have only ever broken 1 front axle in a Land Rover. I have also broken a front
Ring and Pinion Gear in a mate’s Range Rover [sorry Larry]. If you are
anything like me you hate breaking things, especially in a competition setting.
Over the years I have used Maxi Drive Axles, front & rear and
Ashcroft Axles in the front. Whilst I never broke either of these two brand
axles, I have been with people who have broken them, in particular one Defender
90 driver I know, who should remain nameless, broke 3 of them in one day [Sorry
, but I think by now everybody worked out it was you].
preparing the Discovery Short Ass I
upgraded the rear axle to a
1 above was feasible, All I’d need were the axles and CV’s which would cost
me about $1,000 or so. Remember I had an ARB and the rest of the gear already.
The downside was that whilst the Defender CV’s are strong they do get broken
regularly in competition situations and I wanted to minimize the amount of
spares I took. Also I had broken 4.10 Ring & Pinion Gears before so my
confidence in them being strong enough was also limited.
2 was going to be expensive, can I get away with it without telling the wife? If
I sold my old axles, ARB from the front, my spare ARB taken out of the rear, the
4.10 Ring & Pinion Gears in the front diff and ARB air compressor I could
raise most of the money to do the
I like to have the best irrespective so I went for Option 2. Just do not tell my
wife how much it cost her, I mean me.
many the use of
While similar in size, the Toyota Diff has a higher Hypoid offset and much bigger Carrier and Pinion Bearings. Add to that the Differential housing is very strong, and well gusseted. These three things together make a differential that is perhaps more than 50% stronger than a Rover type. Next time you cat a change check out a Toyota 4.10 Ring & Pinion Gear next to a Land Rover set. the difference will surprise you. Even more when you choose to run really low gears.
pursue Option 1 above, Rovertracks developed a kit using the time tested
Longfield Chrome Alloy/300M 30 spline CV joint [they can also get you the
Defender CV's]. They provide axles, CV’s, Bushings and drive flanges. Machine
work is required to fit the
part of the installation is as simple as changing broken CV’s. OK Assuming
that this was all you do, now the CV’s and axles are the strongest part of the
front end so what would logically break next?
ring and pinion gears! Yes I have experienced this [Sorry Larry]. Unfortunately
Land Rover differentials are not the strongest particularly when you move away
from the 3.54:1 Ring & Pinion gears to say 4.10:1s or you are ambitious
enough to want 4.75:1’s. What can you do? And Now for something completely
different [Yes I Like Monty Python]. Put in a
addition to axles, CV’s, Flanges and the bushings you need and get a Sewer cap
diff cover and Panhard rod plus the special tools, templates and fasteners to
put a Toyota FJ 80 diff in you Rover housing. They also do the required machine
work to fit the bigger axles through the Swivel balls and fit your Rover
driveshaft to the
is all well and fine to contemplate an upgrade such as this but is it really
doable by the average Land Rover Owner?. The simple answer is yes! If I can do
it anyone can! Ask anyone how bad a mechanic I am and if they are being kind
they will say I an almost useless. You, as I did, will need help with a little
welding if you cannot weld. The rest is pretty straight forward.
Fit the 30 spline
the bolt pattern and size of bolts that hold the carrier housing need to be
modified. Firstly you punch out all bar 2 of the studs [the kit shows which ones
to leave in]. The kit comes with a template [that must be returned upon
completion] to allow you to mark the axle housing by use of a transfer punch.
Mark the Differential mounting holes on Land Rover housing. You can then bolt
the template down firmly to the axle housing using the remaining two studs and
punch mark and drill the new
put the 10 supplied 5/16-24 screws into these new holes [from the inside out]
and bolt them down using the non-nyloc nuts that come in the kit. Have a
competent welder Tack weld these bolts to the housing with about a dime size
tack on each side of the bolt. You can then unbolt and remove the template and
knock out the remaining Rover studs.
The upper and lower bolts
closest to the ring gear face will not be used. We welded these up however it is
not mandatory and some guys who have already done the conversion run without
them, your choice.
Bolt the whole thing up
and make sure it fits. This is where straight hole drilling comes into play.
Make sure you get them as straight as possible to save you extra alignment work.
If a bolt is a bit crooked not to worry, put a couple of the sacrificial nuts on
the bolt and tap it into place. The proper press in studs would be a far better
option here but Keith tells me so far his efforts in locating them have failed
Next you can flip the
housing over and install the sewer cap. Push (read bash with a hammer) the cap
on over the lip left over when the stock cover was cut off. In our case we did
not have the lip left so after removing the diff and putting it away safely [so
as not to get any welding flecks in it] we just ground it all dead flat then
welded the cover on fully so as to prevent leaking. Leaving
the lip makes this process a little easier and is less work. The fill hole for
the diff oil should be slightly below centerline of the axle housing. With the
new sewer cap front cover your diff will hold a lot more oil than before.
Make sure you clean
everything up nicely and install the third member using a good gasket maker like
“Right Stuff”. It is easier to bolt the diff all back together off the
vehicle whereas easier to bolt swivel balls etc back once the axle is on the
us, you use an E Locker from a Toyota instead of an open Toyota Diff there will
be additional cutting to the axle housing and the third member holes farthest to
the passenger side of the housing will need to be marked with the third member
as a guide, after which they will need to be tapped for the proper threads
(5/16”-18) with the tap provided [he thinks of almost everything in this kit].
An alternate for those with more money than I had, is to fit an open
As for the spindles,
Rover axles are 1.25” whereas the
Our swivel balls also
needed to be bored to 1.375” where the axle seal is. The swivel ball seal can
be retained. The axle seals in both the front and rear are omitted leaving them
to run as “wet” hubs.
How does all that sound?
Probably more confusing than it actually is. The biggest jobs are removing the
front end and replacing it. Cutting, drilling and welding the axle housing does
not take that long and as long as you follow the provided instructions is fairly
I’ll let you know how
it all holds up after the Australian Outback Challenge is over and I have
Also look out for the write up in LRM magazine