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View Full Version : Pros and Cons of: ZF, 106, and 5 ton axles



nskyline34
December 7th, 2012, 11:38 AM
Hey everyone, new here and trying to figure out the monster truck world since this will likely be my next step in progression of projects. I'm curious about axles. Everyone says that ZF's are the best. Why? And what ever happened to the 106? And why wont a 5 ton with the double sheer knuckle mods hold up? Just trying to learn.

What about 4 wheel independent???

Steven
December 7th, 2012, 11:41 AM
I would use the search feature as there is a wealth of information through out the entire site...

nskyline34
December 7th, 2012, 11:53 AM
I tried the site and google and was unable to find a comparison about them....

TL_4x4
December 7th, 2012, 01:24 PM
If I were you I'd look for full axles that dont need to be modified much or at all, ZF APL-365/APL-700, Rockwell P150/P205 maybe?/P250, Clark 15 tons or Clark 20 ton (Clarks usually have a cast stamp MS27 or MS28 in housing), Pettibone Pie Pan Planetary Axles(not sure on parts numbers) Axles that where not pieced together usually hold up better.

Member here dtmach40 built a independent suspension monster, here
http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/showthread.php?18898-First-ever-4WD-4-corner-independant-suspension-monster-truck

nskyline34
December 7th, 2012, 01:59 PM
yea i'm just curious what the diff is between the three as far as strength goes. a 5 ton is easy as every to get ahold of but are they strong enough for this? what would be a BULLETPROOF setup for one of these trucks? a link would be great so i can read up more about what it would be?

nskyline34
December 7th, 2012, 02:15 PM
whats the difference between the ZF 365 and 700. Also what are the pettibone axles and where can i read more about all 3?

tatra813
December 7th, 2012, 02:22 PM
A popular setup is to use the f106 Rockwell axle housing and 3rd member with Clark planetarius bolted on to the housings

I've got some pics of the Clark's just how they come off the forklifts and what they look like stripped down ready to bolt to the axle housing on my Facebook

My housings are Patrick sheet metal housings which are stronger than the Rockwell axle but built based on the Rockwell

nskyline34
December 7th, 2012, 03:02 PM
why is it that no company lists these parts on their site or has a catalog! lol

GearhartEng
December 8th, 2012, 12:28 AM
From what i see none of them are bulletproof,all of them need custom parts and still break,why not start with something that is cheap and easy to get.

Steven
December 8th, 2012, 12:43 AM
There is no comparison charts as things like the F106 w/planetary is a hybrid axle made up of different parts hobbled together. The "stock" axles are for off road (most of the time) construction/military equipment. These companies really do not need a comparison list as they know what Dana, Spicer or what have you axles they will need/require or just engineer their own for their application. As for "BulletProof" absolutely no such thing. Monster trucks are all about chasing you tail. Each time you make something stronger the next weak link appears and as soon as you come full circle the first part you made stronger then itself is the weak link, and so the cycle starts all over. The issue with this sport is NOTHING is purpose built. You are using and implementing parts from various industries and adapting them to this sport.

carcrusher
December 8th, 2012, 01:05 AM
whats the difference between the ZF 365 and 700. Also what are the pettibone axles and where can i read more about all 3?

The 365 has posi-traction style differentials that are open normally until they unload and then they lock up - these are the axles Tom Meents uses and allows him to do a lot of the sidewall-style antics that his trucks are capable of while still maintaining great performance in racing.

The 700 is the axle that the Bigfoot team uses - a narrower housing (at least to the naked eye) that has an individual wet brake inside of each hub, which means if the truck is on two wheels the driver still has braking power, unlike a standard pinion brake setup where the differential would unload under braking in that situation. These axles are also quite a bit heavier overall and is one of the reasons why Bigfoot's team trucks normally weigh in the area of 11,000-12,000 lbs.

Demonmt
December 8th, 2012, 02:14 AM
why is it that no company lists these parts on their site or has a catalog! lol

For one.....Clark is out of business for many years and the company using the "Clark" name is not the same company

nskyline34
December 8th, 2012, 02:07 PM
The 365 has posi-traction style differentials that are open normally until they unload and then they lock up - these are the axles Tom Meents uses and allows him to do a lot of the sidewall-style antics that his trucks are capable of while still maintaining great performance in racing.

