Solid Axle Swaps for the 2005 and on Hilux
Thought I'd put a little bit of a post together on Solid Axle swaps related to the 2005 and on Hilux and some detailed info on what is involved for those interested. There have been a handful of SAS's completed on current Hilux's so it’s not a common conversion and it is an expensive one.
What is the difference between IFS and SAS?
Well, the Hilux having an IFS front setup (Independent Front Suspension), the front diff is fixed to the chassis and the front driveshafts move up and down as needed by the suspension which is linked to the Lower Control Arms. Toyota have primarily gone this way because it gives a smoother ride on the road which is where the majority of people buying these Hilux's spend their time.
Live Front Axle 4x4's have a complete diff housing which is bolted to the suspension either leaves or coils with trailing arms......the difference between the two offroad is that the Live Front Axle flexes in a circular arc up into the guard whereas the IFS travels directly upwards vertically into the guard. The diff centre in the IFS Hilux doesn't move at all whereas the Live Front Axles it move along with the diff.
In most cases the Live Front Axled Trucks are stronger, simpler mechanically, and by their design better for the harder stuff offroad as they have a lot more suspension travel....when one side of the differential travels up into the guard it forces the opposite side to travel down which helps with traction offroad.
How does one do an SAS?
Well, undertaking an SAS is a major job that is labour intensive.....you have to cut away the crossmember off the chassis that hold your front differential in place, removing the steering rack and replacing it with one off an older Hilux/Cruiser, welding in spring and/or shock mounts and quite abit of other stuff. It’s not cheap at all, though if you know what you’re doing you may get away with doing it yourself for less than a shop may do it for.
One of the problems with doing a SAS conversion to the 2005 and on Toyota Hilux is that there is no available donor live axles with the correct track width. To get it legal, you have no option but to build your own diff housing.
By far and away the most experienced fabricator with a Solid Axle kit (and will also fit it to your truck) is Brisbane based Buds Customs. At the time of writing their kit costs around $7,500 and then you require to round up some donor parts and diff gears and the like which will add another few $k to your build so don’t expect to get out of it for under $15k. Buds Customs build their own axle housing to get the correct track width and use an 80 series diff centre.