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Some assembly required!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been working on this for a while, so I thought it was about time to start a thread on my SAS. I'm doing a coil SAS using a '79 Dana 60. Here is some of the hardware that I'm using.

First off, the star of the show; a '79 Dana 60, shown here in the very rough condition it was in when I bought it. I only paid $617, which is a steal, but it was cheap for a reason. Busted ring and pinion, bad king pin bearings, axle tubes completely full of crap, missing some brake hardware, some broken bolts, and the vent tube snapped off. The previous owner apparently decided that it would be a good idea to pound the brake rotors with a hammer for a while, then spray paint over all of the built up grime and crapiness so it would look good on eBay.


So the axle was in an extreme state of nastiness. I disassembled the whole thing and stripped it all bare with a wire wheel, then repainted it all. Let me say that I highly recommend the use of a respirator while doing that many hours of wire wheeling. I would look up from it and there would be a fog of rust particles hanging in the shop air. That can't be healthy to breath. Hanging the axle from the rafters like this makes it way easier to paint it, because you have access to the whole surface at the same time.




I'm installing an ARB and 4.88 gears. Let me tell you that it doesn't make you feel any smarter to drop your brand new ARB on the floor and bend the air grooves on the end cap.:madder In fact, it makes you feel homicidally angry, just in case you were curious. I do have to say though, the guys at ARB were great to deal with and their customer service is top notch. Apparently that end cap is a part that is commonly damaged in shipping and they generally have them in stock. The box that the ARB is shipped in is...less than impressive. Anyway, right now I have repaired the carrier, but I just haven't gotten around to actually finishing the gear setup.


So anyway, back to the hardware. I'm using the perennial favorite, Cage radius arms. I bought these from a guy over on Pirate whose project never quite got off the ground, so I saved a little money over buying them new. The down side to that was I got the old style frame mounts instead of the new ones for our C-frames. No big deal, it's just a little more fab work to do the frame boxing under the mounts. Also in the pic, 14" Bilstein 5150 shocks for the front. I'm going to finish the SAS before I buy shocks for the rear just to make sure I get them the right length.


I'm using Cage's weld on axle end radius arm brackets instead of wedges. That should save me quite a bit of time I think.


Alloy USA 35 spline outers, stock inners, and Spicer U-joints for the axles with Warn Premium locking hubs. Ruffstuff Specialties excellent 3/8" thick diff cover.


Stock Ford shock towers for a '97 F-350.


And for some reason I don't have a pic of them, but for coils I'm running the new Cage 6.5" progressive rate coils. I'm really looking forward to seeing how these perform.

So anyway, time to get to work. First step, out with the TTB. Sorry, no TTB flip off pic. That axle got me home too many times after some stupid hard wheeling to do that to it. Still, what is a TTB worth? When I sold mine it was worth $9.50/100# at the scrap yard.




I did think that this was interesting though. Apparently I managed to bend the passenger side TTB arms drop bracket. Looking back on it I'm pretty sure that I bent it labor day when Johnski and I went wheeling at Uwharrie by ourselves. I developed a death wobble on the way home from that trip, but at the time I was under the impression that I had damaged one of my Swampers. I thought that because I could run the tire pressure up to 50# or so and the death wobble would go away, and I never felt it at all with my street tires on the truck. I never saw the bent drop bracket until I dropped off the TTB arms. Oh well, it won't be a problem now, although it might affect their resale value.


Off with the TTB coil buckets. I was happy about two things; one was that the frame wasn't very rusty behind the buckets, and the other was that I'll never have to do that again. I will say that having a 7" grinder made it MUCH easier than it would have been with a smaller grinder, but it's still not a fun job.


Painted the rusty(est) part of the frame, and mounted the coil buckets. These are stock buckets that I pulled off of a '77 pick up at the Pull-a-Part.



So after looking at Bossind's SAS thread I really liked his tranny cross member, and I wanted to do something similar. I thought I was going to get lucky and be able to use this one, but no such luck. This is MagnumPI's old trailer hitch with the hitch part removed. Unfortunately though, it sits about an inch and a half too tall. Ultimately it would have worked, but I just wasn't willing to sacrifice that ground clearance. That's all right though, my efforts weren't entirely wasted. Now I think I'm going to use it as a cross member on the F-350 when I get around to building an anti-wrap bar for the tow rig.


I still liked that design though, so I fabbed one from scratch, just an inch and a half shorter. It's a little beefier to because I used 3/8" thick angle for the end pieces.




