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Singling a T2000 in Portland


hongisto

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I own a 2000 KW T2000 with the AG200 suspension and I would like to single it.

 

I do realize there has been some discussion in other threads about singling T2000s....I've read every post I can find...so I apologize if this ground has been covered before.

 

First, it seems as if the common solution for singling a T2000 is swapping out the entire rear for a single axle assembly off a different truck. This seems complex and expensive.

 

I've also read here about one truck singled short by simply dropping the rear axle and running full time off the power diverter. That doesn't seem like the best solution for driveline health.

 

Is there any reason not to simply drop the forward axle and move the rear axle up into its position? I have been told the rear axle will fit into the hairpins in the forward position.

 

My second question is if anyone can recommend a good shop/mechanic to single the truck in the Portland, OR area?

 

Many thanks,

 

Mark

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The easiest way to single a T2000 is the first way you describe, sell/trade the tandem axles and suspension to a salvage yard and pick up a used factory single set up (hopefully from the same salvage yard). you can get a higher axle capacity this way as well. It should not be very costly to do this. The installation of a new to you single axle set up should be more economical than trying to convert an AG200 suspension.

 

There is someone on the forum who has converted an AG200, but I don't remember off the top of my head who that is. Maybe he will chime in.

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Mark: I have thought a lot about this for my T2, short looks easy but there are still couple of real important points.

The driveshaft angles are going to change so probably the length too. That part of the setup needs to be correct.

The other concern that has kept me away from the conversion is the length of my bed, I like toys and storage.

Would I to go short it would probably make my hitch a little too far behind the axle for my comfort. Sure would

help the curb to curb turning radius though, thing would swing like a school bus.

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There is someone on the forum who has converted an AG200, but I don't remember off the top of my head who that is. Maybe he will chime in.

 

That would be Russ Barnes. He's taken the time to single his AG200 and to correctly upgrade the remaining components to AG400 specs, resulting in what Kenworth now offers on single axle trucks as the AirGlide 230, if I'm not mistaken.

 

Back when I singled mine, I could have traded my AG200 for a Hendrickson HAS-230 suspension with a 23k Eaton axle off of a KW T300, but coming from a small-engine Class 6 or 7 truck, it had a 3.70 or 3.90 gear set in it. With a 3.55 or taller gear in it (I was looking to go to a somewhat "taller" gear, something in the neighborhood of a 3.36 ratio, instead of lower), or if the 3.55 carrier from my truck's original DS-404 been swappable into the axle in lieu of the carrier with the MDT gears, that would have been my first choice.

 

Now the thing to look for when singling any AG100/200/400 equipped Kenworth would be an AG230, commonly found on later model FedEx Freight T660s and 680s and other single axle KWs. If you're singling either short or long, the majority of the bolt locations should match the holes already in the frame for the existing AirGlide suspension components.

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Traditionally, Kenworths with the "eight bag" AirGlide suspensions have been singled by using the rear axle and suspension from an easily separated tandem set, whenever a suitable single axle suspension and axle assembly couldn't be easily obtained. Often that ends up being the "back half" of a Freightliner Air Liner II (FAS II), as is the case on my truck, although any similar, easily singled rear rear axle and suspension set will work. FAS II is no better or worse than, say, the rear half of a Volvo (or any similar) suspension in this application, it's just commonly used because there have been so many FAS II equipped Freightliners, Western Stars, and Sterlings built that they're very common, and therefore readily available -- and cheap -- in junk yards.

 

It's advantageous to use a factory single axle and suspension, if you can not only find one, but find one that's appropriately "geared", because that gets you a 23k rear axle and a 23k suspension, but they're not easy to find because they're not a common configuration. If you use the back half of a tandem set, as many of us have, then you have a 19k or 20k axle instead.

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I have been to this shop and talked a while with the owner. He is in Dundee Oregon, only a short drive from Portland. I looked at some of his work, I would consider having him work on my rig if I were not able to so.

