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Steven Lutz

Why switch from Steel Cable to Synthetic Winchlines? Safety, Strength, & Ease of Handling

Training: While synthetic winch lines are much safer, recovery operations are still dangerous and we encourage all winch owners with steel or synthetic winch lines to attend safety and training classes from certified trainers such as: Bill Burke, Tom Severin, Bruce Elfstrom, Garrett Porter and others. See I4WDTA for more information.

Ease of Handling: Steel winch cables have a tendency to kink, rust, and have very sharp strands once nicked. They also tend to straighten by the nature of the material making them harder to spool back on the winch properly. Our synthetic winchlines have none of these problems. However, synthetic lines are more susceptible to sharp edges (bumpers in particular) and heat, but they are much stronger, safer and easier to work with.

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John Stewart

All About Fasteners, Chapter One - Nuts, Bolts, and Screws

This is the first in a series of articles regarding fasteners. Over the coming months we will discuss bolts, , nuts, washers, specialty fasteners and their applications.Typical Screw and Bolt Configurations

This month our discussion turns to bolts and screws. The purpose of this article is to provide a cursory overview of the common nomenclature, grades and classes, identification of both SAE Inch and ISO / DIN Metric bolts and screws and a short overview of screw threads.

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John Stewart

Setting Pinion Angle Correctly


Setting Pinion Angle Correctly

Don't know how to set your pinion angle? Read on!Note the angle of the U-joint (shown in red). The angle constantly changes as the U-joint rotates, causing the driveshaft to speed up and slow down as it rotates.This represents a standard driveshaft setup that is done correctly. Note how the angle of the pinion is parallel with the angle of the transfer case output. Pinion and transfer case output angles are shown in orange. The drive shaft angle is exaggerated in these drawings.Another way that a standard drive shaft could be set up correctly. This is a situation that is typically encountered when the transfer case is lowered. Note how the pinion angle has been raised to be parallel with the transfer case output shaft.This is a standard drive shaft setup that is going to cause vibrations. Notice how the pinion angle is very different from the transfer case output shaft angle.Here is a CV type setup that is done correctly. The pinion should be 2 degrees below being pointed straight into the drive shaft.Here's an improperly setup CV system. The pinion should be pointed into the driveshaft rather than parallel with the transfer case output on this type of setup.

Pinion angle is one of the more important measurements on a lifted vehicle. The wrong angle can lead to vibration and premature failure of U-joints, drive shafts, pinion bearings and even transfer case output bearings.

Types of drive shafts

There are two common types of drive shafts used in 4wd vehicles, standard with one U-joint at each end and CV drive shafts. CV stands for Constant Velocity. CV drive shafts are so named because they have a constant velocity joint at one end, the other end has a single U-joint.

There are two types of constant velocity joints, the double cardan and the caged ball type. The double cardan type is the CV joint with the two U-joints at one end that is so popular with 4 wheelers. The caged ball type is similar to a CV joint in a front wheel drive car or a Birfield from a Samuri or Toyota front axle. The caged ball type CV joint is notoriously weak and is it fortunate that these drive shafts can be found in only a few four wheel vehicles including some Bronco II's and a few early XJ Cherokees. Most who find caged ball type CV drive shafts on their vehicles quickly upgrade to a standard double cardan type CV drive shaft.

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Steven Lutz

4340 vs. 4340 - What's in your axle?

Superior Axle does have two versions of chromoly axle shafts, the Discovery Series and the Evolution Series. The Discovery Series is their overseas model which is probably closer to 4140 than 4340, understand that it’s not a 'quality of steel' issue but a 'difference in standards', there is no true "4340" used overseas.  They call it something different and it’s close; but, not exactly the same. The Evolution Series is what we’re after, the good stuff, strong beefy home bred axle shafts made right here in L.A.  Superior’s Evolution Series chromoly axle shafts are made right here in the USA.

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