Solid front axles

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Lynden-Jeff, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,405


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

  2. DodgeRam1985

    DodgeRam1985 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    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!
  3. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    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.
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    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:
  5. DodgeRam1985

    DodgeRam1985 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    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.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    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.
  7. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,170

    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.
  8. DodgeRam1985

    DodgeRam1985 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    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!
  9. stroker51

    stroker51 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 819

    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?
  10. dozerman21

    dozerman21 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    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.

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