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4WD Systems Transfer Cases & Locking Hubs.

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Old 12-07-2017, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default One Piece DS Swap Dilemma..?

Ordered a one piece shaft from a local yard for my '91 extended cab 4WD (4.0, A4LD,1354M, D35,8.8) and received what they claim is a '99 shaft.

Both yokes are the large 3" bolt pattern and it's 1-1.5" too long installed. My truck is stock height right now and at ride height the shaft only has roughly 1/4" of compression left in it, if that. Is there a possibility that they sent me the wrong shaft?

I called and they are pulling a shaft in another yard, from a '98 this time around. Won't know till Tuesday if that one is correct or not. Hoping that this doesn't just turn into an opened can or worms. And I REALLY don't want to end up with a silly long shaft stuffed through the back of my t-case.

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Old 12-08-2017, 12:30 AM   #2
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Has anybody run into this length issue when swapping shafts? The bolt pattern difference is simple enough to solve. Really hoping that this second shaft they are sending is shorter, though I've never heard or seen any length differences in them. What gives guys?

And I'll admit now, I have Explorer leaves and Belltech shackles under the rear, minus the overloads and factory blocks. The height is within 1/2" of stock but my pinion angle is 3-4 degrees high as a result.

Buuuut...This makes very little difference in regards to driveshaft length. Dropping the pinion back down, which will happen as soon as I swap in the disc braked Exploder 8.8 I'm picking up tomorrow, will only gain me about 1/16" of shaft length. That leaves me at around 5/16" of compression travel in the slip splines. Still not enough compression travel. As it is, I have to STUFF the shaft in there to get it in the truck at all.

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Last edited by C.O.RBVaddict; 12-08-2017 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:03 AM   #3
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Sounds to me like they did send you a wrong shaft (I'm not aware of any length differences among '88 & later 4WD S/C trucks, auto or manual trans).

1998 to mid-2000 came with a one-piece steel rear driveshaft having a large rear flange (3" hole spacing), and a smaller front flange (2.5" hole spacing).
However there was also a TSB on these shafts for a clunk issue, which involved replacing it with a larger dia. aluminum shaft (3" hole spacing both ends) and a new t-case output flange. However the d/s should still be the same length.

FWIW, that clunk issue was very easily resolved by packing some fresh grease of the proper type in the slip-yoke & splines.
Apparently Ford saw it better fit to make waste by replacing whole shafts than paying a tech an addl. 10 minutes time greasing a spline (infact, the t-case flange swap negates that anyway, so just goes to show how efficient they are. lol)
So pack some good grease in the yoke if you get a steel one, and you should be good. The steel shaft is preferable anyway since the steel shafts are smaller dia. and less prone to rubbing the fuel tank skid when the suspension is flexed offroad (regardless you will need to trim the skid back some though no matter what).
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:23 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply man. At this point though, I've been through three different shafts, all incorrect. The first shaft that they claimed was a '99, which had the wrong yokes and was too long. The second was what they claimed was a '98, correct yokes, too long. And now I have an '01 aluminum unit sitting here, wrong yokes, too long.

I'm starting to think that the length is an issue that has been overlooked by so many because they are installing them mostly on lifted trucks, where the extra length would be beneficial. And if I had to guess, the few who HAVE installed them on stock height trucks didn't pay attention to the compressed length of the shaft. And because nothing has ever broken, "it works." Well, that doesn't work for MY truck.

Back in goes the two piece shaft till Spring. I'll mess with finding another steel one piece unit and just have it cut to the length I need at that point. My truck has been down for two weeks now, for what most claim is a bolt-in swap. It's going back together today and I'll revisit this later on.

Pictured is the '01 unit, my stock 2 piece shaft, and a stock '91 Exploder rear...just cuz.

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Old 12-13-2017, 11:42 PM   #5
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Sorry to hear of your frustration.

That article has been up for 13 years, so it's a bit surprising no one's brought this up yet if it's true. Though like you said, nearly everyone doing this swap has a lifted truck.

I guess I have to ask why you want to get rid of your two-piece shaft? They normally don't present issues at stock height.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:49 AM   #6
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I find it unlikely that two shafts had the exact same problem, but I know this swap works.

I have the 1-piece in my 87, and i have more than 1/4" compression left in the slip joint.

Also, since after 88 none of the lengths involved ever changed, trans, t-case, wheelbase and diff snout are all the same lengths (except 7.5 vs 8.8) then logically the later shaft should fit the older truck.
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