One other upgrade we did was the addition of a ram assist to the steering and some beefier tie rods from Blitzkrieg Motorsports. This gave the truck the power to easily turn the big tires and also replaces the miniscule tie-rod ends with big Heim joints and chromoly tubing. We removed the sway bar too at this point to see what affect it would have on performance and found no major downfalls on road, but slightly more wheel travel off.One other upgrade we did was the addition of a ram assist to the steering and some beefier With the added traction of some big mud tires and the low gearing of the STaK, we felt we were finally ready to hit some rocks. The steering was ready to weave through the boulders and we had some aftermarket halfshafts which should be stronger than factory. From the moment we dropped into low range it was like a bomb ticking away, and at the fabled five-minute mark the fuse ran out with a bang.With the added traction of some big mud tires and the low gearing of the STaK, we felt we Once again we had a busted passenger-side halfshaft. It seems there was a groove for a snap ring in the Rough Country halfshafts and it was the perfect stress riser where a break quickly started. We were soon fixing the old Sled along the trail. We must admit that we could now change a halfshaft in under 20 minutes and without needing to jack up the truck or pull the tire. Unfortunately, fixin' ain't wheeling and we parked the Sled that day and rode with the other guys.Once again we had a busted passenger-side halfshaft. It seems there was a groove for a sna Then we came across the ultimate in halfshafts. RCV Performance built us a set of halfshafts with chromoly inner shafts and size-30 inner CVs similar to those used by high-horsepower sand rails. Meanwhile the outer CV is on par with the massive CVs offered for Dana 60 1-ton axles. We were looking at roughly $1,800 per halfshaft, but these are the same as those found in many of the champion off-road race trucks, so we figured they would be more than adequate for our trail tank.Then we came across the ultimate in halfshafts. RCV Performance built us a set of halfshaf The biggest issue with these monsters was the assembly and installation. It took a few hours to get one installed, but we were sure to get them securely tightened as well as properly greased and the proper clamps over the massive CV boots. We had determined that the passenger-side axle needed to be an inch longer than the driver-side since the suspension hangs the differential off to the driver side slightly. But once the halfshaft was installed we were excited to finally go abuse our guinea pig.The biggest issue with these monsters was the assembly and installation. It took a few hou However, at this point some other issues arose. Due to some underhood work, we had the front ARB Air Locker disconnected, and a time shortage meant we didn't get the second RCV halfshaft installed on the driver side. We were going off half-cocked for sure, but with all the previous testing having been done with a stock driver-side halfshaft, which we never broke, we felt we could go wheeling and hopefully see better results. Thus we headed up for a day of wheeling with the cronies and eagerly dropped the Sled into low range.However, at this point some other issues arose. Due to some underhood work, we had the fro We should have known better, but we thought we would try the elusive front dig. All was going great as the big behemoth was crawling around and we felt the IFS might actually live, so we headed for some rocks. Now remember that this was with the front diff unlocked, and after the front-dig maneuver, which worked but made some bad noises, we shifted back into four-wheel drive. We crawled into the rocks, which were more basketball-size than Yugo-size, and heard some silly poppin' and banging up front. We crawled out to check it out, and both halfshafts looked fine, both the high-dollar RCV passenger-side and the original driver-side stock version. But then we noticed the front aluminum housing was blown in two and dribbling gear lube, and the time on our watch was just five minutes since low range was engaged. What Next? Of course ORU has also been working on a solid-axle kit for other trucks, and its shackle-reversal kit for Ford trucks would be a good start if you wanted to turn a TTB truck into a solid wheeler.Of course ORU has also been working on a solid-axle kit for other trucks, and its shackle- So where does this leave us on the Sled? We could go to the next level and build some sort of custom centersection out of steel or iron, but we already sank over $3,000 into axleshafts and custom steering. And then what about the A-arms and steering knuckles. Should we go and have those all fabricated la trophy-truck style? Or maybe we could find a set of the portal box knuckles used in Hummer H1s and work them into the mix, making for a strong suspension that reduced the abuse on the halfshafts and everything else upstream. However, the fact is we've spent so much time trying to go wheeling with this truck and not making it very far that we are ready to do something different. We have a great solid front axle in the wings, but we may just pull the rest of the drivetrain and stuff it all in something smaller and more nimble since the 153-inch wheelbase hasn't revealed itself as the winning wheelbase for our narrow local trails. The fact is that our IFS testing resulted in way too many wasted Saturdays when we wanted to be wheeling rather than wrenching. Days we'll never get back, mind you. That is reason enough for us to steer clear of the independent stuff and take the next step to a solid new beginning. If we keep the Sled and build off of it we'll probably look into the Off Road Unlimited solid-axle swap kit for the '88-'98 trucks. These use tried-and-true leaf springs and are designed for use with a Ford high-pinion front axle like a Dana 60 from a '79 1-ton.If we keep the Sled and build off of it we'll probably look into the Off Road Unlimited so If money is no object, then why not start with a brand-new two-wheel-drive Chevy and swing a divorced Atlas and Dana 60 underneath to make the solid-axle 3/4-ton that the GM engineers never got to design? ORU's latest kit uses links and coilover shocks and offers a ride on par with any IFS suspension, yet none of the weak points.If money is no object, then why not start with a brand-new two-wheel-drive Chevy and swing Not everyone is starting with a fullsize GM truck. A shop in Detroit known as Diversified Creations is in the final stages of designing a great budget solid-axle swap for S-10 Blazers and pickups that will utilize a Jeep Wrangler front axle or any aftermarket axle with the appropriate Wrangler TJ bracketry. You could easily build an S-10 into as extreme a wheeler as you desire.Not everyone is starting with a fullsize GM truck. A shop in Detroit known as Diversified SOURCES Diversified Creations www.diversifiedcreations.com ARB 2-06/-264-1669 www.arbusa.com Tuff Country Suspensions www.tuffcountry.com Off Road Unlimited www.offroadunlimited.com Blitzkrieg Motorsports www.blitzkriegoffroad.com RCV Performance 815-877-7473 www.rcvperformance.com STAK 4x4 Rough Country www.roughcountry.com « | 1 | 2 | View Full Article Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!