Decisions To Be Made
At this point we had to decide what parts we were going to use for repairs. Cost would play heavily into this decision. The stock components had given out which means if we repaired back to stock it would probably happen again. Because of this we decided to perform some upgrades.
The first upgrade were the axle shafts. From the pictures on the last post you can clearly see the twisting that occurred. That twist was at the point where the axle shaft is inserted into the carrier. The stock shafts simply weren't able to handle the level of wheeling we have been doing. I suppose we were fortunate they didn't snap or there would have been even more damage. We upgraded the axle shafts to Ten Factory 4340 Chromoly axle shafts. This will be quite an upgrade from the stock axle shafts and hopefully be able to handle the larger tires and level of wheeling we are doing.
Next was the difficult decision about what to install in the differential. While it is broken down is a great time for upgrades. The only problem is it can get very expensive at this point. We wanted to install an E-Locker like we did in the rear axle. The Eaton locker runs right at $1000. As much as we wanted to upgrade to the Eaton locker, we simply didn't have the finances at this time to do so. Another option was to rebuild the stock carrier with heavier spider gears. This would have cost us right at $200 and would have only made the carrier stronger. It would not have helped with traction to both tires when needed since it would still be an open differential. After researching heavily for a couple of weeks we decided on the Powertrax Grip Pro Extreme Traction System. This is a limited slip differential that will apply torque to the wheel that is not rotating. Basically if one wheel is slipping it will engage the other wheel so that both will be providing traction. This is an in between solution to an open differential and a locker. Cost did play into the decision. This carrier was $351 which was only a small amount over replacing the spider gears. The cost was also far less than the locker. It would also give us more traction in the front when off roading which will be an upgrade for us.
Other parts were more common that we replaced or added. We had to get new bearings and races for the carrier. We also added axle shaft seals to keep water out of the axle. The inner seals were recently replaced when we re-geared the differential and suffered no damage. The Yukon ring gear and pinion also suffered no damage which I was very pleased about. It was nice that the few parts we had upgraded were not damaged.
What Comes Next
The rear axle still has to be dealt with. We did not build the rear axle. We had Redemption Offroad perform that work. They re-geared to a 4.88 gear ratio with Yukon ring and pinion gears, Yukon chromoly rear axle shafts, and an Eaton E-Locker in the differential. This was a costly upgrade but made a positive impact on the capability of the Jeep on more extreme offroading. At this point we don't know exactly what is broke in the rear axle. We only know for sure one of the axle shafts snapped. After our next post on the front axle rebuild we will cover all the information about the rear axle.