So then the tranny cross member obviously needs a foot for the tranny to bolt to. This was the first one that I built.


It was not the most impressive thing I've ever built, although it probably would have worked out fine. I decided that I wanted something stouter.








The new foot was made out of 1/4" wall 2.5" square tube, with 1.75" DOM inserts to keep mud and water from getting into it and rusting it from the inside out. The end caps are 1/4" plate. Much beefier, so no strength issues here. In this pic you can also see a couple of little tabs that I welded to the cross member to bolt the tranny wiring harness to. I've heard several horror stories about that wiring harness getting wrapped around the drive shaft and causing untold misery, so I didn't want to trust keeping it out of harms way to tie wraps.



Here it is in place bolted up under the truck. You can see that the Cage radius arm brackets actually hang down just a touch lower than the cross member does. This will also make a nice place to anchor the front half of my new t-case skid plate that I need to build.






And that's pretty much what I've completed so far. More to come shortly!
 

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is FSB'd out
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5,159 Posts
Damn, Dave. You're chuggin right along. You just let me know when you need to manhandle that D60 out of the shop and under the truck...I'll be there. Although, as I remember, getting it out of the 3-fitty wasn' exactly fun. So, on second thought...
 

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tactical-mike
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5,561 Posts
lookin good dave. i had those same radius arm frame mounts on my 79. they broke the first time out. but i had a lot of weight on them and was giving it hell over on pullcable at callalantee. i'd look into beefing them up some how.
anyways your build is lookin good. and like johnski said if you need any help luggin that 60 under the front end just GIVE US A CALL.
 

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Try it now!!
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9,120 Posts
Damn, Dave. You're chuggin right along. You just let me know when you need to manhandle that D60 out of the shop and under the truck...I'll be there. Although, as I remember, getting it out of the 3-fitty wasn' exactly fun. So, on second thought...
I think you're the man for the job. You are a great manhandler.
 

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Dave, looking sweet man. You make me feel guilty on my extremely slow build pace on my SAS. Keep up the good work, I look forward to more photos and updates. Oh yeah big thumbs up on all the photos, I like to see the progress as opposed to here is my axle and here it is under my truck?
 

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Some assembly required!
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5,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Damn, Dave. You're chuggin right along. You just let me know when you need to manhandle that D60 out of the shop and under the truck...I'll be there. Although, as I remember, getting it out of the 3-fitty wasn' exactly fun. So, on second thought...
I'll let you know when I need some help, although to tell you the truth it may not be necessary. I can pick up the whole bare housing and move it by myself, it only gets ridiculously heavy after you hang the knuckles, spindles, hubs, rotors, and brakes on it. Right now my plan is to get it under the truck and mounted before I put the knuckles back on, so hopefully it'll still be manageable.

Lookin good Dave. I was wondering when you where going to start a thread. One question, why didn't you tie the radius arm mounts into the new crossmember? Oh and that tranny mount is sweet.:thumbup
I didn't feel comfortable tieing them together at this point because I'm not entirely certain that is the place where they are going to need to be. I used Shadowfax's 21 3/4" measurement from the rear pin to place them, but he is doing a D44 with wedge style mounts on the axle. Not having an example of both mounts to compare I couldn't be sure that was going to put me in exactly the right spot, but I knew it would be in the ball park. My plan right now is to put one bolt through the radius arm mounts to hold them in place for mock up purposes, and if that position proves to be correct I'll then secure them properly.

lookin good dave. i had those same radius arm frame mounts on my 79. they broke the first time out. but i had a lot of weight on them and was giving it hell over on pullcable at callalantee. i'd look into beefing them up some how.
anyways your build is lookin good. and like johnski said if you need any help luggin that 60 under the front end just GIVE US A CALL.
I'd be very interested to see some of the pics of that failure. Is there anything that you would recommend in their mounting to keep that from happening? Or was it a failure of the bracket itself? As of right now my plan is to box about 10" of frame under them to give them proper support. I've got a bunch more of that 3/8" angle that I used on the tranny mount, and that's probably what I'll use for the frame boxing material.

i really like the tranny xmember, wats goin in the rear? or did i miss that
You didn't miss anything, I just didn't post up anything about the rear. You may or may not recall that last October I tore my 8.8 a new ass hole out at Uwharrie. I broke all of the plug welds on it and lost my brakes on a very tough hill climb. Right after that I bought a 10.25 from Ogeechee and built it with an ARB and 4.88's, but of course that gave me mismatched gears because I still had 4.56's in the TTB, so that was what made me finally get off my ass and get busy on my SAS.
 

