You got Crabs?
When Myron Thorson first told me he had Crabs, I had to wonder why he would be bragging... and then I saw the new Zuks Off Road differential protection he had just finished producing and it all fell into place. The quarter inch steel bash plate he designed looked like a crab holding onto the front of the differential! Simple, easy to install (with a welder) and good looking only starts to describe them. And if you have swapped to Toyota axles, ZOR also makes Crabs for those!
When I first started rock crawling (probably the biggest reason for a bashed differential) I installed a bash guard that did the job, but looked pretty rugged. As I removed it I realized that there was a lot going on behind that cover that wasn't for the better. While my old bash guard kept the the big rocks from crushing the axle housing into my gears, the drain hole wasn't large enough and had been filled with trail debris. Over the years, water and mud sat there until it got dumped out in a twisty obstacle. Luckily I live in an area where rust doesn't rear its ugly head or I would have had a half eaten axle housing... The new Crab will fix this problem. Removing the tie rod let me get better access to the front of the differential. This also gave me an excuse to straighten out that little bend that a rock or two had helped me with. The Crab easily fits over the front of the differential, all you have to do is line up the oil plug. If the 'legs' don't grasp the cover tightly, just tap the legs with a hammer until they do. During this installation we are upgrading the front axle. The Crab for the rear axle is almost identical but has longer legs. The Crab is made to give you a little 'bash' room, but some steering components may get a little too close to weld them on straight from the box. These pictures show how close this one comes to the tie rod with the tires pointed straight ahead.
These legs make it easy for mud and water to drain out instead of pooling up and eventually rusting through the axle housing. No more clogged drain holes...
When the wheel was turned all the way to one side you can see that there is definite contact, and that is not good. But you can see just how much room there is to play with just between the Crab and the differential housing. With a little careful measuring, we cut down the upper legs with an angle grinder and a cutoff disc. In this case, we only needed to remove a quarter of an inch of material. This trimming may not be needed for your application, so measure just to make sure. With so many high steer and axle relocation options out there, your mileage may vary.
*NOTE* At the time of this installation, the legs needed to be trimmed. We have been assured by the manufacturer that any Crabs built AFTER this installation will have shorter legs and trimming may not be required. Check and measure for clearance first.
Within just a few minutes we had the legs just the length we needed and it was time to weld. Unlike some bash guards, we didn't need to make long beads of weld, just about an inch of weld on each foot gave the Crab plenty of stability. Just remember to line up the oil plug! After putting the (straightened) tie rod back into place we checked for fit. At full lock (wheel turned all the way to one side) we still had a quarter of an inch of clearance between the Crab and the tie rod. That is plenty! There was still almost a quarter of an inch of air between the Crab and the differential face, so the fit was perfect. After a little paint we were finished.
Bash guards (like these Crabs) are essential for keeping the oil in and the rocks out (away from expensive gears). This should be one of the first things added to the front and rear axles of an off road rig. It just makes it nice when the installation is this easy.
"My Zuk has Crabs, DOES YOURS?"
Zuks Off Road 102 General Crook Trail Camp Verde, AZ 86322 Sales - (714) 488-2272 Info - (928) 567-3061