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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all. My better half has a '94 Bronco and she wants to get it lifted and wheel with it. A co-worker of mine said don't bother with unless we do a SAS. My question is, is doing that really necessary if it's only going to be wheeled every once in a while and daily driven all the time? The biggest tires she would have on it would be 37's, if that has any bearing on the issue. A SAS would be awesome, but money is a little short right now because we're expecting. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

Jeff
 

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I will be honest, SAS is the way to go, but you do have to consider time and money involved in the project. No flaming here, but a simple search in the SAS newb section should answer most of your questions and give you the guidance you are looking for. 37 inch tires can be hard on the current axles but there are other things you can do.

I just did a sas, for a non dd but it does get driven and I love it. There are kinks that need to be worked out like with any project but do some research!!
 

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This is where you should weigh the options and really consider whether or not the stock TTB will be suitable for your needs.
How much will it cost to lift this truck to clear 37's and will it be reliable enough for you?
Now consider what the cost of a dana 44 sas would be, and how close is the overall cost compared to the TTB lift? Consider reliability and the cost of the conversion.
To add a little confusion, throw in a 1 ton swap, and let this run around your head for a while.

If your rig is bone stock, this is the time to think about every option possible.

Why do I suggest to even consider the 1 ton swap? Simply because if you weigh the costs, you might find that the 1 ton swap brings the best bang for the buck and provides the greatest reliability possible.
Simple swap, can cost about the same as a TTB lift for this same tire size, and can be completed in about the same amount of time.

Timid about the thought or cost of 1 ton axles? Most folks are, and the whole idea seems like a very exotic upgrade, and was once considered to be for the most extreme trail rigs.
Its not quite like this any more, and we are seeing more and more street driven vehicles using the bigger gear without compromise and without the headaches of other options.

Consider for a moment the parts needed for either swap. Wheels are gonna cost the same whether or not you select 8 lugs or 5 lugs, so this is equal.
Since you plan on 37 inch tires, you are going to require a gear change. The costs associated with gear changes are almost the same, so this is again almost a wash.
Buying a front axle is not the cheapest, but really not much more than the cost of a 78/9 dana 44. Plus the 1 ton front axle is probably easier to find.
Lifting the front end is easy if you decide to use leaf springs, and this is where the cost savings put things on about an equal playing field.
If using leafs is not out of the question, you can use some stock front springs from a variety of vehicles, and these can be found for cheap, and in some cases, almost free.
With enough lift to clear 37's, your driveshafts will not have to be cut, or even modified, and will bolt up to 1 ton gear that uses a 1330 u-joint. Most do, and the lift combined with the larger ring and pinion creates an almost perfect fit for stock drive shafts.
Again, this is where the costs start to become justified, because you dont have to spend money on other wise expensive modifications.

For the rear, a stock spring can be used, and you can simply install the factory block from the donor truck or consider a shackle flip and this is done. Almost zero money for this. Even with the minimal cost of new u-bolts and maybe a set of blocks, it is cheap compared to the total cost of the TTB lift.

Stock steering components can be used, and the stock inverted "t" style steering will bolt right up to your stock pitman arm, so once again, its almost like money in the bank, because you dont have to spend money on steering corrections.

Here is an example:

http://www.fullsizebronco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=175112



Expect to see many criticisms about this topic as many will have different ideas about what is right and what is justified.
So many opinions on this topic make it a fun category every time.
 

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A lot of people have been more than happy wheeling, driving, with the TTB. I had great luck with mine and only went to SAS because the opportunity presented itself. I'd personally go 6" with 35/36's, maybe throw a 3" body on for a little extra fender clearance...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, specially 75F350! I just talked to a friend of mine that rock crawls. He said he has running gear off an excursion that I could have for $700. Front and rear. Good deal?
 

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Expect to see many criticisms about this topic as many will have different ideas about what is right and what is justified.
So many opinions on this topic make it a fun category every time.
Amen....