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Some assembly required!
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5,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dave, looking sweet man. You make me feel guilty on my extremely slow build pace on my SAS. Keep up the good work, I look forward to more photos and updates. Oh yeah big thumbs up on all the photos, I like to see the progress as opposed to here is my axle and here it is under my truck?
Don't feel bad man, it only looks like I've done it quickly because it was all in one post. It hasn't been going nearly as quickly as I wanted it to. I've been working on a few other things at the same time and that's been slowing me down quite a bit. I'm working on recentering a set of H1 wheels right now as well as building a center console for my gauges and switches.
 

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tactical-mike
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5,561 Posts
they cracked on the sides where the bottom of the frame rail sits in the bracket. i guess it couldnt handle the side to side load . my frame was boxed in but the brackets were just bolted on. i welded the crack up and welded the brackets to the frame. didnt seem to have any more trouble but they werent on their much longer either.
 

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Some assembly required!
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5,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's interesting Mike. Did you use only the existing bolt holes in the bracket? When I ordered my coils from Cage I spoke briefly with Jim about the pros and cons of the old style bracket vs the new style one on our frames. His opinion was that the old style brackets that I have are up to the task, however he did recommend that I drill at least one additional mounting hole up through the bottom of the bracket to tie it into the bottom lip of our frame rail as well as the sides. I haven't checked the bracket for bolt head clearance to the heim yet, but provided that I have room I'm planning on putting two bolts up through the bottom lip of the frame. I was hoping to avoid welding these to the frame, because even though I believe that these will be the last radius arm brackets I ever need, I have been wrong before. I was considering welding in the frame boxes.
 

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Wrenching for a Livin'
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Looks great so far dave. If i wasn't attempting to get some learnin' I'd be over there helping ya out trying to pickup some more fab skilz.

How's your rubber trans mount holding up? how about the motor mounts? Seems like they would have been torn to shreds seeing what happened to the TTB drop brackets.

Oh, you should make stephen move that d60 around some point soon. he just got over the flu with a 104* fever. Im sure he'd apperciate it.
 

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Some assembly required!
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looks great so far dave. If i wasn't attempting to get some learnin' I'd be over there helping ya out trying to pickup some more fab skilz.

How's your rubber trans mount holding up? how about the motor mounts? Seems like they would have been torn to shreds seeing what happened to the TTB drop brackets.

Oh, you should make stephen move that d60 around some point soon. he just got over the flu with a 104* fever. Im sure he'd apperciate it.
Less FSB, more studying!:whip

But anyway, yeah, both the tranny and motor mounts were a little cracked already. I went ahead and replaced the tranny mount with another cheapy, but when this one goes south I'll go ahead and spring for the poly one. Same thing for the motor mounts, I'll replace them when they finally break. I just don't feel like dropping $300 in upgraded mounts when I don't even own tires for my truck yet, thats all.

And as for Stephen, I'll have to call him up Tuesday and see if he is feeling better yet, and if not I'll make him come over and move some heavy stuff around. :goodfinge If I get up in time today I'm going to try to drop in the ARB to finish the gear install, so hopefully I'll be in the position to get the axle under the truck in the next few days.
 

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Some assembly required!
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5,402 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, it shouldn't have broken like that, but that's probably why Jim makes that recommendation now. I suppose it's really just a matter of us using those mounts for a different application than they were originally intended. It would be nice if they would go ahead and put a couple bolt hole down there, but it's really no big deal. After all, if drilling a few extra 1/2" holes bothers you perhaps a SAS isn't the project for you.:toothless
 

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Nice work Dave! If anyone has earned their SAS on this board, you have. I'll celebrate right along with you when it's done. :beer
 

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ate lug
88 + 96 broncos, 96 F250
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Well, it shouldn't have broken like that, but that's probably why Jim makes that recommendation now. I suppose it's really just a matter of us using those mounts for a different application than they were originally intended. It would be nice if they would go ahead and put a couple bolt hole down there, but it's really no big deal. After all, if drilling a few extra 1/2" holes bothers you perhaps a SAS isn't the project for you.:toothless
Thats probably all it was. I added one hole to the bottom of each when i put em on, plus my trans xmember shares a couple bolts with em, and then i have a few welds holding each in place. I have had zero problems with them.
 
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