Jeep Wrangler JK Dynatrac Front Axle Housing UpgradePosted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on March 1, 2010
Showing up for a job interview hung over or driving at breakneck speed off-road in a lifted JK Wrangler can produce predictable results, none of which is favorable. And while we may not be able to change your drinking habits, we can tell you how to keep your late-model Jeep's front axle from smiling under stress.
With 35-inch-plus tires and only moderate wheeling, the factory '07-'10 Wrangler front axlehousings are known to bend, even on the Rubicon model. There are several weld-in aftermarket kits available to sleeve the inside of the front axletube for more strength, but the increase is only marginal and no amount of weld-on gussets can straighten an already-bent axlehousing. Thankfully, Dynatrac came up with a beefier solution that has other added benefits, including more ground clearance than stock. It didn't take us long to load up our '07 two-door Rubicon and hit the Dynatrac shop for the full scoop on this U.S.-designed-and-built solution.
How's It Work?
We've put our '07 Rubicon Wrangler through 58,000 miles of on- and off-road use and abuse over the last three years. About 20,000 miles of that was rolling on 35-inch tires. The steering wheel had a bit of a shimmy when we took the Jeep over rough paved roads. We set the toe out 1/8-inch and that helped correct the problem, but a slight wobble persisted. Our housing wasn't as bent as others we've seen, but the bend was still visible with the naked eye. It turned out that our lower ball joints were shot as well. On top of that, several months ago our factory Rubicon locker had problems unlocking and we never could figure out exactly why. So we had unlocked it manually and unplugged the electrical connections. When Dynatrac pulled the gears and carrier from our original axlehousing, there was almost no preload on the carrier bearings. This could have been caused by wear from contaminated oil, but since the bearings didn't look overly-worn, it is more likely it was the result of a bent housing and centersection. Dynatrac replaced all of the bearings in our axle along with the electric locker solenoid during the assembly of our ProRock 44. We slapped the axle back in the Jeep ourselves, and can honestly say that this is one of the few bolt-in parts we've installed lately that actually bolted in with no grinding, drilling, cutting, or welding. We had to reset the toe-in and recenter the steering wheel after the installation, but it's a simple at-home procedure made easier with a buddy and a tape measure. Now our locker works, the shimmy over rough roads is gone, our housing looks straight, and it's not likely to bend again.