Straight Axle Conversion

Discussion in 'Dodge Nitro Offroad' started by juiced78, May 10, 2018.

  1. juiced78

    juiced78 New Member

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    I searched, couldn't find anything on this topic, sorry if there already is.

    I'm curious if anyone has done a SAS conversion on their nitro? I can't find much of anything online, and when I've tried looking at it for the Liberty, all I find is the 1st gen liberty.

    I picked up a jeep Cherokee front axle assembly and I won't be driving the nitro for a while due to it only running on 5 cylinders and my acquisition of a free ford focus to commute 50 miles round trip daily. So figured why not? Of course that's how all my money pit projects have started, lol.

    Think I only want to go up an additional 4-6 inches to make it more aggressive on the offroad front, but not going to be rock-crawling or mudding with it. Set it up with a safari rack and roof tent, some lighting, maybe build some bumpers and call it good.

    Also been thinking about swapping in a liberty transfer case - if I recall they have 4 low/high not just on/off

    Thoughts? Suggestions and/or advice?
     
  2. Scar0

    Scar0 Khaki Nitro Nut Moderator Member Relations NOTM Winner!

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    No Nitro on the forum has an SFA conversion.
    There is one KK owner I know of who has. He went crazy big with a cradle drop and 34" tires. He would never talk about the cost but I would guess it was over 10K.
    The biggest problem is the electronics. Which he never said if they were able to get them to work, or if they just ignored them all together, which would be my guess. Since his rig is no where near street legal.

    Here are the main things that would be problems.
    KJ or KK and KA (Nitro) electronics are not the same. IE a KJ or KK X-fer case will not work in a KA. KK even more so because it is electronically controlled. If you swap in a KJ X-fer case the Nitro computers will still be looking for the signals from the OEM one.

    SFA would have to have the same tone rings as what is in the Nitro.
    Otherwise wheel speed sensor errors will happen, and with that, ABS, ESP, trany, and other problems can arise.

    Mechanically you would need new drive lines obviously, and some major fabrication to mount the axle and front suspension. On the rear you would also need to replace the "trailing arm" design, or lengthen the arms and account for the extra travel. Then there is the track bar and fuel tank/drive shaft contact, if you keep the track bar design. So basically you would need to redo the entire rear setup as well.
    If you don't go BIG high, you will still be limited to tires that will fit in the wheel well arches. The rear is not as much of an issue as the front because of the bumper and the floor pan.

    Honestly for the cost/time/labor involved, IMO, you would be better off getting a used Jeep with solid axles and lift it.
     
  3. juiced78

    juiced78 New Member

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    Thanks for the response Scar0!

    I figured I would have to do something with the rear too. I've got plenty of materials from other projects to build the suspension. Didn't think about the electronics for the tranny. That's a bummer.

    you are right though, its a lot of work for a little more lift.

    Just looking at this as an option. I would like to at the very least go up another 2-3 inches but don't want to fork out the dough for coilovers. the back is no problem, the front is perplexing me. Truly I guess the real issue is the cv shaft angles. If I could find some high-pinion shafts for it I think I would be golden.
     
  4. Scar0

    Scar0 Khaki Nitro Nut Moderator Member Relations NOTM Winner!

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    If ground clearance is not a big concern, what about a 1"-2" cradle drop?
    I think there may be enough room to rotate the X-fer case one bolt to have it sit lower.
    But don't take my word for it. It's been a while since I have been under there.
     
  5. juiced78

    juiced78 New Member

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    hmm. I will have to crawl underneath and take a look. what are you considering to be a cradle drop?
     
  6. Scar0

    Scar0 Khaki Nitro Nut Moderator Member Relations NOTM Winner!

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    Come to think about it you would not need to rotate the X-fer case to do a cradle drop.
    Engine cradle.
     

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