The 700 is the axle that the Bigfoot team uses - a narrower housing (at least to the naked eye) that has an individual wet brake inside of each hub, which means if the truck is on two wheels the driver still has braking power, unlike a standard pinion brake setup where the differential would unload under braking in that situation. These axles are also quite a bit heavier overall and is one of the reasons why Bigfoot's team trucks normally weigh in the area of 11,000-12,000 lbs.

This is what I was asking for!!!! Thanks! So is the 365 a stronger unit to begin with? because it sounds to me like the 700 is the stronger unit (judging by weight). Why doesnt Meents use the 700 if its stronger?

Lastly, I realize that nothing is going to be "bulletproof" but I do know there are components that just stand out head and shoulders above the rest. that's all I was asking is what one that is.

how come no team runs a lenco trans? can hold more power and more power means better freestyle, IF you use it right.

HawnMT
December 8th, 2012, 02:31 PM
Bigfoot is sponsored by ZF and chose to run the APL755 which is rare to find out in the salvage world. Tom has pretty much beefed up the 365 to work perfectly with his lightweight Wilman style chassis setup so there really isn't a need to go to the bigger, heavier, harder to find 700 series axles.

Some trucks used to run Lenco transmissions but I think most of them abandoned it because they require a lot of maintenance.

hefner
December 8th, 2012, 03:22 PM
The hall brothers use lenco

carcrusher
December 8th, 2012, 04:32 PM
Isn't there something about the Lenco that makes downshifting very difficult while the truck is in motion?

nskyline34
December 8th, 2012, 05:10 PM
Bigfoot is sponsored by ZF and chose to run the APL755 which is rare to find out in the salvage world. Tom has pretty much beefed up the 365 to work perfectly with his lightweight Wilman style chassis setup so there really isn't a need to go to the bigger, heavier, harder to find 700 series axles.

Some trucks used to run Lenco transmissions but I think most of them abandoned it because they require a lot of maintenance.

What kind of things have to be done to the 365 to make them work? I take it WITH the mods the 365 is on par with the 755 but the 365 does NOT have 4 wheel brakes correct? So basically Meents is sacraficing better brakes for a lighter setup? but strength is on par?

GearhartEng
December 8th, 2012, 06:21 PM
All the trucks that used Lenco were the clutch type,they do not have the cushion on driveline components that a torque converter does. Lenco makes a torque converter driven transmission it is called Lenco Drive.Some say you can not down shift a lenco because it works against the sprag not true,drag cars do it when tire shake is encountered.Lenco also makes a transmission with a extra heavy duty sprag.

Randy Barton BUGZILLA MT
December 8th, 2012, 06:39 PM
Halls got rid of the lencos at least 2 years ago and went to glides
You should forget about the ZF`s and go with a 106/ clark, pettibone, or ps 250 planet

carcrusher
December 8th, 2012, 11:32 PM
What kind of things have to be done to the 365 to make them work? I take it WITH the mods the 365 is on par with the 755 but the 365 does NOT have 4 wheel brakes correct? So basically Meents is sacraficing better brakes for a lighter setup? but strength is on par?

In my opinion, the 365 is a better axle in terms of performance. Tom beefs everything up quite a bit to bring them up to the durability rate. A lighter axle and housing means less unsprung weight, which leads to better overall suspension performance. Also, because of the way that the 365's perform in corners with their limited slip ability, it makes them a great choice for racing and really helps Tom push his truck harder than everyone else running open differentials or with a locker in one end or the other.

bigskyrmk
December 9th, 2012, 08:15 PM
What kind of things have to be done to the 365 to make them work? I take it WITH the mods the 365 is on par with the 755 but the 365 does NOT have 4 wheel brakes correct? So basically Meents is sacraficing better brakes for a lighter setup? but strength is on par?

dont think he has a brake pedal in his truck does he

Steven
December 9th, 2012, 08:39 PM
The problem is the question you are asking while all good, but really hold no water as every driver/team has their own likes and dislikes and in this sport it is not like you have a rule book with what say a chassis HAS to look like but rather what the minimum spec for safety equipment should be. This is sports entertainment and unless you are going to run with Feld who has additional safety requirements due to the outlandish stunts that only a handful of their trucks preform you can really do just about anything you want with the only limiting factor being your imagination and wallet.

