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Independent front axle-v-straight axle

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by kingriver, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. kingriver

    kingriver Senior Member
    from alaska
    Messages: 217

    looking for some feedback,
    dodges - straight axle - u joints
    chevys - cv joints

    looking for owners who prefer one to the other and feedback as to why or why not own one or the other,,

    thanks
     
  2. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    gm with ifs just cant hold the heavy plows like a coil or leaf spring front with out mods .

    if me i would get a solid axle and also one with out unit bearing/ hub bearings like most new trucks. thay just dont last also.

    stuff is just bigger wesport with solid axle if you ask me. and if possible go for a dana 60 1 ton front for the win. Thumbs Up
     
  3. kingriver

    kingriver Senior Member
    from alaska
    Messages: 217

    so your saying a 2010 GMC Sierra 3500 9.5; Flatbed-dually - with the diesel 6.6/allision 1000 6sp auto, even with snow plow prep pkg would have front end wear, & not hold up as well as a 2010 Dodge 1T reg cab cummins 6.0 straight 6, with 46E trans
     
  4. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    yep. have you run the e-fit programs with the plow brands to see what thay offer ?

    and also check dodge to gm for urea fluid system. i know gm has it before dodge on some models. do you wana put liquids in the truck to burn for the rest of its life ?

    read up on gm frame problems in the past and also ifs = LOTs more parts to wear out.

    also the gvw rating on the gm with the diesel will be maxed out and basicly alow you to run a 7 1/2 stright blade legaly.

    i like my gm trucks but also i dont have any ifs 4x4 trucks also. and as a mechainc for over 10+ years and did LOTS of front end work in the north east rust belt .

    guys wear fronts out on ifs and also major complaints on need the gm front up how to get it there. ? even bars maxed and or key kits ( basicly turning bars more than stock offers ) still dosnt make most guys happy.

    this is my opinion and my years of facts from first hand experience. GM NEEDS to offer a solid axle 3/4 - 1ton option to be a major player again in my mind/eyes payup
     
  5. massbowtie

    massbowtie Member
    Messages: 97

    My experience with my 2001 CHEVY 2500 HD C/C 6.0 was that after 9 years of plowing and normal city/hiway miles(79,000) is that I replaced 1 part on the front end and that was a center link @ 42,000 miles, thats it. I plow commercially and do a few drives. MAINTENANCE is what works for me. The truck did have other known issues like exh.manifold bolts and the steering clunk that was not caused by plowing. Im running an 09 GMC now and hopefully it will be as good. I also had a 96 and a 98 1/2 ton that I never had any front end repairs but they had less miles (35-45K) when I got rid of those.They worked commercially to.
     
  6. BowTieDmax

    BowTieDmax Senior Member
    Messages: 152

    Well from my experience with 7 gm 2500hd duramax allison trucks running blizzard 810-8611lp from 2001- 2011 is?? Lets see nothing major broke on the front end. lower ball joints on one truck. idler/pitman arm every 2 years (lifetime moog parts).
    My buddys got all 2500hds with duramax allison running fisher v's and 9' x blades with no big failures. And I can assure you that we use them hard along lake erie with much heavy lake snow fall.
    I dont want to start a ford / chevy thing but I wish a guy I know could voice his record about wheel bearings and ball joints on his fords.
    The point I'm making is that I really have never seen the ifs chevys doing any worse on front end parts then a solid axle truck. Ive got a f550 chassis truck (solid axle that ive changed one wheel bearing already and the other to change this week along with the ball joints and tie rods.
     
  7. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Hate to step on your toes Brett since you and I go back a little ways but the majority of your post as it pertains to the 2011's is nothing more than nonfactual based opinion. The 2011's are a completely different animal than the previous generation trucks you're accustom to. You want to run a 'heavy' plow you can fully do it and completely comply with all truck and plow thus FMVSS standards on an '11. You want an '11 Diesel and wish to run an XLS, Wide Out, Boss poly 9.2 VXT, 8100 you can do it since you have the full 6000 lb FAWR that other brands have. In other words you don't need a solid axle to have a 6000 lb FAWR any longer. Doesn't even have to be a 3500, a 2500HD. GM really raised the IFS bar on the 11's and made all the long overdue changes (upgrades) to make them carry a plow as good as anything else in their weight class.

    Could you detail these "alot more parts to wear out" that IFS has in comparison to today's solid axle trucks? I suppose that would be an Idler arm? As far as I'm aware a solid axle suspension still uses a ring & pinion, side gears, spiders, axle shafts, U-joints, ball joints, Pitman arms, hub bearings, bushings, shocks, swap bars and bushings, springs and tie rods. Perhaps we could say the Idler would equal out all the replacements I do on worn track bars I do on solid axle trucks. I also know I replace a hell of allot more axle U-joints and radius arm bushings on solid axles than CV joints and control arm bushings on IFS and my customer base is made up of about 50/50 of each one. So again what would these "alot more wear parts" be?
     
