SAS Weak Points? Serviceability? Durability?

robcarync Aug 19, 2016

  1. robcarync

    robcarync Sliders

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    My 2004 Xterra has the IFS all built up: control arms, grassroots center link, gusseted idler and pitman arms...idler arm braces and bushings...and heavy duty tie rods. Front Lokka is nice in the stock diff, too. That being said, I seem to have trouble keeping the thing road worthy.

    Wheeling seems to always end up with jammed up tie rods, alignment out of whack, and my latest issue is wheel bearings. They had already been replaced about two years ago, and I learned my lesson from my last grenaded bearing...so I have repacked them at least once a year. One time wheeling and two drives on the beach and they are back to making a bad sounding noise, so it is back to clean and repack again....and again....and again.

    So my question is: how much more durable is a basic solid axle swap as compared to a built up IFS? I am throwing the SAS idea around in my head as more of a durability upgrade than a huge lift for giant tires. I would want to keep a similar stance and keep my 33s. I really don't wheel super hard...so it isn't so much about gaining the extreme flex and offroad capability to me.

    Are the IFS headaches of tie rods and steering systems simply replaced by other weak points?

    I have the idea of doing a basic leaf spring set up...or dropping cash money on the Calmini kit. Obviously weak points will always exist with any design, but surely less moving parts and them all in a solid casing would equal a more durable set up?

    Or do I just have wishful thinking looking at greener grass on the other side?
     
  2. Jbat

    Jbat First Fill-Up (of many)

    Messages:
    274
    Location:
    Utah
    It's much more durable in my opinion. I have an 800lb motor sitting on top of my axle and have 37" tires with hydraulic assist steering and have no issues keeping it in alignment. The biggest thing is the setup, run a stout drag link and tie rod (I use 1.5" 0.25" wall tube) and it holds up nicely. A lot of people say that once you go SAS that it's not street friendly anymore. That simply is not true, I drive mine on the street almost daily and it will go down the freeway at 80mph without issue. Again, it's all in the setup
     
  3. TheFauxFox

    TheFauxFox Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

    Messages:
    6,005
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    This. For simplicity, but a harsher ride IMO, a leaf setup will be fairly stable and robust.
     
  4. drbandkgb

    drbandkgb Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

    Messages:
    11,187
    Muddy water and wheel bearings... killer every time..

    The largest hurdle is the cost... I know Xterror04 (Luke) did it fairly cheap with leaf springs but your still looking at sinking the value of the SUV into it.
    The calming kit is super nice and easy to install... All you need to weld is the link mounts and coil mounts to the donor axle..
    gears for the Dana44 are fairly affordable and so are most of the parts brake calibers and such..

    Ill have 3500 in mine once I finish it up and I worked every deal I could find...
     
  5. Muadeeb

    Muadeeb Bastard Admin from Hell Admin

    Messages:
    15,643
    Location:
    Dallas
    You're _still_ not done?
    sent via wild ferrets
     
  6. robcarync

    robcarync Sliders

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Price is always the hurdle, I hear that. I know it's a few thousand minimum or 10k+ if you are going all out. I can swing the money mathematically...if I could convince my wife it's a good idea (the REAL hurdle). I know I could re-build the IFS multiple times before coming close to breaking even with SAS...but looking at the last two years, I have spent many more hours fixing things than having 4WD engaged. If the up front cost ($ and time) of the SAS will keep me on the road/trail more often, I may seriously consider it. I also don't want to trick myself into thinking the SAS is the end all be all of future repairs when completed, as I don't want to be that naïve...hence I am curious from those that have SASd...any common repairs/maintenance you run into?

    I saw Luke's build, which is exactly what kind of set up I would want to do. A few people have done similar setups:

    http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/t.../129-0906-2002-nissan-xterra-solid-axle-swap/

    http://xterranation.org/showthread.php?6559-SUA-Sas

    http://nissannut.com/projects/SAS_WD21/

    If I could 1) eliminate the stupid IFS tie rods that break and bend easily, 2) not have to deal with idiots at alignment shops not knowing how camber/caster are related on control arms, and 3) all around improve durability/reliability by going simple and robust...I would be a happy camper.
     
  7. granitex

    granitex Skid Plates Founding Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    The statement should really be not as street friendly, You just have a bunch of unsprung weight bouncing around under there after you sas, while Ifs it is still sprung weight, that is really why you get a better ride. You just get a much stronger steering setup with the SAS. They can both be done to be street friendly, of done so that they are awful on either. Done rite you can drive coast to coast, wheeling in between without issues, ABS, and no dash lights. The choice is yours. Just remember once you SAS it you pretty much own it forever, most people will not buy a built rig, mainly for the unknowns, who did the work? did they have any idea what they were doing? what parts did they use? the list can go on for a long time.
     
  8. robcarync

    robcarync Sliders

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    All good points. It's not my daily driver anymore, so I don't mind the street friendly compromise. I mean, I want it to be safe and not bump steer me into guard rails, but I don't mind some sacrifice there. My wife already refuses to drive it anywhere, so I'd be the only one using it.

    I already figure I own it forever :) It's had a ton of dents, junkyard door and fenders with a Maaco paint job leaving mismatched colors in the seams, and more scratches...and the interior is pretty bad. Already, I would probably make more money parting out the after market stuff, and scrapping the rest to a salvage yard.

    I don't know if I am really ready to take the leap to SAS land yet...but man...having a stronger and more durable set up sure is appealing right now.
     
  9. Frogstar7055

    Frogstar7055 Wheeling

    Messages:
    554
    Location:
    Jacksonville FL
    I've been agonizing this same question for awhile. My X is past daily driver status,never gonna sell it,as built as it can be with IFS.
    Just can't seem to make up my mind.
     
  10. xterror04

    xterror04 Site sponsor Founding Member

    Messages:
    1,294
    Location:
    Carlisle, Iowa
    Buy a Dana 44 and don't look back.. Leaf spring setups can be done inexpensive and very reliable.. If you do the work yourself it can be pretty cheap.. Alotnif the cost comes down to what condition the axle is in.. Mine needed a full rebuild.

    Maintenance is minimal, grease steering joints, hubs and change gear oil.. Parts are available at any parts store, and very cheap.. New calipers for a wagoneer axle are a wopping $25.. I kept my truck low and use mostly stock grand wagoneer parts.. All my steering is grand wagoneer so if it breaks it's easy to find new parts..

    It drives great down the road also.. I drove 2400 miles round trip from Des Moines to Moab, handled great in the mountains and in Utah going 80+ mph..
     
  11. robcarync

    robcarync Sliders

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    You mean like this D44 out of an 84 Wagoneer?

    I wish...I wish. I haven't done enough research onto this project yet to start collecting parts.
     

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  12. xterror04

    xterror04 Site sponsor Founding Member

    Messages:
    1,294
    Location:
    Carlisle, Iowa
    As long as that's bit a vacuum axle your fine.. Get a bonnet motorsports hanger kit from Nisstec, some rancho rs44044 springs and the axle can be under your truck..
     
  13. robcarync

    robcarync Sliders

    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I've read a bit about the vacuum disconnect axles. How can you tell...just by looking at the hubs? or where does the vac line go to?
     
  14. TheFauxFox

    TheFauxFox Titan Swapped / SAS'd Founding Member

    Messages:
    6,005
    Location:
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Its got this little BS thing on the pumpkin:

    [​IMG]

    The innards are different from the more common D44s and might as well be scrapped. They are found on Wagoneers (among other things) from '94-'95
     

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