Base model axle swap

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
It's hard to believe that I've never owned one of these until now. Lord knows I've worked on enough Jeeps over the years.

I love getting out on the trail with my mountain bikes and wanted a way to share the experience with my family, so I came up with this...

I considered a rubicon for about half a second, however just about every one in stock near me was pretty optioned out and I just don't need or want a bunch of extra crap I'll never use and there are some aspects of the rubicon I'd rather do without. I'm a fan of simple and purposeful. So I figured building what I wanted instead was the way to go for me.

It's a 2020 Unlimited Sport v6 auto, the only options I got were the power windows and locks. I have young kids, so that was a necessity, so it's not a true base model. The hard top actually came free, this jeep was spec'ed with a soft top but the dealer had swapped the top with another jeep for another sale. I'll probably take that off and sell it, not a fan or the hard top it turns out...

Build thread 1.JPG


Build thread 2.JPG


As you can see, my son loves this thing.

My original plan was throw on a winch and wheel it stock for the first year but the quarantine shot that plan to hell, got bored and started ordering parts....

Build thread 4.JPG


The UPS guy hates me.

Junk I've accumulated so far..........

-Cooper STT pros 37x12.5
-KMC beadlocks
-Besttop trektop
-Tazer
-Warn winch
-metalcloak 2.5 in lift (game changer I think?)
-UD44 front axle, D44 rear
-Yukon 4.88 gears and cro-mo axle shafts for the rear
-front and rear drivelines
-Rusty's steering
-Stubby bumpers
-ARB compressor
-a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff + stuff I forgot and will get to as I install things
-Free time to put this stuff together (need to figure out how to purchase more of this, any ideas?)





Advertisement

 

Amaruq

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
956
Reaction score
1,176
Location
Atlanta
Vehicle(s)
JLR 6spd
Lol. These photos are making me itch. I want to just come over and help you put it all together. Like a fresh bag of LEGO bricks spilled across the floor.
 

GearWhore

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
271
Reaction score
266
Location
Utah
Vehicle(s)
2021 JLUR Diesel, 1972 Arctic Cat Climber, 2006 Triumph Speed Triple
Build Thread
Link
Occupation
Gentleman Explorer
Not sure how much of the work you're doing at home/yourself, but hopefully you're able to get your son to help with some. Even just loading stuff into the Jeep to take it to an installer or tire shop. I don't remember a lot of the details, but he instilled the passion in me I was able to develop in my own way.

My Jeeps have allowed me to get further back into the wilds, comfortably, and with the people I love. Sounds like you have a similar plan. Enjoy!
 
OP
Jakjax

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
More parts keep arriving! I don't understand how this keeps happening.....

Build thread_10.17.2.JPG

Build thread_10.17.3.JPG


Starting to wish I would have sprung for the three car garage.....

Enough parts, lets build some stuff.

I debated on the wheels for quite a while. It was either steel or beadlocks. I didn't consider doing a pretty set of methods or the like, I'd just scratch them up. Steel would have been the practical choice, but I'm kind of a buy once, cry once sort of guy.

As a former desert racer and closet Robby Gordon fanboy, the wheel style choice on the other hand, was super easy for me.....

Build thread_10.17.1.JPG


Man, I couldn't wait to get those awful plastic bumpers off this thing. They look like the design team at FCA called out on bumper day, ugh.

Decided to go with a combination of items and brands, Rusty's, LOD, Rugged Ridge, and another I can't remember how to spell, jagermeister or something?
Build thread_10.17.4.JPG

The install was entertaining, my neighbor came over to see what I was doing. The conversation went like this:
Neighbor: "Are you drilling holes in your jeep?"
Me: "Yup'
Neighbor: "How many miles are on it?"
Me "500 or so"
Neighbor "Oh."

I really dig the Rusty's stuff, no nonsense. The tire carrier for example is badass. Aside from just being beefy, you can tell the folks that designed it cared about durability and longevity. The hinges have a support brace that is installed in the taillight cavity making the assembly rock solid. I also love how the camera is mounted in a metal housing.

The rest of the rear "bumper" is just body protection and recovery points.

