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Old 04-22-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
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Over 2.5" lift really need drive shafts???

I have been seeing a lot of JKU's with more than 2.5" of lift while taking my daughter to her t-ball games. I have even gotten down and looked underneath the vehicle to check out the angles and to see if it looked like any grease was being slung around and I saw nothing. Now, I know for sure that one of the guys had a 5" lift and does not off road (since I talked to him about his lift). The others appeared to do some off roading by the looks of their jeeps and their drive shafts looked fine as well. The drives shafts were OEM also. Not too hard to tell.

My question is: Has anyone had actual experience with their drive shafts going bad with over a 2.5" lift or is this something that people have just heard from a guy who told a guy that heard it from a guy?

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Old 04-22-2013, 06:06 PM   #2
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I believe the tolerance was higher for 2011 and earlier. That being said, I think it's more of a you have a higher chance of it going out earlier when you get over 2.5. The mfr. I bought my lift from however (mfr. doesn't really matter, height does) has said they have a couple of customers with their 3.5" lift, one of which gained about 4.5 cause he's running really light and have over 20K miles on their lift on the stock shaft and have been to some places like Moab/etc.


http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/met...ml#post3533271
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f33/met...ml#post3533381


Now, I have read reports and seen pictures around here of shafts that have gone, so yes it does happen. I'm starting to get the impression though that it's not a guaranteed your driveshaft is going to fall apart 10 miles after you lift it kind of thing though, and is instead a you could experience a failure, or maybe not, kind of thing.

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Old 04-22-2013, 06:11 PM   #3
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That depends on whether or not lower control arms are changed with adjustable control arms and how the new arms are set. Stock arms will allow the stock diff to drop in an arc keeping the "pinion angle" almost the same as stock.

Any component that allows the pinion angle and caster to change has the potential to cause driveshaft damage if not adjusted properly.

Adjusting control arms to move front diff forward will also require a longer driveshaft. Same for the rear.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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I have a 2.5" lift on a JKU with the stock shafts. It's been over a year and they're fine.

In general, the shafts on JKUs will tolerate more lift than those on JKs simply because the angles aren't as tight. In my opinion, 2.5" is where you need to start paying attention to JK shafts and 3.5" for JKUs.

Notice I said "paying attention to."

The reason I used that phrase is because driveshaft failures as a result of "typical" sized lifts--especially if you don't do a lot of offroading--are usually not acute, immediate issues that happen the moment people pull out of their driveways after installing their lifts.

I've heard of JKUs with 4" or so of lift that end up being able to use their stock shafts for months or even a year or more before they start slinging grease.

But every now and then we'll get threads around here by folks who had lifts installed many months ago and . . . suddenly--they have a major driveshaft failure on the highway or the trail. It happens. Especially if you don't periodically look under the jeep to try to head off any issues.

If you're looking at lifts 4" or up for your JKU, I say go ahead and install it with your stock shafts if you desire. But just start saving up for replacements, and maybe get them swapped in after a few months to avoid having to deal with a sudden failure. Or at the very least check out your undercarriage with some regularity.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTPhoto JK View Post
That depends on whether or not lower control arms are changed with adjustable control arms and how the new arms are set. Stock arms will allow the stock diff to drop in an arc keeping the "pinion angle" almost the same as stock.

Any component that allows the pinion angle and caster to change has the potential to cause driveshaft damage if not adjusted properly.

Adjusting control arms to move front diff forward will also require a longer driveshaft. Same for the rear.
Very good answer

Some of the cheaper lifts will keep the stock arms.
Many folks will experience flighty steering with 3-4" of lift. Then install CA's (lowers) to bring caster back to stock ... or more. This only increases the angle of the DS.
2 or 4 door, disconnecting the front swaybar links for articulation puts a lot of stress on the factory CV's also.
it's inevitable at 3-4" of lift IMO.

I replaced my front but rear seams to be holding up. 10-12k on the lift.