I spent the money and got a decent quality lift then spent a ton of time installing it. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have bothered. I would have done the SAS right off the top. For not much more money than my lift (or any quality lift), and for not much more time, I could be straight axled and be in a better position for driving and wheeling the truck. I am now working on the SAS...
 

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I would SAS it. But that also depends on the kind of Offroad you do.

We have mud up here with bumpy mud covered hills and rocks. I wheeled it with a 6" TTB lift for 4 years, I was perfectly happy with it. Not sure why people where saying they had alignment issues, I never did. I aligned it every fall when I was DD in. Because of the snow. I swapped to D44 Solid because I wanted a locker. Then to D60 because I upgraded to 38s and the locker was breaking stuff.

If your going for speed or logging roads, stay TTB you can go faster and have a better ride. We have a couple river beds we run high speeds on. I could go 45-55 with the TTB. Raced a freind and was going around 65 at times happy as can be. With the Solid axle, I was only able to get up to 25-35 MPH..

Either way will work, just depends on how modified you want to get with your truck.
 

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In my opinion it all depends on what kind of wheeling you're going to do. The TTB is pretty well respected at high speed stuff (desert, sand, whoops, etc.). A solid axle in the front should generally be better at rock crawling. Both will do fine on fairly mild trail runs. I think both can do okay in mud (but the general consensus seems to be that you'll start breaking stuff if you wheel hard with tires bigger than 35")

Just FYI, I've got a '83 with a basic 4" Rancho lift, 35x12.50s, and 4.56s. Up to now the truck has spent most of its off-road time on trails and in mud, does pretty well for itself, and has never had any issues with breaking. Due to a recent move to NM, I'm planning to keep the TTB and make it an imitation pre-runner (I have no illusions of actually pre-running or racing...at least any time soon).

This is obviously just one man's 2 cents, but I hope it helps.

Cheers,
 

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For ocassional offroading, the TTB is more than adequate IMO. It's just as strong as a solid 44 and you don't need massive amounts of flex for light duty wheeling.

I recommend the superflex lift from JBG. :thumbup
 

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Amen....

I spent the money and got a decent quality lift then spent a ton of time installing it. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have bothered. I would have done the SAS right off the top. For not much more money than my lift (or any quality lift), and for not much more time, I could be straight axled and be in a better position for driving and wheeling the truck. I am now working on the SAS...

We agree on this mainly because Ive been in this boat, and wished that I had not spent the money on a TTB lift in the first place.
This is why I almost always suggest that one at least weighs all of the options and understands everything involved.
There is no question that the TTB would survive, and many have first hand testimonials to support this.
However, and this is a big however. After comparing the total costs involved, the SAS such as the one I linked above is a far better option to just lifting the stock stuff. Even for the wheeler that may only see light duty.
I can tell you from first hand experience that this particular swap is a cost effective option when compared to a similar lift kit for the TTB.

Ive also bought and sold enough of these rigs to know that a 1 ton SAS truck will bring far more money than an equally lifted TTB truck.

Resale value means something to everyone, and a guy that can recognize a quality SAS will fork over some cash, and can appreciate the work over just another TTB with a lift kit.

As I mentioned there is going to be many, many ideas and opinions, none of them wrong. :whiteflag

At least with enough information, the OP can perhaps have enough information to make an informed decision.
 

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Thanks guys, specially 75F350! I just talked to a friend of mine that rock crawls. He said he has running gear off an excursion that I could have for $700. Front and rear. Good deal?
There some inherent drawbacks to these axles. One is that the Excursion only came with a Dana 50. While this is a better option than your TTB front, it is still only a Dana 50.
Again, will this be suitable? Sure it will, and the amount of money, spent appears to be just fine, but this axle is not so much less expensive that a real Dana 60 should be overlooked.
Also keep in mind that these axle were a metric pattern and the front uses a unit type bearing. This means that the front bearings are not serviceable, (though they can be greased) and they cant be adjusted. Big deal? Maybe.
This is also a ball joint front axle, and this axle will not accept any bolt on steering arms that will accept crossover steering.
You are getting into the 38 inch tire range, so this might be a deal breaker.
In order for your knuckle to accept crossover steering some machining of the knuckle or an expensive replacement knuckle will be required.
Often times this added expense exceeds the initial cost of the correct axle in the first place. IN other words, if this ball joint axle costs 500 bucks, and still takes 400 to upgrade. Then compare this to the right axle that might cost 700 bucks intial, and 100 to upgrade for steering, you can see that you are not ahead by buying the lower cost axle in the beginning.

