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Thread: Regear advice - shop recommendations?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    FINOCJ previously posted:
    "I would suggest that Jim should take a look at that chart and consider regearing the YJ - it would make that thing come to life!"

    Yes, re-gearing would be nice. I did consider it when one of the ARB's was being replaced. The shop said the other ARB would need to be replaced / different carrier that you're talking about (though maybe I could get away with one of the fat/thin gear kits). The 4:1 low range is what saves the day for trail use. Highway - flats - overdrive is functional. The not-too-common steep enough hill, I just downshift one, maybe two.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    A day late to the party but I'll chime in.

    I had a 2001 XJ with the 4.0 and an automatic. I ran 265/75R16 tires (32's) and 4.56 gears and it was a pretty good match for all around driving. The AW4 auto in my XJ has a little more overdrive (0.75) than the NSG370 manual (.086) in the LJ. Though the 42RLE automatic in the LJ has even more overdrive (0.70). Still, I think 4.56 gears would be good for 33's in an LJ. I'd consider 4.88's for the automatic if you have it. Either way, you'll still be able to drive on the freeway without blowing up your engine. And you'll have good gearing for low and slow driving.

    You can go here and play around with the numbers to see exactly what each change will give you: http://www.grimmjeeper.com/gears.html

    Best bet there is to look up the specs on the tires you're running on the Jeep now. Find the "Revolutions per mile" number and plug it in. That will give you better numbers.

    For the 4.0, I try to shoot for 2,500 RPM at 75 in overdrive. That seems to be a good balanced spot to land.


    As far as the various differentials, I'll rehash what others have said. I've run all kinds of lockers and limited slips over the years in all different kinds of trucks and Jeeps.

    For a Jeep that sees the trails I would avoid open differentials, especially if you have to change the carrier out anyway.

    The factory clutch pack limited slip, the Trash-Lock as I like to call it, is not entirely terrible. But the clutch packs wear out and it's no better than an open differential. So unless you like rebuilding the diff every couple of years, I'd just get rid of it. If you're replacing the carrier anyway, there's no reason to buy a new one for sure. If you use thick cut gears, you could keep what you have and rebuild it. But that wouldn't be my first choice. It certainly would be more budget friendly. But realistically, you're saving 10% of the total cost or less and you have a maintenance item to deal with every couple of years.

    My old XJ had Eaton TrueTracs front and rear. I am a fan of the helical gear limited slips. They are a zero maintenance item. You install them and never have to think of them again. They are just there, working all the time. No need to run wiring or air lines, no switches to think about. You just get in and drive. They are great in the snow and on the trail. That XJ with a good set of snow tires wouldn't stop until snow was up to the bumper. While I didn't take all of the hard lines on Hell's Revenge in Moab, I drove all over the place and never once even got close to being stuck.

    If I was building a rig to do the lower 70-80% of the trails out there, TrueTracs (or any other helical limited slip) front and rear would top the list. Especially if it was going to be what I drove in the snow.

    I had an old 79 Cherokee with a rear lunchbox locker. That's a cheap way to get an automatic locker in your trail rig. I really didn't like it though. Driving it on the road, it would click and pop (some brands don't do that). But it also required me to adjust my driving habits. It "opens up" when you're coasting but as soon as you hit the gas it will lock and that can make the vehicle behave weirdly. It wanted to push me over into the next lane any time I got on the gas. It was predictable but annoying. Also, on the ice and snow, it actually hurt my traction. A fully locked axle breaks tires loose sooner than with an open diff or limited slip. So when the roads were slick, I had to be more careful. Sure, it was cheap and it did well off road but it made the Jeep less fun to drive on the road.

    I've run a couple different kinds of selectable lockers. I tried out the Auburn ECTED. That's a clutch pack limited slip with a magnet that compresses the clutch pack. It's supposed to lock the axles but it never really fully locked anything. It just made the limited slip more aggressive. And it wore out the clutches faster than a normal clutch pack limited slip. I won't ever buy another one.

