Solid Axle Swap options and opinions and help?

Joined
Dec 28, 2018
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Los Angeles, CA
Hi guys.

So I have a 2000 LX470 that I purchased a few months ago and started modding it. OME lift front and rear, torsions, slee diff drop, running 33's on 17 methods. Took it out and wheeled pretty hard in Death Valley. On the way home I noticed some crazy sounds coming from the front. Took it to a Lexus mechanic and had it diagnosed.

I have pretty much ruined my whole front end. Blown diff, ring and pinion, CV's are bad, UCA's and LCA's are bad(bushings), steering rack and pinion are done and tie rods, plus all the bearings and re-build kits needed also. The whole job is estimated for around 6k. Of course, if i was going to replace the diff, I'd plan on upgrading to locking diffs and re-gear for 35's which adds doing it to the rear as well adding another 1400 to do the rear as well. A whopping $7,400 to repair something I'm probably going to end up messing up as well. So I have decided that I am going to undertake a huge project with a SAS.

I'm hoping some of the guys that have done it already, can help me out. @LX470Beast @duggy @40Habits @I Lean @sleeoffroad @Nicholas Hanke @nukegoat . I've read all the build threads and they are awesome.

Looking at the front options on which axle to run. My goal is run 35-37's but have concerns about the smaller axles' strength. I have prior fab skills on motorcycles but I've never done anything on trucks before.

Dana60 - pricey option but super strong
Dana44 - Is this strong enough?
10 Bolt - pretty much a dana
14 Bolt - pretty much a dana
FJ80 front - seems like the go to for most
Custom - Lots of $$$ but less building

- Where should I start?
- What are my options for matching lug patterns while keeping the rear axle? How can I convert the 5 lug to match the front or vice versa?
- Why did you choose your set up?
- Calculating link geometry? What bracketry did you use? Did you fab them, buy them? Pro's and con's to 4 link vs 3 link?
- What kind gauge did you use for frames/spring buckets/ etc?
- Suspension set up? Why coils vs coil overs vs leafs?
- What did you use to weld all the stuff up? MIG vs TIG?
- custom drive shafts?
- Am I crazy for trying to get this done?
 

Somebodyelse5

Land Crushers
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If you are willing to turn wrenches yourself, and have the tools, you can absolutely fix the issues with the front end (other than the new ring and pinion) for around $2.5k (ballparking 500 for CV's, 500 for rack, 500 for UCAs, 100 for LCA parts, 100 for tie rods, 150 for alignment, few hundred on grease and consumables) All of the items are things (other than the gears) are things I've done in the driveway and are generally required maintenance on 15+ year old rigs.

If you WANT to do a SAS, I say go for it. No justification required :) SAS 100 is pretty cool.

Would I do a SAS if I were in your shoes? No. I'd part out the 100 and buy an 80. Spend the extra funds on the 80 for 3link and lockers or a cummins swap :)
 
Joined
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If you are willing to turn wrenches yourself, and have the tools, you can absolutely fix the issues with the front end (other than the new ring and pinion) for around $2.5k (ballparking 500 for CV's, 500 for rack, 500 for UCAs, 100 for LCA parts, 100 for tie rods, 150 for alignment, few hundred on grease and consumables) All of the items are things (other than the gears) are things I've done in the driveway and are generally required maintenance on 15+ year old rigs.

If you WANT to do a SAS, I say go for it. No justification required :) SAS 100 is pretty cool.

Would I do a SAS if I were in your shoes? No. I'd part out the 100 and buy an 80. Spend the extra funds on the 80 for 3link and lockers or a cummins swap :)
I think I'm just trying to justify and convince myself that I should do a SAS. I could definitely do the repairs myself but what keeps me from doing it is that I'll probably end up ruining the IFS stuff again.
 

