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Doh! I need a gear set for both axles??!!

2136 Views 24 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  alpine
We need to regear our LJ from 4.11 to 4.88 and I priced out a gear set at a few bucks under 300. I thought - not bad - 300 bucks and a few hours of labor to regear. Then I called our Jeep dealer to find out if they did pumpkins - you betcha! Seven hours of labor per differential (@ $85/hour.) Then it dawned on me I need to buy two gear sets (thanks to the service writer) - one for each axle. Doh! :weep: I felt stupid yet again.

Help me through stupidity again - I need to buy one ring and pinion set for each axle - right? Is Superior a good manufacturer/brand? A preferred place to purchase?
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call David @ northridge, he'll get you fixed up

just do the job your self, the first axle might take 7 hours but the next one will go much easier.. absolutely invaluable being able to do that work yourself.

and yes, one R&P per end and don't forget install kits
+If you have everything apart, you will need to add a diff fluid such as Royal Purple 75w-140 (the dealer will try to sucker you into the diff. additive for extra $) and might as well change the axle shafts to chromoly instead of doing it later and hoping they do not twist on the trail.
Seven hours per diff? WHAT?!

Shop around. There are good guys out there that will do gears for under $300/axle labor. Check out your local offroad and hot-rod shops.
Eric said:
just do the job your self ...
If you are just realizing you need to re-gear both axles at the same time, my strong strong strong recommendation would be to have a pro do this job. There are many things you can and should do on your jeep but experimenting with doing gears right the first time is not something you want to start with :)
Find a professional shop that will do it for less. Avoid the dealership at all costs unless it's under warranty or a local shop can't do it (my philosophy anyway).

Tell the shop you find that you'll supply the kits.

x2... on calling David @ Northridge (preferred vendor here)... tell him what you need. He'll make sure you get what you need at the best price.

I recommend upgrading the axle shafts too and getting everything done at once. Yes, Superior is a good product. I ran Superior shafts and Yukon gears. Keep your stock axles for trail repairs/back up in case you ever need 'em.
I just had my 04 Rubi re-geared. I bought the R&P set from David at Northridge and had a local, reputable shop put them in for me. It cost $550 total (I think...had some other work done and the total bill was a grand) for both ends to be done (not including my R&P set).

Personally, I wouldn't do it myself unless it's not a daily driver. For one, I just don't have the patience to do it correctly. I used to build mine back when I drag raced, but who cared if it whined...and like I could hear it anyways. I'm with him, if you didn't know you needed to do both ends at the same time you probably shouldn't be doing it yourself. :dhorse:
Thanks guys!

I read a long thread (I think on Jeep Forum) about digging into a Rubi pumpkin and I'll pass on that. My Rubi isn't a DD, but after looking at a picture of the innards with the locker, I will not tackle that job. If it was a non-locker, I would probably give it a try.

Fortunately I am fairly well mechanically inclined in spite of asking stupid question(s) - (I used to repair/overhaul mechanical Teletypes with about 500 small parts many, many moons ago and have messed with cars for a bunch of years) - but have enough wisdom at my age to know when it is time to write a check :cheesy:

Understand about the dealer thing - unfortunately (unfortunately for shopping that is) we are in ranch country and the closest city (Kerrville) is a town of only about 18,000. I'll dig around and try to find out if I have any other choices.

Oh my gosh - I should replace the shafts as well?! Yikes! The family CFO might have a cow!

I will use Northridge and support a forum vendor!
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johncanfield said:
I should replace the shafts as well?!

You can change the axle shafts later on but since you are going into the pumpkin, it would be wise to do it at the same time.

the closest city (Kerrville)
Yup - Kerrville, Texas - 22 miles to the Lowes, 27 miles to the grocery store. About 70 miles to the outskirts of San Antonio.
Axle shafts can be done at any time. There's really no need to do them at the same time unless you just want to, as there's nothing in the differential that needs to be undone to install them. Some people would mortgage their home to kill two birds with one stone, when one bird is all they need to eat.
Regear and wheel it. Set some funds aside and when you're comfortable dropping several hundred dollars on shafts, or when one of the stockers fails, use the opportunity to upgrade.
Okay - order in at Northridge for [cough] two 4.88 Dana 44 Rubi gear sets. Shafts will have to wait until the wife forgets how much money I just spent for a new top and gears :theyareon

(I still need a winch and air)
johncanfield said:
Yup - Kerrville, Texas - 22 miles to the Lowes, 27 miles to the grocery store. About 70 miles to the outskirts of San Antonio.
Nice, you've got Cline ranch right there. Fun little place.
stangmata said:
Nice, you've got Cline ranch right there. Fun little place.
Hey - way cool! They are less than 60 miles from me - wasn't even aware of them as a place to wheel in the area. That sounds like a good place to check out the Rubi, thanks for the head's up.
johncanfield said:
(I still need a winch and air)
To keep the cost down... :)

Winch... Bang for buck: Superwinch. Get it on Amazon.

