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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rear locker went out earlier this week. The torsen gears feel like they shredded.

My hope was to slap a factory locker back in there but I’m struggling to find one for a reasonable price. Instead, I figured I’d take the opportunity to put an ARB in the rear and regear the axles.

The local, very reputable shop hit me with a $6k estimate! I can trim that down by installing the ARB pump myself but still…wowza. I am aware that prices have really climbed, but this is jarring.

So now I’m trying to look at all of my options. One of them may be not reg
earing and just installing the ARB locker. I’m even exploring “new” axles.

Im in analysis paralysis. If anyone has some thoughts, I’d love to hear what you might consider doing in this situation.

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When we did mine I went with Motive Gear ring and pinions. They are a lower grade of one of the big guys. Can’t remember which one right now. They set up very nice and have been trouble free. It was a while back but I think they were quite a bit cheaper. Used to be $500 labor per axle.
I looked for a long time for factory lockers. Found some for decent prices but were always too far away. I put a used front in the rear the second time I broke and it only lasted 6 days of light wheeling. Of course this was over 6 months time so no warranty from salvage yard. Goodbye $750.

Good thing about a factory replacement is it is almost bolt in with minor shim adjustments.

Finally just decided on a new ARB. I’m going to wheel these axles for another year and hope they last until I can complete my 60 swap.

I would look around clubs for mechanics that do side work if you don’t have anyone you know that can do it for you.
 

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I'm blown away by the estimate. Seems like labor is twice as high as I would expect for the gear setup, unless your local labor costs are $250/hr. Read on another forum recently that it should be 7 hours labor total to setup two axles. I also don't understand the labor charge for the compressor install, shows $150 in left column then total is $900 which makes no sense, only one compressor is going to be installed. You should get some estimates from other shops. I agree that ARB is the way to go. You could stay with stock 4.10 ratio since you run 33's and the 6 speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies so far. One point of clarification, I’m now on 35s. While it’s been totally fine for the last year, gears make sense since the axle is being torn down for the locker. Unless I’m overestimating how difficult it is to install just the ARB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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OK, now I understand the need for 4.88 if you're running 35's. I'd keep looking for another shop, not too impressed by their spelling mistakes on the quote or the $900 to install the ARB compressor. You're probably better off installing the compressor anyway, easy DIY project. I installed mine on the tray below the brake booster and had the switches installed and wired prior to getting my rear axle done years ago. Another thing to consider would be changing the front to ARB while they're at it. You'll have a great upgrade and can sell the front locker while it's still in good condition.
 

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Maybe an option would be a new axle assembly?

 

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Holy Krap...

Try another shop or two, for sure. I don't think I'd put $6K into the factory axles.

I'm fortunate that I get ARB and Yukon at dealer cost. And have both a very good and very fair axle shop close by, as well as friends that can setup ARB's and Dana axles in their sleep. But even then, in your situation, I'd at least be considering not repairing the old one and getting something else.

I run 4.88's with the six speed and 35's and do think it's the sweet spot for that transmission and tire size combo.

- DAA
 

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Another quote seems produent to me. FourWheelParts is an option, they always seemed high priced to me so could be a good frame of reference. Even if one is not close, they will typically quote over the phone. Looks like their shop rate is $150 an hour, the 6 units @150 for the compressor install. Seems typical, the rate, not the number of hours. That's like all day to do an hour job, or so. Way to long for that part especially combined with the diff install.

$900 to do a re gear, twice front and rear. Not sure what I paid 10 years or so ago but its about 6 hours if their shop rate is 150 an hour.

Like stated, I also think a total replacement rear axle housing would be cheaper, can even just get 4:10s to not need to do the front, G2 Axle & Gear 35 Spline Rear Core 44 Axle Assembly with ARB Air Locker for 97-06 Jeep Wrangler TJ & Unlimited

so, saying what everyone is saying above.


I need to grab my stock stuff and sell it one of these days, especially at these rates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found a differential shop in town that has pretty solid reviews and being that they specialize in gears (the current quote is a highly regarded off-road shop) they may be more reasonably priced. I'll report back.

I found a set of JK axles with a conversion kit for $4500, but I'd need to have some stuff welded up to make it a bolt-in and I'd need new wheels. It would be nice to have JK axles, but I'm also trying to monitor the bank account.

Regardless, I'll do as much work as I can myself. I'm hoping that I can maybe save some money by removing the axles.

Your help is appreciated.
 

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I'm hoping that I can maybe save some money by removing the axles.
One of my buddies that does gears as a side gig, likes to get them that way and charges quite a bit less than if the axles are in the rig. I honestly don't know what his rates are now. He does custom fabrication on the side too and I know he's turning away that work, so he probably charges more for axle work now. But he used to do Dana/ARB setups with the axles delivered out of the rig for less than $300 an axle.

I've watched/help him tear down and rebuild a Dana 44 on an axle stand and the bench, being very meticulous, replacing everything and checking everything multiple times, it takes him about 2 hours.

- DAA
 

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That quote is ridiculous.
Move on. They literally have a line that says offroad use voids the warranty.
That is not the shop to do your work.

You may be better off buying a full axle off eBay, pulling the locker and having a different shop regear for a normal price.
Or, if you are fairly capable, do it yourself. It's actually not that hard if you take your time and do it with the axle off the vehicle.
 

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I think that quote is high. But if that is what they charge then you can decide yes or no.
Jk axles are not your solution. In reality a TJ axle is a better axle other than you can gain a little width. JK's are known for having a few weak spots and that is why Currie and Dynatrac are successful companies.
Dana 44's are the oldest in use axle around and any qualified tech should be able to set up a set of gears. You don't have to remove your housing for this.

If it were me I would buy a ARB if you already have OBA or a e-locker if you don't and keep the gears as they are.
Or the other solution would to go all in and put in a set of Curries from Carbon off road with their 10 year warranty. You would be looking at about 6k each end. So I do say all in. Spending 6k for re-gear doesn't make sense.

But do tell us about your Comanche.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you. I will get the other quote this week and report back. I’m relieved to hear that the quote is ridiculous. Seemed that way. I wish I had the time and a good instructor to teach me how to replace gears. Just not in the cards right now. Maybe on the Comanche…

side note on the Comanche - my brother-in-law revived it from the grave and gave it to my son. We have a few years to restore it. She runs and drives but needs a lot of love…most importantly is a BA-10 to AX15 swap which hopefully we can knock out this winter. It’s a daily chore chasing gremlins and troubleshooting this old 87 Renix, but I hope that I can use the opportunity to teach my son about cars, financial responsibility, and to appreciate older vehicles. We had an awesome drive through the western US to bring it home - quite an adventure
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Renix..I do not miss that at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another quote today:
$2750+tax to do everything but the pump which makes it about $3300 total, nearly half the original quote. That’s with Yukon gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Working on it all weekend. Got the ARB installed and the wiring run. I accidentally crossed some wires and smoked a switch so I’m waiting for a replacement. Once that’s done I drop it off for the ARB and gear replacement.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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today the Jeep was dropped off at the differential shop. Should be done Monday.
 
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