with Bill Johnston
Do It Yourself Front Axle Project Part I
While some zook pilots have replaced the entire axle assembly with a larger (non-Suzuki) component for more strength, it isn't always a requirement. This series will show how you can add upgrades to the stock axle that will provide lift, strength and durability without re-engineering your suspension.
The project started when I realized that it would be a good idea to have a spare front axle for those times when I wanted to really jump on it but knew I had to get to the office on Monday (this vehicle is a daily driver). As the project progressed, the axle went under the zook and the original went into the garage for a rebuild.
How was it upgraded you ask? We started with a simple set of lower shock mounts from Petroworks. They are welded to the bottom of the stock perches with an additional support strut that attaches out near the end of the axle tube. The photos on the left show the same mounts on the original axle featuring the first SPOA pads I used. These were the earlier generation SPOA pads made by Glenn Wakefield back when Rocky Road Outfitters was still known as Summit Offroad. The photo on the right shows the new generation spring perch with a shock mount welded to the bottom of the original SPUA perch. The perches we are using for this buildup are the newest design from Rocky Road Outfitters. These have some truly beefy walls to support the load. The perches used on our original SPOA conversion served well and will continue life under the parts trailer being assembled for an upcoming feature. The earlier design incorporated a pair of "legs" on each side of the axle tube. Both designs allow the perch to wrap around the axle tube and attach to the original perch. This allows you to put more heat for a solid weld at the original perch and thus doesn't weaken the axle tube. I only used two small tack welds on each side to hold the tube in place while I made the perch-to-perch connection more permanent.
The newer, beefier RRO SPOA perches
Next we wanted to make sure the pumpkins were well protected, so we added a set of pumpkin caps from Higher Heights Off Road in Canada. They keep the rocks away from the relatively thin metal of the pumpkin while leaving a small drain slot in the lower portion to allow mud and water to rinse out easily. These are a weld-on option, and well worth the time and attention of a good installation.
Stay Tuned... In the next installment we will look at adding axle gusseting, and a locker.
Pumpkin Caps Higher Heights Off Road, 5450 Scotty Creek Road, Kelowna, BC, V1X 6T9, Canadawww.samuraioffroad.com
Lower Front Shock Mounts PetroworksBox 848 Fallbrook CA 92088www.petroworks.com1-800-952-8915 Orders 1-760-731-9434 Tech & Questions
SPOA Axle Perches Rocky Road Outfitters P.O. Box 681245 Park City, UT 84068 www.rocky-road.com 1-888-801-7271 Orders 1-435-783-2990 Tech1-435-783-4355 Fax