 

Anyway you look at singling, it will cost you money. But if the suspension allows, singling long will most always be the cheapest as it is the least labor time. But long does increase the turning radius a bit. Tandem, the circle fulcrum is at the trunnion between the axles.

 

IMO.

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I'm not concerned at all with either performance (turning radius) or appearance. For me, this is all about reducing my insurance rates. With the twin axle setup, I'm on commercial rates for about 2K/year...singled, I'd be about $500/year.

 

With that in mind, I do have a question that might seem crazy....would it be possible to simply remove the front axles and leave the power diverter and housing in place? I suppose the holes that the axles would leave would have to be "plugged" somehow, but would this work? It would be simple, and, as I said, I am not concerned with how it looks. Is there any dynamic problem with only having the rear axle in place?

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I'm not concerned at all with either performance (turning radius) or appearance. For me, this is all about reducing my insurance rates. With the twin axle setup, I'm on commercial rates for about 2K/year...singled, I'd be about $500/year.

 

With that in mind, I do have a question that might seem crazy....would it be possible to simply remove the front axles and leave the power diverter and housing in place? I suppose the holes that the axles would leave would have to be "plugged" somehow, but would this work? It would be simple, and, as I said, I am not concerned with how it looks. Is there any dynamic problem with only having the rear axle in place?

 

Yes, it would work. Just leave the power divider in gear, or remove the engaging actuator and reverse the spring so it would take air to disengage it. That's how i would do it. Capping the hubs is as easy as finding a couple old axle shafts, even broken ones and cutting the end drive plates off, cleaning them up and installing them. Some divider gear heads have a pinion driven lube pump, If yours does, you can even remove the carrier and ring gear. The pump must be left in tact with a drive to keep the top end lubed, but that would reduce weight, increase mileage and make it essentially a non drive pusher axle.

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With that in mind, I do have a question that might seem crazy....would it be possible to simply remove the front axles and leave the power diverter and housing in place? I suppose the holes that the axles would leave would have to be "plugged" somehow, but would this work? It would be simple, and, as I said, I am not concerned with how it looks. Is there any dynamic problem with only having the rear axle in place?

 

This is the problem with the Forum purging old topics. Were the entire HDT Forum archived, rather than "culled" periodically, a search would tell you why this isn't a good idea.

 

While Deezl is correct in that, yes, doing what you propose would work, it would likely only work for an undetermined but limited amount of time. Were they still present in the Forum, older posts would reveal that at least three trucks were singled by eliminating the rearmost axle and permanently engaging the power divider, then sold to Forum participants about seven or eight years ago. All three of those trucks eventually suffered failure of the power divider and required axle replacements, at great expense and inconvenience to their owners. While this isn't exactly what you propose, the fact is that it still requires continuous engagement of the power divider. Power dividers aren't designed to be engaged continuously, which is why it was the failure point on all three trucks that I mentioned earlier, and would likely fail eventually in your proposed configuration, too.

 

If a tandem axle set is being modified in any manner to function as a single axle arrangement, it should always be done by eliminating the power divider axle.

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This is the problem with the Forum purging old topics. Were the entire HDT Forum archived, rather than "culled" periodically, a search would tell you why this isn't a good idea.

 

While Deezl is correct in that, yes, doing what you propose would work, it would likely only work for an undetermined but limited amount of time. Were they still present in the Forum, older posts would reveal that at least three trucks were singled by eliminating the rearmost axle and permanently engaging the power divider, then sold to Forum participants about seven or eight years ago. All three of those trucks eventually suffered failure of the power divider and required axle replacements, at great expense and inconvenience to their owners. While this isn't exactly what you propose, the fact is that it still requires continuous engagement of the power divider. Power dividers aren't designed to be engaged continuously, which is why it was the failure point on all three trucks that I mentioned earlier, and would likely fail eventually in your proposed configuration, too.

 

If a tandem axle set is being modified in any manner to function as a single axle arrangement, it should always be done by eliminating the power divider axle.

