GM IFS AXLE BEEF

Four Wheeler - - Techline -

QI wrote to you be­fore and greatly ap­pre­ci­ate your ad­vice. I re­cently stuffed 315/70R17 tires un­der my ’11 Chevy 1500. My ques­tion lies with my front cen­ter­sec­tion. I’m think­ing about build­ing a cus­tom IFS front axle based off a Ford Dana 44 TTB cen­ter­sec­tion. I’ve got ev­ery­thing fig­ured out for the build, but I have con­cerns about my Au­to­trac trans­fer case and the fron­tend spin­ning all the time with the dele­tion of the axle dis­con­nect. I would also be adding a Detroit True­trac lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial to the mix. I do moder­ate wheel­ing and I am not a rock­crawler or hard core. Do you think this would open a gi­ant can of worms and should I just keep the front stock with the ex­cep­tion of new gears and up­graded axle­shafts? I’ve got some other up­grades like steer­ing lined up as well.

MICHAEL SIDORICK VIA FACE­BOOK.COM/JOHNCAPPA4X4

AThe IFS GM front axles and steer­ing have never taken a lik­ing to larger tires and ag­gres­sive off-road use. The steer­ing link fail­ure is gen­er­ally the big­gest con­cern on the GM IFS 4x4s. Com­pa­nies such as EMF (em­fro­dends. com) and JD Fab­ri­ca­tion (jd­fab­ri­ca­tion.com) of­fer heavy-duty tie rods and ends that can cure that ail­ment.

It will cer­tainly re­quire some sig­nif­i­cant fab­ri­ca­tion skills, but your TTB Dana 44 dif­fer­en­tial idea is a sound one. I wouldn’t worry too much about not hav­ing the axle dis­con­nect. Al­though, you’ll likely want to use Cv-style joints for smooth­ness, rather than U-jointed axle­shafts. The Ea­ton (ea­ton.com) Detroit True­trac is a great lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial for mild of­froad use. The gear-driven de­sign means that there are no clutches to wear out and there is no need for spe­cial ad­di­tives in the oil. How­ever, I think it could po­ten­tially cause un­usual steer­ing in­put on the road in some sit­u­a­tions, such as when cor­ner­ing, even in two-wheel drive. You might be bet­ter off with an open dif­fer­en­tial, ARB (ar­busa.com) Air Locker, or some other se­lectable locker with an open dif­fer­en­tial set­ting.

Ul­ti­mately, this kind of mod­i­fi­ca­tion re­quires a lot of plan­ning, mea­sur­ing, time, and money. If you’re not cur­rently blow­ing up the IFS axle and CV axle­shafts, maybe stick with what you have. JD Fab­ri­ca­tion of­fers 930-style CV axle­shafts with adapters and RCV (rcvper­for­mance.com) of­fers ex­tra heavy-duty axle­shaft re­place­ments if the ’shafts are an is­sue in your ap­pli­ca­tion. With JD Fab­ri­ca­tion or RCV axle­shafts and heavy-duty steer­ing links, you have cov­ered the big­gest is­sues with the GM IFS front ends. Maybe hold off on the TTB Dana 44 project un­til you start crack­ing the GM alu­minum IFS axle­hous­ing.

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