The Dana 50 TTB and getting it under my E350 van.

philos

Explorer
Funny what a small internet this is...

We've been reading the same posts and you do recall correctly about pushing the axle forward by 1.5 inches and extending the radius arms by 12 inches. My plan too.

I appreciate the previous suggestion about buckets from a dana 44 and will be looking into that option.

Also if you find your axle, I know I've some 4.10 gears I won't be needing.

I won't be quick in my build and things began with a center ujoint that resisted a press, torch and liquid wrench, but couldn't argue with my grinder. All and all off to a great start.
WOOT!
Glad I've got company!
 

bcaine

New member
Just did some rough preliminary measures for lift after the stock/not far off stock spring use.

The distance between the stock springs centers is ~47" measured under the beams. On my mockup, keeping this separation puts the new coil spring centers 3 1/2" inside of the ball joint nut. Not a ton of space, but I think it fits. Looks tight on the video agile posted showing their setup underneath, so this math may be close.

New metal gets added to the beam near the ball joint to provide a flat surface for the spring perches. And maybe some shaving of the beams is needed to allow for the buckets.

As far as lift:
2wd wheel centerline to spring mounting surface is 2 3/4".
At minimum, the dana would be 5 1/4" from the lowest possible perch height to the wheel centerline.
So figure a minimum lift of 2 1/2". Taller springs if more lift is desired? CC880s?

The knuckle looks longer (left to right) which could put extra leverage on the spring. Not sure how significant, will do that math whenever I have the wheels off the van next.
 

philos

Explorer
Excellent. I got a couple measurements off an 89 F250 this afternoon at the junkyard.

WMS to WMS was 69"
Spring pad centers for the leafs were 37"
Those are the measurements I can remember off hand; hoping I didn't toss that piece of paper!

Edit:
I think the coil placement sounds about right, Agile puts them way out there from the photos and videos.

And also, would that difference in spring to wheel center be translated to the pivot points for the axle and for the radius arms?
I'm thinking kinda like the drop brackets they used to make for Broncos to get a lift; since the ends of the axle are going to be a bit lower, should the pivot points be lower too?

Sent via flux capacitor
 
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jydog

New member
I think this axle is still in the salvage yard that i go to. Let me know if you need any measurements from it. I don't know what I can reference them from
but its a complete front frame with axles attached. I would think the pivot point spacing would be the most important.
 
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tgreening

Expedition Leader
Longer Radius arms make sence, and moving the axle forward is consistent with UJoint's setup to fit bigger tires. If I could do 4x4 without growing to 10' tall, I'd be more willing to consider it.

You can do it. Four inch ujoint and some 33's. Nice mild lift with some nice mild size tires and good to go.
 

tgreening

Expedition Leader
OP: Just curious why you're set on the TTB? No intention of trying to talk you out of it, just curious your thought process.
 

philos

Explorer
Mwilliamshs got most of it:

My priorities are a smoother ride on washboard roads, particularly in Baja where the washboard can be more like whoops.
Keeping a lower COG

and yeah, it is kinda cool to me.
 

justcuz

Explorer
I would stay away from beam drop brackets. They transfer stress to the chassis and cause cracks.
If you need to reset the camber, you can move the lower ball joint out further on the beam.
The springs ending up closer to the tire is a good thing, your dampeners are right out close to were the force is being generated on them.
I've repeatedly watched Agile Off Roads videos of the van, there is no way you could safely maintain those speeds with a solid axle van.
There are 2 kinds of folks when it comes to TTB. The haters and the ones who understand it and know it can work.
I myself am still puzzled that Ford put leaf springs on TTB and expected it to function well. It's OK for 4 to 6" of suspension travel, but beyond that it sucks. Coil sprung TTB is a whole other ball game.
 
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bcaine

New member
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Glad to know you've noticed and do hope you know how the knowledge you've left around the internet is inspiring.

And also, would that difference in spring to wheel center be translated to the pivot points for the axle and for the radius arms?
I'm thinking kinda like the drop brackets they used to make for Broncos to get a lift; since the ends of the axle are going to be a bit lower, should the pivot points be lower ?
My plans for the pivots: Use them to compensate for the change to camber by extending the mounts downward as you describe. The other option would be cut and turn. I think brackets put the differential a bit further away from the crossmember and reduces the amount the member needs to be notched.

As far as radius arms, I don't plan to drop them, just a bit of trig there to make the new ones.

I think this axle is still in the salvage yard that i go to. Let me know if you need any measurements from it. I don't know what I can reference them from
but its a complete front frame with axles attached. I would think the pivot point spacing would be the most important.
Don't know if this needs a quantitative measurement, but I'm a bit worried about the angle where the tie rod ends mount to the knuckle. The mounting surface on the knuckle in my mockup points downward at a pretty large angle. Perhaps this doesn't matter, or the drop pitman arm is also angled down to match so the planes swept by the pitman arm and knuckle mounting surfaces are both declined an equal amount below vertical. My "level" is based on the idea that the previous leaf springs would have mounted on a flat surface, so keep that surface level. Doing so angles the steering as described. So if you're out there that's all I'm wondering presently.

I'm hoping to work without pivot spacing measures by welding my wheels at 69.25" between wms and assembling the axle between the wheel surfaces. If the axles need to be flat, this just leaves one place for the pivots to end up. The whole jig can the slid under the van and cardboard templates made for the pivots.

I measured from wheel centers to fender lip before removing the old 2wd setup, so I can just raise axle to the correct lift height based on the wheel centers to fenders on my jig.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Coil sprung TTB is a whole other ball game.
They still eat tires.

Camber changes as the suspension cycles.

So where do you set your alignment? Rig loaded, or empty?

'Cause it matters! Especially with a full size that may gain 1500 lbs when loaded for a trip.
Food, water, gear, people....
 

Mwilliamshs

Explorer
Excellent. I got a couple measurements off an 89 F250 this afternoon at the junkyard.

WMS to WMS was 69"
Spring pad centers for the leafs were 37"
Those are the measurements I can remember off hand; hoping I didn't toss that piece of paper!

Edit:
I think the coil placement sounds about right, Agile puts them way out there from the photos and videos.

And also, would that difference in spring to wheel center be translated to the pivot points for the axle and for the radius arms?
I'm thinking kinda like the drop brackets they used to make for Broncos to get a lift; since the ends of the axle are going to be a bit lower, should the pivot points be lower too?

Sent via flux capacitor
What ride height was it at when you took these measurements? They'll change as the axle moves as it's split.

Lowering the axle pivots isn't necessary. I'd look into the high zoot ranger kits (97 and earlier of course) with modified beams for inspiration.
 

justcuz

Explorer
They still eat tires.

Camber changes as the suspension cycles.

So where do you set your alignment? Rig loaded, or empty?

'Cause it matters! Especially with a full size that may gain 1500 lbs when loaded for a trip.
Food, water, gear, people....
Loaded of course. Eating tires was a function of weak shocks. Back in the old days dual shocks doubled or even tripled tire life. Today, shock technology is very improved and 1 good shock does the job. TTB on the road does not cycle enough to eat tires badly.
Unloaded you will get positive camber but no worse than any VW rear end and they don't wear tires fast.
 

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