Somebodyelse5

Land Crushers
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I think I'm just trying to justify and convince myself that I should do a SAS. I could definitely do the repairs myself but what keeps me from doing it is that I'll probably end up ruining the IFS stuff again.
If you want a SAS'd 100 you should do it. I stand by what I said though, I'd just buy an 80 ;) and I mean, look at your username ;)
 
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I would get an 80 or repair the 100. SAS your car will Be down for at least a month I'd guess. I loosely estimated it would cost me $10k+ to SAS and get all the upgrades i want. For that I'd sell my 100 and start working on a LS 80 series. Go for it if thats what you like though! They are rad
 
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nukegoat

80 brakes suck
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For what it's worth, my axle swap project is probably going to clock in around $18,000. I paid for a builder to assemble crate axles for me, but I only saved a few thousand with the junkyard approach on my 80. It'll be down for probably 6 months (at least). Remember you have to deal with the following:

1) Removing all the IFS stuff
2) Plumbing your power steering to a steering box
3) Mounting a steering box
4) Deciding to run coils and shocks or coilovers
5) Driveshafts
6) Reinforcing engine mounts
7) Adapting brake lines
8) ABS ?
9) Pinion offsets and suspension geometry

Not saying not to do it, but don't fool yourself into thinking it's equivalent to fixing it as-is. In fact, I have a spare diff and CVs you can buy off me :)

Lastly, and please dont' take any sort of offense to this, but the questions you are asking are fun questions to answer, but really suggest to me that you'd be in over your head unless you just paid a shop to SAS it (no shame in that, IMO, just more money).
 
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I think I’d get a second opinion on your current issue before jumping into this... unless you just have the money to blow,
You could buy a good 80 for the price of the SAS
Took it to 3 mechanics already and all pretty much said the same thing. I could get away with just the steering rack and diffs to get it back on the road. Getting a bunch of info together and it seems like a pretty daunting task. I may just fix the problem and sell it to get an 80.
 

blatant

 
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IMO, Just work towards an 80, it's a reasonable OEM solid axle choice. Once found minimal hassle and wrench to build it even better.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
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Location
Los Angeles, CA
For what it's worth, my axle swap project is probably going to clock in around $18,000. I paid for a builder to assemble crate axles for me, but I only saved a few thousand with the junkyard approach on my 80. It'll be down for probably 6 months (at least). Remember you have to deal with the following:

1) Removing all the IFS stuff
2) Plumbing your power steering to a steering box
3) Mounting a steering box
4) Deciding to run coils and shocks or coilovers
5) Driveshafts
6) Reinforcing engine mounts
7) Adapting brake lines
8) ABS ?
9) Pinion offsets and suspension geometry

Not saying not to do it, but don't fool yourself into thinking it's equivalent to fixing it as-is. In fact, I have a spare diff and CVs you can buy off me :)

Lastly, and please dont' take any sort of offense to this, but the questions you are asking are fun questions to answer, but really suggest to me that you'd be in over your head unless you just paid a shop to SAS it (no shame in that, IMO, just more money).
No offense at all. Just doing my research to see if I could make this possible. My end goal is nowhere near what you are trying to accomplish. I get the basic stuff of the job but the more I dive into everything, the more expensive it gets even if I did all the work myself, the parts are at 6500 and I work in the industry.
 

erse

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I'll get there eventually. Hence my profile name. I orginally wanted the 80 but test drove it and it felt very underpowered.
The 80 power is underwhelming, that's why I sold mine. Out here in the west the mountains are little fun when you have no power. However the 80 can't really be beaten off road and it sounds like that's your big consideration for use. You may want to trade on road cruising power for off road chops based on your own particular circumstances. Only you can really make that determination. We all struggle a little with those trade offs I think when looking at and living with these things I think. The older I get the more a 100 makes sense but I'm guessing you are a younger man and therefore a bit less grumpy about your back hurting than I am :). An 80 might be the ticket.
Now I have heard rumor of a supercharged 80 @shermantank55 that will erase a lot of those underpowered 80 concerns. If only we could all find something along those lines...
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2005
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Asheville, NC
Can you make this possible? Sure. But why are you taking it to three different shops to diagnose your problems if you are going to DIY a SAS on a 100? If you aren't going to DIY, who cares if it's MIG'd or TIG'd, just pay the man to get it done.

The easy way would be:
1. Fix differential.
2. Sell LX470 to someone wanting a nice overland rig.
3. Buy lifted 80 with blown headgasket.
4. Do an LS3 swap.
5. Relax and drink a few kegs with all the time, money, and headache saved.
 
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