Toyota Solid Axle Swap: Worth the Headache?
Solid axles get lots of hype in terms of off-road capability. But does the high level of difficulty make it worthwhile?
With all the hoopla surrounding solid axles and how great they are in off-road applications, it should come as no surprise that later model Toyota swaps are a hot topic. But swapping axles can be a tedious and expensive job. And it’s most certainly not for the faint of heart. Many will argue that it’s simply not worth the hassle, and that’s totally understandable. Still, it’s a topic that YotaTech member KinnamanRoll was curious about. So he posed the question to our resident experts in the forums.
“I own a 1988 Toyota pickup, single cab, short bed, stock suspension. I’ll be honest. I am no expert on this, but I am doing my best to learn as much as I can before I dive into the project. Have a few people who can help me with the actual work. I just want to be more educated on this and know all the options I have. I am planning on keeping it easy and just putting leafs all around. I’ll probably stick with 35s (I currently have 30s).”
As you’d imagine with such a hot topic, responses range from solid advice to words of caution. Member muddpigg offers up the former with some recommended axles.
“Built Toyota (mini or LC), Diamond, Trailgear, or Dana 60. If you go Dana, I wouldn’t go lower than a d60.”
Yotard has done the swap himself, and has some excellent advice on how to tackle the daunting task.
“I just finished a solid axle swap on my ’95 4Runner. I priced out all of the parts 3 years ago. Made a spreadsheet with everything I needed and the price. And I’ve been slowly accumulating them as I could afford them. I got an ’85 mini truck axle. Put armor from Trail Gear on it, upper truss, full face diff guard, knuckle ball gussets and steering stops. I bought a Marlin axle rebuild kit and spent a couple weekends cutting, grinding, priming, and painting the axle. Check out Low Range Off-Road on YouTube. They have a nine part series of what it takes to rebuild the axle. Just doing that is a pretty big job.”
He also echoes sentiments we’ve heard from others regarding the choice of brands.
“The Allpro kit is the same price as Trail Gear, and people don’t complain about their leaf springs failing after a year. Trail Gear comes with the axle rebuild kit that Allpro does not. That’s why I bought the Marlin axle rebuild kit. I wanted to keep mine low, and Allpro swapped out the standard spring hangar and 5″ shackles with the low profile spring hanger and 4″ shackles, no charge. I used the 4″ lift springs so I’m still able to clear 35″ tires. I’m also running RCV axles with a lifetime warranty. Build it right and build it once.”
All excellent advice. But we want to know – have you attempted/completed a solid axle swap on your Toyota? If so, head over here and share your experiences with the OP and anyone else who might be mulling the job!
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