Air... all depends on what you want. Powertank will get you the air you need for less than an on board air compressor, etc.
Thanks for the recommendations! Depending on the $ize of the accessory kitty, I'm looking at the Viair X'treme and a Mile Marker hydraulic winch and an AGR Super Pump replacement power steering pump.

I want to get the Rubi set up correctly the first time and be done with it :)
Just had Northridge replace my rear ring and pinion. $550 total and complete. They are in their new 13,000 sq foot shop now. Great place. Dave is super to work with--you will enjoy the experience.
If you've never done it before, I'd highly recommend you pay a pro to do it. I do just about all the work on my rig including welding stuff and gears are the one thing I won't touch. Never done it, don't have the RIGHT tools to do it (which can get expensive in their own right) and have actually had gearsets fail on me in the past. Nice thing about that is if THEY do it and it fails, it's on THEM, not YOU. If you can find somebody other than the dealer, do it-dealers charge a fortune for this work. I forget what I paid total for parts/labor-want to say around $1200??? But glad I don't have that headache to worry about. Money well spent.

As mentioned, you don't have to do axles now. I am STILL running my factory front shafts, but have replaced the joints in them with regular spicer 760's. I blew my rear locker early on, which took out a brand new R&P and twisted the splines on my factory rears bad enough that when I had the ARB put in, I had another new gear set and installed alloy shafts all at the same time. Expensive lesson learned. Keep in mind it was due to the factory locker failing, not the regear. If/when you do, Superior Evolution line are great axles. David has them/can get them.

Power Tanks are nice, but I picked up a full Co2 setup complete for about a third of the cost. If you shop around and look for the right deal, you can definitely save some bucks there over the PT version. Granted mine is regular brushed aluminum looking tank and not a fancy powder coat deal, but hey, it works the same and I kinda prefer the aluminum look anyway... Have to weigh out the OBA setup and what you'll want to do with it. Both permanent mount fixtures like a York or Viair have their benefits, as does Co2. I have both and must say I really like the portability of the Co2 and being able to take it anywhere I need and not worry about whether or not I can get my Jeep close enough to the other rig to get the air I need to that other vehicle for whatever reason. On a nasty trail with a disabled rig in front of you and no way around, Co2's portability can't be beat.

Lastly on Vendors-David is great, does a great job, has excellent customer service and is a pleasure to work with. Nice job getting the gears from him-he'll take care of you.

Best of Luck,

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David at Northridge called me this morning and we had a good chat. He suggested I not spend the bucks for Superior R&P since Superior doesn't actually manufacture the gears but sources them from other vendors, so how about this other brand at the same quality? Sounds good! He also suggested I get the bearing kits (I was wondering about that), so I'll be all set to hand the parts over to the shop after Mr. UPS shows up at the ranch. I can certainly validate all of the good experiences everybody reports about David - it's refreshing to deal with a business that understands the importance of building good rapport with their customers.

Speaking of the shop, I did find a truck/4x4 shop in the area (a bit closer to us as a bonus) and chatted with the owner. He has done many differentials and I was impressed after a chat with him. He quoted $850 for the job and he's got my business.

Our turn-key price for parts/labor will be $1400 - I'm saving about $350 in labor by not using the dealer :D

I've done extensive reading about bottle air vs. compressor and there are persuasive arguments for both. There are a couple of reasons why bottle air won't work well for me. First, it will be something that I need to keep up with; I understand a bottle might last an entire wheeling season, but then again it might not. I would worry about security of the bottle since I have a soft top, and the third reason out of two is we are away from home for most of the summers and I don't want to hunt up a place to refill a bottle while on the road.

You guys are great! Thanks for all of the hand-holding (in a manly sort of way :rotflmao: .)
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Thanks for the feed back on what you found and what you plan to do. :)
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