7 Th­ese rear axles have mas­sive 31⁄2-inch axle­tubes that are a touch thicker than the fronts at 0.390-inch wall. They also fea­ture nodu­lar iron diff cov­ers (like the front) and a smooth bot­tom to help the axle slide up and over any ob­sta­cles. Avail­able gear­ing for front and rear Ul­ti­mate Dana 60s is 3.73:1, 4.10:1, 4.88:1, and 5.38:1.

8 Both front and rear axles come with heavy­duty brack­ets du­pli­cat­ing the JK’s sus­pen­sion points. Most of the brack­ets are 1⁄4-inch plate un­less stamped; if stamped, they are ei­ther 3⁄16- or 1⁄8-inch de­pend­ing on what pur­pose they serve.

9 Un­for­tu­nately we won’t be us­ing any of the heavy-duty axle brack­ets in the Derange Rover. Our plan is to recre­ate the three-link rear sus­pen­sion with some parts from Sky­jacker. That means most of the axle brack­ets will need to be cus­tom to work with the fac­to­rystyle lower links and Rover up­per wish­bone. Again we used the plasma cutter, a sabre saw, and a 41⁄2-inch an­gle grinder with a cut­off wheel to re­move the brack­ets and the grinder with a cou­ple dif­fer­ent grind­ing stones and flap wheels to clean up the hous­ing.

10 We’ve al­ready talked about the fullfloat­ing de­sign of both the front and rear Ul­ti­mate Dana 60 axles we are us­ing on the Derange Rover. We’ve also pointed out most of the huge parts that puts the “ul­ti­mate” in th­ese axles, but we did gloss over the gi­gan­tic brakes. Huge vented ro­tors and dual-pis­ton calipers on all four cor­ners will help the Derange Rover (or any 4x4 you are swap­ping th­ese axles un­der) stop fast.

11 To feed the brakes we did a lit­tle junk­yard scrounging and pulled a brake booster and mas­ter cylin­der off a 2007 Dodge Nitro. We don’t know why, but the Nitro has a brake sys­tem sim­i­lar to the JK, but ac­cord­ing to our re­search it has a larger bore di­am­e­ter on the mas­ter cylin­der. The booster is also rel­a­tively small and will fit in the fac­tory spot in the Rover. The Rover brake booster was in­op­er­a­tive and ex­pen­sive to re­build and we couldn’t source any new or re­man­u­fac­tured units. We did have to drill the Nitro booster mount­ing bolt pat­tern, but us­ing the fac­tory Nitro alu­minum bracket as a tem­plate made it easy.

12 We cut the Nitro brake pushrod down and built an adapter to con­nect the Rover brake pedal to it. The adapter uses a cou­ple of set screws and a snug-fit­ting shaft col­lar to keep every­thing in place.

13 Once we got it all in­stalled on the Rover fire­wall, the Nitro brake mas­ter and booster looks like it was meant to be there.

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