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We have a 2016 JKU that has a D44 from a Rubi up front and 37" KO2's (which are actually about 35.5"). It is not a DD, but it is driven on the street more than in the dirt. We do wheel it pretty hard for tourist wheelers (we aren't hard core), including yearly trips to Moab. Every now and then it will be really hard to steer. We are thinking that we should install a hydro assist steering kit from PSC. But I am wondering if we should first upgrade the front axles to RCV axles. Would they help with the steering bind? I have heard about clicking noises from them, that doesn't really concern me. If they would help the steering I think it would be smart to do that first and see how it is, upgrading to the hydro assist down the road. I have also considered the new steering box from PSC. The only thing I am concerned about with their new box is they indicate that the steering ratio is slowed down to help steering power. I understand why that would help but we really like tighter steering.
I know at least one person on here is a big fan of hydro steering, and I hope she chimes in. But anyone else with input on RCV axles or steering mods for bigger tires, please chime in. I am interested in getting some knowledge. I think hydro assist steering is in our future. It is just a matter of time. But if the RCV axles will help, they could be done much sooner than the hydro assist.
Thanks for any info / opinions in advance.
 

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Like you, Her advice was important to me because it comes from real world experience. I did the RCV axle upgrade on my 2016 JKR because I want my drivetrain elements to be a strong as practically possible for my use. I know nothing is bullet proof, but my goal is to never need to be towed back to the pavement. I only run 35s, but want the option of going 37s if the desire ever hits.

I don't think the RCVs help steering directly, but binding on the rotating axles under power while turned, I think is much better. That's my perception anyway. It is an upgrade I am glad I did. And as to clicking, any CV joint worn or not sufficiently lubed can do that.
 

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I looked at RCV axles for along long time. I really like the idea of smooth turning since I am in 4wd for huge percentage of my time.

I couldn't get past two things :

Cold weather failures. It seems the boots can become brittle and crack in the cold. The users experiencing these issues never seemed to get resolution from RCV. One guy lives in Canada (I think) and he now figures it is yearly maintenace to completely rebuild the joint and replace the cracked boots (and they always seem to crack on him)

Excessive Maintenance : From many of the posts I've read, these seem to require quite a of bit of maintenance.

For people doing lots of miles, it didn't seem to make much sense...bigger joints, stronger axles, etc seem like the way to go the last time I looked at this in detail. I'm going through a major maintenance overhaul on my '07 now - the front axle will largely be ignored until I decide what I am going to do (37s) mid- next year.

I'd be interested in hearing from folks who live outside of the southwest (experience actual sustained cold with treated roadways).
 

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I run RCV front axle shafts. I love the fact that there is no binding in the front end. I'm not finding the maintenance an issue. RCV says to grease them every 5K, which is when I grease everything else. You do either have to run no center cap or pull the tire, which some may find an issue. I'm not in extreme cold (North Carolina) so I can't tell you how the boots are affected.

I'm currently on 35's but moving to 37's within the next month. Hydro assist will also be in my future but not tomorrow.
 

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Thanks for the input, guys.
It doesn't usually get stupid cold here, but it does rarely get below zero at night. But we are usually in bed at that time and not out driving. So cold weather issues may not be an issue for us. We are usually only out driving when it is above zero, and mostly above 20 degrees.
 

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I live in just south of Boston so we see some pretty cold weather here. I don't know anyone who has had a cracked boot because of the cold and I know a few guys who run them.

They do require you to pump some grease into them every 5000 miles or so. I do it with my oil changes. It's easy because my wheels have no center caps and the grease fitting is at the end of the stub shaft. 2 - 3 pumps of the gun and your done.

They are a CV joints so yes they can develop some noise when worn out but they are rebuildable. I don't think this is necessarily a big issue as I haven't heard any of my club members, nor mine for that matter, make a sound.

I run mine in an aftermarket 44 housing. 35 spline, ARB air locker, 4.88 gearing and 37 x 13.5 tires. They have worked flawlessly up to now. No steering bind, no noise, no failures. I am glad I run them even though they are $$$.

I have seen front axles snap, universals through a cap and disintegrate the ears , bind up and shear off the stub shafts but haven't see it happen on a set of RCVs yet. I'm not saying it doesn't but I have helped people on the trail many times who broke a front axle. I can't remember any of them being an RCV (yet). It really is a bit of a game changer that you can be at full lock and not bind. That's when a lot of people bust their stuff up.


