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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start this out by saying that I drive a 2004 TJ Rubicon. I have about 4" of suspension lift and 1.25" body lift. I have been told by 2 different places, one a Jeep dealer and one a local 4wheel drive shop that I need a new/rebuilt front drive shaft.

Here is where I come to you guys. I can get a new Mopar drive shaft for about $550 installed, I can have my current driveshaft rebuilt and installed for about $450, or I can get a new Tom Woods front driveshaft for about $350, and I would install it or have it done.

Obviously the Tom Woods is the cheapest, but I am wondering what you guys would recommend/suggest and the reasons why. Thanks.
 

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I priced a new OEM frt DS 18 months ago and the dealer would have taken $175 for one. I think list was $225 then. 20 minutes install time. I'd buy a TW, HAD or Coast custom one, search the forums for install/replacement write ups, spend $40 in tools and DIY.
 

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Holy crap $400 to rebuild a driveshaft? Unless that thing is really mangled you're looking at 3 u joints, a centering ball and the thing that holds it all together.

X2 on DIY
 

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ads357 said:
I can get a new Mopar drive shaft for about $550 installed, I can have my current driveshaft rebuilt and installed for about $450
YIKES! I think if you do a search back a year or so ago I posted up that a new front DS, ordered thru Mopar online, was like $135 or maybe it was $145. Did they say the reason it should be rebuilt? Do you just need new u joints or is the lift putting too much stress on your stock DS causing it to wear out?

If it's just a because of worn U joints then I would take F9K9's advice. Spend the money on tools. New U Joints can be had for about $25. Find someone local wheeler that is experienced replacing them. Buy some beer and/or pizza. Have some fun learning.

I run Tom Woods and I can honestly say I have nothing but good to say about him. Last EJS he went out of his way to help me out.
 

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I had the exact same situation about two months ago. My centering ball decided it had enough, and so I figured I could rebuild it. Parts alone were gonna cost me more than the Tom Woods unit, so I went Tom Woods and haven't looked back! I have front and rear Woods drivelines and have no complaints!

Go Tom Woods, or check out J.E. Reel, or High Angle Driveline just to compare prices. Either way, it's not worth it to pay that much just to end up with stock junk. JMHO
 

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Whichever route you go, install it yourself and save a bundle. At $550 for a shaft replacement, that dealer is charging you about $375 for 20 minutes of labor, no lie. It is just 8 little bolts, and you don't need to jack the vehicle up or anything. Don't even need to pop the hood either...
 

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wsm04rubi said:
Whichever route you go, install it yourself and save a bundle. At $550 for a shaft replacement, that dealer is charging you about $375 for 20 minutes of labor, no lie. It is just 8 little bolts, and you don't need to jack the vehicle up or anything. Don't even need to pop the hood either...

/\ I'm with stupid /\

You need and 8MM socket... hardest part is fitting fat hands (like mine) behind the skid and undoing the bolts at the T-case. Hopefully you don't have that problem.
 

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Gustapo said:
/\ I'm with stupid /\

You need and 8MM socket... hardest part is fitting fat hands (like mine) behind the skid and undoing the bolts at the T-case. Hopefully you don't have that problem.
Who you calling stupid? :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

Also, a ratcheting closed end wrench will make the job a lot easier on the transfer case end, those bolts can be a little awkward to reach.

 

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Wow, I had a full size 1-ton Dodge front shaft totally rebuilt local with all new joints, centering ball, complete for around $250 if I recall, then installed it myself in a few minutes. That's crazy what they want for that!

On the Jeep, it's actually pretty hard to beat a stock shaft-they actually do build them pretty well. I'm still running both front/rear stockers on mine after over 5 years of hard use, though both have been rebuilt-again, local for pocket change compared to what they want for aftermarket new ones. At any rate, see what a local driveshaft shop can do for you-you might be surprised. If you have already or plan to regear, be sure to have it spin balanced to 4000 or better. Even aftermarket shafts aren't spun that fast and will vibe with deeper gears if not balanced perfect.

Best of Luck,

Mike
 

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wsm04rubi said:
Also, a ratcheting closed end wrench will make the job a lot easier on the transfer case end, those bolts can be a little awkward to reach.

Xs 2!!! I also undo the axle end first and then the TC end last, this will allow you to spin the drive shaft around so that you can get each bolt into a position that a fat hand can reach. My first couple times taking the front out was a PITA IMO... now I can do it pretty fast and you will want to get fairly good at it anyway since you SHOULD be taking it off at least once a year to lube the U joints at the TC end and the centering ball.
 

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SweetPee said:
wsm04rubi said:
Also, a ratcheting closed end wrench will make the job a lot easier on the transfer case end, those bolts can be a little awkward to reach.

