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Lynden-Jeff
03-04-2007, 09:59 PM
Hey,

What do they mean when fords and dodges have solid front axles? How is this better for plowing over a GMC?

Thanks
Jeff

DodgeRam1985
03-04-2007, 11:42 PM
To make this as simple as possible (since I don't now how mechanicly inclined you are) a solid front axle is SIMILLAR (not exactly like) a rear axle on a truck, only there is one in the front too. A GMC or Chevy truck have long been IFS (Independent Front Suspension), and actually from 97 on all F150's are IFS and from 2002 on all Dodge 1500 are IFS. IFS is basically an axle cut in two if you will, which enables each wheel to move independently of the other with no true effects on it. Many people (myself included) prefer the solid front axle for several reasons. First, typically any repairs that need to be made are much cheaper to fix and easier to work on (you don't have to be a mechanical wiz for most of the jobs). Second, it is much easier to "stiffen up" the front end on solid front axle trucks (either by adding the next level up's coil springs, or putting leaf springs on the trucks front axle). Finally, the solid front axle tends to be stronger IMO and more stout, so it is less likely to suffer any major losses.

Now before somone lashes out at me for this gross simplification, please take that into account, I tried to make it as simple as possible to understand. Thanks and Good Luck!

General Landscaping
03-04-2007, 11:56 PM
Take your rear axle and put a steering knuckle on each end. That's solid.
Take a front wheel drive car setup, replace the transaxle with the "pumpkin" from a rear axle. That's IFS


For ultimate ruggedness, solid.
For better traction over uneven terrain, IFS.

Solid is simpler to alter for lift or heavier springs and has fewer parts.
IFS acts more like an ideal suspension system.

Gravel Rat
03-05-2007, 12:55 AM
The 1980 to 1997 Ford Ranger to F-250 trucks used a hybrid IFS suspension which was the horrible Twin Traction Beam it was to combind the strength of a mono beam front axle and independant front suspension.

Only Chevy used a A arm front suspension on their 4x4s which was okay for onroad applications but sure didn't stand up very well for offroad work. The loggers tried Chevy trucks offroad they didn't last so they were used for highway trucks that only seen occasional offroad. Trucks handled better on the highway compared to the Fords usually the Chevys were used as foreman trucks while Fords were used as the work trucks.

The Twin Traction beam suspension eats tires quick usually the tread was scuffed off the tires.

Ford is the only manufacturer to offer a monobeam front axle with manually operated hubs. Dodge offers a monobeam axle but they use that rotten central axle disconnect. Dodge was the only one that didn't make a independant front suspension for fullsize 4x4 trucks. Right from the 60s to 93 they still used leaf springs and mono beam front axle. Then from 93 to current they kept the monobeam axle and went to a coil spring suspension.

Chevy made a mistake when they went to independant front suspension on their 3/4 ton and 1 ton 4x4s.

Anyhow enough rambling :laugh:

DodgeRam1985
03-05-2007, 01:03 AM
Gravel Rat, did you ever have any trucks with the Twin Traction Beam? I was just wondering (no offense here just curious) I had a ranger that had it and never had any problems, but I wasn't sure if you had a bad experience with it. I never did use that truck though as a work truck, it was simply a play in the dirt, and daily driver for me. Like I said I was just wondering if you had a bad experience with it.

Gravel Rat
03-05-2007, 01:35 AM
With our twisty roads the twin traction beam fords were tire man favorites. This is Ford country where Ford pickups dominate the market so I do know what twin traction beam suspension is and have worked on them.

I would rather have a monobeam axle over twin traction beam any day of the week.

ksss
03-05-2007, 01:50 AM
The twin I beam was a train wreck. 800 pound in the bed changed the front tire aliegnment. The solid fronts are much better than the Twin I beam.

DodgeRam1985
03-05-2007, 02:28 AM
Yeah, I see what your saying now, with the twisty roads or a lot of weight in the back. I guess I never encountered those problems, but I just had it has a daily driver with a little off-road fun here and there. Does make sense though, and I do recall that it was a real PITA to keep the tires aligned. Good info though, thanks!

stroker51
03-05-2007, 11:58 PM
For what it's worth, I'm trying to locate a D60 front end out of a 1-ton Ford to put into my 96 3/4 ton. From what I gather it's a direct bolt-in. I've got a 97 350 PSD single wheel, and the only difference between the two is the D60 axle, and blocks in the back. Has anybody else with the TTB ford fronts noticed how the right tire wears the worst, or is this just my trucks? Any ideas why?

dozerman21
03-06-2007, 07:40 AM
I had an '85 F-250 diesel with the twin I-beam set-up (hands down the worst truck I've ever owned, but it looked nice:) )

That system is terrible. I went through tires like crazy, no matter how often I had it aligned. Usually something needed to be fixed before I could even get it aligned. I don't recall either side tire wearing faster than the other, they both wore fast as soon as you put the tires on! The guy I sold it to planned to swap a solid axle on it.

