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Testing and Reviews
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RC4WD Aluminum F-350 Axle Housings Print E-mail
Written by The Sultan of Scale   
Monday, 18 December 2006

You know you want 'em. One of the few "aluminum hop-ups" that actually lives up to its name, these cases add bling and durability at the same time.

RC4WD axle housing

Finally available, the "second batch" of RC4WD's axle housings are out, and the wait was worth it. These things are burly, and beautifully made, CNC'd from aluminum, powder coating optional. Rather than using a plain black PC, Hua and his crew spec out a nice hammertone finish that really sets these apart. Of course, if you really want to show them off, they're available bare as well. RC4WD axle housing

Notice how nicely the nut recesses are cut out. The two halves fit together with the precision of the guards at Buckingham Palace. And it's just as sweet on the inside:

 

 RC4WD axle housings

The walls of the housing are quite thick, as you can see.

Assembly took a bit longer than expected. The bearing journals are exactly 11.0000mm, which means your 5x11 bearings will be a tight fit. It wouldn't be a bad idea to put the bearings in the freezer for a few hours before installation. Yes, they are that tight. This means the pinion is perfectly aligned, and won't walk around unless the bearing fails. And it will fail if you beat on it during the install, so put 'em in the freezer.

I decided to try an oil-filled diff, so I ran a thin bead of silicone around the side bearings and the joint between the cases halves. There was no need to seal the pinion bearings. Use rubber-shield bearings if you decide to try this mod. Time will tell if it's worthwhile or not. Initially it feels smoother, but much of that could be due to the extra rigidity over the plastic housings. They really do have quite a bit of flex in them.

RC4WD axle housings

You can see the tight joint between the two case halves here, as well as the extra material around the steering knuckles. All the screws and nuts went in with no problems. I'm not totally convinced it was necessary to seal the housing against oil leakage, that's how tight the fit is.

Now, the bad news. These aren't cheap. At $129.99 each, you could just about buy another Hi-Lift. But if you're going to use your truck, and use it hard, nothing beats a burly aluminum axle housing. Drop it off a 12-foot embankment, bash it on the rocks, strap a Novak 4.5 in it, take it off the sweetest jump you can find. Hell, bolt some stock Clod tires on it.  You'll break something, but it won't be these axles.

 

RC4WD axle housing

Notice there's only one axle in this buildup. There's a good reason for that: I'm waiting for the upcoming straight axle for the rear, also from RC4WD. The front will also get the new 2-piece steering knuckles when they become available.

Start saving your pennies now, and watch this space for updates! 

 
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