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Long story short, I'm building a 2 ton GMC bus into an expedition/4WD vanlife/whatever you want to call it, rig. I'm looking for a suitable front end. I will a 6BT under the hood. Got a Chevy Kingpin D60 under the engine currently, but am thinking I need something bigger. I had thought that the Dana 60 axles were nominally rated at 6,000lbs, though I've found conflicting information that the Chevy kingpin 60's like I have, were not de-rated to 4,500lbs due to tires/springs, by the manufacturer, and are in fact "only" a 4,500lb GAWR axle. On the other hand, I've heard that OKA trucks came with identical axles to the Chevy kingpin 60's, and those have been used successfully for many years except for bent inner C's and knuckles at worst, something which can be addressed by gusseting and I suppose upgrading to Reid or Solid knuckles. I've spoken to a few OKA owners with 12,000+lb rigs, with 6,000lbs on the front axle for over 5000km's.

I can't think of many other alternatives, beyond beefing up my current 60, or going with the axle below (for a bunch of reasons, Humvee BFG 24 bolts are the perfect tire for this build, and I want to keep them - mine are rated at 4,540lb's each). I also need to retain push-pull steering. I am opting for a GVWR of 14,500lbs, front GAWR of 5,000lbs to 6,000lbs.


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I came across this D70F today. Apparently it's from a 1976 Dodge 1 ton - so a W300 I guess. That doesn't make sense to me though as I've read they stopped putting the Dana 70 fronts in those trucks by late 1974. 2 ton W600's had them from 1974 to 1977. I'm not aware of any closed knuckle D70F having discs, either. The seller doesn't want to open the thing up, so I'm trying to get BOM codes. Is this worth my time though? Is it true that late model D70F's would have 1.500" inner and 1.375" or 1.500" outer shafts, both 32 spline? About the size in a D60F's but with a larger housing and tubes? I know what they say about running away from closed knuckle D70F's... but I'm also not sure if this is one of the typical, crappy, small spline count tracta joint ones. Am I correct that this axle would offer a strength upgrade in terms of weight capacity, but the strength of the shafts themselves would be the same as a Dana 60?

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So, other than beefing up a stock Dana 60 kingpin with aftermarket knuckles, trussing, and gusseting of the C's (to the extent that they have similar dimensions to a Dana 70 open knuckle C), or opting for the Dana 70 front above, are there any other options I should consider that satisfies my requirements? I do have fabrication skills and access to a machinist, I don't have a massive budget, though... Some advice here would be appreciated.
 
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