I do wish GM would use solid axle fronts on their 3/4 and 1 ton truck. I prefer the more simpler, rugged design. Having said that, I've had good luck with all the GM trucks that I've owned, and I've worked them all. Besides an idler/pitman arm or tierod here and there, the IFS has held up good and they ride good if you keep them as stock height. I would like the ability to put a lift kit on though, and still keep them as working trucks, along with daily drivers.

Brett's Cutting Edge
03-06-2007, 11:44 AM
Yeah but the solid front axel is a POS offroadinf because you can hit so much stuff and screw up really bad.

Duncan90si
03-06-2007, 12:06 PM
Yeah but the solid front axel is a POS offroadinf because you can hit so much stuff and screw up really bad.


WTF? I think you have it backwards. IFS is generally a nicer ride quality, not the best for serious offroading. Solid axle is usually worse ride quality going down the road, but way more capable and reliable when serious offroading. Solid axles have no CVs no worry about breaking and offer better articulation. 99.9% of serious offroad rigs will have solid axle, whether it be for mud bogging, hill climbing or especially rock crawling. One of the only extremely reliable IFS systems for offroad conditions is that of the H1 Hummer. I don't want everyone yelling at me that has a IFS 4x4 that "they can go four wheeling and have broke nothing" etc. I'm not saying IFS is junk. What I am saying is that for serious offroading, the reliability, simplicity and geometry of solid axle front suspension is supreme.

DodgeRam1985
03-13-2007, 02:02 AM
WTF? I think you have it backwards. IFS is generally a nicer ride quality, not the best for serious offroading. Solid axle is usually worse ride quality going down the road, but way more capable and reliable when serious offroading. Solid axles have no CVs no worry about breaking and offer better articulation. 99.9% of serious offroad rigs will have solid axle, whether it be for mud bogging, hill climbing or especially rock crawling. One of the only extremely reliable IFS systems for offroad conditions is that of the H1 Hummer. I don't want everyone yelling at me that has a IFS 4x4 that "they can go four wheeling and have broke nothing" etc. I'm not saying IFS is junk. What I am saying is that for serious offroading, the reliability, simplicity and geometry of solid axle front suspension is supreme.

I have to agree with you, any serious trucks I've ever built or seen professionaly built for off road competitions have always been solid front axles, too many small parts that can break with the IFS IMO

Grassmechanic
03-13-2007, 09:52 AM
WTF? I think you have it backwards. IFS is generally a nicer ride quality, not the best for serious offroading. Solid axle is usually worse ride quality going down the road, but way more capable and reliable when serious offroading. Solid axles have no CVs no worry about breaking and offer better articulation. 99.9% of serious offroad rigs will have solid axle, whether it be for mud bogging, hill climbing or especially rock crawling. One of the only extremely reliable IFS systems for offroad conditions is that of the H1 Hummer. I don't want everyone yelling at me that has a IFS 4x4 that "they can go four wheeling and have broke nothing" etc. I'm not saying IFS is junk. What I am saying is that for serious offroading, the reliability, simplicity and geometry of solid axle front suspension is supreme.

Agreed. Every rock crawling CJ (including mine) has solid axles. Pick up any "Off-Road" magazine. That's all you see is solid axles.:weightlifter:

PlatinumLandCon
04-16-2008, 03:57 PM
I know this is a year old, but is the reason my GMC only has a front axle w.r. of 4800lbs but fords have 6000lbs? If I were looking into getting a new truck, is an '06 6.0 diesel a better bet for plowing than a '06 LBZ duramax?

Grassmechanic
04-28-2008, 12:16 PM
A diesel (whatever the manufacturer) will be a better choice for plowing than a gasser. If your looking at newer trucks, good luck as most are IFS. However, if you go with a newer truck that has a "plow prep package" you should be OK.

Nozzleman
04-28-2008, 12:42 PM
[QUOTE=Gravel Rat;1736022] Ford is the only manufacturer to offer a monobeam front axle with manually operated hubs. Dodge offers a monobeam axle but they use that rotten central axle disconnect.

I know this thread is old but I want to clarify Gravel Rat's statement. Since 2003 the 3rd generation Dodge front axle no longer uses the front center axle disconnet (CAD). In 2003 when the new 3rd gen Ram debuted the truck utilized AAM axles in both the front and rear. The AAM front axle has no CAD system. Since Dodge still does not use hubs this means on all 2003 and newer 4wd 2500/3500 trucks the front axle always rotates. IMHO this is not a bad thing because it keeps everything moving and lubed. The only downside is a fuel mileage penalty.

To be even more accurate, toward the end of the 2nd generation Ram production run Dodge stopped using the CAD on the Dana 60 also. On 2002 and maybe late 01' trucks the CAD was not put on the axle but you could see a cover plate where it was supposed to be.