kollateral damage
December 13th, 2012, 04:09 PM
how are they putting brakets on the ZF axles with them being cast steel and where are they making the axle stronger at (shafts, hubs, gears?) and i got some axles from a couple lulls i cut up i need to dig them out and see what i got might need to put them to use

Trever Adamo
December 13th, 2012, 10:25 PM
If i'm correct from what i know and just from watching Tom's trucks run they do not have a diff in them they are set up with a spool in them. So it is locked up at all times, even a lmited slip set up would not stay that locked up. Now BIGFOOT does run the lmited slip in there trucks.


In my opinion, the 365 is a better axle in terms of performance. Tom beefs everything up quite a bit to bring them up to the durability rate. A lighter axle and housing means less unsprung weight, which leads to better overall suspension performance. Also, because of the way that the 365's perform in corners with their limited slip ability, it makes them a great choice for racing and really helps Tom push his truck harder than everyone else running open differentials or with a locker in one end or the other.

carcrusher
December 13th, 2012, 11:03 PM
If Tom had lockers front and rear, there is no possible way that the truck would turn and rotate like it does. Team Scream runs lockers front and rear in their trucks and they're all known to push like dump trucks, especially in small arenas. Even trucks with rear lockers only (Dennis, many others) cannot turn as tight as Tom's trucks at a low speed.

Adam Connell
December 14th, 2012, 02:35 AM
If Tom had lockers front and rear, there is no possible way that the truck would turn and rotate like it does. Team Scream runs lockers front and rear in their trucks and they're all known to push like dump trucks, especially in small arenas. Even trucks with rear lockers only (Dennis, many others) cannot turn as tight as Tom's trucks at a low speed.

To be honest, I do not know if Tom runs spools or LSDs... personally, it looks like he runs lockers or spools. What I can tell you is that his unique suspension and steering geometry play a much larger role in how his truck turns than a spool or LSD would. I really wish I knew how to put into simple terms how extremely different Tom's trucks are than any other truck out there... it really is apples to oranges.

Adam Connell
December 14th, 2012, 02:43 AM
how are they putting brakets on the ZF axles with them being cast steel and where are they making the axle stronger at (shafts, hubs, gears?) and i got some axles from a couple lulls i cut up i need to dig them out and see what i got might need to put them to use

It's a pain in the butt... If you really want to know, call Tom or Foot directly. I was around when Larry kept landing hard on the rear and would rip the lower four link brackets off the rear housing. They basically wound up welding a section of channel to the housing and then welded the brackets to the mild steel channel. Im not sure if they just welded all around the outside of the channel, or if they did some plug welding too. They also now run some pretty trick billet knuckles. You can sort of get the idea how they did it from this picture.5857

Trever Adamo
December 14th, 2012, 03:33 PM
:Thumbs up:

What I can tell you is that his unique suspension and steering geometry play a much larger role in how his truck turns than a spool or LSD would. I really wish I knew how to put into simple terms how extremely different Tom's trucks are than any other truck out there... it really is apples to oranges.[/QUOTE]






To be honest, I do not know if Tom runs spools or LSDs... personally, it looks like he runs lockers or spools. What I can tell you is that his unique suspension and steering geometry play a much larger role in how his truck turns than a spool or LSD would. I really wish I knew how to put into simple terms how extremely different Tom's trucks are than any other truck out there... it really is apples to oranges.

RedeemerMT
December 16th, 2012, 01:52 AM
how are they putting brakets on the ZF axles with them being cast steel and where are they making the axle stronger at (shafts, hubs, gears?) and i got some axles from a couple lulls i cut up i need to dig them out and see what i got might need to put them to use

I was told to smoke the axles with rich acetylene smoke, pre-heat them until the smoke "stain" burns off, weld them with an outershield lincoln wire-71-m or equivelant and then post heat. The cast steel is much better than cast iron as the heat dissipation is slower and more closely resembles the properties of the brackets and weld material by comparison. When I pogo mine, I guess I'll know if I got it right!! Ha!