Went with a Rugged Ridge stubby front, It looks nice, I dig the light mounting locations. Also went ahead and chopped the skid plate "tusks" off the frame in the front for extra clearance.

Build thread_10.17.5.JPG
 
OP
Jakjax

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Big update, lots of work.

I think I set a personal best for blood loss through my knuckles. #goals!

I went with the Metalcloak game changer kit, 2.5 inch lift and their Rocksport shocks. I now remember why I don't usually buy "kits". There were some compatibility issues that I should have anticipated. I should have called the MC guys first before "adding to cart", so that's on me.

With the UD44 axle, you have bracketry made with thicker gauge steel. This kit comes with an outboard lower shock bracket which is pretty sweet, but also won't fit on the lower shock mounts for this axle. Bummer, but I really like the concept and might fab my own version to make it work.

Next, the passenger side sway bar link has a relocation bracket that won't work with the clearances in several places. I managed to get the bracket to fit with some grinding, but it isn't really tall enough to clear the axle side trackbar/stabilizer bracket. I was able to make it work, but I'm not happy with it and need to think up a permanent solution that doesn't trigger my OCD.

Build thread_10.24.2.JPG


I went with the M220 rear, I got some crap for this choice, folks telling me to go with a UD60. They aren't wrong, but this was still a cheaper option at the end of the day and sufficient for my application with some modification. I feel like there are points in any build where bad decisions are made and you start to jump the shark, been there, done that. This was that point for me.

"Hey let's do tons!..... well, might as well go long arms!, well if I'm going to cut off the suspension mounts, might as well go triangulated four link!"........etc, etc.
Build thread_10.24.1.JPG


Out with the "old".....
Build thread_10.24.4.JPG


The lower passenger ballpoint fought me, there was a surprising amount of corrosion for a new vehicle, but once it was apart, everything came together smoothly.
Build thread_10.24.7.JPG


Got her up on the new shoes. Looks cool but given that I now have mismatched gear ratios and the lockers aren't wired, it'll probably get stuck in wet grass.

Next up, gears, axle shafts and wiring harnesses oh my! Maybe at some point we'll be able to do some actual wheeling, wouldn't THAT be something!
Build thread_10.24.9.JPG
 

RhinoJLU

Active Member
First Name
Ernie
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Location
New York
Vehicle(s)
JLU
If you don't mind me asking why not just stick with the stock rear axle? Just lock and gear it with some chromo shafts? Whats the difference with the rubi rear axle and the sport rear axle?
 
OP
Jakjax

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
If you don't mind me asking why not just stick with the stock rear axle? Just lock and gear it with some chromo shafts? Whats the difference with the rubi rear axle and the sport rear axle?
That depends on the axle you have.

My sport had an m186 rear. That has a smaller ring gear, smaller axle shafts and is narrower than the m220 I put in.

Aside from that, I spent about $1,800 for the crate m220 with an elocker and brakes, heck it even had oil in it! A locker for a sport unit would have run me a grand alone.
 

RhinoJLU

Active Member
First Name
Ernie
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Location
New York
Vehicle(s)
JLU
That depends on the axle you have.

My sport had an m186 rear. That has a smaller ring gear, smaller axle shafts and is narrower than the m220 I put in.

Aside from that, I spent about $1,800 for the crate m220 with an elocker and brakes, heck it even had oil in it! A locker for a sport unit would have run me a grand alone.
gotcha thanks For the reply. Still On the fence about what i want to do. Still haven’t thrown out the possibility of building a 14 bolt but then I have to get a 60 up front. Never ends
 
OP
Jakjax

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Making progress.

Gears installed and broken-in. New axle shafts installed.

The 4.88 ratio has been great with the auto and the 37's. It performed as expected based on the calculations, but there no substitute for real world impressions. On the street it's quick down low and sits in 8th while cruising on the highway as it should again.
11.5.2020.1.JPG
11.5.2020.4.JPG


What's left to do... a lot.

-Finish wiring lockers, compressor and switch panel
-Front and rear drivelines
-Skids
-Install new fender flares, liners side markers
-Intake, exhaust
-Fabric trail doors and mirrors

Need to sort out gear storage, has anyone tried expanding the storage box in the back? With the muffler moved this could be a cool low-key solution. Same for the hi-lift jack, I would like to put that somewhere out of the way.
 

blnewt

Well-Known Member
First Name
Brad
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
3,971
Reaction score
3,833
Location
New Mexico
Vehicle(s)
2019 Jeep JL Sport S, 03 Toyota 4Runner, Infiniti G37, Toyota T100 (Retired 74 CJ-5, 80 CJ-7)
@Jakjax You're seriously on a mission, what an action-packed month you've had. And yes, I'd recommend a nice bottle of Crown for your UPS driver :)

Great job, looking forward to more as you've done more in 4 weeks than most have in years :)
 
OP
Jakjax

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Got the fenders and liners done. Not sure I love the chopped flares now that they are on, but at least I have a combo now where the tires won't rip them off.

The front liners are from Rusty's, look good and are easy to take off/on. They also don't charge an arm and a leg for them which is a bonus. (Seriously, what is that? $200-$300 for a few pieces of bent tin) Crazy.
11.17.2020.1.JPG


I went with the Bestop twill fabric doors. Love these things. I needed something for the highway drive to the trail that I can take off and throw in the back and wheel door-less. The jeep feels like a big go-cart with them on..... awesome.
11.17.2020.2.JPG


I reached out to the great guys at Knoxville Driveline for...... well, drivelines. They did an awesome job. Originally I had hoped to retain the stock ones but the front was bending the flange at the T/C output side at full droop, probably could run it for a while, but it's days were numbered so I gave it the axe. The rear was unexpected, once I got the M220 under the jeep I discovered the pinion input was about an inch or more closer to the rear T/C output shaft than the stock axle position was. The stock driveline was almost bottomed out. I lengthened the rear control arms to compensate and push the rear axle back as a temp fix, but I ended up doing the rear driveline as well.
11.17.2020.3.JPG
 

Heimkehr

Well-Known Member
First Name
James
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
859
Reaction score
1,538
Location
Pennsylvania
Vehicle(s)
2021 Jeep Wrangler Unencumbered
Need to sort out gear storage, has anyone tried expanding the storage box in the back?
Yes. Wish I could find the related thread (or posts); they can't be more than a few weeks old. A forum member enlarged the rear storage cubby and hardened it for truly secure storage. Maybe someone will read this post and provide the relevant link.

This isn't the exact thread I'm thinking of, but it does illustrate how the stock cubby can be enlarged.
https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/larger-rear-storage-cubby.60628/
 
OP
Jakjax

Jakjax

Member
Joined
May 4, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
31
Location
Huntersville, NC
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Sport Unlimited
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Yes. Wish I could find the related thread (or posts); they can't be more than a few weeks old. A forum member enlarged the rear storage cubby and hardened it for truly secure storage. Maybe someone will read this post and provide the relevant link.

This isn't the exact thread I'm thinking of, but it does illustrate how the stock cubby can be enlarged.
https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/larger-rear-storage-cubby.60628/
That's the idea, I could've sworn I had seen this for the JK but everything seems to be DIY stuff that I can find. Considering all of the pricy and elaborate storage options there are, I would've thought this would have been a no-brainer. But then again, this would only be for those with deleted or relocated mufflers, maybe there aren't that many of us. 🤔
 

Heimkehr

Well-Known Member
First Name
James
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
859
Reaction score
1,538
Location
Pennsylvania
Vehicle(s)
2021 Jeep Wrangler Unencumbered
That's the idea, I could've sworn I had seen this for the JK but everything seems to be DIY stuff that I can find. Considering all of the pricy and elaborate storage options there are, I would've thought this would have been a no-brainer. But then again, this would only be for those with deleted or relocated mufflers, maybe there aren't that many of us. 🤔
The thread I'm thinking of illustrated a serious effort by the owner: cutting and welding robust sheet metal, etc. A no-brainer for those with fabricating skills and tools, willingness to modify the JL's body work, and yes, likely muffler deletes. Projects like that one add context to the pricing trends for off-the-shelf solutions, where they exist. :)
 

Advertisement




Morris 4x4 Center
 



Advertisement
Top