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Toy Grappler: Tacoma Chromoly Axleshaft Upgrade

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For Alec Overton, his ‘00 Toyota Tacoma plays double duties acting as a daily driver and weekend trail rig. Anybody that has attempted this "double lifestyle" knows it isn’t easy. When you depend on the truck to be there Monday morning, it needs to be built to last through the weekend. For Overton, this has meant ditching the weak independent front suspension for a solid-axle conversion. Along with that key upgrade, he’s also installed body protection, recovery gear, and 35-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers. With the added traction the Trail Grapplers afford, axle strength has become Overton’s latest concern.

The old saying of “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” is nice to say until you’re stuck on a trail after dark trying to remove a broken axleshaft. So, after a quick stop by Low Range Off-Road in Orem, Utah, we were headed home with a new set of Longfield 30-spline chromoly rear ‘shafts for Toyota 8-inch rear axle.

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Installing the rear ‘shafts is a very straight forward process, but you will need a press and a little knowhow. Once we broke the lug nuts loose, we raised the rear axle and placed jack stands under both sides of the housing.

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With the tires out of the way, you can access remove the parking brake and hard lines. You’ll need something to catch the brake fluid once you crack line loose. An old coke can works great.

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Your next step is to break the backing plate assembly free by removing the four bolts that secure it to the axle. At this point, you can slide the axleshaft out.

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Next, you’ll need a press to remove the ABS tone ring and shaft collar, bearings, and races. You can save yourself a little time by purchasing a new set of bearings and ABS ring.

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The new axleshafts are forged 4340 chromoly with a breaking strength of 8,300 lb-ft of torque. While these also come with a lifetime warranty, Overton hopes the new ‘shafts will be all he need to keep the rear axle trouble free for a while.

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Once the new assemblies are pressed together, you can easily bolt the new ‘shafts in place. Don’t forget to check your rear differential fluid, for you may have lost a little. Of course, you will need to bleed your brakes and add fluid to them as well.

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On The Trail

So far, we love the new peace of mind knowing that we can let the Trail Grapplers work without fearing a broken axleshaft. We haven’t had the chance to get on any extreme terrain yet, but a trip is in the works. Look for a full write-up on this well-built Tacoma very soon.


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