Christian Riedel
January 15th, 2013, 03:47 AM
Tom builds plate steel knuckles with custom spindles as the stock ones are integral (spindle and knuckle as one unit). I believe some or all are a 4 gear planet setup (so are pettibones) which makes for less stress on the planets than say a Clark or rockwell. You're gonna spend 4-5k for a 365 in a junkyard and then have to build it up. Tom also uses lower ball joint supports. As Adam touched on, his suspension geometry as well as being a front engined truck aids in his turning abilities. I don't know if he has done any work with steering geometry. The ZF is a higher reduction planetary than most others, the number slips my mind right now. IIRC it also uses a double cardan axle shaft, and Tom converted to a single u-joint. In all reality there isn't a whole lot stock in toms axles. Price is another factor, you're going to look at 4-5k for one 365 out of a boneyard before mods. Clark's are pricey too, going rate is around 2k a corner (correct me if I'm wrong). Something to think about is you're going to be running primarily arena shows starting off, with some summer outdoor shows being the biggest stuff you will be hitting. That being said, most of the axles mentioned will work for that without many mods. You can build them up as you go. If you still are stuck on ZFs (I was at first), think about the 735 that bear foot ran, heavier duty than the 365, but lighter due to no wet brakes. Unsure of cost or where to find them. That being said, I'm going with pettibones mainly due to strength to cost ratio and their availability to me. Sorry this was kinda scattered, it's late here and I just wrote what popped into my scattered brain. Someday I'll try to put down all I know into a concise post when I'm not on my phone. Look back at what Marty garza said though, his amount of knowledge blows mine out of the water...he wrote an axle summary a while back if someone wants to copy and paste it from the industry section. I'm on my phone and can't.

Christian Riedel
January 15th, 2013, 03:52 AM
« Reply #10 on: Jan 5th, 2007, 4:10pm by Overkill»

There are a number of planetaries which have been re-tasked for use in the monster truck industry. Most of these are decades old designs scavenged from obsolete construction equipment. However this may eventually change. Contemporary planetary axle designs offer superior engineering and materials as well as greater gear reduction.



To my knowledge the first planetary to find it?s way onto a monster truck was the Rockwell PS250. These were first mated to 5 Ton Rockwell military axles in 1984 on a little known monster truck named the ?Texas Armadillo?.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/363.jpg



In this early example the PS250 hubs were actually mated to the 5 ton spindles as opposed to the subsequent use of flanges to mate the planetary ends to the desired axle housings.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/364.jpg



Monster truck owners soon realized the performance advantage when planetaries found their way onto high profile trucks such as Bearfoot and Bigfoot. PS250s are found with both one piece and two piece knuckles, some on flanged champagne cups and others on fixed housings.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/365.jpg



As planetaries became a standard component of a monster truck cost and availability became a major concern. At that time the most readily available planetary was found to be the Clark 20 Ton. As a result nearly 20 years later this has become the industry standard. In addition to being plentiful these were also long considered to be bombproof. That is until recent years. Today these have become scares and weaknesses have surfaced. Axle shafts have been a weak link when used in combination with Rockwell F106s. This is due in part to the Clark?s roughly 3.5:1 reduction. In addition new weaknesses have been found such as spindles and even drive flanges!



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/366.jpg



Another planetary which found it?s way onto monster trucks very early in the game was the Rockwell PS115. These first appeared on Fred Shafer?s Lil? Bearfoot in 1984. I personally favored the PS115 due to its greater 4.3:1 reduction and relative light weight (as compared to the PS250 and Clark 20 ton).



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/367.jpg



Though these have high strength champaign cups the weak point is the knuckles themselves. We found a way to sufficiently strengthen these but today David Smith of King Krunch has developed billet steel knuckles which have eliminated this weakness. It is also my understanding that he has found a 5:1 gear set which is a direct replacement. Unfortunately the PS115 too has become hard to locate.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/368.jpg



Now the lesser known planetaries.....Mixed in with Rockwell and Clark planetaries was the sporadic use of the Pettibone planetary already discussed by Scott Bryant. (See earlier post)



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/369.jpg



Arguably the largest planetaries to ever find their way onto a monster truck were incorporated by Jeff Dane on his Awesome Kong II. These massive planetaries he claims were salvaged from a 170 ton Navy beach recovery vehicle. These were so large in fact that they just fit within the 32" diameter wheels of his Goodyear 73" tires.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/370.jpg



