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Old 01-18-2020, 06:55 AM   #1
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Semi Float > Full Float?

Okay so I know this has probably been discussed to death here so apologies if I'm clogging up the site. Any links to other posts about this topic and process that might be helpful would be appreciated. Here's my story..........

Seriously contemplating swapping a full floating rear axle into my 2005 E350 cargo/work van--it was originally a Club Wagon further designated as "Bus: Not School Bus" for whatever that means. Here's the serial tag:



This van has undergone a DIY conversion from a wheel chair lift equipped people hauler to full work van--it does have the raised fiberglass roof with required upper roll cage supporting structure. The weight as driven daily has grown from 6,200# empty (2980 front, 3220 rear) to 8,460 (3,380 front, 5,080 rear) with E-Rated 245/R75-16 tires. When it was most recently weighed it was loaded as it will see daily---never tow anything and loads will remain pretty close to current weights, occasionally adding maybe 200# for a short run.

I'm thinking a full floating rear axle might give me a better safety margin----I hate running that close to recommended maximum axle ratings. I'd like to add a leaf spring which would give me an additional 1,200 pounds weight handling capacity but don't want to exceed the safe load of the rear axle itself.

I'm sure someone has swapped a full floating axle into an E- or F-Series so looking for what's typically required. How do I search for a plug-n-play rear axle---if that's possible? Does this require a new drive shaft and brake lines etc?

Or am I just paranoid and over-thinking all this? I never run off-road unless you call gravel parking lots "off road".

TIA
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:33 AM   #2
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My concern was an axle breaking in bfe and leaving me stranded. At least with a ff axle if it breaks youre wheel doesn’t fall off and if you have 4wd, you can still drive home. We just spend so much time driving on narrow roads with a cliff on one side that the thought of an axle breaking and having the chance of the wheel coming off just wasn’t a situation I wanted to find myself in. With a work truck my concern would be a wheel coming off at higher speeds and causing the van to lose control and wrecking. of course having a runaway wheel take someone out wouldn’t be a great situation either. If you are that close to max weight, I’d swap to ff personally. So many possible bad variables if you did happen to have the axle break.

Eseries ff axles from around 98+ have disc brakes and should be a pretty straightforward swap. From what I read the big issue around 05 was the stability control stuff interchanging. Other than that I’m not really sure. Hopefully others can elaborate further for you.

I wanted the wider stance to match the front on our van and used an 05 f350 axle on my 03 quigley. Keep in mind that bolt patterns are different on fseries starting in 99 and imho using adapters would be way to wide since the 05 axles are considerably wider to start with. So I really don’t think that’s the route you’d wanna take however the steps below are what we did.

I had to move/change the spring perches (bought on eBay) & shock mounts (fabbed from scratch). Axle didn’t come with calipers so bad to buy those. It had the brake lines and I was able to reuse those. You can buy ebrake cables from ujoint or you can move the bracket on the frame.

Also 2 different 16” wheels I had wouldn’t fit over the brakes on the 05 axle. I had to go to 17’s. Didn’t have to modify driveline and abs sensor bolted right up in the newer axle.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:03 AM   #3
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Thanks Shenrie---good info there! I do know the F-Series axles aren't a good match due to the wheel bolt circle issue---I certainly don't want to deal with that too.

Good points on the FF vs SF as far as potential fitment between years. I definitely want disc brakes so will look at nothing but those. Since you remind me of the '05's stability controls---which I don't think mine has??---I'll be searching for an axle out of something similar so that doesn't become an issue with the swap.

You also bring up another question which is will the SF stock 16" wheels fit the FF? Or does the FF require a different wheel altogether?

My goal would be having this done and finished in no more than one full day. Being as prepared as possible will help that I'm sure.

And I do notice I need to increase my tire pressure to at least 70psi--currently running @ 65psi.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:24 AM   #4
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"You also bring up another question which is will the SF stock 16" wheels fit the FF? Or does the FF require a different wheel altogether?"

The FF axle vans also come with 16" wheels.