I also run the PSC XD box. If I spent the majority of the time off road with this Jeep
I probably would have went Hyro Assist but find this an excellent compromise that is very reliable. Running the 37s I have never not been able to turn even in the rocks at 7-8 psi and locked. Plenty of power. The Jeep drives great and the slower ratio really isn't noticeable. It's not like it's twice as slow or anything. We do wheel really rocky terrain up in the Northeast (check out Ultimate Adventure 2018 on You Tube). I have never thought to myself while wheeling that I wish I could turn so it must be working. It is NOT hydro assist though so please don't think I am making that comparison. I do like the HUGE sector shaft also. No worries about shearing that one off and I can't again say enough about the simplicity and durability of the setup. I have waited multiple times on the trail while someone has fixed a hose or blew the seals out of their ram while wheeling.
 

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I live in just south of Boston so we see some pretty cold weather here. I don't know anyone who has had a cracked boot because of the cold and I know a few guys who run them.

They do require you to pump some grease into them every 5000 miles or so. I do it with my oil changes. It's easy because my wheels have no center caps and the grease fitting is at the end of the stub shaft. 2 - 3 pumps of the gun and your done.

They are a CV joints so yes they can develop some noise when worn out but they are rebuildable. I don't think this is necessarily a big issue as I haven't heard any of my club members, nor mine for that matter, make a sound.

I run mine in an aftermarket 44 housing. 35 spline, ARB air locker, 4.88 gearing and 37 x 13.5 tires. They have worked flawlessly up to now. No steering bind, no noise, no failures. I am glad I run them even though they are $$$.

I have seen front axles snap, universals through a cap and disintegrate the ears , bind up and shear off the stub shafts but haven't see it happen on a set of RCVs yet. I'm not saying it doesn't but I have helped people on the trail many times who broke a front axle. I can't remember any of them being an RCV (yet). It really is a bit of a game changer that you can be at full lock and not bind. That's when a lot of people bust their stuff up.


I also run the PSC XD box. If I spent the majority of the time off road with this Jeep
I probably would have went Hyro Assist but find this an excellent compromise that is very reliable. Running the 37s I have never not been able to turn even in the rocks at 7-8 psi and locked. Plenty of power. The Jeep drives great and the slower ratio really isn't noticeable. It's not like it's twice as slow or anything. We do wheel really rocky terrain up in the Northeast (check out Ultimate Adventure 2018 on You Tube). I have never thought to myself while wheeling that I wish I could turn so it must be working. It is NOT hydro assist though so please don't think I am making that comparison. I do like the HUGE sector shaft also. No worries about shearing that one off and I can't again say enough about the simplicity and durability of the setup. I have waited multiple times on the trail while someone has fixed a hose or blew the seals out of their ram while wheeling.
Daily driver in the snow?

How many miles on it?

Thx for the detail experience...
 

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Daily driver in the snow?

How many miles on it?

Thx for the detail experience...


My Jeep doesn't see much snow. 37 x 13.5 Nitto Mud Grapplers = VERY BAD SNOW TIRE on road! But it does see 0 degree temps through the winter and a little snow wheeling but nothing crazy. My friends Jeeps are a combo of toys and full time year round transportation.

I have roughly 22,000 om mine in the last 2 years. I do want to say I installed mine though because I saw how much luck my friends had with theirs. a couple of my friends have way more than me.

Hope it helps.
 

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Running the RCV shafts as well for 5 years now. Been on 35's for most of that, but just jumped up to 37's back in April. I'm down here in TX, so the cold doesn't really pertain to us! The only thing I've had to do to them is add a little grease every now and then. I'm running Spyderlock beadlocks now, so the center caps pop right off with 3 allen heads. If you're considering hydro assist, I highly recommend looking into the Redneck Ram from West Texas Offroad. It is a 1/3 of the cost of the kit from PSC. It turns my 37 Nitto Trail Grapplers on the street with one finger. Their kit is $600 total, but I added a 12" Derale cooler that I picked up for fairly cheap. Couldn't be happier with the results! It's not twitchy or anything on the highway, and I can run 75 mph with one finger on the steering wheel now.
 

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I have been running RCVs. The loss of steering bind alone is impressive. And absolutely a godsend when rock crawling.

I do not do most of my own maintenance. Every time I put my rig in the shop (which is on average every few months whether for an upgrade, repair or just I have them do a periodic shakedown inspection to identify wear items before they become big problems) I get them greased. To my understanding the click is when (not sure I am using proper terminology here but looking at an RCV you should be able to figure out what I mean lol) the ball bearings start to escape the cage you hear them click in and out - before they wear grooves in the joint, a simple rebuild kit takes care of it, about $100 and if you are mechanically inclined, a fairly straight forward driveway job as I watched mine be done. (Be sure to keep the little "tool" that comes with the RCV grease if you will be doing it at home - iirc it helps guide the joint and not tear the axle shaft seal when putting it in.) Mine have been rebuilt once - tho in all honesty, I believe it actually was something else that was clicking not the RCV but did them anyhow since I had the kit and abundance of caution thing. I wheel my Jeep - hard and often.