    I've run Eaton E-Lockers in a couple of vehicles. They are pretty good. They are fully open normally and you can daily drive with them and it's no problem. Behaves very predictably when unlocked. When it's time that you want to lock the axles, you just flip the switch and you have 100% axle lock. It may take a few seconds to engage and disengage with the e-locker but it's nice to have the choice. For a daily driver that sees more significant trails, the selectable locker is the way to go. You can handle lifting a tire and still being able to get up the obstacle. And at the same time you can drive on the street in a very docile vehicle.

    For a Jeep that's going to see trails on the upper 20-30% of the scale, a selectable is the way to go. The limited slip will let you down when you start lifting tires but the selectable locker will give you what you need while still being reasonable on the street.


    Regearing and installing LSD/Lockers is a buy once, cry once proposition. But it's worth doing the right way so you only do it once. It's far cheaper in the long run to do everything in one shot.
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    I feel like to go up a level of trail difficulty, I'd need bigger lift and tires along with lockers. With the new hard top I've further reduced my stomach for body damage, so I don't see this vehicle being on trails harder than something like Poison Spyder Mesa. Since I humped this rig as-built over Poison Spyder, Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim last year, I think this is a suitable level of capability. I don't think I'd try Golden Spike in this vehicle again -- more clearance and lockers would be preferred. In other words, I think my rig is already sitting at "capable" for 70% of the trails and I'm pretty satisfied at that level.

    I don't daily drive the Jeep, but it gets a lot of highway miles to/from Moab and other distant trails. Last year I did a lot of snow wheeling and would have appreciated better performance in the snow. It sounds like either a TrueTrac or e-locker would be appropriate here, and if I'm not going to try to level up the rig to higher difficulty trials TrueTracs are probably a good choice.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    speedkills previously posted:
    "Are truetrac's weaker than their other diffs? I'm curious why their application guide doesn't recommend them for rock crawling."

    My personal take on this with absolutely no credibility whatsoever is that they aren't recommending it for rock crawling because it isn't a selectable configuration and requires wheel spin for activation. In rock crawling scenarios I think the conscious decision to lock on command and operate knowing you are or aren't locked is more helpful than throttling out waiting for something to engage. This is how my Grand Cherokee with Quadra-Drive II worked, I had to get some wheel spin going before the ELSD would send power to the wheel with traction.

    So in short my opinion is that it doesn't have to do with strength, although it might, but with how it is engaged.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    So, it sounds like the gallery is angling to spend Trent's money - convincing him for a rear selectable and perhaps an open or something lower cost up front.

    Since I'm posting this somewhat snarky message (mostly serious though), I'll ask this question for some justification: Trent - I see this jeep to be a long term tool for your household. If that is on your mind too, I'd say - this is a great time to go selectable in the rear. As you're not looking for heavy/difficult stuff - leave the front open/basic/whatever. Do it now and enjoy it for a long time to come.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    Jim previously posted:
    "Since I'm posting this somewhat snarky message (mostly serious though), I'll ask this question for some justification: Trent - I see this jeep to be a long term tool for your household. If that is on your mind too, I'd say - this is a great time to go selectable in the rear. As you're not looking for heavy/difficult stuff - leave the front open/basic/whatever. Do it now and enjoy it for a long time to come."

    I'm not sure I save much by leaving the front open. Labor is going to cost a lot either way. The cost of the front/rear lockers are really only ~35% of the total cost from the quotes I'm getting.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    Curious. Consider selectable up front then!

    In my experience with two selectables, the front will get activated about 10/20% of the time the rear is activated (summer trails).

    Snow runs with chains - both are on near 100% - though snow runs are different than typical summer (high traction) trails.



    FWIW - I can select either, independently. ARB had the front activate the rear but I re-wired to have them to be independent.

    edit - I'm no ARB or nothing cheerleader. I would consider the electric (magnetic?) style - I'd give it solid consideration. The air lines, for me, have been reliable the past MANY years but I do see them (exiting the diff housing to the body attachment) being an item of concern. Some member hear, years back (Hypoid??), commented on ARB failure concerns with the comment that he thought that engaging while the axle is rotating contributed to the seal rolling under itself and causing an air leak (failure requiring pulling the guts for repair). His comment was to be stopped at engagement. I do this as procedure - be stopped at both engage and disengage. Perhaps I don't have to, but I do.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    I vote for truetracs. I have the same Jeep as you, same tires and similar lift and have been running them for 10 years all over Colorado and Utah. I have never used my winch, I just don't get stuck (much). With the flex and wheelbase of the LJ you're not going to lift tires much, especially with your OME suspension, and you have to lift one on each axle to have it matter.