Thanks for the clarification. So, then....just removing the front axle with the power divider and singling "long" with a new driveshaft to the rear axle?

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Singling to any wheelbase should be fine, as long as you don't use the axle with the power divider.

 

Even if you single "short" in the original front axle position you'll need driveshaft work, since not only will the yoke on the pinion not be in the same location as was the yoke on the power divider (the original driveshaft will be short), but you'll also need to change either yoke on the modified driveshaft to match the u-joint that matches the existing yoke on the pinion, or vice versa. Power dividers and rearmost axle pinions don't use the same series u-joint.

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Thanks for being patient with me....my technical knowledge is pretty low. So, moving the rear axle up to the forward position or leaving it where it is...either would work but require driveshaft work, if I understand correctly. Both of those seem easier than taking the whole assembly off and mounting a new 4-bag suspension, but maybe I am missing something.

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Mark, either way, you're looking at driveshaft work. The rear yoke on the front driveshaft on a power divider axle is different than the rear yoke on the inter-axle shaft. If singling to the rear position, a steady bearing and cross member to mount it to, will likely be needed, due to shaft length. There are a couple of other suspension systems, similar to the above mentioned Freightliner, that can be used as a single axle set-up. This will still involve driveshaft work, due to the yoke differences.

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You're quite welcome. The folks here are always happy to help.

 

You're right on the driveshaft work, but yes, I do think that you're missing something if you're still considering just removing some components from your current AG200 and tandem axle set.

 

The reason that AirGlide 200 and 400 equipped Kenworths have traditionally been singled by exchanging complete axle/suspension sets is that, while they're a well designed suspension that deal very well with the various forces to which tandem axle trucks with modern, high torque engines running on today's highways subject their suspensions, but they're not designed to deal with the different forces to which they're subjected when one of the axles "disappears" from the configuration. Doing the conversion the way Russ Barnes did his converts it to a properly designed and functioning single axle, four bag suspension, but that's the only correct way to do it.

 

Might it work if you just start making components disappear? Sure, it might. But there's also a chance of ending up with something that's some combination of unreliable, unpredictable, and potentially even unsafe.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I seem to recall there is at least one Kenworth (a T2000, if I'm not mistaken), owned by a Forum participant, that is running a "truncated" AG200 with no ill effects at last report. But, after the Forum's resident Kenworth expert posted that it's Kenworth's official position that an AirGlide 100/200/400 cannot be "halved" and retain proper function (unless converted to a correctly configured AG230, which didn't exist at that time), I wasn't willing to take that chance when I singled my truck, nor would I recommend it to anybody else. There are too many other simple, safe, and relatively inexpensive ways to end up with a truck done "right".

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You're quite welcome. The folks here are always happy to help.

 

You're right on the driveshaft work, but yes, I do think that you're missing something if you're still considering just removing some components from your current AG200 and tandem axle set.

 

The reason that AirGlide 200 and 400 equipped Kenworths have traditionally been singled by exchanging complete axle/suspension sets is that, while they're a well designed suspension that deal very well with the various forces to which tandem axle trucks with modern, high torque engines running on today's highways subject their suspensions, but they're not designed to deal with the different forces to which they're subjected when one of the axles "disappears" from the configuration. Doing the conversion the way Russ Barnes did his converts it to a properly designed and functioning single axle, four bag suspension, but that's the only correct way to do it.

 

Might it work if you just start making components disappear? Sure, it might. But there's also a chance of ending up with something that's some combination of unreliable, unpredictable, and potentially even unsafe.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I seem to recall there is at least one Kenworth (a T2000, if I'm not mistaken), owned by a Forum participant, that is running a "truncated" AG200 with no ill effects at last report. But, after the Forum's resident Kenworth expert posted that it's Kenworth's official position that an AirGlide 100/200/400 cannot be "halved" and retain proper function (unless converted to a correctly configured AG230, which didn't exist at that time), I wasn't willing to take that chance when I singled my truck, nor would I recommend it to anybody else. There are too many other simple, safe, and relatively inexpensive ways to end up with a truck done "right".

