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Free-Spin Hub Kits Beef Up Front Axles
Owners of Dodge and Ford 4-WD trucks can beef up their front ends, improve mileage, and reduce road vibration by reworking factory front axle assemblies.
"In the 1990's Dodge and Ford did away with the fixed spindle design bolted to the steering knuckle with replaceable bearings," explains Jim McGean, president, Dynatrac Products. "They went to unitized bearing assemblies, sometimes referred to as live spindle assemblies. Essentially they're non-serviceable units that can cost $350 to $500 to replace."
The good thing for the average truck buyer is that the units are sealed and lubed for life. However, McGean explains, if the seals break down, moisture and contamination get in and they begin to fail. This can damage brake parts as well.
For most truck buyers this isn't a problem, allows McGean. "They're building trucks for 75 to 80 percent of their customers who may not use them for anything heavier than hauling trash on Saturday," he says. "That leaves 20 to 25 percent who need a heavier duty truck. That's the market we serve."
Dynatrac has been around for about 18 years and is best known for producing complete custom drive assemblies. The company's new free-spin hub conversion kits fit Ford and Dodge pickups.
The kits include Timken bearings, cromoly spindles, cast nodular wheel hubs, Warn Premium manual locking hubs, and massive 1 1/2-in. dia., 35-spline outer axle shafts, all made in the U.S.
"The bearings require a little more attention from the owner and mechanic, but all mechanics know how to adjust and lubricate wheel bearings," says McGean.
The Dynatrac bearings are held in place by steel cages. "With our bearings, if they start to fail they make noise, and you can drive to where you can get them fixed," says McGean. "With sealed units, sometimes the only indication is when the ABS light comes on just before they go, and you're completely disabled."
Dynatrac kits for Fords from model years 1999 through 2004 are priced at $1,795 and $1,895 for 2005 and newer models. All Dodge kits are priced at $1,895.
Dodge owners reap the greatest fuel economy, adding 2 to 4 mpg in diesel fuel use. The reason for the improvement is Dodge front wheel drive shafts are constantly spinning, as owners are unable to unlock the hub. The spinning also adds vibration and interferes with steering.
"Dodge has 125 lbs. of steel axle shafts, pinion gears and drive shafts rotating all the time, whether in 2-WD or 4-WD," explains McGean. "With our Free Spin Hub Conversion kits, Dodge owners report a smoother ride with lighter, easier turning."
Ford still has the locking hub. However, McGean points out that the OEM hub often fails. "The locking hubs that come with the Free Spin Hub kits are more reliable and longer lasting," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dynatrac Products, 7392 Count Circle, Huntington Beach, Calif. 92647 (ph 714 596-4461; sales@dynatrac.com; www. dynatrac. com).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #3