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CV axle recommendations


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On 3/27/2021 at 2:51 PM, R50JR said:


Best option is to reboot OEM axle.


Sent from my Pathfinder

 

I'm pretty sure I have to do this soon since I don't expect my Cardone temporary replacement to be a full time part, but I've ran into a problem. It seems the OEM joints are designed to not be removable so I don't know how to get the boots on. Are all OEM axles like this? Looks to me I might have to grind that off to remove the inner cup

EW1ryPL.jpg

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Oh boy. I'll chime in on a runaway thread, against my better judgement

 

When I first installed my spacer lift w/o manual hubs, my (presumably) OEM CV axles split almost immediately at the inner boots, I believe it was the inners first then eventually the outers got gnarly too. From what I gather, most boots split on a fresh lift, especially if the axles are old.

 

On my 03 SE w/ the manual shift t case, I have had my current set of axles for about 1.5 years. I just pulled some junkyard axles in hopes they were OEM. At least one of them isn't (my driver side axle, relevant info later). These boots likely have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of miles on them. They were pulled off a stock R50 w/o manual hubs. The boots have experienced severe ranges of temperatures while on my vehicle, everything from -20 *F to 100 *F.

 

I put them on several months after installing AC springs. I think the axles went on in July of 2019, and the AC springs in April of 2019.

 

The entire time I have had those 07/19 axles on, I have had manual hubs. I still inevitably have put some typical road miles on them with hubs locked at speeds of up to 70mph, but mostly its only dirt miles with 4WD usage.

 

These axles have seen approximately 20,000 miles of on pavement driving w/ hubs unlocked. They have endured two winters that saw minor 4WD usage (~10-20 miles of 4WD per winter season?), and many camping trips and trail outings that lead to locked hubs, 4WD, and full (measly) travel of the front suspension. These miles likely are in excess of 300 miles. My most recent trip was over 100 dirt/4WD miles. I have enough videos on youtube to indicate what kind of stresses my axles experience.

 

I've had a lokka since May of 2020, and probably half of my wheeling/wintering/4WDing has been done with this lokka installed. Whether this has a discernable or predictable affect on wear is up to speculation.

 

After all that, looking today, my driver side (the not OEM axle) outer boot is greasy (light film of grease, but not flinging grease everywhere), with every other boot on the vehicle being bone dry.

 

Some basic math: The ~300 toughest miles my axles have experienced, spread across 18 months, has had not so nearly as bad a result as your moderate/light usage (though probably higher than 300 miles) across a shorter time span. This is comparable, as we are on identical front suspension (arguably you have the advantage with the weight of your front bumper). So there's at least two different axles that can put up with the AC lift + the upper limits of what my R50 can safely handle off road. I would speculate the same would be true of your situation.

 

Thanks for listening to that lengthy anecdote. Take this for what it is. Maybe you'll just have to go up to the Rockfords, but I'm not fully convinced that your experience is totally normal.

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I'm pretty sure I have to do this soon since I don't expect my Cardone temporary replacement to be a full time part, but I've ran into a problem. It seems the OEM joints are designed to not be removable so I don't know how to get the boots on. Are all OEM axles like this? Looks to me I might have to grind that off to remove the inner cup
EW1ryPL.jpg

Go to an autoparts store and rent the smallest puller they have. The inner flange has a cover that has to be popped off. Once the cover is off, you can use the puller on that end.

030b80931c2b43733baab5d9b19b6711.jpg


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1 minute ago, R50JR said:


Go to an autoparts store and rent the smallest puller they have. The inner flange has a cover that has to be popped off. Once the cover is off, you can use the puller on that end.
 

 

Awesome. Thanks. I took apart Cardone ones and they just pop off so I was kinda hoping for the same here. Cheers!

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5 hours ago, PathyGig12 said:

Yes I know that the AC springs are maxing the suspension and that this is the cause of the boot failure. My point is that people who use the AC springs up front need to be aware of the fact that the auto mode TCase still spins the front even with manual hubs. This info is important so that people don’t expect the hubs to save them from boot wear. We are in total agreement that with any other springs the boot wear would be a lot less, but with the AC springs specifically, the only way to stop the excessive boot wear is to either change springs or make sure the front isn’t spinning most of the time. And this isn’t being accomplished by manual hubs when you have the auto mode Tcase. That’s my entire point.

 

When I said that I was “pissed” about the TCase still spinning, it was due to the fact that this information was not common knowledge when I went to buy the hubs. Everyone was listing heavily reduced boot wear as a benefit of the hubs, which turned out to not be completely true for this set up. That’s why I was annoyed and why I want to continue letting others know. 

 

Many of us cannot afford to do a SFD, or it is too intense of an operation for our skill level. People naturally still want maximum lift, and often choose to run the AC coils for this reason, so it’s a piece of info that I believe is important for them to consider. 
 

As far as my personal boot wear experience being abnormal, I don’t believe anything else is wrong with the truck. Like you said, it’s from the AC springs and nothing else. Since I don’t want to change to different springs, I’m leaving the front shaft off for most of my driving. Very easy to put it back on for wheeling trips.

 

I've never heard of boot-saving as a selling point for hubs.  And hearing it now, I'd never consider it one.  It's not what manual hubs are for.

 

If you want to make the case that manual hubs on an all-mode truck with AC springs will still break boots, you may.  I'll still consider incorrect and misleading, which is why R50JR was calling it misinformation.  No one said it would prevent boot failure.  Any form of lift—AC spring or not, all-mode or part-time, SFD or not, spacers or not, manual hubs or not, rotating or not—will cause boot wear.   A boot being constantly stretch, whether rotating or not, will still lead to premature failure.  The boots are plastic, and plastic degrades.  YMMV.

 

I'm sure the Rockford boots will be a major improvement if you're willing to pay the premium, but being a thicker material and still being stretched, my expectation is that they'll eventually just pull out from the band.  There's no difference between a torn boot, and an unseated booted, in terms of grease retention.  Again, the issue is the spring.  If pulling the driveshaft is the only alternative for you, so be it.

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2 hours ago, PathyDude17 said:

Oh boy. I'll chime in on a runaway thread, against my better judgement

 

When I first installed my spacer lift w/o manual hubs, my (presumably) OEM CV axles split almost immediately at the inner boots, I believe it was the inners first then eventually the outers got gnarly too. From what I gather, most boots split on a fresh lift, especially if the axles are old.

 

On my 03 SE w/ the manual shift t case, I have had my current set of axles for about 1.5 years. I just pulled some junkyard axles in hopes they were OEM. At least one of them isn't (my driver side axle, relevant info later). These boots likely have tens, if not hundreds of thousands of miles on them. They were pulled off a stock R50 w/o manual hubs. The boots have experienced severe ranges of temperatures while on my vehicle, everything from -20 *F to 100 *F.

 

I put them on several months after installing AC springs. I think the axles went on in July of 2019, and the AC springs in April of 2019.

 

The entire time I have had those 07/19 axles on, I have had manual hubs. I still inevitably have put some typical road miles on them with hubs locked at speeds of up to 70mph, but mostly its only dirt miles with 4WD usage.

 

These axles have seen approximately 20,000 miles of on pavement driving w/ hubs unlocked. They have endured two winters that saw minor 4WD usage (~10-20 miles of 4WD per winter season?), and many camping trips and trail outings that lead to locked hubs, 4WD, and full (measly) travel of the front suspension. These miles likely are in excess of 300 miles. My most recent trip was over 100 dirt/4WD miles. I have enough videos on youtube to indicate what kind of stresses my axles experience.

 

I've had a lokka since May of 2020, and probably half of my wheeling/wintering/4WDing has been done with this lokka installed. Whether this has a discernable or predictable affect on wear is up to speculation.

 

After all that, looking today, my driver side (the not OEM axle) outer boot is greasy (light film of grease, but not flinging grease everywhere), with every other boot on the vehicle being bone dry.

 

Some basic math: The ~300 toughest miles my axles have experienced, spread across 18 months, has had not so nearly as bad a result as your moderate/light usage (though probably higher than 300 miles) across a shorter time span. This is comparable, as we are on identical front suspension (arguably you have the advantage with the weight of your front bumper). So there's at least two different axles that can put up with the AC lift + the upper limits of what my R50 can safely handle off road. I would speculate the same would be true of your situation.

 

Thanks for listening to that lengthy anecdote. Take this for what it is. Maybe you'll just have to go up to the Rockfords, but I'm not fully convinced that your experience is totally normal.

