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Old 02-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
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Yet Another Re-gear\35s\MPG Thread

Let me first start with apologizing as I am sure this will be longer than I would like...

I am a jeep newbie, I have had "mine" for a few weeks and been doing a ton of reading. My wife's JK is stock while my TJ is far form it. The guy I bought it from is from one of our local clubs and I feel everything is on the up-and-up based on what I have seen, read, and talked to folks about regarding the mods on my TJ.

It is a 2003 Rubicon with the 4.0 and AUTO transmission. It has a 3" TeraFlex coil spring lift, 2" body lift, and 1" raised motor mounts. It has the stock Dana 44s, gears, and lockers with 35 KM2s. The speedometer has not been calibrated for the tires but rough calculations put me around 10-11 MPG. I knew, based on the setup when I bought it that my fuel efficiency would be crap so that is not a surprise. I am new to offroading and am planning to get more involved, however, I am not going to get really crazy (the plan) as this will hopefully stay my DD. I need to decide how to "deal" with things thus my questions:

** What type of improvement would I see with a re-gear from an acceleration, and more important, MPG perspective? I have not really seen that I am "under powered" on the highway but I am not trying to really pass anyone either. I do have to "punch it" getting on the highway and up to speed but will run about 2300ish RPMs at 70. At slower city speeds, i.e. 30-50 i will be in the 2000 RPM range with 50 being my sweet spot at about 1600.

** Will I "lose" anything dropping from 35s to 33s? I assume only a little bit of clearance and if I put myself in a position where the 35s would have saved me over the 33s I am in trouble anyway. I am not as concerned with staying with the 35s as a little smaller tire would help all the way around, not to mention easier for momma and the kids to get in. I just don't want to change if it is going to be one of those things I might regret later.

** If I went from my current 35s to 33s would that be "enough" or should I still look at a re-gear in addition to dropping my tire size? If that is the "best combination" then I am OK with it just trying to get a feel.

** If I do drop to 33s will I need to do anything, i.e. backspacing, etc. or just swap the rubber on my rims and I am good to go?

While I love the look of the 35s on my jeep I am not married to the idea of having to stay with them, thus my dilemma. The big concern I have, besides the usual lack of performance and MPG, is changing the ride/feel of the jeep. I love how she drives right now and have no issues whatsoever with that. The last thing I want to do is mess with that ju-ju by changing tires, etc.

I did lots of searches here and other places to try and get the answers but in the end I just wanted to throw it all out there for the people that "know" to help this newbie out. Thanks for the help and understanding!

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Old 02-15-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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The speedometer has not been calibrated for the tires but rough calculations put me around 10-11 MPG.
So when you are calculating, are you factoring in the % increase of the 35's over stock? Most people for get that step and they are missing a few calculated mpg's. You might actually be getting closer to 13-14mpg.

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Old 02-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #3
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Regear to 5.13's and you will have more power and it will get your RPM's in better shape throughout the gears. I have read a ton of threads on this. Jerry B will probably chime in soon on this one.
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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So when you are calculating, are you factoring in the % increase of the 35's over stock? Most people for get that step and they are missing a few calculated mpg's. You might actually be getting closer to 13-14mpg.

Good point did not think about that one, what % do you think would be good? I was trying to keep track of mileage with GPS for my driving but that is probably even less accurate since it is not one continuous trip.
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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My jeep is on 36s with stock 3.73 gears and I have calculated roughly 30% off. I'd assume yours is close to that.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:53 PM   #6
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Regear to 5.13's and you will have more power and it will get your RPM's in better shape throughout the gears. I have read a ton of threads on this. Jerry B will probably chime in soon on this one.
I assume this is staying with the 35s? Will it buy me anything "more" to go away from the 35s and go with 33s? I know I am probably crazy for even contemplating getting rid of them.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:22 AM   #7
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Jeep & want better MPG's never really should be used in the same sentence... it's a brick on wheels. The only thing you'll really get with the 33's is maybe more miles to a tank, but it's not going to be much.

When my Rubi was stock I was getting about 250miles out of a tank of gas, when I went with 33's stock gearing I got about 225-230miles from a tank, to me which was still good since's it's a Jeep.

Alot of it will depend on your driving habits as well, driving the speed limits posted and easy on the skinny pedal front take offs.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:15 AM   #8
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Jeep & want better MPG's never really should be used in the same sentence... it's a brick on wheels. The only thing you'll really get with the 33's is maybe more miles to a tank, but it's not going to be much.

When my Rubi was stock I was getting about 250miles out of a tank of gas, when I went with 33's stock gearing I got about 225-230miles from a tank, to me which was still good since's it's a Jeep.

Alot of it will depend on your driving habits as well, driving the speed limits posted and easy on the skinny pedal front take offs.
Agreed, I knew going in that it would not be "fuel efficient" just trying to get it as good as I can. If I stay with the 35s then it needs a regear I knew that when I bought it. I am just trying to find out if "as good as I can get" is staying with the 35s and a regear, dropping to a smaller tire, or dropping to a smaller tire and regear, etc. In the end it is what it is but I want to try and get it a good as I can, knowing I have to spend some money either way, especially with the gas prices going crazy again!

The good thing is I do not drive fast in the jeep, that is one of the reasons I love driving it over my truck, life tends to slow down when I am behind the wheel.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:44 AM   #9
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I assume this is staying with the 35s? Will it buy me anything "more" to go away from the 35s and go with 33s? I know I am probably crazy for even contemplating getting rid of them.
Sorry, Yep I meant keeping the 35's. You should keep em! Even 35's will start looking small to you soon enough .

I have the 3 speed Auto/4.0/4.56's/35's and am turnin 3000 RPM at roughly 65...although I try not to go over 60. If I am light on my skinny pedal and stay under 60mph I can get 15/16 mpg. I have heard of plenty of folks with your 4spd tranny that love the 5.13 gearing for more "out of the hole" power as well as better gas mileage with their 35's. There are a million debates about what you can and can't do but all those that are "in the know" would say your gearing is way off at the moment as should be changed immediately. You will notice a monster difference! Hope this helps. If not, PM Jerry Bransford. Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:32 AM   #10
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Yea with your Rubi being an auto you would need atleast 5.13s for 35's
As far as dropping to 33's you stock 4.10s that come in the Rubi will be fine, no need to regear for 33's
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
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So when you are calculating, are you factoring in the % increase of the 35's over stock? Most people for get that step and they are missing a few calculated mpg's. You might actually be getting closer to 13-14mpg.
I am using the GPS now to track my miles versus the odometer and so far it is about 15% off. I have not been driving much the past couple of days but it will probably "help" a little bit. I will have a better idea after the weekend. Thanks for the heads up on that one, totally slipped my mind.

The big question I still have is do I "gain" more by regearing and staying with the 35s, just drop down in tire size, or drop tire size and a regear. I know my TJ is never going to be fuel efficient but I figure to try and get as much out as is reasonable! Thanks for all the help!
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:38 PM   #12
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Stick with your 35's. 33's will look small with that much lift and after a few outings you will regret it. Remember that a regear is going to cost you upwards of $1200 or more. Do you really want to get new tires on top of that?
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:42 PM   #13
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Oh and since you have a family look at upgrading your brakes and steering. Also do you have a CV driveshaft or are you still on the stock one. Before you go spending your money make sure that it doesn't need anything to keep it driving well. Do you have upgraded steering, new track bars, adjustable control arms, aftermarket upper control arms?
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:20 PM   #14
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Oh and since you have a family look at upgrading your brakes and steering. Also do you have a CV driveshaft or are you still on the stock one. Before you go spending your money make sure that it doesn't need anything to keep it driving well. Do you have upgraded steering, new track bars, adjustable control arms, aftermarket upper control arms?
I am 99% sure that a lot of this has been done but I need to really crawl around under the jeep and make sure. Most of the work was done by one of the shops in our area so I am pretty sure that all of the "overhead" associated with running the 35s has been covered but to your point I need to be sure. Any advice on what to specifically look for would be appreciated. I am new and learning so I have been looking at a log of pictures
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:07 PM   #15
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I'm getting to this thread a little late but just a few quick thoughts... even with 33" tires, your transmission is geared to produce such low RPMs that you need to regear for them, let alone 35" tires. For 33" tires, 4.88 is ideal for your 42RLE 4-speed automatic. For 35" tires, 5.13 is ideal. Yes I KNOW those ratios sound ultra-low and maybe you're thinking TOO low but really, those ratios are ideal given your transmission.

I bought my second TJ, a used '04 Rubicon, with 35" tires and the same transmission you have. It also came geared to 4.88 which is not quite enough for its 35" tires. It really needs 5.13 but I'm not spending $1100 to only go from 4.88 to 5.13 so I'll just live with it... unless I win the lottery that is.

There is "overhead" associated with 35" tires but at least your Rubicon is 90% there. All you need to run them is to regear and to upgrade your front steering. Brakes too at some point. Personally, I'd regear to 5.13 (the lowest your Rubicon can be regeared to) and go with 35" tires. Heck you've got a Rubicon, you might as well build it to take advantage of its capabilities.