Yes, that forum member has been kind enough to communicate with me, and although he has not had problems, he considers it inevitable that he will eventually burn up some expensive components.

 

I'm just trying to minimize costs while ending up with something safe and reliable. All the input is welcome and informative.

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Just to ad a bit about the power divider gear head. The divider (differentiating gears) is stronger when engaged than when operating open. However, on road surfaces that do not allow the tires to scrub off any less than perfect gearing differences, the locked divider will impose tremendous strain on the helical gears and bearings that support them, that reverse the pinion rotation in the front driver gear head.

 

The military 6x6 trucks up into the late 90s anyway, do not have a power divider. They are locked solid between the two rear drive axles. They are hard on tires. They can do this mostly because they do not run the reverse rotation gears for the front pinion. They run a double reduction system with the primary pinions rotating the same direction.

 

I would'nt suggest that someone run the diver gear head as their only axle as the full load is then on those reverse rotation gears and bearings. But to use the divider gear head in lock as a means to power the rear axle only, though inefficient, would be quite strong. That is assuming the previous operator did not mess up the locking teeth.

 

IMO.

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Just to ad a bit about the power divider gear head. The divider (differentiating gears) is stronger when engaged than when operating open. However, on road surfaces that do not allow the tires to scrub off any less than perfect gearing differences, the locked divider will impose tremendous strain on the helical gears and bearings that support them, that reverse the pinion rotation in the front driver gear head.

 

The military 6x6 trucks up into the late 90s anyway, do not have a power divider. They are locked solid between the two rear drive axles. They are hard on tires. They can do this mostly because they do not run the reverse rotation gears for the front pinion. They run a double reduction system with the primary pinions rotating the same direction.

 

I would'nt suggest that someone run the diver gear head as their only axle as the full load is then on those reverse rotation gears and bearings. But to use the divider gear head in lock as a means to power the rear axle only, though inefficient, would be quite strong. That is assuming the previous operator did not mess up the locking teeth.

 

IMO.

Very interesting...and simple. Opinions?

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In the same vein as Phil, my full disclosure involves admitting that it's our AG 200 that was "Euniched" prior to our purchase. We knew this going in, and the purchase price reflected it. We've pulled since '10, and the previous owners put on quite a few miles as well. I have $$$ set aside, and hopefully will be able to schedule the time needed. The bed was actually designed with this in mind, to speed up the swap time. It's all about looking ahead, and trying to guess which way the wind is blowing.

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Very interesting...and simple. Opinions?

 

Simple is always good IMO.

 

I dont understand the insurance issue you have. Have you checked around? Maybe it's a state thing, but if you are registered in Oregon like I am, allstate has my tandem on full coverage for about 800 annual. I can suspend it when I plan to not use it for extended periods and save a bunch off of that.

 

If you had a brand of truck that had each axle suspension independent of each other, I'd say remove whichever suspension you want and use the rear drive axle with the proper wedge shims to angle the pinion properly. But with the AG system, your idea of gutting the divider and running straight thru is a possibility IMO.

Do you know what axles you have? Brand and model?

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I did a lot of checking on insurance when I bought the truck, but I did not check Allstate. Right now I'm through Miller RV insurance, and they say they can't get me off commercial without singling the truck. Probably has to do with what I tow...a gooseneck race trailer, not an RV. My truck is registered as a motorhome, but as I recall, unless I had an RV to register with the truck, they would not write me an RV policy unless the truck was singled so they knew I wasn't going to use it commercial. For $800/year, I would probably just stay tandem. Who is your agent...I'll give them a call!

 

I don't know what the axles are...I'm away from home right now, but I'll check next week. I know when I has a Freightliner, I could call the dealer with the VIN and they could tell me info like that...I suppose a KW dealer might be able to do the same.

