Guidance - Axle width advice

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    Guidance - Axle width advice

    I'm in AZ (Phoenix) and could use some guidance as to whether or not narrowing an axle for my 2001 XJ if the right thing to do. This weekend I picked up a D60 out of a 05 Super Duty and my gut says narrow it, but I want input from people who know more than me.

    I've been running 35s on the trussed HP D30 in my XJ for the past 3 years and it's performed very well. However, I'm in the final parts collection phase (odds and ends... already have the engine/adapters/wiring/etc.) of a LS1 swap and I want to move up to 37s or 38s. So I've outgrown the D30....

    My rear axle is a trussed XJ D44 with 30 spline axles so I'm considering continuing to run it for a little while (or not... that's up in the air).


    The listed values I find on the net are:

    XJ D30 - WMS to WMS: 60 5/8"
    SD D60 - WMS to WMS: 72"

    I did a quick and dirty comparison of the D30 vs D60 width vs. pinion location. It looks like if I cut 8" off the passenger (long) side tube, that will both bring the axle down to 64" and get the pinion yoke into the D30/factory location. I currently run 3.5" backspaced 9.5" wheels. I have to buy new wheels anyways, so if I move to a 4.5" backspaced wheel I would be almost the same width as I am now. I plan to shave the center section to pick up/regain 1"-1.5" of ground clearance. I'm not concerned with the difficulty or cost of narrowing the axle. I'll be removing the inner Cs regardless in order to set the pinion/caster angle and it looks like I can have the axle shaft re-splined for $75-$100.

    My question is purely one of "should I?" for performance reasons. I've always tried to keep my vehicle as low CG/compact as possible, but then I've never wheeled a wide axle vehicle before. I like to rock crawl and it's been my experience that where the wider JK/JL track width get hung up/have to work over things, the slightly narrower XJ track width gives me more lines to pick (I'm jealous of the samurai that sometimes goes with us and goes around everything ). BUT, I always hear people talking about the added stability afforded by wider axles.

    So if I cut it down, what am I giving up?

    #2
    Stability, that is why you shouldn't narrow your axles. If you are worried about being too wide, run some stock wheels or wheels with close to stock offset. You can come in right around 80" outside tire to outside tire with stock wheels. If you are swapping in one tons, your rig should be capable of just driving over anything you can't fit between. If you lived in the PNW and had to squeeze between trees, my answer would be different, but AZ has essentially the same terrain NM does and I would never consider narrowing axles in a dedicated crawler. How many buggies do you see running narrow axles?

    Don't waste your time running a Dana 44 rear with the Superduty 60 up front and grab a Sterling. I've posted my opinion on this before, but I think 37s are on the small side to run with one tons and I would suggest running 39"+ tires; the bone stock Superduty axles can handle it.

    Comment


      #3
      Keep your women thin and your axles wide.

      Don't narrow it. Run full width. Axles are easier to get, suspensions are easier to mound, etc...
      45 Ford GPW - Project Flat F***er

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        #4
        wait.. so you only want to narrow it, in order for things to line up with how the previous axle fit??

        Id say do the extra work, and not to narrow it..

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          #5
          Imo 60 knuckles are so big that 64”ish wms is about minimum. I doubt i’d go narrower.

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            #6
            Originally posted by ArTi54N View Post
            wait.. so you only want to narrow it, in order for things to line up with how the previous axle fit??

            Id say do the extra work, and not to narrow it..

            No, I'm inclined to narrow it because I was inclined to keep the track narrow (narrow track = get through tighter spots). I MAY continue to run the D44 for a while because I have it and it works. Eventually it WILL get replaced with a 10.5 (which if I narrow the 60 would also get narrowed).

            Comment


              #7
              I narrowed a 60 for similar reasons more streetable keep it narrower for tighter trails and so my suspension would line up better.

              I wouldn’t do it again and I’m still at 65”. Artec sells a truss kit for that axle to make it a bolt in affair. as stated above the knuckles are just huge. So after you narrow there’s not a lot of axle tube left for suspension.

              https://www.artecindustries.com/tjfd60swap

              Comment


                #8
                You're getting way ahead of yourself. Think a D44 rear is fine, but need a D60 front.

                Soon as you put the cherocar on its side you'll have to scrap the tin can and start over.

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                  #9
                  Depends where you wheel. Full width stability is nice but even with stock offset wheels a stock width superduty axle is gonna have a hell of a time getting down trails that primarily see SxS and ATV traffic, which is most trails around here. Getting down to about the stock width of a midsize vehicle makes a huge difference IMO.

                  That said, I wouldn't narrow the front so much that it compromises turning radius. Being able to make tight turns is more important than being narrow.

