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What can i do with a Solid Axle?

7703 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  wanderer4x4
i have an 85 4wd toyota pickup with a solid axle. i want to turn it into a pre-runner/chase truck, but im not sure if i am wasting my time or not. I have never seen a race truck with a solid axle in front. i realize that race trucks only need 2wd but is that the only reason they have IFS? I have noticed that rally trucks usually have solid axles. is the solid axle ok for jumping, just not as confortable prerunning as IFS?

85xtra cab 6inch lift 32x11.50 on 15 10's
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I too would like to know what people think about solid axle trucks. I have a 88' Dual Cab 4X4 Toy (Solid Front stock)(Australia) that l am thinking about setting up. As it is it gets driven very hard on our race tracks (Finke Desert Race). Air is caught quite often but not very high 4ft max, people say that if you land under full noise that you brake front axles. The only problems l have come across is Blowing shocks, too soft springs, and not enough power (2.4L Diesel), and not enough track (distance between front wheels). But all of these things are getting fixed as funds become available.

Any thoughts would be most welcome.


I'm going to take a stab at this. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

First off. A pre-runner can be anything you build. It can be 2wd, 4x4, solid or IFS axle. The whole idea is that you use the vehicle for "pre-running" a race course. Believe me, this has been a not-so-hot topic at other venues! /wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

Kreg Donahoe ran a solid axle CLass 7 Toyota RACER for the San Felipe 250 for 1999. He ran it as a TROPHY TRUCK. Obviously he didn't win -- he got beat out by high horsepower and insane wheel travel, but he got the points he needed. So it can be done.

The deal is that technology today favors the IFS. The trucks are newer and the design is great. You can get so much wheel travel out of IFS than you do with solid axles. And articulation is "indepent" vs. a solid axles' "one side up, one side down" kind of design.

As far as jumping, don't know. It's been done, and probably still is. As long as your suspension is set up properly and you have strong axles you'll probably do OK.

But I'm not trying to discourage you. Build it the way you want to build it. Drive it like you stole it.

J.R. /wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif
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One time I saw, a fullsize GMC. It was a 1991, but it had a straight axle conversion (you can pick them up from offroad unlimited) It
had the GM Corporate 14-Bolt in the rear, and then a Dana 60 up front. He was getting some nice air under that axle too. If you just
have a strong axle, it can hold easily. Obviously the more heavy duty the heavier. He had to have some serious power. He was running
a GM Performance Parts 502c.i. Just goes to show that its possible to build something that can hold up. Just got to have a suspen-
sion that can take that kind of beating. I saw this truck in the May 2000 issue of 4-Wheel and Offroad. Check it out.

I'd be inclined to build the solid axle toy into a rock crawler, and get a two wheel drive or IFS 4x4 for the pre-runner. The solid axle toys have great articulation, and make sweet crawlers. An IFS front end (either 2x, or 4x though will give you better high speed stability.

Im currently running an 85 Toyota xtracab 4x4 myself.

Front suspension: Nationals with dual FOX 2.0s

Rear suspension: 62" Nationals under axle with SAW 2.5s.

Ivan bedsides and fenders.

Gas tank moved back.

Dual sparetire carrier\rear bump.

22R, .020" pistons, stage 2 cam, dual 40MM Webers, header, 2.25" exhaust with Magnaflow, no cat.

Dual friction clutch, 33s on 10s, 5.29s with lock rights.

It does pretty good. I would actually like to switch to IFS though for more travel. However, for what its worth, its tough the way it is,wheras IFS requires substantial work and $$$$ to make as strong.


Got sand?

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I hope this helps. I have an 87 Cherokee with a long arm front suspension. It handles very rough road well. I haven't had it airborn yet but I know the arms will hold up,they're made out of 2 inch 1/2" wall dom tubing. I off-road/rockcrawl with it and the articulation is unreal.
Check it out in the tech section of
Earl"XJ"derbys long arm project. I am planning on a rear A arm suspension now, with air bags or coil overs not sure which.

Earl "xjondrox" Derby
See and click the "Suspension" link. This truck has been used as a chase and prerun vehicle for over a year and works extremely well.
I think the idea of race trucks having IFS is the unsprung weight issue. The suspension can react much faster to rough terrain or jumping with an IFS setup because the weight is so much less than the solid axle setup. With IFS you are just moving a couple tube control arms and half the weight of the halfshaft (4X4) as well as the brake/wheel/tire assy. With a solid setup you are moving the whole chunk of iron, along with the diff, gears, and everything else that the IFS moves. It can be done with a solid axle, I just think this type of racing uses the efficiency of the IFS better. A solid axle setup will generaly articulate better, but that is rockcrawler stuff, not hi-speed stuff.
Hi Earl
how theoretical is your rear independent setup at this point? I've been thinking of going the same route with my rig to gain some extra driveline length without shaft angle worries - I'd be interested in swapping some tech ideas around, if you're interested? ( I'm inclined to go the full-width axle / active suspension route...but have never seen anyone else running that sort of setup)

Not sure if the topic really belongs on here, so maybe PM, or direct mail to [email protected]

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