I appreciate your input as always.
 

I’d like to hear what you think might be abnormal about my set up to cause premature boot failure? Even just judging by some of the other responses to this thread from users with AC coils, it seems that if anything, your current boots are the real

outliers here. That’s awesome that you’ve got good ones that have lasted so long though.

 

 

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1 hour ago, hawairish said:

 

I've never heard of boot-saving as a selling point for hubs.  And hearing it now, I'd never consider it one.  It's not what manual hubs are for.

 

If you want to make the case that manual hubs on an all-mode truck with AC springs will still break boots, you may.  I'll still consider incorrect and misleading, which is why R50JR was calling it misinformation.  No one said it would prevent boot failure.  Any form of lift—AC spring or not, all-mode or part-time, SFD or not, spacers or not, manual hubs or not, rotating or not—will cause boot wear.   A boot being constantly stretch, whether rotating or not, will still lead to premature failure.  The boots are plastic, and plastic degrades.  YMMV.

 

I'm sure the Rockford boots will be a major improvement if you're willing to pay the premium, but being a thicker material and still being stretched, my expectation is that they'll eventually just pull out from the band.  There's no difference between a torn boot, and an unseated booted, in terms of grease retention.  Again, the issue is the spring.  If pulling the driveshaft is the only alternative for you, so be it.

I believe the problem here is that I fell for misinformation about manual hubs. I distinctly remember reading about how they help save CV boots from tearing, and I suppose I just ran with that idea without looking into it more. So I think the issue everyone has with what I’m saying is the fact that it’s predicated on the idea of manual hubs being boot-savers, which I have come to realize isn’t actually true, even though I’ve seen it said before.
 

Nevertheless, I do still think that it makes sense from a physics standpoint that a non spinning CV will experience less boot wear overall (all other things being equal), even if that reduction in wear is not as significant as I initially thought, seeing as how the stretching can also occur from suspension travel and turning. Since the rotation causes additional stretching and compressing of any given point on the boot for every revolution, it stands to reason that it must cause some amount of additional wear compared to a boot that is only experiencing the non-spinning wear from the lift stretching itself. If you disagree, that’s fine. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, just explaining my reasoning

 

Anyway, I’ve already caused way too much disruption to the thread and for that I apologize. Let’s move on

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It’s worth noting that those of us with ATX14A transmissions are in the minority. The system is also not just a straightforward center lock. It’s a good practice with anything driveline related on this forum to assume that it might not apply to an ATX14A. That admittedly takes a while on the forum to realize.

I think you’ll find the majority would like a manual part-time R50. I bought my truck new & specifically picked the ATX14A. The majority of offroad exploration doesn’t require a locked center & AWD avoids the understeer that induces. It is particularly helpful on loose surfaces where control is your primary concern and your risk of actually being bogged is low. It’s particularly useful if you encounter inclement on-road weather - which is nearly all the time here in the PNW & probably true in winter in snowy regions. I have part-time 4WD in my 5th Gen 4Runner & if I’m honest, I’ll nearly never use its rear locker (especially with ATRAC) but I would use the AWD on the Limited nearly daily. I expect it’s true ours isn’t as hardy but since I’m not a crawler that doesn’t really bother me.

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6 hours ago, RainGoat said:

It’s worth noting that those of us with ATX14A transmissions are in the minority. The system is also not just a straightforward center lock. It’s a good practice with anything driveline related on this forum to assume that it might not apply to an ATX14A. That admittedly takes a while on the forum to realize.

I think you’ll find the majority would like a manual part-time R50. I bought my truck new & specifically picked the ATX14A. The majority of offroad exploration doesn’t require a locked center & AWD avoids the understeer that induces. It is particularly helpful on loose surfaces where control is your primary concern and your risk of actually being bogged is low. It’s particularly useful if you encounter inclement on-road weather - which is nearly all the time here in the PNW & probably true in winter in snowy regions. I have part-time 4WD in my 5th Gen 4Runner & if I’m honest, I’ll nearly never use its rear locker (especially with ATRAC) but I would use the AWD on the Limited nearly daily. I expect it’s true ours isn’t as hardy but since I’m not a crawler that doesn’t really bother me.

Yup, the atx14a has its pros and cons. Demystifying it has been one of my main focuses and I’m constantly trying to learn more about what it does in different situations and then pass that on to others so it becomes less of a black box and diagnosing issues becomes easier to do

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It's important which axles you buy if you go aftermarket!

 

I lifted with all around AC coils on my '98 Qx4. Took it on a wheeling trip after the lift + tires (before it really settled on the lift btw). OEM stock CV boots were SHREDDED after that.

 

So I kept those axles thinking about rebooting for a trail set (have not done this yet and it's been many months lol). To replace the axles I went with O'Reilly CVs because they have the closest store to me. The axles fit, but I busted the boots within a few weeks, which included several hundred road miles and some light dirt roads. I got the axles swapped under warranty and put in the same brand thinking maybe it was just a bad set of axles. It was not, the brand (Import Direct) is just crappy and not up to what we use these rigs for. 

 

Now i got the AutoZone axles (Duralast). I wish i took pics to compare the two, but here is a quick summary.


After a wheeling trip with the Second set Import Direct axles, which included some mud pit adventures- 

  • the axles were corroding. I left the mud on there for a day or two before washing the car off. But this is a Cali car, no salt on roads, very little water besides the mud pit. This was a little more than just surface corrosion, it had turned a rusty color and the surface of the hubs was super rough! they looked super gross honestly lol
  • Obviously torn boots, which is the main reason i was swapping them
  • limited 1 year warranty

Compare this to the Duralast axles

  • autozone lifetime warranty (automatically makes it worth it in my opinion)
  • the axles were physically heavier and beefier in literally every aspect, from the inside hub, to the center shaft, to the outer hub. Significant weight difference, I am thinking around 5 pounds per axle (total guess, but the weight difference was significant!). But heavier in a good way, solid built
  • material quality was better. the boots themselves feeling like nicer rubber, with more riffles. The hubs were bigger and higher quality metal, with what looked like better heat treating spots. as soon as i pulled them out of the box I knew they'd last longer. 
  • They were a little harder to install, slightly bigger size made the fit a little tighter, but still very doable.
  • it's only been a few hundred miles, 99% road miles. But i went and checked the boots before this post and they are absolutely fine. They still feel nice and no tears.
  • there is more stability with the front end steering and I can tell it rolls a little more solid because of the extra weight and size. Again, good changes in my opinion. 

 

Note: if i say hub in this post i mean the big ends of the axle, not actual manual locking hubs (which i do not have). I do not know the exact name for this part of the axle lol.

cost difference, the Import Direct axles are $80-$90 (each), and the autozone ones are like +$25 or so compared to those. Honestly, after holding both of the axles in my hands and comparing them, I'd say it is VERY worth the minor price difference. If the boots rip on me soon, I will check back to this post and let y'all know ;)

Edited by The_Q
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It's important which axles you buy if you go aftermarket!
 
I lifted with all around AC coils on my '98 Qx4. Took it on a wheeling trip after the lift + tires (before it really settled on the lift btw). OEM stock CV boots were SHREDDED after that.
 
So I kept those axles thinking about rebooting for a trail set (have not done this yet and it's been many months lol). To replace the axles I went with O'Reilly CVs because they have the closest store to me. The axles fit, but I busted the boots within a few weeks, which included several hundred road miles and some light dirt roads. I got the axles swapped under warranty and put in the same brand thinking maybe it was just a bad set of axles. It was not, the brand (Import Direct) is just crappy and not up to what we use these rigs for. 
 
Now i got the AutoZone axles (Duralast). I wish i took pics to compare the two, but here is a quick summary.

After a wheeling trip with the Second set Import Direct axles, which included some mud pit adventures- 
  • the axles were corroding. I left the mud on there for a day or two before washing the car off. But this is a Cali car, no salt on roads, very little water besides the mud pit. This was a little more than just surface corrosion, it had turned a rusty color and the surface of the hubs was super rough! they looked super gross honestly lol
  • Obviously torn boots, which is the main reason i was swapping them
  • limited 1 year warranty
Compare this to the Duralast axles
  • autozone lifetime warranty (automatically makes it worth it in my opinion)
  • the axles were physically heavier and beefier in literally every aspect, from the inside hub, to the center shaft, to the outer hub. Significant weight difference, I am thinking around 5 pounds per axle (total guess, but the weight difference was significant!). But heavier in a good way, solid built
  • material quality was better. the boots themselves feeling like nicer rubber, with more riffles. The hubs were bigger and higher quality metal, with what looked like better heat treating spots. as soon as i pulled them out of the box I knew they'd last longer. 
  • They were a little harder to install, slightly bigger size made the fit a little tighter, but still very doable.
  • it's only been a few hundred miles, 99% road miles. But i went and checked the boots before this post and they are absolutely fine. They still feel nice and no tears.
  • there is more stability with the front end steering and I can tell it rolls a little more solid because of the extra weight and size. Again, good changes in my opinion. 
 
Note: if i say hub in this post i mean the big ends of the axle, not actual manual locking hubs (which i do not have). I do not know the exact name for this part of the axle lol.
cost difference, the Import Direct axles are $80-$90 (each), and the autozone ones are like +$25 or so compared to those. Honestly, after holding both of the axles in my hands and comparing them, I'd say it is VERY worth the minor price difference. If the boots rip on me soon, I will check back to this post and let y'all know

Post a pic of your axles. Oem, oreilly, and autozone. We have a thread about axle differences and your photos could be helpful


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Anecdotally I purchased one autozone cv axle over the summer (boot split a month after lifting hence my replacement). Autozone axle looked really solid and beefy. The same day I installed it, I drove 45 minutes to a trail via highway. Wheeled for 20 minutes then hit a mud hole with headlight deep water. Immediately after coming out of the water, I could hear the wet cv boot squeaking with each rotation. It popped off and kinked where it was lopsided and rubbed the control arm every rotation. Not sure how mud water did this but whatever. I bent it back and put it close to how it originally was. I haven’t done any true wheeling since then but I’ve done thousands of road miles and a few hundred snow 4x4 road miles. Cv axle is still intact despite a compromised boot.  

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On 3/31/2021 at 11:54 AM, R50JR said:


Post a pic of your axles. Oem, oreilly, and autozone. We have a thread about axle differences and your photos could be helpful


Sent from my Pathfinder

 

This was the Import direct axle vs the stock OEM ones. Note, gold colored ring on the spline side, and on the inner side the flange design as 3 little feet.

Rwa6bJ4wPiapwh98ZoKC7HvJ6E8ql7mPQGFi3LWL

 

This is where this story takes an unexpected turn! I do not have pics of the Duralast ones I got before I put em in, but here is a few photos of them installed on the truck. Note: Full circle flange, more riffles on the outer CV boot. the little ring that was gold colored on the other axle is just silver here. also better looking heat treatment marks on the outer joint for this axle. 

You guys will just have to trust me on the fact they are beefier and a little bit longer then the other set ;)

 

0?ui=2&ik=e79cd49197&attid=0.1&permmsgid0?ui=2&ik=e79cd49197&attid=0.2&permmsgid

 

 

Where this gets weird is the pictures from both companies websites! Let me explain....

This is the link for the o'reilly part. I checked my orders and it is the exact same part number. The pictures it displays have switched. If you click this link, the pictures display the axle that I got from autozone 

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/c/import-direct-driveline/import-direct-driveline-cv-axle-shaft-new/id10/ni8185/v/a/6752/automotive-suv-1998-nissan-pathfinder?q=cvaxles&viewName=redirect%3A%2Fdetail%2Fc%2Fimport-direct-driveline%2Fimport-direct-driveline-cv-axle-shaft-new%2Fid10%2Fni8185%2Fv%2Fa%2F6752%2Fautomotive-suv-1998-nissan-pathfinder%3Fq%3Dcvaxles

 

Even weirder, if I go to autozone's website and look for the exact part number I just installed in my R50, they display in one picture the axles I first got from import direct, with the 3 small flanges on the inner side and the gold ring on the spline side of the axle. 

https://www.autozone.com/drivetrain/cv-axle/duralast-gold-new-cv-axle-b7260n/831817_0_0

 

 

Let me know what you guys think! The fact that the pictures have switched around for 2 different companies is really making me question my own sanity.....

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I will add another thing. After running through my first set of new CV axles, I also decided to start doing lots of front end components, like inner and outer tie rods, lower ball joints, and steering rack bushings. All of those parts were super worn out, and overall the car handles much sharper. I also believe this would help preserve CV boot life, because the front end is much more resistant to shocks and movement with the new parts. Just another factor to think about if you want to preserve your boot life as long as possible! 

