CALMINI Heavy Duty Rear Axles
A Stronger Axle Option for Your Sidekick or Tracker.
Editor/Photo: Eric Bewley
Corvallis, OR – When building up a new vehicle, it always seems like there are a couple of weak links that need to be address right away. In the case of the Sidekick one of the issues is the rear axle strength. As soon as you add a locker and up-size the tires a couple of notches, you’re bound to have problems in this area. Calmini products has created a solution designed to solve the busted-axle blues.
Calmini states that their completely new forged axles are 30% stronger than stock. They are made from 4140 alloy steel and that the redesigned input spline area greatly reduces the chance of shearing or breaking.
Installation is quite simple and if your switching over from a Samurai, you’ll especially enjoy the fact that you can remove the axle without having to remove the backing plate for the brakes. A jack, floor stands, basic hand tools, and a press (or a machine shop to do the press work) is all you need.
1 – Prepare the new axles. The axles are shipped to your door bare and need to have the bearing retainer, bearing, and axle flange pressed on to them. We used our trusty ZUKIWORLD “H” press but any local machine shop will do this for a minimal fee. 2 – Jack the vehicle up, support it on jack stands, and remove the wheels/tires. 3 – Remove the brake drum, the four bolts on the back of the axle tube flange that hold the axle into the axle tube, and remove the old axle. Bet you have twisted splines! Reverse this process to install your new Calmini axles. 4 – One thing to note is that there are some different brake combinations out there. I had the late model 4-door brakes in which the axle has a 5 on 5.5″ flange. The early-model 4-door brakes have the smaller 4 bolt flange similar to the Calmini axles. The other parts of the brakes are the same so converting back was a simple as just pushing on the new (older) drum. 5- All done, install wheels and tires and put the vehicle on the ground. It is time to test!
In the shots above, you can see the quality of the workmanship and the newly redesigned axle shaft to input spline area. On the failures that I have had with the stock axles the break begins right at this transition area. The new shafts are not only a stronger alloy they have this stress point removed. During our vigorous testing we were amazed at the amount of abuse such as hoping and bouncing these new axles will take. Our test vehicle is no light weight weighing in at about 3500 pounds and sporting 33 inch tall tires. With the hopped-up 1.6 engine, 4:1 t-case gears, 5:12 r&p, and lockers, we had no problems with these axles. They worked great! For some reason though, when we tripled our horsepower and torque by adding a V6, they didn’t hold up indefinitely. I guess everything has it’s limits.
In conclusion, if your looking for an axle solution for your Sidekick or Tracker and plan on keeping the 4-cylinder (even hopping one up to it’s maximum potential) look no further. Calmini products has the answer you are looking for.