Gears for Snow & Plowing in a special application -
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post #1 of 1 Old 12-02-2009, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 3
Gears for Snow & Plowing in a special application

This is a bit complicated so bear with me...

I've done quite a bit of 4 wheeling in deep, deep snow, and also plow work with 3/4 and 1 ton P/U's. Four wheeling for me is all 80% deep snow performance, 10% ice, and 10% muddy logging roads.

I have no experience with Jeeps. I've rebuild just about everything on a car except automatic transmissions and differentials--I'm clueless on both subjects.

I need something much more maneuverable, like a Wrangler for some of the nasty complicated driveways that no one else wants to do around here--and also for cleanup work following a K3500 D/A mason dump with a Fisher Plow.

Wranglers have strong frames, can take a beating, and can turn on a dime. My other options is to take a 3/4 K2500 HD D/A and remove the bed and shorten the frame.

I am also a turbo-diesel fanatic and I'm tired of waiting for something to come out with a diesel that will do what I want. I have to build what I want.

I am thinking about building up a Wrangler for plowing. I test drove one last year and the turning radius was amazing--perfect for what I need.

I require a hardtop and heat, not a soft-top and cold drafty air.

I'll be driving it:

1) Mostly around town on the street. 99% on paved surfaces.
2) Commercial plowing-driveways and cleanup work.
3) In deep snow even when not plowing.
4) At freeway speeds in the mountains. (possibly with propane injection for more power when needed)
5) On easy logging trails--places that I could mostly get around on two wheel drive most of the time unless it is wet or muddy.
6) Possible rare trip to Mexico to play in the sand.

It has to be a 4 cylinder diesel--I'll put that in. I might consider the V-6 diesel put in Jeeps in Italy. I want this Jeep to be fuel efficient--25 to 30 mpg. I will throw away the rear seat, build in a toolbox & chain storage, just behind the tailgate, have a well baffled and secured 100 gallon plus auxiliary fuel tank over the rear axle, with a pump to fuel a backhoe and skidder. I'll leave the spare tire at home most of the time for a better view backing up and to make the Jeep even shorter for extremely tight maneuvering when plowing. I will sometimes pull a 400 lb. log splitter, a trailer 1 cord size, or a 5000 lb. boat trailer.

The fuel tank will serve, 1) as a plow counter weight, 2) traction aid, 3) refueling service truck, 4) support long range back woods exploration.

I had great success with a diesel K5 Blazer with three fuel tanks--nothing I ever drove did as well in deep snow--all the weight really made a difference for traction. It's 1000 mile range was rather nice too. It may seem silly to you, but I like the idea of 3000 mile, transcontinental, range in a Wrangler. Ever run low on fuel off road? No fun! Changing oil and filling up at the same time would suit me just fine.

I'm leaning towards a 2005 or 2006 model Wrangler to start my build, with the new 6 speed manual transmission for fuel economy, reliability & maintainabilty. I hope this has a low first gear.

Here is where I'm unsure of myself--REAR END GEARING!

I want is a combination of highway gears and plowing ability. If the Jeep is a little gutless on an on-ramp--fine, as long as in low range, I can plow with 800 lbs in the back and 800 lbs in the front. I do not want spend money changing differential gears if I can help it. I am NOT looking to impress anyone with 4.56 gears and a top speed of 50 mph--no thanks--that make the vehicle unusable to me.

I'd like to fit between 36" tires on it, unless it makes more sense to go shorter to avoid gear swapping. Tires would me something studded like General Altimax Arctic.

I understand the Rubicon comes stock with lower gears, and a locker in the back. And the Low range is 4:1. 4:1 sounds like it might be too low for me.

2:1 Low Range for plowing, with highway gearing might just be perfect for me--I don't know. I read the Sahara model has 2:1 low range and less steep gears. So perhaps the Sahara might work better with aftermarket ARB lockers from and rear.

So my questions are:

1) Which Low range would work best for what I want to do? 4:1 or 2:1? Remember I will put a diesel in this rig.

2) What axle ratio would work with the 6 spd manual, 36" tires, and the Low range chosen in (1)?

3) Can I get the performance I want without a gear swap by finding the right production model? Sahara, Rubicon, or other wise.

4) Repeat all these questions for a smaller tire like a 34" or 33" tire.

Thanks for your patience, I tried not to be too long winded. Someone in here is an expert who has swapped gears and can help me.

Night_Sailor is offline  

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