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Old 01-27-2017, 09:27 PM   #1
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Rear axle Opinions

My 2006 EB E250 is currently sitting on a Semi float Dana 60 with 373 gear and a differential that's as open as..... well you get the point. I plan on having the Van close to and hopefully not over rated capacity at 8860 LBS. This vehicle must survive the journey from Florida to Alaska, and it will be our home for about a year. That being said I don't intend on taking my home 4 wheeling or bogging through mud pits. The majority of time we will be on pavement, dirt roads, or trails. The weather will likely be our biggest opponent. I am weighing my current options and they are as follows
  • Keep the Dana 60, add swaybar, add new shocks, add leaf spring helpers
  • Keep the Dana 60, add sway bar, shocks, and a locker or limited slip differential.
  • Find a new axle, Dana 70 or Sterling
  • Do nothing
  • Or some combination of the above

All this being said I dont have a ton of money to blow on a decked out axle and would prefer to not add an air system. I wish money were no object but it is. I have a shop and all the tools and the skills to do everything mentioned, except a differential change.

I know Im really opening a can of worms here. Constructive criticism is welcomed. I will hold the door open for those with first hand experience. Anyone with information about direct swap axles from other fords E350/F350 or ambulances would be useful.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:42 PM   #2
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If my van wasn't so heavy before I've even built it out I was perfectly happy with a sf axle with an lsd. Only reason I went with a sterling was to get a higher weight rating and have a full floater axle. By the time my build is done with motorbikes on the back i just wanted the piece of mind.

imho, you'd be fine if you could find yourself an lsd and call it good. All the other stuff you list can't hurt either, but all the options you list with axle stuff are probably unneeded if you plan on not exceeding what you have in there as far as ratings go. Locker in the rear isn't the best idea for snow conditions.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:08 PM   #3
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This is a topic I am also interested in- lsd or locker for less extreme use. My build will be relatively light, and I think I will be more likely to see snow than serious off road.

Surprised to hear that about lockers. When you say they aren't good in snow, are you saying it is not good in getting going from a start, or it is a liability once you are moving? I thought lockers were only for use from a stop or at low speed, up to 30 mph, and that above 30, you effectively have an open differential.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by E-rex View Post
This is a topic I am also interested in- lsd or locker for less extreme use. My build will be relatively light, and I think I will be more likely to see snow than serious off road.

Surprised to hear that about lockers. When you say they aren't good in snow, are you saying it is not good in getting going from a start, or it is a liability once you are moving? I thought lockers were only for use from a stop or at low speed, up to 30 mph, and that above 30, you effectively have an open differential.
Lockers installed by the manufacturer, such as in my Jeep Rubicon and Ford 150, are programmed to unlock after a certain speed is reached because they can cause handling problems (no differential action between the tires). Aftermarket lockers such as the ARB can be locked at any speed. In slippery conditions a locker can also be a liability for the same reason - locked together, if both tires lose traction then the rig will most likely slide sideways. Whereas, if only one tire loses traction the other tire will probably still keep the rig going in a straight line.

Unless you are getting into conditions (such as crossing a deep washout at an angle, where one tire will essentially be dangling in the air) an lsd is your best bet.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:48 PM   #5
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My vote if you're going to stay 2wd is to stick a TrueTrac in there.

Some older threads with relevant info:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ide-12683.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...trl-13941.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...-4x4-6206.html
Limited Slip Faceoff: Detroit TrueTrac vs. ARB Air Locker - Expedition Portal

A good overview of differential options: Lockers, Limited Slips and other Differentials Explained

And an excellent discussion here: Help with gears - Page 2 - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:28 AM   #6
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Lots of good information in here that I have over looked, thank you. I am going to stick with 2wd. I currently have a few leads on full float axles, that im considering just for weight concerns alone. My build isnt finished yet, but Its going to be heavy. Especially with a dual sport on the front and bicycles on the back. As far as the locker is concerned, I think we will be seeing more snow than anything else. An open differential will do us fine so long as I have some recovery points installed. I find it hard to believe anyone here would pass me by if I was stuck on the side of the road with a tow strap in my hand.

Regardless of if I keep the dana 60 or not, Im going to add a swaybar and some new shocks. With the added roof weight of the penthouse and solar, I dont want my EB waggin like a dog.

Will report back once decisions are made.
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Old 01-29-2017, 10:45 AM   #7
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Well, having just done a FF axle swap last year I can tell you it's not a cheap endeavor. The donor was $500 from a salvage yard and with new gears, bearings, air locker, new brake lines, installation, blah blah, I was well into it for 2k and if I really add it all up closer to 3k. Now that's still relatively cheap compared to the Dynatrac ProRock60 that SMB installs. That's a $4400 upgrade without a locker.

Anyhoo, your van is heavy and pushing the limits on a semi-float but hey you only hear when they go bad. And a large reason for that is the use of wheel spacers to match the WMS-WMS on the front when converted to 4x4. I suspect you don't have wheel spacers that push the wheels out from the bearings, correct?

Pocket the coin and pick up some chains for the snow. And a good set of snow tires are pretty amazing really.
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Old 01-29-2017, 11:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JoeH View Post
Well, having just done a FF axle swap last year I can tell you it's not a cheap endeavor. The donor was $500 from a salvage yard and with new gears, bearings, air locker, new brake lines, installation, blah blah, I was well into it for 2k and if I really add it all up closer to 3k. Now that's still relatively cheap compared to the Dynatrac ProRock60 that SMB installs. That's a $4400 upgrade without a locker.
.
I am afraid of getting a new axle with the impression of it being a direct swap and then having to rework the gears and bearings as you mentioned. I am running a non lifted 2wd with no wheel spacers. I have alloy rims and 265-75/r16 BFG all terrains. Great tires, truly my favorite all terrain.

I had the opportunity to speak with Chris from Ujoint when passing through the carolinas last year. He seemed to think I would be fine with the semi float because I'm not serious off roading. But my weight had me concerned. A full float would only net me a 500lb difference though. Maybe keeping it and just adding some spring helpers to tune my load.

It's a tough choice because I have the tools and workshop here. Weighing the cost vs risk is what keeps me up at night.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:07 PM   #9
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After you build it out, weigh it. That's the best way to know if you need to upgrade or not.

BTW - The '06 E250 only got the 5520# semi-float. The E350s got a 6340# semi-float. Vs 7800 for the full float.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:34 PM   #10
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FYI --
Having just gone through the lengthy process of selecting a locker for the rear axle on my rig (I have the same semi-float Dana 60 as you do) --

There's no TrueTrac available for that Dana 60 axle.
(Something about it being too diffcult to engineer, apparently too challenging to engineer a version of the TrueTrac that allows for access to the c-clips that secure the semi-floating axles inside the differential.)

I really wanted a TrueTrac as well. But you'll have to swap to a new rear axle of some sort (a full-floater) to be able to choose a TrueTrac.

So...I'm sure I'm missing some, but I believe your total list of options for any kind of rear locking diff with your current rear axle are:


1) ARB Air-locker (remotely-actuated full locker --- air driven)
2) Dana Trak-Lok or Power Lock diffs (factory style passive/mechanical LSD with clutch packs)
3) OX Locker (remotely-actuated full locker; cable, electric, or air driven)
4) Spartan Locker (ratcheting mechanical locker with positive-engagement toothed ring gears)

JoeH --- those are some great threads.
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