Confusing, i know, but some research will provide many answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Man! A lot of info to get my head wrapped around. Thanks for the help. I was looking on Craigslist and found this:

http://portland.craigslist.org/yam/pts/1806032633.html

By what I've been reading, this is a Sterling 10.25. Is this a decent price for what it is? I know this would be for the rear and I still need a front, but if I can do this and then buy a d60, sounds like it might be cheaper that the $700 for the Excursion setup.
 

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Just worry about upgrading your rear axle. Your TTB will hold up for occasional wheeling. especially 37's arent that bad. Just upgrade your rear axle, lift it, and call it a day.

Personally I would go with the Sterling 10.25 BUTTTT
you can upgrade the rear for cheap with a ford 9" out of older pre 1986 1/2 ton fords, and you can get a VSS relocation kit from here:
http://www.streetperformance.com/parts/california-pre-fun.html

Ford 9" will hold the 37's, bolt directly in, and has about as much aftermarket support as a honda civic.
 

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Expect to pay an outrageous amount for a D60 front; I'm talking $700-1500 for the axle alone.

You are venturing into a classic case of overbuilding. From what you've told us you have no business doing a one-ton SAS, ESPECIALLY with a baby on the way!

That JBG kit I suggested will suit you perfectly at a fraction of the cost of doing a proper SAS. 75F350 is misleading you as well. I'm not trying to start a pissing match with the guy, but some of his info is just plain wrong.

1) You will have to modify your driveshafts. The pinions are longer on the one-ton running gear, not to mention the vast majority of it has 1350 u-joints.

2) A gear change does not cost the same between axles; the one-ton gear is considerably more, especially lockers.

3) You do not have to buy new wheels to run 37s; the stock wheels work just fine (and 5 lug wheels are much easier to find used for a hefty discount).

4) Blocks are not a proper suspension upgrade on their own. Running just blocks with soft 1/2 ton packs invites axle wrap (as does a shackle flip). You really need to run traction bars with either of these setups or you are going to have trouble with breakage. I'm running a shackle flip with 33s on my 79 (stiffer springs than you have) and I can almost break my rear driveshaft on command.

5) Stock front F350 leaf packs are super stiff and in addition to not flexing worth a damn they ride terribly in a Bronco configuration. If this is going to be your DD stay the hell away from this setup. Yes it's cheap, but you get what you pay for.

6) You can NOT use your stock 1/2 ton TTB steering. This suggestion is just plain scary; this is in no way acceptable. You must either use F350 steering (weak as rainwater) of fab your own out of DOM and heims/TREs.

7) He hasn't addressed the need to completely redo your braking system to accommodate the bigger one-ton brakes.

8) You really need to rebuild any axle you're going to swap into a DD. One-ton axle components are very expensive; are you up for this extra cost as well?

Other concerns I have -

1) Can you weld? Can you fabricate? If yes to either question, would you bet your kid's life on your skills? Setting up leaf spring suspension on one of these rigs requires a good deal of welding and fabrication and if you can't do it yourself then the cost of this project is going to skyrocket.

2) It just sounds to me like you're not going to need this extra heavy duty stuff. I think that your rig with the Superflex kit, some sort of locker/gears, and 35s would suit the hell out of you and still be perfectly streetable.