As far as hydroassist, I do not recommend the redneck ram. Every person I know that has done it pulled it and went PSC. The high volume pump is an absolute necessity imo. The big bore box wasn't out yet when I did mine. If I were doing it today (o run 37s), I would do the ported big bore AND hydroasist. That said, I haven't had any performance issues with my box (I have the box PSC offered at the time, not stock. My Jeep is a DD and I couldn't afford the downtime to port my stock box, so I sold it to offset some of the cost. For 35s and not hardcore crawling, the big box may be enough. For hard core crawling on 35s or 37s, hydroassist all the way. I know folks running just the Big Box, and it isn't quite up to locked 37s. It's a definite improvement over stock but not as much power to turn as hydroassist. Assuming since you have a Rubicon front you got the front locker too? A locked front axle is the main reason to need hydroassist.

What I would do for your stated 35.5 and not "hard core" crawling:
- Regear if you haven't done so already. (I am on some goofy app and can't see signature or go dig around in past posts to confirm if you already have.) This will give you way more bang for your buck than either RCV or hydroassist.
- Hydroassist if front is locking, otherwise Big Bore Box. (If you have tons of disposable cash, both.) And be prepared to upgrade tie rod - go aluminum. All the stress previously on the draglink is now...on the tie rod. Hydroassist will eat a weak tie rod for lunch. Go aluminum - way harder to bend than steel.
- I really like RCv. If that steering bind is an issue for you wheeling, do it. Otherwise some good chromoly and Carry spare ujoints lol.
 

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Oh, and being in Phoenix I have zero input on cold and the RCV boots lol.
 

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Oh, and being in Phoenix I have zero input on cold and the RCV boots lol.
Thanks for the feedback and opinion.
I am expecting to end up down the road with hydro assist and RCV's. I am looking at the PSC options. Trying to decide between working my way there and just buying it all up front.
If the RCV axles make things better steering wise I may do those first, then add the PSC kit. As mentioned, we aren't really rock crawlers but we do go to Moab and we do like push push our limits (actually, my wife does all the hard driving so it is mostly her limits being pushed), but we always try to remember that we have to drive it a couple thousand miles home. So we will do medium hard trails, but usually nothing likely to cause serious damage. We try to remember you can always turn around. But she does like to take the harder line up to the limits of her comfort zone. Occasionally she has had it where she needed to turn but it would not. It hasn't been very often, but it has happened a few times.
Since I do most of the easy driving, getting to and from Moab, for example, I am more concerned with how it drives on the street. I don't want to fix an issue off road but cause it to drive poorly on road. I don't think the RCV axles will be an issue, but I am a little concerned about the hydro assist kit. I like the steering tight and responsive.
 

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I installed the PSC XDII ported. No hydro-assist now but I have the option to add it in the future. With 35s I haven’t found it to be necessary. Going to 37s in a couple weeks and we will see. The steering has been great with the PSC.
 

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I installed the PSC XDII ported. No hydro-assist now but I have the option to add it in the future. With 35s I haven’t found it to be necessary. Going to 37s in a couple weeks and we will see. The steering has been great with the PSC.
So you can run the ported box without the assist? That's awesome. For folks who do move up to hydroassist makes it much easier.
 

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Thanks for the feedback and opinion.
I am expecting to end up down the road with hydro assist and RCV's. I am looking at the PSC options. Trying to decide between working my way there and just buying it all up front.
If the RCV axles make things better steering wise I may do those first, then add the PSC kit. As mentioned, we aren't really rock crawlers but we do go to Moab and we do like push push our limits (actually, my wife does all the hard driving so it is mostly her limits being pushed), but we always try to remember that we have to drive it a couple thousand miles home. So we will do medium hard trails, but usually nothing likely to cause serious damage. We try to remember you can always turn around. But she does like to take the harder line up to the limits of her comfort zone. Occasionally she has had it where she needed to turn but it would not. It hasn't been very often, but it has happened a few times.
Since I do most of the easy driving, getting to and from Moab, for example, I am more concerned with how it drives on the street. I don't want to fix an issue off road but cause it to drive poorly on road. I don't think the RCV axles will be an issue, but I am a little concerned about the hydro assist kit. I like the steering tight and responsive.
I suggest find someone local who runs hydroassist and go for a test drive to get a feel. You have a whole hydraulic in there with a more powerful pump - it definitely takes a short while to get the feel for it. Not that it's loose per se but it's a different feel than stock, very responsive.

Sounds to me like RCV would be a good start. Now RCV won't increase your ability to turn with a locked axle per se - it will just eliminate the bind you get from ujoint shafts when you can turn. If her problem is the binding - this is the solution.

Hydroassist (or the big bore box) on the other hand will actually give more ability to turn the locked axle much easier. There is always option B until you get to installing the assist - disengage front locker when she needs to turn and that would help some.