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I will add another thing. After running through my first set of new CV axles, I also decided to start doing lots of front end components, like inner and outer tie rods, lower ball joints, and steering rack bushings. All of those parts were super worn out, and overall the car handles much sharper. I also believe this would help preserve CV boot life, because the front end is much more resistant to shocks and movement with the new parts. Just another factor to think about if you want to preserve your boot life as long as possible! 


I am not able to see your photos on mobile. Take a look at the thread we have and copy paste your info (sorry for not adding link earlier)

http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/topic/45761-cv-shaft-variations-prone-to-binding/


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According to Rockford "HEATis the number one cause of boot failure!" (sic) 

 

I'm on ACs, split boot within months of putting them on, no problem previous 24 years without manual hubs and stock height. 

I'm going to be getting good at rebooting until I can figure out how to do an SFD, or convince/pay one of the AZ NPORA guys to do it for me ?

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47 minutes ago, gloer said:

According to Rockford "HEATis the number one cause of boot failure!" (sic) 

 

I'm on ACs, split boot within months of putting them on, no problem previous 24 years without manual hubs and stock height. 

I'm going to be getting good at rebooting until I can figure out how to do an SFD, or convince/pay one of the AZ NPORA guys to do it for me ?

A sfd does not reduce CV angles. The strut spacer in a sfd kit will match the drop itself so your current geo would stay the same if springs are unchanged.

Edited by R50JR
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Quote

A sfd does not reduce CV angles. Your current geo would stay the same if springs are unchanged.

So the best option is...SFD and stock springs? Assuming one is after a bit of lift (2-3"). 

 

Edit: Loaded question as "best" is totally subjective and personal. "Best" for me is: 2-3" lift with least amount of impact on reliability of vehicle and parts.

 

Edited by gloer
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1 minute ago, gloer said:

So the best option is...SFD and stock springs? Assuming one is after a bit of lift (2-3").

I can't speak for a best option, but I would personally do OME HD springs with a bit larger tire. I am running those springs with a 1/2" spacer and it has been reliable so far.

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I can't speak for a best option, but I would personally do OME HD springs with a bit larger tire. I am running those springs with a 1/2" spacer and it has been reliable so far.
Do your OME HD springs let the struts top out? I had that issue when I had AC coils on mine.

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Just now, dogla said:

Do your OME HD springs let the struts top out? I had that issue when I had AC coils on mine.

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they do but only when the suspension is unloaded very fast.

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Like going over speedbumps...

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On these types of bumps I get top out when going fast:
76a9b952637b663e339f88095bdd2459.jpg


These are not an issue even with speed:
fa1031bc7c13050301e23498f523a50c.jpg


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  • 3 weeks later...

Just wanted to put this out there....
Rockauto.com has been my go-to shop for many of my parts in the past but lately I've been getting bad experiences with their parts AND service.
I bought ball joints which were kinda on sale (wholesale closeout as they call it sometimes) and these held only for aprox 4 trips on rough terrain. They're a model which has a grease nipple at the back and on one of the ball joints it just came loose. Lucky the ball joint itself didn't come off.
Well after I contacted support they just told me their policy states I should send the old one in and they will (or might) replace it for the same model.
First of all, I DON'T want the same model, but wanted a better (more expensive) one.
Second, shipping it back would cost me more than actually BUYING the same one off their website. So there was back and forth emails between me and their support (I was wondering if there's only one person handling support cuz the same person has been replying to my support mails for years) and he stayed with his "policy".
Well that does it for me, no more Rockauto. Will try other suppliers who are actually willing to work with their customers.

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Most stuff I've bought off Rockauto has been fine, but I don't count on their returns/service being worth anything. I bought a door handle for my '95 that their computer said would fit, so they insisted it was the right part. Nevermind that it said Sentra on the bag and it didn't fit on the door. Nobody else has complained, they said. Yeah, because they know there's no point. Also got a set of VG33 manifold gaskets listed as fitting a VG30, that was a fun job to do twice. Didn't even try returning that crap. Most orders have been fine, though. I'm sure it's more of a PITA when you're dealing with shipping to South America!

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