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                    #10
                    Going up in tire size, you may want the extra width just to keep the same turning radius. Wider track width lowers you CG without changing anything else.
                    Kevin

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by CLSegraves1 View Post


                      No, I'm inclined to narrow it because I was inclined to keep the track narrow (narrow track = get through tighter spots). I MAY continue to run the D44 for a while because I have it and it works. Eventually it WILL get replaced with a 10.5 (which if I narrow the 60 would also get narrowed).
                      What trails are you wheeling in AZ that you think being narrower will be a big advantage? The cost for wheel adapters alone will be about as much as you can pick a Sterling up for. Forget about that shitty XJ 44. You could probably sell it to some Jeep retard for enough to more than cover what the Sterling would cost you.

                      Originally posted by gt1guy View Post
                      Going up in tire size, you may want the extra width just to keep the same turning radius. Wider track width lowers you CG without changing anything else.
                      Good point about clearance for the steer tires, but a wider track width doesn't "lower" your CG despite improving lateral stability. Now assuming that his ride height doesn't change, his CG may become lower because the one ton axles will add a bunch of weight down low.
                      Last edited by '84 Bronco II; 07-07-2020, 11:22 AM.

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                        #12
                        I don't care for the look of full width but depending upon tire size, you might need to go full width.

                        Here are two of the same rig:
                        Click image for larger version
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ID:	63545 The green rig is narrowed to 60" WMS. This is 5" over stock for the rig. The tires are 35". The axle was a Dodge d60 so it started life with 67" WMS. The only work I needed to do was knock 7" off the driver side and weld a spring perch.

                        The brown rig is a full width Dodge d60 at 67" WMS. The tires are 43"x14.5". It is going to get linked. I don't overly care for the look but full width was needed to take advantage of 43s.

                        Both will be taken up the road to play on the Rubicon.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Lil'John View Post
                          I don't care for the look of full width but depending upon tire size, you might need to go full width.

                          The green rig is narrowed to 60" WMS. This is 5" over stock for the rig. The tires are 35". The axle was a Dodge d60 so it started life with 67" WMS. The only work I needed to do was knock 7" off the driver side and weld a spring perch.

                          The brown rig is a full width Dodge d60 at 67" WMS. The tires are 43"x14.5". It is going to get linked. I don't overly care for the look but full width was needed to take advantage of 43s.

                          Both will be taken up the road to play on the Rubicon.
                          What you did to the green rig's axle is the same thing I was contemplating doing to my axle. If you were building the green rig again, would you still cut or stay full width?



                          It seems there's some confusion as to how I was going to be narrowing the axle. I wouldn't be taking anything off the short side, only the long side (see attached picture/photoshop explanation).

                          So nothing changes on the driver's/short side. Both Artec and Barnes make a TJ truss for the super duty axle that I can use as-is if I stay full width. IF I narrow the long side, I can very easily chop a section out of the truss and graft it back together on the narrow width.


                          There also seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the D44. I'm NOT keeping it long term. Long term the rear is getting stretched (not a lot but enough to clear 37s on up travel) and the D44 would certainly get replaced at that time. The only reason I even mentioned keeping the D44 was IF I narrow the D60 then it "could" be used temporarily.


                          There are quite a few trails that I've run that are indeed side-by-side width trails. While the big rock crawling Jeep trails are wide, some of the trails run drop down into washes and get tight. It's not uncommon to be dragging dense brush right down the side of the vehicle.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by CLSegraves1 View Post
                            There are quite a few trails that I've run that are indeed side-by-side width trails. While the big rock crawling Jeep trails are wide, some of the trails run drop down into washes and get tight. It's not uncommon to be dragging dense brush right down the side of the vehicle.
                            Your tires aren't going to care about some bushwacking.

                            Measure how wide your Jeep is currently outside tire to outside tire. It looks pretty wide with the low backspacing wheels you are running now. My Superduty with 285s on stock wheels measures 78-79" outside tire to outside tire, and my beater Bronco II with '79 F250 axles (69" WMS front) and stockish offset wheels and 325s is under 80" I am pretty sure. My point is that with the right wheels, you shouldn't be a whole lot wider than you are now, and you can save time and money from having to narrow your axles. Additionally, if you ever decide to go wider, you are just a set of wheels or spacers away.

                            Here is the difference between 59" WMS with 3.75" back spaced 8" wheels and 12.50" tires and 69" WMS with 7" wheels and 4" backspacing and 325 (~12.75") tires:
                            Last edited by '84 Bronco II; 07-07-2020, 12:55 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by '84 Bronco II View Post

                              Your tires aren't going to care about some bushwacking.

                              Measure how wide your Jeep is currently outside tire to outside tire. It looks pretty wide with the low backspacing wheels you are running now. My Superduty with 285s on stock wheels measures 78-79" outside tire to outside tire, and my beater Bronco II with '79 F250 axles (69" WMS front) and stockish offset wheels and 325s is under 80" I am pretty sure. My point is that with the right wheels, you shouldn't be a whole lot wider than you are now, and you can save time and money from having to narrow your axles. Additionally, if you ever decide to go wider, you are just a set of wheels or spacers away.
                              Thanks for the numbers. I'll grab a tape measure when I get home and have a look. My current backspacing is 3.5". I can get 4.5" in an off the shelf wheel or up to 6" if I have one built. But I may be just chasing something that really doesn't matter.

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