91 Wrangler with 456 Gears & 33" tires -- Long distance highway trip, is that ok?
Title pretty much says it all. I have a 1991 Jeep Wrangler w/ 456 gearing and 33" tires.
I'm pulling a UHaul trailer (not too heavy), and am traveling from LA, CA to Portland, OR.
Now, my uncle is very concerned about a long freeway trip, considering I have such a severe gearing ratio that generates such a great amount of heat -- he's worried that extended highway speeds will ruin the oil in the rear differential, and consequently, ruin my rear diff.
However, one of the techs @ 4-Wheels Parts.com had a '93 Wrangler w/ 456's and 33" tires, and now has a '05 Wrangler w/ the same setup -- he says that it's no problem. (But my Uncle has been around cars -- granted, street cars, not larger-tired beasts -- for years, and knows what he's talking about).
How should I do this? Should I take frequent breaks? I will be checking the diff oil frequently to make sure it's still good, of course. Am I worrying needlessly, as long as I keep it at 55?
We'll go no more than 500 miles in a day, but we have all day, and can adjust our schedule to accomodate breaks and cool-down periods.
Some years ago, I was set up like you are now. 91' YJ, 4.0L, AX-15, 4.56 gears, 33x12.50's.
I towed a small camp trailer (~1,500lbs IIRC) to Nevada & back a few times from the San Diego, CA area, plus lots of other more local places many many times without issue. I also drove cross country a couple times without issue.
I always kept my speed down and kept a more than safe distance from folks around me whenever possible. Braking is a big concern. I had electric brakes on the trailer.
The gears are broken in, fresh gear lube has been done. (Keep in mind I've had this guy for about 2 months, the previous owner did the gearing change, etc. So I still have fairly limited history with this Jeep)
It's a 5-speed, sorry.
Now, if I travel at 55, and check every few hours for excessive heat in the rear diff, should I be ok?
As long as the guy who did the gears set them up correctly, then U should have NO problems. 4.56 and 33's is a good hyway combo IMHO, and will also come in handy in the northern mountains. When I was running 33's, I was doing around 2400rpm's @ 65 mph. No bad in my book. Went to the Rubicon and back with 0 issues, and other similar trips pulling a jeep trailer.
Like Joe said, change the fluids if your concerned. Personally, I would be more concerned about your D-line on a long trip. Not knowing how much lift U have and how your angles are set-up, long distance can take its toll on u-joints. But if that too is all dialed in, then no worries. Have fun dodging the CHP's!
PS. if your first stop is near Madera, U can buy me lunch!
'92 YJ, 4.0, 5sp, 8.8, Tera 4-1, SYE, BDS 5" on 35's. 4.56 locked F&R. <><
'05 LJR, 6" long arm lift, 5.13's w/37 MTR's.
4" lift, which apparently is about the highest you can go without majorly adjusting some of your drivetrain components. (Or I could be way off, as I know very little about this).
Again, the guys @ 4-WheelsParts just replaced my ring and pinion gears (rear). They noticed a leaky diff, so they opened it up to replace the seal, and then saw that my ring and pinion gears were not bolted in correctly (or something like that). Fragments of gear were coming out when they drained the rear diff, which was their first notification of problems. I know they weren't BSing me -- I could feel MUCH improved response and power as soon as it got out of the shop.
At any rate, I was worried that there might be other problems w/ my Jeep, so they went over it, top to bottom, and were very happy with it.
But overall, I'm thinking this shouldn't be a problem?
I would not worry too much. Another thing you could consider is adding a temp guage on your dash that reads for the diff. It may cost a bit, but it could pay itself off if you are that worried about the issue. If anything, get a AAA card, or other type of highway support system, just to ease your mind. I would agree to take it slower, and many breaks if possible. If you trust your mechanic, and they approve of it, then I would say to go for it. You should always be careful, but dont worry too much.
good luck, and have fun
Good to know, I'm getting the feeling that I should be golden. Towing a trailer, we legally have to go 55mph anyway, so we may just go that speed and check every hour or so for excessive heat at the rear diff. Once we stop in Sac, I'll check the diff oil -- I don't know what bad oil smells like, but my uncle assured me that it would be very acrid, unmistakeable
Keep the support coming (btw -- I've got Roadside assistance, I'm not worried about getting stranded, just worried that I may break something and have to pay my hard-earned money -- I'm not a big fan of doing that).
Not sure why your uncle would think you would have problems with 4.56's. I know a lot of guys with muscle cars that drive from show to show (state to state) with much smaller tires and those gears. If it makes you feel any better, the 06 Dodge Ram 1500 SRT10 Quad Cab comes standard with a 4.56 gear ratio. The tire height is 31.6" (305/40/22) If it were a problem to drive on the highway they wouldn't sell it.
I run 4.56's and 33's and drive mine on the highway on a daily basis here lately... I go to the trails on a regular basis for the past few months driving 1.5-3 hours one way, wheel all day and drive home without issue. My normal cruising speed is about 65 mph hovering around 2400-2600 rpms.
PRCE7, 87 YJ
stuff for sale: Posi-Lok 4X4 cable set-up, Warn differential guard, NP 231, YJ OEM drive shaft, Ford 9 inch rear-end, Dana 35, Front 1" extended bump stops, XJ Grille with both bezels, Dana 20, Torque Flight 727, here is the full detail: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=479744
I would run a good synthetic gear oil like Amsoil and an additive like Pro-Blend Gear Lube Treatment all of the time, whether towing or not. Unfortunately you would have to order and then wait a few days for it to arrive. You didn't mention how soon you're leaving but some auto parts stores carry Red Line gear lube which is also good. Chances are you'll be fine but the trip won't be much fun if you're worrying too much!
Make sure the cooling system is in good shape, too. Most of the vehicles I see pulled over in the mountain passes around here are due to the engine overheating.
Sounds like you are prepared for the trip. Keep an eye on your temp guage druing times of extra load. If you don't know already, turning your heater on helps cool the engine. Also your engine temp rises when you trun the vehicle off. So if you start to over heat, slow it down and turn the heater on.