with Bill Johnston
K.A.D. Drive Shaft from Rocky Road Outfitters with Bill Johnston
My stock front driveshaft was about as wobbly as you can get without losing it going down the trail. The shaft would move almost an inch from side to side when you grabbed it at the splines. It was time to start looking for a replacement before I got really embarrassed on the trail, or in the parking lot, or the driveway... but you get the picture.
Drive shafts are replaced all the time, but usually with other stock drive shafts... at least ones that haven't failed yet. We add spacers and extenders to make them fit the amount of lift we install. It works, they fit, but does that increase the capability of the component? Nope.
We now have suspensions available to us that can far exceed the capabilities of a stock drive shaft, so we need to start looking for a worthwhile replacement. The replacement must have beefy universal joints, a strong body and long travel splines to put up with the punishment we tend to dish out. Oh, and it needs to be able to bolt up to your Suzuki flanges without any machining... yeah, right. Ok, while we are dreaming, let's add yokes that are made for high angle applications and they need to be in stock - ready to ship to your door without any custom work to be done...
These photos show a comparison of the stock front driveshaft and the new driveshafts available from Rocky Road Outfitters. These K.A.D. Driveshafts meet all of the above requirements and then some. Let's count down the specs:
- 1/2 ton pickup (1310) universal joints
- .25" wall tube
- 12" splines for a good 10" of usable extension
- High angle yokes (up to 30 degrees of deflection)
- Samurai flange bolt pattern (small OR large)
Can you say SWEEEEET?
The shaft on the left of the photo is the stock unit. Those are the splines that you have been betting the farm on every time you stomp on the gas to take that impossible waterfall. Wouldn't you rather trust your rig the the splines on the right? The photo on the right shows the same pair of shafts as above, but with the splines extended. All of a sudden they don't look very similar anymore. Sometimes, if there is a shackle reverse conversion done on a vehicle, the axle tends to swing forward - away from the transfer case when the suspension stretches out. With the (much) longer travel capability of the new shaft, there is no more 'dropping out' when you get the suspension twisted up...
On the left you can see one of the reasons this shaft is built a little different than stock. When the suspension droops, the driveshaft can actually come into contact with the cross brace that is just ahead of the transfer case. Instead of using a larger tube like the stock unit, this one is built using a solid shaft that has a smaller diameter. It is stronger than stock and affords better clearance. The side by side comparison of the universal joints in the picture to the right speaks for itself. Those are the same size ujoints as you would find in a 1/2 ton pickup. The yokes are from Spicer, machined to fit your Samurai flanges. Fight the urge to use a spacer at the transfer case end to increase the clearance... the yoke is so massive that it will hit the cross member when hammer the throttle. At least it did when we checked it with a 1" spacer.
Try twisting one of these off with a Suzuki drive train... ain't gonna happen! A couple of 14mm wrenches and 15 minutes of work and you are set for the rough stuff.
Rocky Road Outfitters, LLCHeber City, UT 84032Orders: 888-801-7271 Fax: 435-654-6662 Tech: 435-654-1149