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Old 04-05-2013, 01:24 PM   #1
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Can someone explain regearing to me?

I see a ton of threads about re-gearing and I'm a little confused. Are you replacing the entire transmission, or just the gears within? How much does this typically cost?

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Old 04-05-2013, 01:31 PM   #2
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When people refer to re-gearing, they aren't talking about the gears inside the transmission. They are talking about the gears inside the front and rear differentials. The ring and pinion gears inside the differentials can be changed to give your jeep more torque and power to the wheels. You won't actually be getting more power out of your engine, it will just seem that way when you add a "higher" number gear to your diffs: i.e. going from 3.73 gears to 4.10s, 4.88s, etc.... As for a price, the gears themselves are not that expensive, around 200 bucks each (front set and rear set). Its the install that will get you. I have never had gears installed, always done them myself with my dad, but never in a jeep. Muscle cars, and newer Mustang mostly. Some one else will chime in and add to what I have said and maybe give you a price.

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Old 04-05-2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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Usually they run about $1200-2000 to get it done
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:24 PM   #4
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Yep, it's all about the differentials.

Here's a shot of the gears installed in the axle:




Here's a picture of the gears outside of the axle:




The ring gear looks, well, like a ring. The pinion gear is the other one. The driveshaft connects to the pinion. When the driveshaft turns, the pinion gear spins the ring gear and that makes the axle shafts turn and that's what spins the wheels.


The axle gears have a ratio. That tells you how many times the driveshaft will make a complete rotation for every one full rotation of the wheel. So if you have 4.10 gears, that's a 4.10:1 ratio, which means that for every one full rotation of the tire, the driveshaft will rotate 4.10 times.

So why change the gears? Think about what happens when you change the tire size. A bigger tire will go farther down the road for each time it makes one complete revolution. So if you bump up the tire size without changing the axle gears, your driveshaft will be turning slower when you're driving down the highway. That means your engine will be turning slower. If your engine is turning too slowly, it won't make very good power and your performance (and even fuel economy) can suffer. So to compensate, you change the axle gears. Bigger tire means higher number for axle gears. By changing the axle gears to match the tire size change, you put the engine speed back close to where the factory put it and you get back to factory-like performance. (And yes, I'm glossing over a lot of details here.)


So why does the factory offer different gear ratios for vehicles with the same tire size? So they can make the vehicle perform in a specific way.

Gears with lower numbers are called "taller" gears. They are given this name because a vehicle with taller gears can run faster on the highway (or race track) before the engine reaches its red line. Gears with higher numbers are called "shorter" gears. Vehicles with shorter gears will reach red line at lower speeds.

Taller gears tend to give you better fuel economy (to a point) but reduce your acceleration. Shorter gears improve acceleration at the cost of fuel economy.

Shorter gears are preferred for rock crawling because they let you go much slower over the rocks. Taller gears are preferred for mud bogging because you need wheel speed to keep the tires clean and biting in the mud. Road racing cars might have taller gears to really get moving on the long straights while short track cars would have shorter gears to get better acceleration coming out of the corners.

For most people around here, they choose to regear their Jeeps to make up for changes in tire size. And when they do they will go even shorter than it takes to get back to factory performance in order to make up for the lack of low end power in the engines in the JKs. Fuel economy is already not that great and getting a little better acceleration is often worth it.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:05 PM   #5
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Somebody buy that man a beer! Great answer.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:13 PM   #6
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Indeed! I have been schooled. Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:20 PM   #7
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Really good answers.

One more noob question. So for a 4X4 do you change front and rear gears, or only the rear for improved onroad performance ?
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:22 PM   #8
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I feel I should pay for that lesson. Thumbs up!!
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:29 PM   #9
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Thank you for the excellent answer, and yes, you do deserve a beer or two for that. My Jeep is a Daily Driver, but I do take it off-road about every couple of weeks. It's mostly stock (the only additions being a couple of decals, a tire lock, and a hitch) with 3.21's, and the only addition I plan on making are adding tires with thicker tread (on separate rims) that I can change out when I am going to take it off-roading. I hear a lot of complaints about the 3.21's, but they fit my needs, so I have no complaints. The only time I've ever towed something was a U-Haul trailer when I moved, and it performed fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by derf View Post
Yep, it's all about the differentials.

Here's a shot of the gears installed in the axle:




Here's a picture of the gears outside of the axle:




The ring gear looks, well, like a ring. The pinion gear is the other one. The driveshaft connects to the pinion. When the driveshaft turns, the pinion gear spins the ring gear and that makes the axle shafts turn and that's what spins the wheels.


The axle gears have a ratio. That tells you how many times the driveshaft will make a complete rotation for every one full rotation of the wheel. So if you have 4.10 gears, that's a 4.10:1 ratio, which means that for every one full rotation of the tire, the driveshaft will rotate 4.10 times.

So why change the gears? Think about what happens when you change the tire size. A bigger tire will go farther down the road for each time it makes one complete revolution. So if you bump up the tire size without changing the axle gears, your driveshaft will be turning slower when you're driving down the highway. That means your engine will be turning slower. If your engine is turning too slowly, it won't make very good power and your performance (and even fuel economy) can suffer. So to compensate, you change the axle gears. Bigger tire means higher number for axle gears. By changing the axle gears to match the tire size change, you put the engine speed back close to where the factory put it and you get back to factory-like performance. (And yes, I'm glossing over a lot of details here.)


So why does the factory offer different gear ratios for vehicles with the same tire size? So they can make the vehicle perform in a specific way.

Gears with lower numbers are called "taller" gears. They are given this name because a vehicle with taller gears can run faster on the highway (or race track) before the engine reaches its red line. Gears with higher numbers are called "shorter" gears. Vehicles with shorter gears will reach red line at lower speeds.

Taller gears tend to give you better fuel economy (to a point) but reduce your acceleration. Shorter gears improve acceleration at the cost of fuel economy.

Shorter gears are preferred for rock crawling because they let you go much slower over the rocks. Taller gears are preferred for mud bogging because you need wheel speed to keep the tires clean and biting in the mud. Road racing cars might have taller gears to really get moving on the long straights while short track cars would have shorter gears to get better acceleration coming out of the corners.

For most people around here, they choose to regear their Jeeps to make up for changes in tire size. And when they do they will go even shorter than it takes to get back to factory performance in order to make up for the lack of low end power in the engines in the JKs. Fuel economy is already not that great and getting a little better acceleration is often worth it.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #10
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Really good answers.

One more noob question. So for a 4X4 do you change front and rear gears, or only the rear for improved onroad performance ?
If you never shift into 4Hi or 4Lo you can get away with only swapping out the rear axle gears.

Trouble is, the transfer case locks both the front and rear driveshaft together so they both must turn at the same speed (or at least really really really close). If you change gears in one axle but not the other, you're going to cause all sorts of trouble because the two driveshafts will want to turn at different speeds. It won't take long to break something if you do that.

If you do change only the rear gears I would insist that you remove your front driveshaft so that if you did shift into 4WD you don't accidentally break anything.


Now, I have seen one guy who ran two different size tires on his 4x4. Bigger tires on the back and smaller on the front. He did the math and figured out what gear ratios to run so that it worked in 4WD without binding and breaking. It was pretty interesting to see it in action.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
Thank you for the excellent answer, and yes, you do deserve a beer or two for that. My Jeep is a Daily Driver, but I do take it off-road about every couple of weeks. It's mostly stock (the only additions being a couple of decals, a tire lock, and a hitch) with 3.21's, and the only addition I plan on making are adding tires with thicker tread (on separate rims) that I can change out when I am going to take it off-roading. I hear a lot of complaints about the 3.21's, but they fit my needs, so I have no complaints. The only time I've ever towed something was a U-Haul trailer when I moved, and it performed fine.
If you're getting tires that are close to the same size as the ones you run on the street you shouldn't have any problems. If you do get bigger tires it will feel like you've lost a little power getting moving and your speedometer will be off. But if you can live with the performance then enjoy it.

As far as correcting the speedometer, use this equation.

MPH * off road tire diameter / on road tire diameter = actual speed

And it's best to get out and measure the tires since advertised size is never accurate.
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by derf View Post
If you never shift into 4Hi or 4Lo you can get away with only swapping out the rear axle gears.

Trouble is, the transfer case locks both the front and rear driveshaft together so they both must turn at the same speed (or at least really really really close). If you change gears in one axle but not the other, you're going to cause all sorts of trouble because the two driveshafts will want to turn at different speeds. It won't take long to break something if you do that.

If you do change only the rear gears I would insist that you remove your front driveshaft so that if you did shift into 4WD you don't accidentally break anything.


Now, I have seen one guy who ran two different size tires on his 4x4. Bigger tires on the back and smaller on the front. He did the math and figured out what gear ratios to run so that it worked in 4WD without binding and breaking. It was pretty interesting to see it in action.
Thanks a lot! Very very useful info
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lamp View Post
Thank you for the excellent answer, and yes, you do deserve a beer or two for that. My Jeep is a Daily Driver, but I do take it off-road about every couple of weeks. It's mostly stock (the only additions being a couple of decals, a tire lock, and a hitch) with 3.21's, and the only addition I plan on making are adding tires with thicker tread (on separate rims) that I can change out when I am going to take it off-roading. I hear a lot of complaints about the 3.21's, but they fit my needs, so I have no complaints. The only time I've ever towed something was a U-Haul trailer when I moved, and it performed fine.
Most important part right there.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:27 AM   #14
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If you never shift into 4Hi or 4Lo you can get away with only swapping out the rear axle gears...
While that's true, and taking off the front drive shaft is a good suggestion to make sure you don't break anything, please don't do it and turn your 4x4 Wrangler into a 2wd vehicle. Even if you donít use it resale will be hurt.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:14 AM   #15
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Yep, it's all about the differentials.

Here's a shot of the gears installed in the axle:




Here's a picture of the gears outside of the axle:




The ring gear looks, well, like a ring. The pinion gear is the other one. The driveshaft connects to the pinion. When the driveshaft turns, the pinion gear spins the ring gear and that makes the axle shafts turn and that's what spins the wheels.


The axle gears have a ratio. That tells you how many times the driveshaft will make a complete rotation for every one full rotation of the wheel. So if you have 4.10 gears, that's a 4.10:1 ratio, which means that for every one full rotation of the tire, the driveshaft will rotate 4.10 times.

So why change the gears? Think about what happens when you change the tire size. A bigger tire will go farther down the road for each time it makes one complete revolution. So if you bump up the tire size without changing the axle gears, your driveshaft will be turning slower when you're driving down the highway. That means your engine will be turning slower. If your engine is turning too slowly, it won't make very good power and your performance (and even fuel economy) can suffer. So to compensate, you change the axle gears. Bigger tire means higher number for axle gears. By changing the axle gears to match the tire size change, you put the engine speed back close to where the factory put it and you get back to factory-like performance. (And yes, I'm glossing over a lot of details here.)


So why does the factory offer different gear ratios for vehicles with the same tire size? So they can make the vehicle perform in a specific way.

Gears with lower numbers are called "taller" gears. They are given this name because a vehicle with taller gears can run faster on the highway (or race track) before the engine reaches its red line. Gears with higher numbers are called "shorter" gears. Vehicles with shorter gears will reach red line at lower speeds.

Taller gears tend to give you better fuel economy (to a point) but reduce your acceleration. Shorter gears improve acceleration at the cost of fuel economy.

Shorter gears are preferred for rock crawling because they let you go much slower over the rocks. Taller gears are preferred for mud bogging because you need wheel speed to keep the tires clean and biting in the mud. Road racing cars might have taller gears to really get moving on the long straights while short track cars would have shorter gears to get better acceleration coming out of the corners.

For most people around here, they choose to regear their Jeeps to make up for changes in tire size. And when they do they will go even shorter than it takes to get back to factory performance in order to make up for the lack of low end power in the engines in the JKs. Fuel economy is already not that great and getting a little better acceleration is often worth it.
Excellent answer.

Got any pics of the Truck Norris?
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:17 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=derf;3598888]Yep, it's all about the differentials.

Here's a shot of the gears installed in the axle:


.........

Very good explanation. It should get posted up as a sticky.
Derf- copy that to your PC somewhere so you can just copy and paste to all the gear threads. Heck I replaced my gears and it makes more sense to me now.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:59 PM   #17
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Excellent answer.

Got any pics of the Truck Norris?
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:12 AM   #18
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Just wanted to know. I am guessing that you have to change all three diff. Front rear and transfer?
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:09 PM   #19
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Just wanted to know. I am guessing that you have to change all three diff. Front rear and transfer?
Nope. Just the axles.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:33 PM   #20
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derf: Fantastic write-up. Really appreciate the information. I too have been curious about the true specifics of gear changes and you were able to relay the complexities in an easy to digest post. Again, Fantastic.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:23 PM   #21
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I see a ton of threads about re-gearing and I'm a little confused. Are you replacing the entire transmission, or just the gears within? How much does this typically cost?
All good answers above, but here's another point to consider.

I were to ever "regear" a vehicle again, those new gears would come inside two purpose built axles.

The reason I hold this opinion is that axles, carriers and differentials have been getting lighter over time. So, you go to the expense of regearing for 37" tires, but you may be "polishing a turd" (slang for trying to build up stock axles to handle tall gears and bigger, heavier tires). For example, the D44 in the JK Rubicon I ordered Saturday isn't the same as the D44 from 10-15 years ago.

