View Full Version : Front Three Link Build

03-07-2009, 02:27 PM
Thought I would throw up pics and stuff on my front three link build. I spent days searching the net before I started and there wasnt a whole lot out there that I could find on correct theory and stuff. I ended up spending tons of time on the 3 link calculator and then talking to a local WE Rocks competitor and what flies and what doesnt on a front three link. Turns out that there is a ton of misinformation on the internet. Go figure.

Anyway I'm going to post up what I did and what I would do differently next go around.

I started out with a 4" lift on adjustable short arms and wanted some more flex and a better ride. I saw that making a kit like Claytons or whatever would most likely work just fine but an actual three link has some benefits over it. Those being better caster control through the range of motion, better control of unloading on a hill climb, and less bind for flexing. Its also not as common so I wanted to give it a try.

It was also a good time to move to an high pinion front axle. I ended up trading a car door for a D30 HP and some long brake lines. I also got some 4:56 gears in the deal. I also picked up a low pinion dana 30 with dana 44 outers with unit bearings with superior alloy shafts and an OX locker for $400. Target size on tires is 35" so it should be fine. I have a truggy for the harder shit. This rig is to haul the family and the dog around.

First thing I did was to strip down the HP30 and hit it with a sand blaster to clean it all up. I also cut off the factory lower control arm mounts and welded on some beefier ones. I also needed an upper link for the upper arm. I was planning on using the stock mount cast into the pumpkin but decided that the rubber bushing and small size wasnt going to cut it. So off it went and on went a truss.



I also needed a different crossmember. I built a three piece deal like claytons as its a good idea. It also raised the drivetrain up about 1" which I like.


After laying under there and looking around, this is where I ended up putting the upper link on the frame side. This gives me about 5" of seperation at the frame. Not great but not bad either. I've seen worse.


03-07-2009, 02:32 PM
I used reciever stock for the links because I had a bunch laying around/ The joints are 1.25" Johnny joints and they are way beef!

Here's a pic of the drivers side mounts before they were welded onto the frame sleeve.


Here's where I would have done it different. Using some round DOM in here would have made it a little simpler to fit.


It still all fits up there though..




03-07-2009, 02:35 PM
I like that d30 truss.

Hopefully mine will come out half that good.

03-07-2009, 02:45 PM
I built the new steering using the Chevy 3/4 ton ends and flipping the tie rod up on top. I used 1" inner diameter DOM with .25" walls. After the steering I set the axle to where I wanted it to ride and built the track bar using the same material as the steering. I used 3/4" Heim Joints for both ends of the trackbar and got it within 4" of length of the steering.

Testing out the flex in the garage..


Well, too make a long story short, I put it all together and took it out for a test drive. This was about the largest dirt pile I could fine on short notice.


It flexes really nice. That is with 5.5" Rock Krawler lift springs in the front. The springs had plenty of tension on them so I need to find a bigger pile.


The tire reallt stuff up in there! that is a 33" tires that measures a true 33"'s.


Really stuffs in there. Going to trim the front bumper and the fender.


So far I'm pretty happy with it. rides nice but I dont have any good runs on it. Its in the garage getting the gears in the rear so I can have 4x4 back. I about got stuck where those pics were and really had to put it to the wood to get out. Ended up tweaking the fender some before it was all over.


03-07-2009, 02:48 PM
I like that d30 truss.

Hopefully mine will come out half that good.

Thanks. It started out as 2" by 4" by 3/16" rectangular tube. Used a piece of cardboard for the pattern and cut off the tops at an angle and welded flat back on and ground it down. You can tell its a home made job when you get up and look at it but its good enough for me.

I thought about going 1/4" but there was enough material there I decided to go with it.

03-07-2009, 06:48 PM
Nice! This will be a good thread for me to use when I build a 3-link. I'll probably do similar to what you did but actually use the Clayton crossmember. Only issue I'm having now is where and how I'm gonna mount the upper.

03-07-2009, 07:19 PM
Nice! This will be a good thread for me to use when I build a 3-link. I'll probably do similar to what you did but actually use the Clayton crossmember. Only issue I'm having now is where and how I'm gonna mount the upper.

I was thinking of doing the same. ditching the radius arms that came with my claytons kit and build a 3rd link similar to this.

03-07-2009, 07:25 PM
Maybe you could just put a bracket up on top like I did. I think the claytons cross member is a little lower. That and a tube instead of square you might be able to get a little bit better sepearation. I figured I could get another inch if I had gone round. I was able to set it up that it hits the floor and the exhaust at the same time.

If both sides stuff at the same time. I get about 3" of seperation from the bump stop to the spring perch. But on articulaton with the track bar, I can touch both bump stops on each side.

03-07-2009, 09:13 PM
nice write up, I'm in the process of trying to figure out what i'm going to do with my front 60 and this gave some good ideas on how things will look.

03-07-2009, 09:35 PM
Looks good! Good call on replacing the stock flimsy LCA axle mounts. Mine were always bending.

03-07-2009, 10:33 PM
Actually what started the whole thing was this mess. On a snow run I was cruising along on some hard pack stuff and hit a spring and sunk like a rock. This stunt folded the stock upper control arms, bent the passenger side upper control arm mount and the new pinion angle was enough that the straps ripped apart and rolled back enough to tear up the fender from the tire.

That was such a mess to fix and recover that I never wanted that to happen again. So this setup and a yoke from Tom Woods with the u bolts will hopefully fix that problem.