Xs 2!!! I also undo the axle end first and then the TC end last, this will allow you to spin the drive shaft around so that you can get each bolt into a position that a fat hand can reach. My first couple times taking the front out was a PITA IMO... now I can do it pretty fast and you will want to get fairly good at it anyway since you SHOULD be taking it off at least once a year to lube the U joints at the TC end and the centering ball.
Just a word of warning... this is the way I used to do it (reaching my hand up in there with a reversible ratcheting closed end 8mm wrench) but after taking my Jeep to the dealer to get them to replace my clutch, TO bearing, etc., I cannot do it that way anymore. The wrench slips and I get bloody knuckles. I took it back to the dealer and asked them wtf, I need to take my ds off to rebuild it, and I used to be able to reach in there with a ratchet, etc, etc... and they said the way it is supposed to be done is by jacking up the tranny, dropping the transfer case, and then removing those bolts.

The reason I am saying all of this is because that is probably why they quoted so much. I would go to the store and purchase the above-said wrench and try to loosen those transfer case bolts yourself. If you can, then I would just buy a new stock ds or TW and install it yourself and then rebuild your original one when time/funds allow.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I think I have decided to go with the Tom Wood's new shaft. I plan on rebuilding my old one and either keeping it as a spare or selling it, haven't decided yet.

I wasn't really planning on having the dealer do much of the work at all. I just took it there to have them diagnose it and make sure they agreed with my first diagnosis. I got a little carried away in my first post saying they may do some work simply because when I posted that, they had my Jeep.

I am going to order up my TW later today, when I get the measurements I need. Does anyone know of anywhere specific I should order from or anyone who gives forum discounts? At this point I am planning on ordering directly from TW unless someone can give me another idea that is better.

Thanks for all the posts and help. I'll keep everyone posted on how the project moves along.
 

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I've only ever ordered direct from TW. Good customer service and help.

My $0.02
 

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ads357 said:
............... I plan on rebuilding my old one and either keeping it as a spare or selling it, haven't decided yet.........
I don't know your tool collection or your wrenching ability but, rebuilding the front DS can be a PITA the first time or two. Crap has to be burned out by heat and the first time is a hassle. Don't know if, you remember DoctorD but, when he said he'd just buy another OEM DS versus rebuilding one, my ears pricked up! I wore myself out on rebuilding mine with Precision (not Spicer) parts and the parts alone were over $110. I put the project aside and bought a new Coast DS from David for $300 delivered. I eventually finished the rebuild and ran it for a short time while my Coast was being rebuilt. My fault, bad angle and servicing. No charge for the rebuild and return shipping.
 

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There is one for sale on my local Craigs list. The ad says to call Tim @ 916-616-4244 The price listed is $200.
 

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Just in case some reading this thread are interested in rebuilding their DS themselves, I thought I would post this up for informational purposes. I believe it was JimHat that posted up some good info on how to rebuild the front DS using NAPA parts. I also believe he included all the part numbers.

ads357. Keep in mind that the Tom Woods shaft does require periodic greasing. If you ask Tom he will tell you the more grease the better. The more often the better. I would suggest before you install the shaft you look at the CV and the U joints and locate their grease points just so you will be familiar with their location ahead of time. You will notice that getting to the CV centering ball grease fitting will be tough, if not impossible, with the shaft installed. Just my opinion but I would grease it at least every 6 months.
 

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mikel said:
ads357. Keep in mind that the Tom Woods shaft does require periodic greasing. If you ask Tom he will tell you the more grease the better. The more often the better. I would suggest before you install the shaft you look at the CV and the U joints and locate their grease points just so you will be familiar with their location ahead of time. You will notice that getting to the CV centering ball grease fitting will be tough, if not impossible, with the shaft installed. Just my opinion but I would grease it at least every 6 months.
YES!!!!!!!!
I'd ESPECIALLY recomend greasing EVERYTHING before you even install it. In my experience the centering balls from TW do not always come with a lot of grease in them. Some centering balls have grease fittings, my front TW DS has one, but you need a needle adapter. Other centering balls do not have a grease fitting, like my TW rear DS centering ball. If it DOESN'T have a centering ball grease fitting, it can still be greased and it SHOULD be greased regularly!!!! Those without a grease fitting, like my rear TW DS... I take the DS off, separate the assembly containing the rear U joint (closest one to the TC) from the Cardan/CV joint. Be careful cause you might have needle bearings fall out if they are real dry. I then fill the hole up with tons of grease and reassemble.

FWIW.... I swear by and so does anyone that has ever tried Waterproof Green Grease.
 
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