A little noticed planetary in use today is the Gallion. These compact planetary ends have been quietly used for years (and very successfully I might add) by Dennis Anderson on his Grave Digger trucks. One advantage of this planetary is that it can be adapted to a standard Clark 20 ton knuckle. These are also lighter than the standard Clark 20 ton hub. However once again the draw back is their availability.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/371.jpg



Here is another variation of the Clark which was brought to my attention by Paul Winkleman (Evolution & American Thunder monster trucks). These are actually an aluminum version of the Clark 20 ton planetary. It is my understanding that these hubs will also mate directly to standard Clark 20 ton spindles and knuckles. However I am not aware of anyone who has tried to run these on a monster truck as of yet.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/372.jpg



Now the mighty minis....



Few monster truck components have been so coveted as the ZF APL365. Though there were a few issues which had to be worked though, who could not be impressed by their spectacular performance. These small planetaries were first implemented (pun intended) by Jack Willman back in 1989 on his Taurus Racer due to their light weight. There were however several other benefits. First and foremost these feature a 6:1 gear reduction. Secondly they are of a very compact design which reduces leverage on the spindles, knuckles and king pins. As a result these have proven to be extraordinarily strong. The weakest point of these was their spindle nut which was prone to stripping. Tom Meets at the wheel of Paul Shafer?s Monster Patrol and later his own trucks (Maximum Destruction, Hot Wheels, etc.) has beaten these to a pulp and appears to have addressed every potential weakness. If these planetaries were actually readily available they would surely be the standard.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/373.jpg



Other similar ZF axles have been and are used by a few teams. Fred Shafer (Bearfoot) received a sponsorship from ZF back in 1991 which allowed him to obtain very rare APL 735s. Later Bob Chandler secured the ZF sponsorship for his Bigfoot team but chose the larger APL 755 with integral wet brakes. Predictably these are also very scarce.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/374.jpg



The latest mini to glean interest is the Clark/Hurth. As I mentioned earlier these were first utilized by Alan Pezo on his Predator race truck back circa 1994. However he experienced reliability issues with the axle housings. In recent years Jimmy Creten experimented with the Clark/Hurth on his wife?s Scarlet Bandit truck. Kirk Dabney is also running complete Clark/Hurth axles under his latest Overkill truck.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/375.jpg



Mac Plecker has also been successfully running the Clark/Hurth on sheet metal axle housings with custom built knuckles and Ford 9" centers for over a year now. These axles were built by Matt Heady as prototypes for his incredibly light Big Gun monster truck. His truck features chromoly axle housings with billet aluminum knuckles and billet aluminum hubs with Clark/Hurth spindles and planetary gears. I believe this is the most extreme example of planetary axles to date. Though Clark/Hurth planetary axles are uncommon it is my understanding that replacement parts can still be ordered over the counter.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/376.jpg



There is a common thread which runs though this entire post. It is the lack of availability of these re-tasked tractor parts. As the supply is expended builders will need to resort to other means to keep the industry going. Custom built sheet metal housings such as those offered by Dan Patrick are now replacing the Rockwell F106 housings used for over the last decade.



http://www.monstermayhem.org/forums/images/imported/2009/02/377.jpg



Pablo Huffaker (Grave Digger, Blacksmith) now offers custom billet spindles, David Smith offers custom billet knuckles, SCS offer custom inner and outer axle shafts, and Matt Heady single handedly fabricated s billet aluminum version of a production planetary. Therefor, how far off could we really be from purpose built monster truck planetary axles? I believe the industry has been inadvertently inching towards this for some time. If a concerted (combined) effort was placed into the vision of a standardized planetary axle (though the biggest hurdle will be agreement on the specifications) and I am confident that this could (and will) be accomplished in the foreseeable future.



Marty G.

Overkill Racing

kollateral damage
February 5th, 2013, 10:58 PM
that was a very good read im about ready to start my build after going to moster jam in tampa last weekend and the pit party i sat there studying max d and gun slinger truck there frame and everything is so simple, basic
im stuck on the ZF axles i got a set lined up im still iffy on welding them also have 20 ton clarks lined up to still in the loader but mind is set on the ZF and does tom meents have a web site i been looking for 2 days and only find it on facebook i found gun slingers sent him a email asking about the frame specs