3) There is simply no way in hell that you're going to do a one-ton swap safely for $1000-$1500. People go way beyond that to do 1/2 ton SASes, and that doesn't even count touching the rear axle. Look in the SAS forum at people's expense reports.

http://broncograveyard.com/bronco/c-593

That's the link to the JBG kits. I suggest the most expensive one as it's the most complete. Best of luck :thumbup
 

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I do agree with Hopper... and for many of us, the SAS doesnt just happen. Its not like a kit you just order up (such as a lift is). Most of the time, we collect parts over time (I have been working on my D60 for almost 2 years). They then rebuild the axle, gear it (and possibly lock it) and then do the SAS. And he is right on the money in regards to costs for 1 ton stuff. To gear and lock the Sterling alone, you are gonna spend 1500 - 2000 bucks (Detroit locker = 620.00 and gears/install kit run around 500, plus seals, brakes, labor etc). The 8.8 is half of that, and you can often find used lockers etc for the 8.8s as well (they are supported more ovreall than the Sterling). The costs are substantially more for the D60 over the D44 as well. And, he is right about the fabrication. You will have to fabricate or have fabricated some of the parts to complete an SAS.

That said, based on your comments regarding how you plan to use the truck, I would consider a D44 SAS and keep the 8.8. A lot of people run this set up and wheel pretty damn hard with it. Its substantially cheaper than the 1 ton stuff and will give you a more stable, dependable, longer lasting offroad rig vs the ttb (although, as mentioned, the ttb is suitable for speed stuff. The desert guys on FSB dont bother with SAS's).

Also as mentioned, people lift and wheel the TTBs just fine. I have been wheeling my lifted TTB for 3 years and it has held up. I wheel pretty hard to (I run 35s and will never run anything bigger on a TTB). But, as I mentioned, I wish I had used the money to SAS it. It IMO, is a much more solid set up. I can not keep my TTB aligned,it is limited in is capability and I just keep waiting for something to break (I carry spare hubs and axles). The trucks I have ridden in with SAS just feel more, "solid" I guess...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks so much Hopper and Shane for the insight. My first thoughts about lifting the Bronco was buying the Dick Cepek lift and using Deaver coils and Deaver springs in the back while running 35's or 37's. We would take it out on the trails and at the dunes but not get overly crazy since it will be a DD. As far as the costs go, I don't want this to a big drain on the wallet. I basicly want something that looks good and handles the rough stuff well. The reason for starting this thread was because my friend/co-worker that has the Excursion running gear said that he wouldn't waste the money on lifting with the stock Bronco front end. He said it would cost a ton to replace the bushings if they were bad and you will never get the front end to align and you'll go thru tires like crazy. But if that were true, everyone on here would have a stock, no lift Bronco or a SAS Bronco.

As far as welding experience, yeah, I got none :eek:) That was another thing that concerned me. Also, I didn't want the DD sitting for forever while doing the swap.

So, for a DD that will see more pavement that dirt, but when it see dirt, it won't be beat to shit, the TTB will be just fine?
 

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I'm only out $800 for my 1 ton swap in my 94 bronco... :p Course I already had everything under my 85 bronco, and just bought new Duff radius arms or it would have cost me $0 :)

On the price of axles. I paid
$800 for D60 and 10.25
$600 for all the parts to rebuild booth
$2200 on gears and a detroit in the back
$2000 on new 38" TSLs and Rims..
 

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I ran a 6"lift on TTB, trimmed fenders for 37's, ARB's and got more places than I thought it would go.

TTB is better than a solid axle for go fast stuff like sand dunes.

Sounds like a good TTB lift, shackle flip, gears, and lockers would get you more than you need.

Good luck!
 

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I'm with Swat. I wheeled the piss out of mine with TTB and 35's for several years, Scottmoore beats his up pretty good too on 36's.
 

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Expect to pay an outrageous amount for a D60 front; I'm talking $700-1500 for the axle alone.

Shop for the right stuff, and know where to look and you dont have to pay this much. My group has been buying complete trucks for less than 1500 bucks. Complete F350 trucks. Running with license plates.


You are venturing into a classic case of overbuilding. From what you've told us you have no business doing a one-ton SAS, ESPECIALLY with a baby on the way!
Is there such a thing as reliability and overbuilding? Perhaps perhaps for some, but then there are those of us that have tried to run 38's and puny half ton gear and busted enough components to not want to do that again.


