Originally Posted by M.c.laren
I'm stuck,, well, I literally was the other day up to the bumpers in snow. Luckily my dad was there in his Jk to pull me out regardless of his very un-helpful sra's. I've been trying to figure out which step is next. I know every topic in this thread's title is covered all over the forum, but I'm still unsure how to go about my build. I'm willing to spend the money just not all at once lol. I've got the "combo" and am super happy.
I'm thinking lift next, is it worth it to get a 3" long arm or is 2 1/2" with spacers maybe a cheaper and better way for me to go. (2dr Jk 6spd manual)
Every time I'm about to order, I can't help but think, will lockers in the rear(or front) get me the same places the lift would?
If I went the lockers route I'd like some 5.13 gearing and is it worth doing it with only one Dana 44 and a 30? Not to mention I can't decide on a vendor for anything even if my life depended on it.
So if anyone can answer most of the questions I've already read about here on the forum, that'd be pretty wicked. the main reason I'm asking is because I don't know what I need even after a little trailing.
Thanks ALOT to anyone who can help!!
Lot's to answer here and a lot of questions still. Ask yourself "what" exactly do you want the Jeep to do and realistically how much will it be off road? Then more information is needed about drivetrain, transmission (manual or auto), what size tires are you going to run, do you ever think you may go taller?
I can generalize based on what you have so far but some more specifics would be helpful.
If it is an automatic transmission, then YES it should be regeared. In my opinion they came from the factory geared incorrectly. If you are going to run 35" tires, based on the lift height you asked about I am assuming 35" is a good guess here, I would say 5.13 gears are a must. If you had the d44 in the front then I would say 5.38 gears. While doing gears I would also install sleeves/gussets to strengthen the front axle for off-roading.
Now to lifts, 2" to2 1/2" is good for 35" tires and the budget boosts are a good inexpensive way to do that. Make sure to get the brake line relocation brackets at the same time. Most popular lifts will come with some form of these brackets. If you are going to go 3 1/2" of lift or over I highly recommend a long-arm system even though many think that is overkill on these JK's. In my opinion overkill is underrated.
They may be right as far as not necessary, but after driving and riding in both short (standard arm) and long-arm in the 3-4 inch range of lift, there is a noticeable difference in ride quality and flex with the long-arm system.
Last but not least, lockers, again, what exactly do you want the Jeep to do? Lockers are great in their respective place, especially if you wheel where one wheel is off the ground due to flexing, however, they require a certain amount of finesse on the trail as they do not want to turn in tight trails. If locking and unlocking is ok with you then they are great. Also, keep in mind that the Jeep JK comes factory equiped with what is called BLD (brake limited differential) which when wheel slip is detected it applies the brake on that wheel allowing the oppositie tire/wheel on that axle to be driven. This works amazingnly well for the most part.
In my opinion lockers should only be used for the most extreme vehicles that will truly utilize their benefits. Another great option would be Eaton TrueTracs front/rear. I have used this combination for years in other vehicles and it works great. It is not a true locker but when wheel slip is detected and the other tire/wheel on that axle is still on contact with the ground the helical gears inside the carrier engage to drive both axles. This is a limited slip not a true locker so you will not have full power to both tires/wheels on the same axle but enough to get you through most obstacles/terrain. Another reason I like this setup is that it is a gear LSD so no additives are required and no driver input is required. Point and shoot more or less as far as driving.
If you are hell bent on a locker then ARB AirLockers are hard to beat but there are other great options nowadays. The Ected and ELocker are electrical locked differentials and are true selectable lockers. I prefer the ELocker due to their 4-pinion design. I also have heard some issues with the Ected as far as engaging and disengaging but have not experienced that first hand. I prefer the Eaton ELocker and have had great results with them. One thing to keep in mind if going with the ELocker is one inherent design drawback is the way the plunger engages into the carrier is by a ramp and ball setup. When drag is created by the electric coil it will ramp up the ball into a small groove forcing the plunger to push away and drive pins to engage corresponding drive holes until they are completely engaged (locked). If you know and understand how this works and drive accordingly you should be fine.
When you engage into forward it ramps up and meshes the pin to carrier until locked, when you go into reverse from the forward "locked" position the balls will deramp and ramp up the other side of the groove. This inherently unlocks momentarily and then relocks the carrier by design. If you get into a situation where your instinct is to "hammer" it from forward to reverse this could be a weak point in my opinion, even though the guys that I have talked to from Eaton say it is not.
I have also witnessed people with their front end spinning and then engage the system and it locks perfectly. To me this is a little extreme and hard on things but they seem to hold together from my first hand witnessing. I personally would never "hammer" my Jeep to that extent but if those that are driving that way and not having a problem, I figure mine should hold together just fine.
I hope this makes sense and sorry for the long drug out explanation.
On a side note, I just wrote a review of the BDS long-arm system on the sticky under "Jeep lift reviews" if you are interested.