Edit: mikes as well
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the info guys. I'm just stuck between choosing the RK 2.5" and 3.5." The price difference isn't much and the only thing really making me think of going 2.5" is the DS issue. I just know they aren't going to be cheap.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:15 PM   #7
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Your probably going to run into shaft issues even with the 2.5. RK lifts give a lot of height. I ran a 2.5 from TF for about 2 years on my old two door without issue but I never disco'd.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:06 AM   #8
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All of the above responses are good answers. With that, however, I just would not obsess about it, If I was wanting a lift of XX" height, I would just do it; and look at my drive shaft at every service. Listen for abnormal sounds, squeaks, etc. Run it until it shows signs of going bad; and then change it to a good aftermarket shaft. Done deal. It may never go bad; then you are golden!
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:59 PM   #9
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^^^This is what I have been thinking ever since I got my jeep. Everyone has an opinion about what I should do, but I think just wanted to get some real facts before I pull the trigger on a lift. Thanks for the reply's everyone
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:07 PM   #10
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All of the above responses are good answers. With that, however, I just would not obsess about it, If I was wanting a lift of XX" height, I would just do it; and look at my drive shaft at every service. Listen for abnormal sounds, squeaks, etc. Run it until it shows signs of going bad; and then change it to a good aftermarket shaft. Done deal. It may never go bad; then you are golden!
Awesome response. Run the stocks as long as possible.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:24 PM   #11
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What are some of the initial signs that your stock DS is going bad?
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:26 PM   #12
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Grease splatter #1 because the boot gets stressed.
The joint will eventually fail once the grease drys up.

Chirping/clicks when its about to fail.
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:59 PM   #13
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Grease splatter #1 because the boot gets stressed.
The joint will eventually fail once the grease drys up.

Chirping/clicks when its about to fail.
Mine clicks a little... I think it always has though...?
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:28 PM   #14
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it depends on your driving style. I tend to pick the best lines and am cautious, my buddy on the other hand likes to use the sheer weight of his jeep to create his own lines. his driveshaft went first.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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This doesn't answer your question about going bigger than 2.5"... In my experience with mild lifts, I've always found my u joints to start squeaking needing replacement around 50k-70k miles. I'm sure they'd last 3x this with no lift at all. Anyway, with some air tools, breaker bar, and a big hammer I've become a pro at replacing them myself. At $15 each it's no big deal. Just don't whack your thumb while driving out the old ones like I've done on occasion.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:11 PM   #16
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Dude don't even worry about the drive shaft. Get the lift you want and worry about the drive shaft later.

The drive shaft will work and will probably need to be replaced with the 3.5" lift but you are good for a year, two years or if you never go off road maybe 5 or 6.

Just plan to replace when it starts breaking. You can't do any other damage to your jeep if the drive shaft joint starts to wear down.

Save the money now and you MAY need to replace in the future. It all depends how much you take it off road really.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:24 PM   #17
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Dude don't even worry about the drive shaft. Get the lift you want and worry about the drive shaft later.

The drive shaft will work and will probably need to be replaced with the 3.5" lift but you are good for a year, two years or if you never go off road maybe 5 or 6.

Just plan to replace when it starts breaking. You can't do any other damage to your jeep if the drive shaft joint starts to wear down.

Save the money now and you MAY need to replace in the future. It all depends how much you take it off road really.
My sentiments exactly...
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:54 AM   #18
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Now, If you wanted 33's and lets say that I removed the Fenders off the sides of the jeep for more clearance.. Would a 2.5" lift be enough??

Here is my TJ as it stands with 31.9x10.5 Dick Cepek Bone Crushers... on 15x8 4" bs.

With a 2.5" SL, you think 33x11.5's will work?

AND

As I read this, Im under the impression that after a 2.5" Lift, I DONT need to replace my Drive shaft... only if I wanted to go above 3", I would have too....?

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Old 08-27-2013, 06:08 PM   #19
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Now, If you wanted 33's and lets say that I removed the Fenders off the sides of the jeep for more clearance.. Would a 2.5" lift be enough??

Here is my TJ as it stands with 31.9x10.5 Dick Cepek Bone Crushers... on 15x8 4" bs.

With a 2.5" SL, you think 33x11.5's will work?

AND

As I read this, Im under the impression that after a 2.5" Lift, I DONT need to replace my Drive shaft... only if I wanted to go above 3", I would have too....?
If I'm not mistaken, I think they are referring to the JK's.

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