And if you do decide to go with 35" tires, don't chicken out and go with 4.88 thinking 5.13 is too low of a ratio. It's not. And don't let anyone in some 4x4 shop steer you away from 5.13 since they rarely know all of the ins and outs of selecting appropriate axle ratios like taking the transmission type into consideration. Most shops give inappropriate axle ratio advice where Jeeps are concerned so far as I am concerned.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:31 PM   #16
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I'm getting to this thread a little late but just a few quick thoughts... even with 33" tires, your transmission is geared to produce such low RPMs that you need to regear for them, let alone 35" tires. For 33" tires, 4.88 is ideal for your 42RLE 4-speed automatic. For 35" tires, 5.13 is ideal. Yes I KNOW those ratios sound ultra-low and maybe you're thinking TOO low but really, those ratios are ideal given your transmission.

I bought my second TJ, a used '04 Rubicon, with 35" tires and the same transmission you have. It also came geared to 4.88 which is not quite enough for its 35" tires. It really needs 5.13 but I'm not spending $1100 to only go from 4.88 to 5.13 so I'll just live with it... unless I win the lottery that is.

There is "overhead" associated with 35" tires but at least your Rubicon is 90% there. All you need to run them is to regear and to upgrade your front steering. Brakes too at some point. Personally, I'd regear to 5.13 (the lowest your Rubicon can be regeared to) and go with 35" tires. Heck you've got a Rubicon, you might as well build it to take advantage of its capabilities.

And if you do decide to go with 35" tires, don't chicken out and go with 4.88 thinking 5.13 is too low of a ratio. It's not. And don't let anyone in some 4x4 shop steer you away from 5.13 since they rarely know all of the ins and outs of selecting appropriate axle ratios like taking the transmission type into consideration. Most shops give inappropriate axle ratio advice where Jeeps are concerned so far as I am concerned.
Thanks very much for weighing in on this one, I know it seems to come up a bit. Based on what you guys are recommending I will stick with the 35s since it is already setup and look at regearing to 5.13s. I thought I had read somewhere (lots of posts over the past couple of weeks) that these would also be the best for highway driving as the RPMs would not be high but I could be mistaken.

I am not 100% sure what all was done to the jeep to get it "ready" for the 35s but I would like to get an idea to see what else I need to do. I crawled around under it a lot this afternoon trying to familiarize myself with it although I am clueless to most of what I was looking at. When you guys mention upgrading the brakes and steering what are you referring to? I will go back through some of the threads that discuss this as well to try and glean a little more out of them now that I have decided my course of action.

I appreciate all the help you and the other memebers give to those of us that keep resurecting these dead horses. This site helped me a ton after I bought the wife's JK last year and so far with my "new to me TJ" it has been great.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:38 PM   #17
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Highway RPMs with 5.13, 35" tires, and your 4-speed 42RLE transmission will be right where they should be... not too high at all. Personally, I'd rather have 5.38 in mine but 5.13 is as low as you can gear Rubicon Dana 44 axles.

Upgrading your steering is replacing the tie rod and drag lin. The heavy duty steering kit from Currie is ideal, easily installed, a direct bolt-on swap, doesn't change any geometry, and has no drawbacks... other than it costs $$$. Currie Enterprises CJ Axle Parts You can get it cheaper from Gerald at Savvy by emailing him at gman@savvyoffroad.com

Bringing your braking up to snuff so they can handle 35" tires is an entirely different subject. There is a bolt-on 'Big Brake' kit from powerbrakes hydroboosts vacuum boosters everything for your extreme braking needs that is ideal. If that's a bit rich for the time being, WF contributor Blaine at BlackMagicBrakes.com has a Black Magic brake pad and rotor kit that will offer a dramatic improvement. Actually, Blaine developed both of those kits.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:16 PM   #18
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My previous Jeep was an 03 Rubicon with the auto tranny and 35" MTRs.

After a couple of years with the 4.10s, I finally regeared to 5.13s.

Best mod ever! I actually got the best ever gas mileage with the 5.13s, even better than stock gears and 31's. I could squeeze 21 MPGs (keep in mind us northern folk have approximately 25% bigger gallons).

Power was never an issue after the regear and the Jeep felt perfectly matched with the tire size and gears, very seldomly downshifting on the highway and the tranny ran cooler as well.

I highly recommend the 5.13s.

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Old 02-19-2012, 06:41 PM   #19
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Highway RPMs with 5.13, 35" tires, and your 4-speed 42RLE transmission will be right where they should be.......
Jerry's "dead on" with his advice here. I am running 35's, 5.13s with the 42RLE tranny and if, I can keep it on cruise control, doing 65 mph on my hilly interstate driving, I get so close to 15 mpg that it is almost frustrating. A braking upgrade is a must for a DD and the safest thing that you can do. I having longingly looked at the Vanco big brake upgrade but, just don't have the funds.

