Hot Springs ORV Park was a blast. It did however push us to make some more upgrades to the Jeep.
Redemption Offroad in North Richland Hills, TX is who did our upgrades. The upgrades were beyond my level of competence and even if I knew how to do the work I don't have the tools for it. We knew what upgrades to make but some of the details we weren't sure about. The first of these was regearing the differentials.
I had done my homework on differential gearing based on the engine size and tire size we eventually want to run on the Jeep. We have the 3.8 V6 in our Jeep with a 6 speed transmission. The front axle is a dana 30. The rear differential is a dana 44. The gearing was still the stock 3.21 gear ratio. The problem we were having was 6th gear was unusable. This was because the previous owner had installed 33" tires without regearing for the change in size. Doing so brought the rpm's so low that even doing 80mph in 5th gear the engine was still only sitting at about 2800rpm. I also feel quite sure this affects 4 high and 4 low when off roading lending to some power and torque loss on the trails.
What Gearing Did We Go With?
I had settled on a 4.56 or a 4.88 gear ratio before we made the call to Wayne at Redemption Offroad. He said bring it in and we would talk further about gearing. His expert advice was to go with the 4.88 ratio. With our future plans to run 35" tires and the fact we were actually using the Jeep for off roading he said we would get more performance with that ratio. If we were to ever pull a trailer this would give us the necessary torque to do so as well. I went with his recommendation. Wayne and his staff not only build extreme off road vehicles, they wheel them hard as well. So in my opinion, their advice is golden.
Front Axle Upgrade- Yes or No
This would be the time a lot of people might upgrade that dana 30 front axle as well. We decided not to. Other than the axle ring and pinion size, the dana 30 front axle diameter is the same as a dana 44. From what I've read, outside of the gearing, there isn't a strength difference between the two. If we were to put lockers on the front that would be a different story and an axle upgrade would be a good idea. If we decide not to change the axle for a dana 44 we will probably install chromoly axle shafts later which will strengthen the front axle. For now were not ready to invest in a complete front axle upgrade.
This was the beginning of more upgrades. Next post will cover another upgrade that Redemption Offroad performed to the Mudbug while it was on the lift and disassembled.