That JBG kit I suggested will suit you perfectly at a fraction of the cost of doing a proper SAS. 75F350 is misleading you as well. I'm not trying to start a pissing match with the guy, but some of his info is just plain wrong.


Using thew term "wrong" and misleading invites a debate, and the opportunity to support my suggestion.


1) You will have to modify your driveshafts. The pinions are longer on the one-ton running gear, not to mention the vast majority of it has 1350 u-joints.

Research which rear sterling have a 1330 joint and which have a 1350, and you will find that the vast majority does not include the 1350, though if gears have to be changed you will automatically use the longer yoke, and while these are 1350 joints, the problem is easiily solved by using either a Super duty flange, or the slip yoke from the donor truck which will be a 1350. In many cases, a chevy slip joint donated from any truck using a 14B ff will fit, and your problem are over. This may cost about 10 bucks at your local salvage yard.

Now lets think about this. More lift requires a longer drive shaft right? What happens when you increase the size of the ring gear? The pinion moves closer to the transfer case output correct? If the truck remained at stock ride height the driveshaft would have to be shortened correct? Still with me?
Ok, so since the truck is lifted about 6 inches, and you combine that with the fact that the ring gear is larger, the length is a wash. The stock shafts will fit a 1 ton converted Bronco for lifts in the 6 to 8 inch range. Fact!
How many 1 ton conversions have you completed? Ive got several under my belt and can tell you this from first hand experience, not internet engineering. This is a fact, and my trucks are being driven on the roads as we speak.


2) A gear change does not cost the same between axles; the one-ton gear is considerably more, especially lockers.

Dollar for dollar the costs associated with any gear swap is close. The advantage in strength and reliability of the larger 1 ton axle far outweighs any slight differences in cost. This is especially true after the 8.8 breaks on the trail, and the truck is now unable to drive itself home, because an axle snapped and fell out of the semi float half ton stuff.
In some cases, a good donor truck canbe found with 4.10 gears, and these gears can be run without requiring a change. now the new axle has an advantage over the one with the 3.50 ratio.


3) You do not have to buy new wheels to run 37s; the stock wheels work just fine (and 5 lug wheels are much easier to find used for a hefty discount).


Most guys buy new wheels when they step up to big boy tires, and while the stock 7 inch wide wheels can be used, and 5 lug units are cheap, used 8 lug wheels are also very popular, and brand new ones can be found as cheap as about 60 bucks each. Thats brand new.


4) Blocks are not a proper suspension upgrade on their own. Running just blocks with soft 1/2 ton packs invites axle wrap (as does a shackle flip). You really need to run traction bars with either of these setups or you are going to have trouble with breakage. I'm running a shackle flip with 33s on my 79 (stiffer springs than you have) and I can almost break my rear driveshaft on command.

While blocks Should be eliminated as often as possible, the factory uses them out back, and with a spring that is in good condition, it will control the axle in a reasonable manner.
If your 79 is breaking drive shafts on command, you have to address the spring.
Ive been running 64 inch chevy springs and 40 inch tires for years and have not had such problems.
I do believe that you are embellishing a tad to make your point.
For the Bronco this is pretty easy to solve by using the F250/350 main spring.
Many write ups on this, and it works, yet still permits articulation and does not kill the ride.


5) Stock front F350 leaf packs are super stiff and in addition to not flexing worth a damn they ride terribly in a Bronco configuration. If this is going to be your DD stay the hell away from this setup. Yes it's cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Once again this is overstated and used with some embellishment. Hopper you did not mention which F350 springs you are referring to. Any 86 to 97 350 front leaf is going to be completely different than the "X" code Super duty front leafs that I use on many of my conversions.If you were to ride in one of my rigs, you would gladly change your statement.
With decent tires, and a stock "X" code spring, along with the proper shackle angle, each and every Bronco I have upgraded rides, and handles better after the conversion than it did with stock suspension and small tires.
Unless you have driven one of mine, you cant make a blanket statement such as this.