  8. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,439

    I replace way more front end parts on my Fords and Dodges than I do on my GM's. Same goes for ones I work on. I couldn't agree more with the above statement.
     
  9. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    i welcom you b&b as you are still full bore in the stuff and well i stand corrected on sum stuff. i havent seen many 2011 yet in the shop.

    but the older ifs stuff had tiny tire rods compared to older style solid axle stuff . replaced lots of them for beanding on pot holes and heavy use.

    also replaced lots of wheel bearing hub units for lack of grease that would not last in them. tho thay do make live spindle conversion kits for the solid axle guys these days to get rid of them for better service life and get locking hubs.

    also control arm bushings = more than leaf spring bushings . and also never a big fan of how the gm alignment setup was . had some that kept walking on customers even after new gm parts installed.

    its what it is any more. i guess the days of dana 60 1ton fronts if gone unless your like me or a few others here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  10. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Used to bend/break D44's and 10 bolt TRE's all the time under solid axle 3/4 ton GM, Fords and Dodges. But they're solid axle? My point is steering doesn't have much to do with suspension strengths or weakness. It's basically a separate category and if upgrades are needed so be it. I used to adapt the 1 ton TRE's onto the D44 and 10 bolts all the time...but it had no affect on how well or how poorly the suspension held up or how well the truck carried the weight, that's the suspensions job.

    I fully agree the pre-'11 trucks need steering upgrades to strengthen them and thankfully they're out there and easily purchased and installed. No different than all the track bar, U-joint and ball joint upgrades needed to keep said components alive under a solid axle truck too. So as far as I'm concerned it all even out.
     
  11. lilweeds

    lilweeds PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,178

    The GM IFS in 2011 is just plan awesome. The older ones will still handle a plow better then a Dodge, and won't wear front end parts out like a Ford.
     
  12. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    96 Chevy Tahoe. 212K. Original CV shafts and hub bearings. 95 date stamps are still there on the boots and seals. Original ball joints and tie rod ends. She was not treated well by the previous owners, and has seen plowing duty too. Big ole heavy Fisher hanging off the front.
     
  13. 06Sierra

    06Sierra PlowSite.com Addict
    from Maine
    Messages: 1,329

    I had a 98 Sierra 1500, no plow, with over 150,000 miles when I sold it. I replaced a pitman arm. Currently have an 04 Yukon, no plow, and an 06 CC Sierra 1500 with a Fisher. I do only do my drive and occasionally another one. I replaced a tie rod end on the Yukon last year at over 100,000 miles. I also did both bearing/hubs because of the ABS issue not a worn bearing. On the 06, I replaced a wheel bearing over two years ago, that was before I plowed much at all with it. Can't say that GM has treated me too bad for a crappy ifs set up!
     
  14. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    then you guys are lucky.

    must be all the pot holes / moon crators in my area and also grease munkeys that dont know what a fitting looks like to hit it correctly or at all .

    i just know from my past work experience i changed a lot.

    and for those that dont know there is a correct way to check ball joints on gm ifs that will show play 90% better than most people actualy check them. :rolleyes:

    not saying you guys cant check them right but i have seen lots of people say i had the tires off the ground and no play. pick it up right and show them its so bad you think the wheel is going to fall off. :eek:

    floor jack under lower a-arm with full weight on vehicle.

    jack up 1-2" of tire off ground .

    slide pry bar 30" or so long under tire and pry up. checking lower b/j .

    feel for movement or worse clunking. second guy watching ball joints.

    then hand on tire top edge try to push in/ pull out on top and check upper b/j.

    hope we all get the help we need in this thread and also learn stuff about other areas of the country on whats popular to fix/replace and whats not. Thumbs Up
     
  15. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    Nope, just good engineering and quality parts.
     
