Modified Duff traction bars for use with 31 spline axles - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 04-18-2005
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Modified Duff traction bars for use with 31 spline axles

I was talking to our fab guy and he was going to make all new mounts to go on the spring (which seemed like and AWFUL lot of trouble).

Then I had an idea: cut them in half vertically, spread the pieces to the required spacing and weld a gusset on to join them.

He went one better and filled the gap between the pieces with weld metal as well. The results are shown below. These go on to day to help control the axle wrap that I KNOW will occur with the 35's and the 4.56 gears!
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Old 04-18-2005
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Huh.. I thought Bob had an easier way to make them work w/ the 31 spline..

After you guys advocating those bars so much (and finding the relatively low pricetag) I figured I might get a set this summer. But unfortunately I don't have access to the welding or fab tools you do. So maybe not..
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Old 04-18-2005
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Bob's might not work with mine. The spring plate I have has 4" hole spacing so the u-bolts "spread" a bit on the way up. Also, the shaping of the feet would not be right if you just moved the holes. 4" center to center was just too much without opening up things too much and making them weak.

So, this was the easiest way if the tools/talent are available.

Maybe Duff will make a set that works with the 31 spline at some point?
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Old 04-18-2005
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You got some talented guys at your disposal there John.
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Old 04-18-2005
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John and I have the same 31-spline axle and roughly 4" U-bolt spacing. The difference is that I have traction bars from summer 2004 . Duff's later spring plate L-bracket has a redesigned shape as you can see by comparing the first two photos.

John's:


Mine:


I did have to slot the holes somewhat to allow for the Level II U-bolt spacing. I believe that these would be strong enough modified like this.

In addition, a small bevel was necessary to allow the bracket to drop down into the spring plate:

As received:


Bevel added:


Then I started measuring and realized that the bars could hit the pinch weld on the bottom of the box at the bump stops. While this would not have been the end of the world, I went ahead and shortened the brackets 1 inch to buy some more clearance.

Then I went overboard and decided that the bars would be more mechanically sound if they had a second set of L-brackets for the inside of the bars. I would have bought the second set from Duff but they refused to sell me any parts separately. So I made the other set.

Here are the finished bars with the doubled shorter brackets.



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Old 04-18-2005
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So your u-bolts spread also as they come up? The u-bolt inner dimension is 3.25" -- I thought only mine spread like that. The actual center-to-center hole spacing in my plate is 4.125".

Yes, my bars are almost 2 years old I think. The bracket is different as you pointed out.

And yes, here at the steel mill we have all kinds of skilled tradesmen.

Well, the bars are on. Time to drive home and test them!
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Old 04-18-2005
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Thanks Bob! Didn't realize the did a redesign. Someone here said they talked to Duff and they were doing yet another re-work for '99+ trucks or something. I figured I'd wait a month or so and see if their website reflects that.

Although the mods you had to do (save the double sided brackets) look doable. So I might do it anyhow.. I think I'm experiencing 'wheel-hop' and wrap in limited traction situations, thanks mostly to my heavy right foot. And at $70, hey why not..
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Old 04-18-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
So your u-bolts spread also as they come up? The u-bolt inner dimension is 3.25" -- I thought only mine spread like that. The actual center-to-center hole spacing in my plate is 4.125".
Yes, they do. I flexed my U-bolts in a bit so I wouldn't need to file out any more material from the feet than absolutely necessary. But they still are not parallel. The CTC spacing of the bolts where they go through the JD brackets is about 3 7/8".
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Old 04-18-2005
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i *think* i have 31 splines.. i *think*. I bought my bars and it works
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Old 04-18-2005
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no you have a 28 spline
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Old 04-18-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r0ng5
i *think* i have 31 splines.. i *think*. I bought my bars and it works
What Zach said is correct. Only 2001 FX4's, and 2002 and later FX4 Level II's have 31 splines.
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Old 04-18-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
What Zach said is correct. Only 2001 FX4's, and 2002 and later FX4 Level II's have 31 splines.
Actually, that's 2002 FX4s and 2003+ FX4 Level II's.
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Old 04-18-2005
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Okay, I didn't know that. My axle is from a 2001 Ranger -- would that have been simply the "off road package"?
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Old 04-18-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
Okay, I didn't know that. My axle is from a 2001 Ranger -- would that have been simply the "off road package"?
No, there was no Ranger 31-spline available in 2001 MY, AFAIK.
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Old 04-18-2005
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Well, then, the Jeeper I got it from was misinformed -- he told me 2001. It's a 31 spline alright, and from a Ranger, but beyond that I guess I have no idea what year it is.
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Old 04-18-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
Well, then, the Jeeper I got it from was misinformed -- he told me 2001. It's a 31 spline alright, and from a Ranger, but beyond that I guess I have no idea what year it is.
The FX4 was originally supposed to come out in 2001 but got delayed. When introduced in late 2001 (2002 MY), there were problems with the Torsens fragging and Ford did a stop sale, stop delivery, stop demo on them and replaced the axles (just the manuals, I think). Dave and Julie had his replaced.
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Old 04-18-2005
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does Duff have any intention of making an out of the box traction bar for the 31 spline axle?
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Old 04-18-2005
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I seriously doubt it. They're still making theirs for 97-back. The Ranger community will be lucky if they decide to join us in the new millennium. Not much chance they will build a special just for the LII's.
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Old 04-18-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
The FX4 was originally supposed to come out in 2001 but got delayed. When introduced in late 2001 (2002 MY), there were problems with the Torsens fragging and Ford did a stop sale, stop delivery, stop demo on them and replaced the axles (just the manuals, I think). Dave and Julie had his replaced.
Maybe that's what he heard. It's not clear whether it's a pull from a production vehicle or a JY axle. It's dirty and rusted enough to have been in service for awhile.

Well, at any rate, it's got new life now, lol. I'm digging it.
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Old 04-18-2005
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but what about the millions of F-150's they would fit??
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Old 04-18-2005
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Well the bracket would, not sure about the strut and the spring hanger bracket. I'm sure they could do something. Why don't you call them and tell them what's in it for them -- maybe they'll try something out.
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Old 04-18-2005
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The bracket might be common but I doubt if anything else would cross. Besides, Duff specializes only in Ranger, Bronco and BII, I believe. They're a real independent bunch.
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Old 04-18-2005
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yes i would be shocked if they diped into the newer trucks.
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  #24  
Old 04-18-2005
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sent Duff an email
the long link bars look interesting.....
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  #25  
Old 04-19-2005
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Best post to date. Make up a bunch and they would sell like hotcakes. It looks industrious. The finished product is very nice.

Last edited by 03OxfordEdge; 04-19-2005 at 01:36 AM.
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