6) You can NOT use your stock 1/2 ton TTB steering. This suggestion is just plain scary; this is in no way acceptable. You must either use F350 steering (weak as rainwater) of fab your own out of DOM and heims/TREs.

Factory inverted "Y" steering was never suggested. factory steering components from the new axle, and F350 truck will bolt right up to the factory pitman arm, and with moderate lift the pitman arm does not even have to be changed.
Somehow, the factory engineers thought this was acceptable, and many wheelers have been using this design, I do not see a reason for this moderate build to require spherical rod ends or specialty tubing.
Besides the small TRE's wont even fit the 1 ton knuckles.


7) He hasn't addressed the need to completely redo your braking system to accommodate the bigger one-ton brakes.

He can address it right now. The larger caliper in front can easily be accommodated by the stock master cylinder as can the rear brake cylinder. How many articles are in this forum regarding the upgrade to larger rear brake cylinders? I believe the small axle guys call it a 350 brake upgrade, or 1 ton brake upgrade or something of the like.
Again if the stock rear brakes are being used, the stock master cylinder is adequate. If rear discs are to be used, then only the master should be upgraded to the larger bore master found in the F350 truck.
Also keep in mind that if the guy buys a complete donor truck (f350) it will already have the desirable booster and master cylinder. Takes about 20 minutes to change.
If not, the local auto parts has these larger master cylinders for about 39 bucks. Cheap and easy upgrade, that should be done to any Bronco regardless of which axle it is running.
This is a great upgrade for any configuration, but I would not call it a "completely re doing" the brake system.


8) You really need to rebuild any axle you're going to swap into a DD. One-ton axle components are very expensive; are you up for this extra cost as well?

If the donor axles are removed from a running driving truck, is there a need to re-build? Not unless it is broke right? How often do you re-build the axles under your truck right now? Case and point.
If it is not broke, it may not need to be fixed at all.
If you buy a junk yard set of axles, then you may not know what you are getting and a re-build might be in order.
If anything needs to be re-built, I would gladly spend it on an axle that will provide me with the best service possible, and provide me with peace of mind.


Other concerns I have -

1) Can you weld? Can you fabricate? If yes to either question, would you bet your kid's life on your skills? Setting up leaf spring suspension on one of these rigs requires a good deal of welding and fabrication and if you can't do it yourself then the cost of this project is going to skyrocket.

Several options exist that do not require your own fabrication, nor do they require welding. Bolt on options are available.
Take a gander at that link I posted above, and you will find that the guy wrenching had little mechanical background, and no welding skills. He converted his in less than a week with basic hand tools. I do consider an impact wrench "basic".
Brackets do not have to break the bank, and the costs can stay under control.


2) It just sounds to me like you're not going to need this extra heavy duty stuff. I think that your rig with the Superflex kit, some sort of locker/gears, and 35s would suit the hell out of you and still be perfectly streetable.

This is about the only thing I cant contest, though I did not throw out the 1 tin suggestion to spark a debate, simply to offer an option that is often over looked because it is a little known fact that the 1 ton swap can be simple easy, and cost effective.



3) There is simply no way in hell that you're going to do a one-ton swap safely for $1000-$1500. People go way beyond that to do 1/2 ton SASes, and that doesn't even count touching the rear axle. Look in the SAS forum at people's expense reports.
Costs can vary based upon preparation, and the ability to find the correct parts. Much of this is based upon good information, and not opinion.
As mentioned, I knew this topic would bring the naysayers out of the woodwork, as it always does, but once again, I can tell you from experience that the 1 ton swap is not as complicated as it once was.

You will never be able to wipe the smile off of this owners face, and he can tell you that it did not break the bank.
Everything that he has done to his truck is right along the same lines and about the same amount of effort as it would have taken to install a TTB lift.
Only, I do believe these results speak for themselves.



Oh yeah, this is a stock front driveshaft:

 
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