  16. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I know I'm against the grain here, but I ran a 3500 GM with a heavy diesel engine and a heavy Blizzard 810 for years, only front end problem I ever had was the wheel bearing hub assemblies. If Ibought cheap ones (only did that once) they'd last a year, good ACDelco ones lasted two years. I'm sure it was the 950lb plow killing them. But CV axles? I changed my first set at about 175k, just because they were getting a little noisy. Nothing else, no balljoints or tierods went. I ran 33 inch swampers, half my route is either dirt, gravel or offroad, and when I was sanding the truck weighed 12k easy, sometimes more. I beat the everloving daylights out of that truck and it always performed. The IFS in that truck was the best frontend out of every truck I've ever owned. Period. I can only guess that the people saying IFS is weak are either just repeating the party line they've heard, or they're talking about 1500 IFS that failed under an 8 foot blade or something.
    All my old plowtrucks had Dana 44 and Corp 10 bolt front axles, they saw new axleshaft u-joints almost every single winter, balljoints every couple. Not nearly as reliable and rugged as the IFS according to my experience. And those were only pushing 7 1/2 and 8 foot blades.
    My current truck has the much-lauded, bow your heads in it's presence, almighty dana 60. So far I hate the f****ing thing. I've had to deal with death wobble, wheelbearings (ok, wear item) new kingpin springs and cups, PITA to change the springs which I've done twice already, but the absolute worst thing about it is IT DOESNT F****ING TURN!! It's never even had a plow on it, and I've decided not to put the plow I bought on it, solely because IT DOESN'T TURN!! I've always heard they are bulletproof, but I don't have any faith in it. I've had it stuck in a snowbank in my driveway already, something that couldn't happen with my 97. If I could cheaply and easily lift an IFS like I did this 82, I'd have kept the 97. But I wanted a taller truck, plus I love the old square bodies. If I could swap my 60 for a 3500 IFS, I would. I know it's the opposite of what everyone else does, but I can only go by what I know, not what I hear.
     
  17. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,269

    I think the 2011's will fair much better, they are definitely much more built up then the older models. I feel like this site is blessed with perfect Chevy/GMC trucks that never have front end problems compared to what I encounter almost daily at my shops. Its funny that whenever I talk with GMC/Chevy owners about plowing in the winter they all recommend Dodge/Ford because - their words - GM Front ends are "soft".

    Regardless of what truck you by, your going to wear out the front end parts, some have better luck than others.

    I can say our personal yard plow truck which is a 2008 Chevy Ext Cab Long Bed 2500HD pushing a Mighty 7'6" Boss Superduty Plow is already in need of a tie rod and wheel bearing, possible CV shaft. This is among the fact that is already in need of an ECM. The truck has under 20,000 miles on it and is barely moved all summer long.
     
  18. brad96z28

    brad96z28 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,526

    Almost 100k on my truck And i bet i put on more plow miles on then most driving all over the northeast with plows on all year round, I still have 3 original ball joints, ive changled ilder arm and pit man arm due to slop not play. I had little play in inner tie rods so i changed inner and outer at the same time. If i get another 100k out of them I will be quite happy.Ran 8.6 extremev all last year as well.
     
  19. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I worked at a shop for several years, mostly doing towing. I can tell you that in all those years I towed exactly TWO Duramax trucks. One because the batteries were dead flat as the key had been left on for days, and they wanted it to go back to the dealer rather than try to jumpstart it. Other was a 4500 that had a coolant leak and the low coolant sensor wouldn't allow it to stay running.

    During that time I towed too many Fords to count for front end problems. Seen a lot of broken tierods on the side of the road, on relatively new f150s. And everyone I've know with an F-superduty in the last 10-12 years has had to do balljoints about every 3rd oilchange.

    Say what you want about solid axles, but IFS rides nicer and lasts longer. Now personally I like old trucks, and having sfa and leaf springs in my 82 doesn't bother me, it rides like a truck, but it IS a truck (and it's super cheap to lift). I drove a brand new Eddie Bauer Excursion across the Kancamagus Highway, which is a scenic route that winds through the White Mountains. The way that leaf-sprung POS rode was enough to make me carsick. It rocked side-to-side on every curve, and exiting the curve you had to physically center the wheel, which resulted in a side-to-side rock. My work has an 07 Expedition which I believe is torsion bar, but it rocks side-to-side too. Annoying as hell to drive on back roads. And it will not go around corners at any kind of speed. Worst handling SUVs on the planet.
     
  20. 496 BB

    496 BB Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    I think the question here is how well are you going to take care of your equipment? Anything will break if you beat the hell out of it. Im not a huge fan of IFS for abuse but I havent abused one either so I cant say that with any certainty. Im just like some others and assuming it wont last. Now I do have experience with abusing straight axles and trust me they will break also. Gone thru a few in my time BUT thats not to say they are weak. I was beating on em off road. I do LOVE IFS for ride comfort. Nice to take a trip without having a turd jarred out of you by the first stop light.

    I think they both will work fine if you treat em right.


    And Mike.....what is a swap bar? Ive looked for an hour in my manual and called the parts store to replace mine since I have never done so and noone knows what it is? Where is it? Hahaha