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Hey everyone! First post for this guy. Just a little bit about my build before I get to the question at hand.
I've got a 2016 JK Sport (6 Speed Manual), so far I've done a JKS Jspec 2.5" lift w/fox shocks and an adjustable front track bar. Bumpers front and rear, with a winch out front, and a pair of rock sliders. I haven't sprung for new control arms yet, but they're on the list. I did buy the JKS Front Control arm relocation bracket to correct the front geometry until I get new arms. I'm running 315/70R17 Mickey Thompson MTZP3's on 17x9 Fuel Wheels. I got the exhaust spacer kit and have that installed as well. New driveshafts are on the list.

But the big thing I KNOW I have to do is re gear, and I've been planning on getting lockers as well.
I currently have stock gearing w/ a Dana 30 in the front and the 44 in the rear. I've been researching different gears and lockers and all that goes with it, and have decided I want to do a 4.56 ratio with ARB Lockers front and rear.
I live in Vermont and plan on doing some serious wheeling in the future, but I want to make sure that my Jeep is ready to do the job without damaging it, as it is my daily driver as well. I hit Class 4 roads pretty regularly- but nothing that requires me to air down or do anything major. I've got an sPod on order, including an ARB compressor and the necessary hoses.

As far as my long term build goals- driveshafts, tie rod/drag links, ball joints, big brake kit, steering stabilizer, so on and so forth.

In pricing out gears and lockers- I'm coming in around $4200 including the install.

But here's the big question- should I spring for getting entirely new axles that come with the new gear ratio that I'm looking for? It seems like in the end it'd be more cost effective- especially considering I could part out and sell some of the factory stuff that I replace.
The second part of the question is- why can't I find (granted I'm all about brand names and have mostly been looking at Teraflex) a pair of axles that both come in at 4.56? Currie makes them, but I haven't done my research on the company yet. Thoughts on companies that make axles?

I have no plans of increasing my lift height or tire size, as I really love the way the Jeep looks and drives, so I'm leaning towards the new axles as a "permanent" upgrade to my build. That being said- I might do a slight lift increase if I start running into clearance issues.

I have a really good job that allows me weeks of time off in a row. Money isn't really an issue, but I'm not trying to break the bank completely.

Every upgrade I've done so far has been done by me personally, with a couple of helping hands from my brother when doing some of the harder projects. I've got a trusted mechanic that I bring it to after every major upgrade- and he inspects my work for free.

I absolutely love working on my Jeep.

So- besides the question above- any advice, suggestions, comments, or anything at all for me as I work on my build?

Thanks in advance, everyone! Glad to be here!

LouBear
 

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I can tell you we chose to do an aftermarket front axle. Most are in the 4k neighborhood and include gears, locker and ball joints. The factory rear axle is strong enough for most types of wheeling but you'll need to regear, add a locker and might as well do shafts.

I can also tell you there isn't a market for a used Dana 30 in our area. I ended up giving it to a Jeep buddy for shop favors.

You can check out the '18 JK build in my sig for more info on our last build. Good luck! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can tell you we chose to do an aftermarket front axle. Most are in the 4k neighborhood and include gears, locker and ball joints. The factory rear axle is strong enough for most types of wheeling but you'll need to regear, add a locker and might as well do shafts.

I can also tell you there isn't a market for a used Dana 30 in our area. I ended up giving it to a Jeep buddy for shop favors.

You can check out the '18 JK build in my sig for more info on our last build. Good luck! :thumb:
Thanks! It hadn't even occurred to me to only swap one. That makes a lot more sense. Thanks!
 

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I live in NE as well and the prices up here for gearing is ridiculous!!! Have you shopped around? Asked Transmission shops for quotes? For that price, i'd be inclined to get a new front axle and gear the rear to match as well....
 

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I live in NE as well and the prices up here for gearing is ridiculous!!! Have you shopped around? Asked Transmission shops for quotes? For that price, i'd be inclined to get a new front axle and gear the rear to match as well....
I haven't shopped around too much, but I plan on doing so this winter, unless I can get the money to do this whole project before hand. I'll respond with prices when I get some.
Keep in mind- the front axle is 4k on its own, not including the price of the new axle shafts, gears, lockers for the rear, so on and so forth. The $600 is only for the cost of the labor for the re-gear.
 

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We swapped to a D44 out of a Rubicon up front. The rear axle is still the same D44 it came with. I think you should be fine leaving the D30 up front as long as you don't wheel too hard or gear it too far. You should be fine with 4.56 gears in a D30. The one thing I would consider, though, is not locking the front. I would either leave it open or better yet use a TrueTrac up front. Locking a D30 is going to put more load on it and if there is a weak point locking it will increase the odds of finding it (as in breaking it). Using a mechanical LSD will give you the increased traction in all but the most extreme situations, and it will allow the two sides to have some room to spin at different speeds and thus reduce the strain on the front axle.
It is great to replace the D30 if you can afford it. But many people run a D30 up front and wheel fairly hard with no issues. My sister in-law runs a D30 up front with 35" tires, 4.56 gears, and a TrueTrac. She runs it pretty hard at Rousch Creek and Anthracite. It hasn't broke yet....
 

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My sister in-law runs a D30 up front with 35" tires, 4.56 gears, and a TrueTrac. She runs it pretty hard at Rousch Creek and Anthracite. It hasn't broke yet....
Is she running oem axles in the d30? I was thinking of getting some aftermarket but was talked out of it by more experienced guys. They say it’s better the axle be the weak point vs the gears.

I’m running same 4.56 w/truetrac. Also added sleeves,gussets, truss, skids
 

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Is she running oem axles in the d30? I was thinking of getting some aftermarket but was talked out of it by more experienced guys. They say it’s better the axle be the weak point vs the gears.

I’m running same 4.56 w/truetrac. Also added sleeves,gussets, truss, skids
She has an aftermarket drive shaft, but the axle shafts are original. She has upgraded / replaced the ball joints (twice), now she is running Rare Parts ball joints. But the axle itself is basically stock, no truss, no bracing, no problems (other than they are on their third set of ball joints).
I get the concept of weak link. And it is cheaper and easier to replace a broken axle shaft than the ring and pinion. But I would rather build it so nothing breaks. But arguably if that is the idea you should replace the D30 to begin with.
 
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