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I would do a search for insurance as this has been discussed before in depth. I am in Arizona and it does make a difference by state. My truck is tandem and I talked to Allstate and they would only insure commercial while I think Farmers would insure non-commercial but expensive. I ultimately went with Blue Sky and insured the HDT and 5er with them as insurance was cheaper with the combination. The only stipulation was the HDT and to be registered under 26,001 lbs so Blue Sky then considered my tandem HDT a MDT!!! Now in Arizona I can tell MVD what the weight I want and they don't care what the manufacturer says so that maybe why I got it dome through them. IMO I agree would be cheaper to find a different insurance company the convert though conversion is nice. I just had a number of reason i did want to do that. :)

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The basics are pretty simple. You cut the seats off the fwd axle, flip them around and weld them to your rear axle. You cut the spring beams off your fwd axle and weld them to your rear axle. You cut the tower off your rear axle, massage it some with a grinder to make it sit square, then weld it back on at 2 deg back from vertical. Then you install an AG230 notched swaybar, somehow reinstall and route your equalizer lines, align it, and you are done.

 

The gotcha's are what start to add up and make it complicated. You can't reliably cut and splice your equalizer lines and I don't think they make the 15yr old AG200 6x2 airbag fittings anymore. So you have to go down to Pape and get four current 9" AG400 (not AG230 - they are 10.5") o-ring bags and todays AG230 bag fittings. Added bonus is the o-ring bags don't leak. Today's thru-bolt tower holds much better than the old threaded AG200 tower so you might as well get one of those while you have it cut off. Todays Hadley leveling valve is miles ahead of the AG200's Neway valve, so you might as well add one of those while it is apart and while you are welding on its new bowl attaching bracket. Today's lower shock mount takes a ton of frustration out of replacing a shock so you might as well weld on a couple of those and the new shocks while at Pape. The update list goes on and on...

 

Some notes on the above:

 

You can't just drop the front and hook in to the rear. It leaves the rear at 14 degrees when it needs to be at 2 degrees. You have to change seats, spring beams, and upper tower to fix this. You also can't use a straight swaybar. Once you get to 2 degrees the input yoke will hit a straight swaybar. You must have the notched bar of the AG230. It is unavoidable and a single axle needs to be built with the 1pc swaybar anyways.

 

You can't drop the rear and keep the front. You set up a leading link suspension and I'm sure you know the troubles that causes. Yes it is used on tridems and 72" AS Canadian trucks but there are also a couple more axles involved to keep everything in line. You really shouldn't keep the wishbone setup for the same reasons. The threaded pins are supposed to flex and wobble. That turns into a rear steer when there is only one axle back there.

 

Short of the leading link problems, you can replace the fwd carrier with a S170E carrier. It'll fit right in, has splines to fit the same yokes, bolt right to your same driveline, and is made to be a single. Downside is that is an $8K carrier! I've never done it, but I still think you can pull your interaxle diff and output pinion shaft out and replace it with an S170E "power divider" shaft and turn your existing carrier into the same thing. You'd have to weld a cap on your output hole as well. Downside of that is that it is a $1200 shaft! So that science project doesn't really add up either. Both of those options still keep your pinion drop gears so the whole thing doesn't give you the fuel advantages a normal single axle gives either. So that route doesn't really win in the end but it is fun to think about.

 

Sometimes you get lucky on drivelines and you get a 1710 main D/L that matches your interaxle D/L. Usually that is found on low torque engines and/or highway 10 speeds without a deep reduction 1st gear. But more often than not in the 90s and 2000's you have a 1850/SPL 250 main and a 1710 or SPL 170 I/A.

 

The HAS 210 isn't a good choice over 1000 ft lbs as mentioned. It is way torque reactive and a bad/new driver with a big engine can rip it apart. Actually changing the same truck from an Airglide to any trailing arm suspension I think would be pretty disappointing. It is one thing to get used to it in the behavior of an all new truck, but as a mod it seems like all the ups and downs and rolling around would make the same truck turn annoying. Anyways, the only T2 single axle suspension was a Neway, and even at that only Dillard's trucks had them.