Just my opinion based on observations, articles and being dumb enough to regear a D35 front and Corporate rear end on an XJ to 4:56 :-)
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:23 PM   #22
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Outstanding explanation!
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:04 PM   #23
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I think I have an idea for another page for my gear ratio calculator. Hmmm....
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:50 PM   #24
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I edited it a bit and added a few more things, including a link to my page describing lockers and put it up on my website.

Regearing Basics
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:03 AM   #25
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All good answers above, but here's another point to consider.

I were to ever "regear" a vehicle again, those new gears would come inside two purpose built axles.

The reason I hold this opinion is that axles, carriers and differentials have been getting lighter over time. So, you go to the expense of regearing for 37" tires, but you may be "polishing a turd" (slang for trying to build up stock axles to handle tall gears and bigger, heavier tires). For example, the D44 in the JK Rubicon I ordered Saturday isn't the same as the D44 from 10-15 years ago.

Just my opinion based on observations, articles and being dumb enough to regear a D35 front and Corporate rear end on an XJ to 4:56 :-)
You are right. They are not the same as the ones from 10/15 years ago. The R&P is bigger, the axles have a higher spline count and the bearings are bigger. The unit bearing are a let down and the tube and "C"s are not all that great. All that being said they are the strongest front axle ever offered in a CJ or wrangler to the general puplic.
Jeep axles have allways sucked if you go larer then stock. But the current D44 front and rear are way better then anything else so far. I beat the snot out of my built up housings and have only hade to change unit bearings so far. I know the locker might go sometime but I was aware of that when I built them.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:47 AM   #26
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You are right. They are not the same as the ones from 10/15 years ago. The R&P is bigger, the axles have a higher spline count and the bearings are bigger. The unit bearing are a let down and the tube and "C"s are not all that great. All that being said they are the strongest front axle ever offered in a CJ or wrangler to the general puplic.
Jeep axles have allways sucked if you go larer then stock. But the current D44 front and rear are way better then anything else so far. I beat the snot out of my built up housings and have only hade to change unit bearings so far. I know the locker might go sometime but I was aware of that when I built them.
Yeah I think we're talking about the same thing really.

Jeep Wrangler JK Dana 44 Axle Upgrades - Four Wheeler Magazine

It's the same old problem, like where I live, you see guys in trucks (and sometimes Jeeps) running wide 40s on stock axles. If they bothered with the cost of regearing (assuming paid installer), they're in for it, unless they just tool around the street. You can always tell the ones who didn't mess with taller gears when they pull away from a light or go up a long hill on the highway :-)

I figure it like this - 33-37K on a Rubi, 5K woth of new armor and a winch, 3K worth of llift goodness, and 37s means that you're hanging alot on those stockers.

I'd start with a total swap if I had that kind of cash :-). Unless I just wanted to replace stuff as it broke. :-)
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:02 AM   #27
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This should be a sticky.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:01 AM   #28
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Yeah I think we're talking about the same thing really.

Jeep Wrangler JK Dana 44 Axle Upgrades - Four Wheeler Magazine

It's the same old problem, like where I live, you see guys in trucks (and sometimes Jeeps) running wide 40s on stock axles. If they bothered with the cost of regearing (assuming paid installer), they're in for it, unless they just tool around the street. You can always tell the ones who didn't mess with taller gears when they pull away from a light or go up a long hill on the highway :-)

I figure it like this - 33-37K on a Rubi, 5K woth of new armor and a winch, 3K worth of llift goodness, and 37s means that you're hanging alot on those stockers.

I'd start with a total swap if I had that kind of cash :-). Unless I just wanted to replace stuff as it broke. :-)
They will hold up to 37 when wheeled hard. I knows several jeeps that do this. Including mine. If you go to a prorock or something else you still have the same carrier, R&P, and axles options.

The only way you can swap housings and get stronger internals is to step up to 1tons.

A D44 can be built up to handle 37's no problem, a stock unit with a good carrier and shafts is way better then a aftermarket unit with the stock internals by far. Of course if you just swap gears and do nothing else you are asking for trouble.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:24 AM   #29
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Here's my question, is it that much cheaper/easier to regear vs replacing the axels?
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:58 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by TheGeak View Post
Here's my question, is it that much cheaper/easier to regear vs replacing the axels?
I am assuming you are talking about the housing, so

Yes way cheaper to work with a stock unit. Even if you bought an aftermarket housing that bolts right up you still have all the set up and internal upgrades that you would have done to the stock unit pluss the cost of the new housing.

I giggle to myself evertime someone buys a aftermarket housing and stick the stock guts with only lower gears back in it then bloat about how much better it is then a built stock unit.

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