Also some install the CC van SWD rear FF axle when swapping it's approx 3" wider giving you a little more stability. They are not too hard to find and bolt right in if you get the correct year. Don't forget to check what gearing your new axle has in it.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:00 PM   #5
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Because you only have 3-channel ABS now (non-RSC), you won't be able to use the widely available '06-'08 full floats from RSC-vans as those use 4-channel ABS.

If you want to maintain the same track width, you'll need to find a '99-01 axle from another wagon. If you're willing to go wide-track, which I recommend, then you can use any '99-'07 cutaway axle. But it needs to be from a rear-tank cutaway, since mid-tank cutaways also got the semi-float.

16" wheels do fit any E-series rear axle.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilnuts2 View Post

The FF axle vans also come with 16" wheels.

Also some install the CC van SWD rear FF axle when swapping it's approx 3" wider giving you a little more stability. They are not too hard to find and bolt right in if you get the correct year. Don't forget to check what gearing your new axle has in it.
So does the wider axle cause any issues with tires inside the wheel wells? I'm okay with the increase but don't want tires rubbing against the body not that I'll be maxing out the up/down travel of the rear axle---ever!

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb View Post
Because you only have 3-channel ABS now (non-RSC), you won't be able to use the widely available '06-'08 full floats from RSC-vans as those use 4-channel ABS.

If you want to maintain the same track width, you'll need to find a '99-01 axle from another wagon. If you're willing to go wide-track, which I recommend, then you can use any '99-'07 cutaway axle. But it needs to be from a rear-tank cutaway, since mid-tank cutaways also got the semi-float.

16" wheels do fit any E-series rear axle.
Great info CarringB but a question if you don't mind-----how would the '06-06's differ physically with the 4 channel ABS?
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:28 PM   #7
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"So does the wider axle cause any issues with tires inside the wheel wells? I'm okay with the increase but don't want tires rubbing against the body not that I'll be maxing out the up/down travel of the rear axle---ever!"

It depends on the: wheels you have, size of tires, suspension travel and the amount of clearance you have (ride height). Generally it's not an issue unless you stuffed some big meats in there. Worse case you can modify your rear bump stops.
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:08 PM   #8
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Stock tires won't every stuff into the wheel wells. Taller tires could, but I agree that taller bump stops would address this. I recommend Sumo springs anyways for any heavy van. The axle won't slam into them like the stock rubber blocks, and they dampen the rebound if they do engage.

4-channel ABS splits the right and left rear calipers. These could be teed together, but the bigger problem the speed sensors. 4-channel ABS uses outboard wheel speed sensors, and 3-channel ABS uses the differential tone ring. The axles made for 4-channel ABS don't even have a tone ring installed, or the speed sensor port machined into place. But the casting the same, so conceivably you could swap it over.
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:16 PM   #9
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I did the swap to a FF. I sourced the axle, did the clean-up, figured out all the part #'s and ordered everything, had a differential shop rebuild the diff, and had my local shop do the install.


Here's some threads I bookmarked that I found helpful:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ater-7175.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...-fun-6746.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...-end-8925.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ling-8002.html
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ide-12683.html
https://www.expeditionportal.com/for...-Jones!/page26
https://www.thedieselstop.com/thread...ar-end.112071/
Attached Thumbnails
rear axle.jpg   rear axle2.jpg   rear axle3.jpg  
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by carringb View Post
Because you only have 3-channel ABS now (non-RSC), you won't be able to use the widely available '06-'08 full floats from RSC-vans as those use 4-channel ABS.

If you want to maintain the same track width, you'll need to find a '99-01 axle from another wagon. If you're willing to go wide-track, which I recommend, then you can use any '99-'07 cutaway axle. But it needs to be from a rear-tank cutaway, since mid-tank cutaways also got the semi-float.
I've been considering the same swap, and also have a 2005 E350. I would also like to keep this to minimal work, and therefore stick to a van axle. I've been watching local junk yards and carpart.

carringb, I'm confused on proper donor vans. When I search carpart.com the van axles listed as an exact fit are 2005-2007.

A couple follow up questions:

Is 2005 a changeover year for the ABS with some getting RSC, and some not? (My van is non-RSC).

Any other idea why carpart may be directing me to those year axles?

Can you clarify why I should avoid 02-05?

Thanks and I hope this is relevant enough to not be considered a hijack to JWA's post.
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