And kudos to the wife driver. Love hearing more women running rigs through the trails! Give her a high five!
 

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I installed the PSC XDII ported. No hydro-assist now but I have the option to add it in the future. With 35s I haven’t found it to be necessary. Going to 37s in a couple weeks and we will see. The steering has been great with the PSC.
That was a question I had, can you run the ported steering box without the hydro assist ram. It would allow me to do this in stages, as an option.
Thanks for the info.
And thanks to everyone else for the feedback / opinions. It has all been useful info.
 

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I suggest find someone local who runs hydroassist and go for a test drive to get a feel. You have a whole hydraulic in there with a more powerful pump - it definitely takes a short while to get the feel for it. Not that it's loose per se but it's a different feel than stock, very responsive.

Sounds to me like RCV would be a good start. Now RCV won't increase your ability to turn with a locked axle per se - it will just eliminate the bind you get from ujoint shafts when you can turn. If her problem is the binding - this is the solution.

Hydroassist (or the big bore box) on the other hand will actually give more ability to turn the locked axle much easier. There is always option B until you get to installing the assist - disengage front locker when she needs to turn and that would help some.

And kudos to the wife driver. Love hearing more women running rigs through the trails! Give her a high five!
Not sure I know anyone who has hydro assist.
We have a front locker, but rarely lock it. The rear Truetrac does most of the work. The binding we experience is not from the locker, as it happens when the locker is not engaged. It usually happens when we are in a spot where the drive train is loaded up, but the front locker is not engaged. I assume it is the u joints causing it, combined with the size and contact patch of the front tires. Sometimes it happens when you expect it to, but every now and then it surprises you.
We do like a responsive, tight steering. We have tended to run less castor than most. But now we have a Tom Woods front shaft and it wants us to run a little more castor to get the pinion angle right. As is it isn't quite straight and it vibrates slightly around 70+ mph.

Oh, and we are re-geared, 4.88 gears. I wish we had 5.13 gears, but it is what it is and unless somehing happens to make it cost effective to change we will keep the 4.88 gears. My work around is I want to upgrade the TC. I figure a lower crawl ratio, maybe even an atlas 4 speed, would make the 4.88 gears better off road.
 

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So you can run the ported box without the assist? That's awesome. For folks who do move up to hydroassist makes it much easier.
That was a question I had, can you run the ported steering box without the hydro assist ram. It would allow me to do this in stages, as an option.
Thanks for the info.
And thanks to everyone else for the feedback / opinions. It has all been useful info.
Absolutely, has been installed for over one year now and works great. It comes with steel caps that thread onto the ports. I called PSC and asked them before I ordered it and they said no problem to run it that way. The part number is SG688R.
 

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I looked at RCV axles for along long time. I really like the idea of smooth turning since I am in 4wd for huge percentage of my time.

I couldn't get past two things :

Cold weather failures. It seems the boots can become brittle and crack in the cold. The users experiencing these issues never seemed to get resolution from RCV. One guy lives in Canada (I think) and he now figures it is yearly maintenace to completely rebuild the joint and replace the cracked boots (and they always seem to crack on him)

Excessive Maintenance : From many of the posts I've read, these seem to require quite a of bit of maintenance.

For people doing lots of miles, it didn't seem to make much sense...bigger joints, stronger axles, etc seem like the way to go the last time I looked at this in detail. I'm going through a major maintenance overhaul on my '07 now - the front axle will largely be ignored until I decide what I am going to do (37s) mid- next year.

I'd be interested in hearing from folks who live outside of the southwest (experience actual sustained cold with treated roadways).


Well ... I ran RCVs through 2 winters. DD in Canada -30 to -40 over 100,000klm no maintenance on them other then a bit of grease ever time I rotated tires. I also put a smear of grease on the cup so the boot would move smoothly (I found a dry boot would click ). No issues, no breakage, no sweat. That is pushing 37x12.50x17 Pitbull Rockers on and off road.
Steering is definitely smoother when in 4wd because you don’t get U joint bind. You also reduce your turning radius as the RCVs will articulate farther and smoother. They are worth the money.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Well ... I ran RCVs through 2 winters. DD in Canada -30 to -40 over 100,000klm no maintenance on them other then a bit of grease ever time I rotated tires. I also put a smear of grease on the cup so the boot would move smoothly (I found a dry boot would click ). No issues, no breakage, no sweat. That is pushing 37x12.50x17 Pitbull Rockers on and off road.
Steering is definitely smoother when in 4wd because you don’t get U joint bind. You also reduce your turning radius as the RCVs will articulate farther and smoother. They are worth the money.


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Now that is solid experience... I wonder if your grease is helping them to move/keeping from sticking? Pure conjecture on my part...

This is one of the better threads with people's first hand experiences ...OP thx!
 
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