What I did was jump on some of Blaine's "Black Magic" brake pads and Centric premium rotors. That cost was $220ish, over a year ago. I am able to lock up 35s in a bad situation. I also replaced my oem calipers with new (not reman) ones and flushed the brake fluid. Every heep is different and this might or might not be a stage for you to utilize before getting a better brake setup.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:11 PM   #20
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Thanks guys for the great information. I have a feeling that my TJ does NOT have upgraded steering or brakes but will verify. It was not a daily driver for the previous owner. I know he had a lot of work done to it bit I think
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:25 PM   #21
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Not really sure what happened to my response above, was trying to be high tech and do it on the phone. so much for that...

I was trying to say that the previous owner did have a lot of work done to the jeep but I doubted the brakes and probably steering were part of it since he mainly used the jeep off road and did not drive it a lot. I will have to do some digging though to see. Thanks again to all for the help and information, it has been and will continue to be a learning experience!
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Old 06-15-2012, 01:37 PM   #22
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I finally got my TJ up to 5.13s, been on them for about 3 weeks. I thought I would provide an update and some information to this old thread and give those of you looking at a regear some ideas what to expect....

BEFORE REGEAR

* My speedo was about 5-8 MPH over my true speed, I used 5 and never got pulled over.
* My odometer was about 15% behind my actual miles traveled on a tank. I pretty much used the GPS for a couple of tanks to track my total miles so it is pretty close.
* I was getting about 11-12 MPG give or take, maybe a little bit more but not much.
* On the highway I would be turning about 2000-2100 RPMs with the speedo reading 65 with overdrive ON. However, the TJ did not stay in overdrive very often and would constantly downshift.
* If I turned OFF overdrive on the highway I would run about 2900-3000 RPMs at the same speed.

My biggest issues before the regear was fuel efficiency (I know, it is a jeep) and power/performance on the highway as I do a lot of highway driving.

AFTER REGEAR

* My speedo and odometer are spot on.
* I am getting about 12.5 MPG after the regear, not a huge improvement but I am running 70-75 on the highway. I think I can get better if I get the foot off the little pedal a bit.
* I am running about 2500 RPM running at 70 MPH with Overdrive ON. I still have a little more power if I need it.
* Cost was about $1800 to regear. I had some other work done so not exact but based on my bill and a couple of quotes that is a close price for my area.

I am EXTREMELY pleased with the regear. I would have liked a little better MPG but the "performance" is well worth it. The jeep is more responsive and can maintain speed/RPMs going up mild hills, into the wind, etc. I was able to change lanes, accelerate, pass a semi, and change lanes back without dropping out of OD. Could not do that before.

As Jerry mentioned some of the 4x4 shops told me to go with 4.88s but the shop that did my work recommended the 5.13s right off the bat and stuck with that recommendation after discussing my needs and driving requirements. I am sure the other shops would have put the 5.13s if I would have requested it. I am not sure how the 4.88s would do compared to what I have but I am happy with the way the jeep drives. It was a pretty big chunk of change but one that I feel was well worth it.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:46 PM   #23
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Nice, thanks for the update. I have an '04 Rubicon with the 5-speed manual and I'm getting my 35's put on int about 30 mins. I'll be looking to regear in a month or so, but I've been told with the manual to go 4:88's, does this seem right or should I also go 5:13's?

Not trying to thread jack, but didn't see a need for yet another regear thread lol.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:05 PM   #24
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I know the manual gearing will be a little different. I think you are correct that the 4.88s are the way to go instead of the 5.13s but would want validation from one of the WF folks that knows a lot more. I am pretty sure you will have a few chime in real soon. If not PM Jerry and he will point you in the right direction I am sure.

Sorry Jerry AND Thanks Jerry!!!
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:51 PM   #25
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Reviving this thread!

So with a 2013 JKU and 35" tires it looks like 5.13 or 5.38s would work. Anybody running one of these ratios care to share their experience?

Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:50 AM   #26
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Reviving this thread!

So with a 2013 JKU and 35" tires it looks like 5.13 or 5.38s would work. Anybody running one of these ratios care to share their experience?

Thanks!
Auto or Manual? I don't have a clear answer for you, JK people would be able to help you better but it's not going to be either of those. Many people are running 35's on 3.73 -- and if you have the Rubicon with 4.10 I definitely wouldn't bother changing anything on a JK until you hit 37's (I'm thinking manual btw). Maybe sooner on the JKU due to weight or towing? Depends on your application. The 2013 has loads more HP and torque than our TJs.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:51 AM   #27
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Yeah, I realized that right after I posted this. I used google to find this thread. Unfortunately, it doesn't distinguish between TJ and JK.

Doh!

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