 

The oil cap for a non-driven drive axle hub is a Stemco 340-4119.

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The basics are pretty simple. You cut the seats off the fwd axle, flip them around and weld them to your rear axle. You cut the spring beams off your fwd axle and weld them to your rear axle. You cut the tower off your rear axle, massage it some with a grinder to make it sit square, then weld it back on at 2 deg back from vertical. Then you install an AG230 notched swaybar, somehow reinstall and route your equalizer lines, align it, and you are done.

 

The gotcha's are what start to add up and make it complicated. You can't reliably cut and splice your equalizer lines and I don't think they make the 15yr old AG200 6x2 airbag fittings anymore. So you have to go down to Pape and get four current 9" AG400 (not AG230 - they are 10.5") o-ring bags and todays AG230 bag fittings. Added bonus is the o-ring bags don't leak. Today's thru-bolt tower holds much better than the old threaded AG200 tower so you might as well get one of those while you have it cut off. Todays Hadley leveling valve is miles ahead of the AG200's Neway valve, so you might as well add one of those while it is apart and while you are welding on its new bowl attaching bracket. Today's lower shock mount takes a ton of frustration out of replacing a shock so you might as well weld on a couple of those and the new shocks while at Pape. The update list goes on and on...

 

Some notes on the above:

 

You can't just drop the front and hook in to the rear. It leaves the rear at 14 degrees when it needs to be at 2 degrees. You have to change seats, spring beams, and upper tower to fix this. You also can't use a straight swaybar. Once you get to 2 degrees the input yoke will hit a straight swaybar. You must have the notched bar of the AG230. It is unavoidable and a single axle needs to be built with the 1pc swaybar anyways.

 

You can't drop the rear and keep the front. You set up a leading link suspension and I'm sure you know the troubles that causes. Yes it is used on tridems and 72" AS Canadian trucks but there are also a couple more axles involved to keep everything in line. You really shouldn't keep the wishbone setup for the same reasons. The threaded pins are supposed to flex and wobble. That turns into a rear steer when there is only one axle back there.

 

Short of the leading link problems, you can replace the fwd carrier with a S170E carrier. It'll fit right in, has splines to fit the same yokes, bolt right to your same driveline, and is made to be a single. Downside is that is an $8K carrier! I've never done it, but I still think you can pull your interaxle diff and output pinion shaft out and replace it with an S170E "power divider" shaft and turn your existing carrier into the same thing. You'd have to weld a cap on your output hole as well. Downside of that is that it is a $1200 shaft! So that science project doesn't really add up either. Both of those options still keep your pinion drop gears so the whole thing doesn't give you the fuel advantages a normal single axle gives either. So that route doesn't really win in the end but it is fun to think about.

 

Sometimes you get lucky on drivelines and you get a 1710 main D/L that matches your interaxle D/L. Usually that is found on low torque engines and/or highway 10 speeds without a deep reduction 1st gear. But more often than not in the 90s and 2000's you have a 1850/SPL 250 main and a 1710 or SPL 170 I/A.

 

The HAS 210 isn't a good choice over 1000 ft lbs as mentioned. It is way torque reactive and a bad/new driver with a big engine can rip it apart. Actually changing the same truck from an Airglide to any trailing arm suspension I think would be pretty disappointing. It is one thing to get used to it in the behavior of an all new truck, but as a mod it seems like all the ups and downs and rolling around would make the same truck turn annoying. Anyways, the only T2 single axle suspension was a Neway, and even at that only Dillard's trucks had them.

 

The oil cap for a non-driven drive axle hub is a Stemco 340-4119.

 

I take it all T2000s use dana axles then? Dana always was good at using the same banjo ring between gear head configurations. I've seen the interaxleoutput capped on an old 402 with a standard drop in, but that was old logger technology. It would be great if some of that could still be used on some things.

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