    I also like the 4:56 even with 35s because the LJ 6 speed has a 4.5 or so to 1 first gear, 1st through 4th are underdrives, 5th is 1 to 1 and 6th is overdrive so you have lower gear choices built in. LJs are the best Js.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    open_circuit previously posted:
    "The cost of the front/rear lockers are really only ~35% of the total cost from the quotes I'm getting."

    I remember getting quotes for my locker install....I ended up doing it myself....doesn't mean that is the right choice for anyone else, just that diff work is pricey when paying shop rates.

    TyTheJeepGuy previously posted:
    "they aren't recommending it for rock crawling because it isn't a selectable configuration and requires wheel spin for activation."

    good point...wheel spin makes me nervous when in a sketchy spot.....I still remember watching TDash have to spin those big tires fast on his full size chevy to a get the G2 locker/LSD to engage at Lil Moab a few years ago. Selectable locker allows you to idle and drive up the ugly spots without using the gas....most LSD are going to require a bit of gas, if not quite a lot.

    TyTheJeepGuy previously posted:
    "So in short my opinion is that it doesn't have to do with strength, although it might,"

    One thing to keep in mind when discussing LSDs, 'strong' vs 'weak' can often mean how 'aggressive' they are set-up or act...a 'strong' LSD has less differential wheel spin, and acts closer to a locker (more traction), and a 'weak' LSD doesn't bind one axle to the other very much, and acts more like an open diff. Some clutch disk style can be (well the old style could be - like a Powr Loc, the much better predecessor to the Trac-lok) stacked with some extra clutch disks to create more friction and binding between the axles, thus making the LSD more aggressive or stronger in terms of traction.
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    FINOCJ previously posted:
    "I remember getting quotes for my locker install....I ended up doing it myself....doesn't mean that is the right choice for anyone else, just that diff work is pricey when paying shop rates.


    good point...wheel spin makes me nervous when in a sketchy spot.....I still remember watching TDash have to spin those big tires fast on his full size chevy to a get the G2 locker/LSD to engage at Lil Moab a few years ago. Selectable locker allows you to idle and drive up the ugly spots without using the gas....most LSD are going to require a bit of gas, if not quite a lot.


    One thing to keep in mind when discussing LSDs, 'strong' vs 'weak' can often mean how 'aggressive' they are set-up or act...a 'strong' LSD has less differential wheel spin, and acts closer to a locker (more traction), and a 'weak' LSD doesn't bind one axle to the other very much, and acts more like an open diff. Some clutch disk style can be (well the old style could be - like a Powr Loc, the much better predecessor to the Trac-lok) stacked with some extra clutch disks to create more friction and binding between the axles, thus making the LSD more aggressive or stronger in terms of traction."

    According to the video Paul linked above with the expedition(?), the TrueTrac can only be 'locked' from a full stop by holding brakes while applying a little gas. Wheel spin seems to disengage the lock as described in that video. This does present some complications for a manual transmission driver, but that's one reason I have a hand throttle.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    That guy is drving a Ford tank, not a Jeep. Nice tank though. To get the front locked up I just put it in gear and tap the brake with my left foot. To lock the rear just pull up on the parking brake while holding the button on it down for a second or two. that's if you ever even need to do any of that; by the time I realize something is up the diffs are already reacting, usually I just slip for a second and go.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    open_circuit previously posted:
    "According to the video Paul linked above with the expedition(?), the TrueTrac can only be 'locked' from a full stop by holding brakes while applying a little gas. Wheel spin seems to disengage the lock as described in that video. This does present some complications for a manual transmission driver, but that's one reason I have a hand throttle."

