Call Sandy Cone in Tempeton ca. He makes a hub that fits a one ton ford I beam. This is the way to go if you want to use 2wd parts. Curt Leduck does it this way. I am sure sandy can drill the hubs for 8 bolt pattern. Then just use stock f 350 2wd beams to begin with.
If you want 8 bolt pattern and oem parts for a beam truck just use all the stock one ton parts. You will have to extend the I beam on the inside but there are pleanty strong. This would be a really effective, cost efficient and strong way to go.
I've contemplated that. The big issue I'm having is finding a disc brake front end that at the wrecking yards that hasn't been snatched up by autofab. The local wrecking yards want a small fortune for the ones they do have. It seems as though john has a buyer or is getting calls from all the local yards. Mainly the caliper brackets. The rest of the stuff can be bought new or reman. There used to be a guy on Craigslist parting out these trucks but i haven seen a post from him in a while. And same story there disc brake front end is the first thing to go. Thats when i started looking into the 2 in snouts.
Read what drag racers do with gun drilling. It does make is stronger, think of it this way. A solid axle basically has one wall, hollow (gun drilled) in a sense has double wall. Besides being lighter, it's a better way of doing things.