Chinese/Japanese Rig Solid Axle Swap

I’m going to write this generically as I don’t want to bias anyone against any specific brand of rig based on my bad experiences.

Like most people, I started with what I could afford. Unfortunately, that got me a rig with an independent front suspension.

 After some quality time off road, I realized some of the downfalls of an independent front suspension: ground clearance under flex, uneven tire wear, steering alignment, strength, complicated and thus expensive repairs, etc.

So, I finally decided to make the swap. I was going to pull out all the independent stuff and replace it with a solid axle.

Sourcing the solid axle was pretty simple. Pulling out the independent suspension was flat out going to be fun! The hard part was going to engineer the new solid axle into a rig not designed for it.

A before picture clearly showing uneven tire wear and the difficulty of keeping the steering aligned.

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Off I went, out with the old, in with the new. I started by getting the rig up on jack stands for safety and all the old independent suspension parts were unceremoniously removed.

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Here are the old parts next to the new solid axle that will be going in. I’m going to try and use as much of the old steering parts as possible.

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The new solid axle doesn’t look much different from the side. But do note that I was able to use the old adjustable ride height system from the previous system.

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But from the top you can already see the better alignment of the tires.

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Underneath, where all the magic happened. It clearly shows the new solid axle and how much stronger it will be than the old independent system.

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Here is an after shot after quite a bit of time getting everything just right. Measure twice, cut once. Back on all fours and ready for some off road travels.

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So far the rig is night and day different. I goes straight with hands off the controls, it doesn’t pull at all when you initiate a turn. Once I get new tires for it, I expect the tires to wear evenly and last much longer.

After all was said and done, I would highly recommend this swap for anyone with an independent front suspension.

 

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Rubicon Ronin



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