    Yes....the electronically sensored LSDs (and lockers in some cases) require a certain amount of differential wheelspin to engage. The standard collection of aftermarket LSDs and lockers you are considering won't have that issue. But even then, trying to control wheel spin is an issue with an LSD...Apparently better drivers than me are able to apply some braking to control the rear wheel spin and get the LSD to bind more while also working throttle and clutch....I've never had any success with it on either of my LSD equipped jeeps that were manuals, hand throttle or not. Granted, my old cjs have other issues with trying to drive through the floor pedals and mechanical non-power pedal controls etc - so maybe on modern vehicles it would work better. Although I cannot do it with the old cj5 due to my parking brake set-up mounted on the transfer case, I know some people can use the parking brake a few clicks on their rear brakes to help control wheel spin and keeps your feet free to do normal things. I think in an automatic set-up where you drive one foot on light throttle, and one foot working the brake pedal to ease forward, it has a better chance of working as well....

    But it also comes down to an LSD is what it is...it is a nice improvement in traction over an open differential, and works well in loose or even slippery conditions where you keep the tires on the ground. But an LSD is a 'limited slip', it limits differential wheel spin, but doesn't stop it. In other words, its just not the same as a locker - it won't give traction once one side is unweighted/lifted and spinning no matter how fancy you get with your foot and brake work. Only a locker (whether auto, selectable, spool) will work in that situation. After running two different jeeps with LSDs, I got my first true locker in the tacoma - and it was a different world. The only thing that limited my tacoma was its clearance with long wheel base and no lift. And it made me realize the cj needed a locker, and when I swapped out the LSD to the e-locker in the cj5, well, that jeep almost keeps up with all of you with modern built jeeps today. The traction gains are just orders of magnitude greater than an LSD. I think there is/was some old threads on the forum that talked about what is most important priorities when building a 4x4....We all like more lift and bigger tires etc, but in many ways, there is no bigger bang for your buck than a locker, and yes that is a lot of buck, but the bang is huge.

    But again, that doesn't make a locker the right choice...As you have said, its more about building a jeep that matches your intended usage goals as opposed to just maximizing traction. I think the gear driven LSDs are solid, reliable and aid traction - the clutch driven LSDs just aren't worth the money and maintenance IMHO. Certainly if you go the LSD route, you probably consider running both front and rear, especially given all the sunk expense of the regear front and rear. With dual LSDs, you will notice a very big gain in traction over your single rear, and probably worn Trac-lok. The old saying is 2 LSDs = 1 locker.....I actually think a single rear locker is more valuable than 2 LSDs, but its close, and may also depend on the type of trail you drive on. Paul said it best - front and rear gear driven LSDs on the long wheelbase LJ will get you almost anywhere that isn't lifting tires in the big rocks. Probably an ideal set-up for what I envision when you talk about overlanding across the southwest. But the other side of the discussion might also beabout cost - the majority of the cost at this point is in the gear set up labor, so would using a selectable locker in the rear add much cost over an LSD? There is zero downside to a selectable locker (there is downside to an auto locker), only upside and a bit more expense. It will do everything the gear driven LSD will do and more, meet all your overlanding needs, and still have some additional capability for when following Shane into something stupid because he has portals! And of course, I would still suggest the gear driven LSD in the front - that would be one helluva a set up. Maybe thats why I will be going that route - well actually i am going that route because no selectable lockers are available for my front end, but I am expecting it to be one helluva set-up!
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    I assumed selectable locker won't work at snow-covered road speeds but TrueTrac will -- the benefit over locker would be traction in wet/snowy conditions on the road?

    Thanks for the lively discussion. Still evaluating the e locker rear vs TrueTrac. Cost difference is about 2x for e locker compare to TrueTrac for the device itself. However, total parts cost is approximately equal to labor, so adding $500 to parts would not substantially increase total cost. I want to put the best solution for my use in this time and not pay shop labor again. I can see why people decide to do this job themselves due to labor costs, but I also think this is a job I don't want to screw up. Some jobs are worth the cost to have experienced labor doing the job correctly and efficiently.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    Really good discussion here, the only other point I'll toss in that I is implied but not specifically mentioned is that there is a difference in how these are activated. ABS type braking systems and LSD's are reactive, lockers are pro-active. If you want something to just have your back the automated systems are nice, as Paul mentioned, by the time you notice something is slipping it has already stepped in to help you out. If you want to choose when you use it, or are need that last few percent of traction I don't think a reactive system is quite as good but I realize that may just be my opinion.

    I see a lot of people enjoying being able to clean an obstacle and say "I didn't even need to lock up", for better or worse you can choose your traction with lockers, but also you have to choose your traction with lockers (at least the type you are considering) and until I got a vehicle that let me choose which axles to lockup I didn't really get it, but it is kinda fun.

    In a perfect world I wish I had both on my G, I wish I had limited slip sometimes when I want to break the back end loose and drive like an idiot on a dirt road, instead one tire spins and the other holds traction, but I also wouldn't want to give up explicit control of what is locked up and when now that I have it and am intending to learn/enable some techniques taking advantage of it in the next year, things like front digs and dragging a single rear wheel to cut a turn sharper that wouldn't be possible if I had no control over when axles locked up. Either way you go I think you will be pretty pleased with the upgrade, but I wonder if you will miss the challenge of going through things unlocked if you have it all automated? When I went out with Ty's J10 I had a surprising amount of fun seeing what I could do in 1 wheel drive with nothing at all locked up.

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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    open_circuit previously posted:
    "I assumed selectable locker won't work at snow-covered road speeds but TrueTrac will -- the benefit over locker would be traction in wet/snowy conditions on the road?"

    You definitely wouldn't want the locker engaged at highway speeds on snowy/slippery roads (unexpected engagement is the downside to auto lockers)....but with a selectable in the off position, its still functioning like normal 4wd open diffs. For all the winter highway driving I do between here and Montana all winter, I've never felt like I've needed or would have benefited from more than standard 4wd with open diffs. Good snow tires, and weight distribution in the truck bed are much more important factors. Any mechanical differential traction devices (as opposed to computer monitored traction control) make me a bit nervous on snowy highways...one axle wheel spinning is okay (like in an open diff), but with a locker, its easy to get both wheels spinning, and that is when you break loose and start going sideway on snow. An LSD is obviously not a locker, and typically avoids that concern, but then is it giving you any real help or advantage, or is it just acting like an open diff? I don't know, but my guess is that its not helping or hurting on highway in any conditions, and that it is essentially acting like an open diff or a diff with the selectable in the off position.

    speedkills previously posted:
    "I wish I had limited slip sometimes when I want to break the back end loose and drive like an idiot on a dirt road,"

    you just need a bigger engine....the 10L 1000hp big block...you could break a spooled axle loose on pavement with that thing, and drive like an idiot everywhere
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    This is the kryptonite. I think if he used his parking brake he could get moving.



    He has a rear truetrac and a front e-locker. Good video.


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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    I like the front and rear trutracs in my van, but it's my opinion that you can get a little more out of that kind of a setup with an automatic transmission than a manual. With an automatic it's easier to ride the brakes through a tricky spot, especially from a stop, and build up some torque in the axles to bind up the trutracs. It can be done with a manual, but it's a little more difficult.

    I have a somewhat freshly rebuilt traclok in my Jeep. It wasn't too hard to rebuild, but getting a second set of hands to jam the sidegears/clutches back in the carrier would have been nice. The traclok has quite a bit of preload when fresh. That's another thing about the trutrac is that there is no preload. On a slippery road if you are off the throttle a trutrac will differentiate in a turn just like an open diff and your wheels will keep rolling. A preloaded LSD could drag a tire if its slick enough. The trutrac will still swing the rear out if you give it too much throttle in the snow, but I'm finding with the van and the automatic it's not difficult to keep that under control.

    For the milder stuff that I am into, I like that the trutrac and the traclok are always "working". If i'm out in my Xterra with the factory rear locker I rarely find myself using it because I would be turning it on and off a bunch between tight turns and spots where I think i might need traction. That may be different because with the factory setup as it seems to be a little more difficult to turn that thing on and off compared to an aftermarket setup.

  21. The Following Member Says Thanks to Trevor? For This Post:

    open_circuit (October 24th, 2021)

  22. #38
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    That sound is so hard to hear. In that video it's hard to see what a truetrac gets you over a cutting brake. I mean, an open diff starts transferring power if I brake the opposite wheel. What do you think Trent, twin levers for your e-brake? You'll be nearly as low tech as they come, cable operated cruise control and now a cable operated power transfer device, plus you get to do those neat tight turns.

  23. #39
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    Default Re: Regear advice - shop recommendations?



    speedkills previously posted:
    "twin levers for your e-brake?"

    It's pretty rad on a baja-bug... why not try it on an LJ.

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