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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Got to do a shake down run last Saturday with some of the locals. It is a trail called Concession Lake run, about 31km iirc. Some rocks and non-stop water puddles some of which were over 2 feet deep closer to 3. It was rated 3+ (out of 5). Wasn't too hard but we were in a big group split up into smaller sub groups. Hard obstacles had go-arounds but my sub group tackled all the hard lines, myself included. It was good to get out and try out the new suspension and upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Saturday I did another wheeling trip about 2.5 hours north and a bit east of the city called Scotch/Hydro Line. The trail butts up against a provincial park of untouched forest land and follows a hydro (power) line. The trail is considered a beginner trails but has apparently developed over the years to a moderately hard trails. There are a series of, iirc, 12 obstacles with go-arounds for the beginners. I did 10 of them. Many of said obstacles have varying lines of difficultly of moderately hard, hard and extremely difficult. We tried most all of the hard lines and I'm still pretty much a novice wheeler, but my 'guide' is really experienced.

The guy I followed, which I call Kenny, is an older gentleman, former Canadian army guy, and has overlanded most all of Canada, much of the USA, central America, Europe and some of the middle east. He knows all the trails here in central Ontario and is part of the Central Ontario Off Road Jeep Club (COORJC) which I joined last week. I wheeled with him in the previous trip and he was the first to respond when I said I wanted to go this weekend. He has a built LJ Rubicon on 33s which he fabbed most himself. His style is go slowly on obstacles and get a good sight on your line and then commit. I followed his lines and was almost always a win.

There were however a few obstacles where my manual transmission put me at a huge disadvantage along with my 231 transfer case. These obstacles were extremely steep rock face climbs which Ontario has in abundance. I stalled half way up a super steep rock garden climb and when I had to let off the brake and clutch I punched it a bit much and thought I was going to snap my front axle somewhere like the ujoints. That happened twice. The other time I was doing a 12' seemingly verticle climb with a major step about half-way up and slid sideways, thought I was going to roll for sure, but was able to back out of it and do the lesser line. The other thing was my wheelbase puts me at a disadvantage and that was noticeable on some obstacles.

Unfortunately my 'step-son' who was with me was too busy hanging on for dear life to take many photos and my in cab videos don't really show the details very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I've been prioritizing my upgrade/wishlist based on my last trips. I don't have them exactly in order because of $$, but here is my reasoning (welcome input).

  1. Full Cage (I almost rolled, because I am doing all the hard lines)
  2. Synthetic line for the winch and soft shackles.
  3. Front axles swap. G2 Axle and Gear has a HP44 with choice of lockers, chromo shafts, bolt in that is an attractive price. I don't have the shop space to really beat that price.
  4. Tummy tuck. Probably TMR's skid plate and universal cross member.
  5. Needs some stretch... probably done with a couple of the next items
  6. 3 link/4 link.
  7. Rear axle upgrade. Maybe a D60 since it isn't much more expensive and with 35s I won't worry about outgrowing or breaking it. I am putting this at the last unless I break my current D44 with Detroit lockers. But the Detroit I hate. It bangs all the time and it is squirrely as hell in wet or icy conditions.

Obviously some can be done together but that gets costly in one chunk. I am even more assured that for quite a bit in the near future nothing bigger than 35s is on the horizon. We were able to do stuff even with 33s that all the others did and the rest has to come up to par to meet it. I just don't think the wheelbase of the TJ merits anything more unless you are doing some extreme stretching but I am like some others here and need to drive to and from the trails. This is no trailer queen.

Anyone have experience with G2 Axle and Gear axles? Because I am in Canada, a lot of American brands are stupid expensive (e.g. Currie) especially after importing.
 

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I've been prioritizing my upgrade/wishlist based on my last trips. I don't have them exactly in order because of $$, but here is my reasoning (welcome input).

  1. Full Cage (I almost rolled, because I am doing all the hard lines)
  2. Synthetic line for the winch and soft shackles.
  3. Front axles swap. G2 Axle and Gear has a HP44 with choice of lockers, chromo shafts, bolt in that is an attractive price. I don't have the shop space to really beat that price.
  4. Needs some stretch... probably done with a couple of the next items
  5. Tummy tuck. Probably TRE's skid plate and universal cross member.
  6. 3 link/4 link.
  7. Rear axle upgrade. Maybe a D60 since it isn't much more expensive and with 35s I won't worry about outgrowing or breaking it. I am putting this at the last unless I break my current D44 with Detroit lockers. But the Detroit I hate. It bangs all the time and it is squirrely as hell in wet or icy conditions.

Obviously some can be done together but that gets costly in one chunk. I am even more assured that for quite a bit in the near future nothing bigger than 35s is on the horizon. We were able to do stuff even with 33s that all the others did and the rest has to come up to par to meet it. I just don't think the wheelbase of the TJ merits anything more unless you are doing some extreme stretching but I am like some others here and need to drive to and from the trails. This is no trailer queen.

Anyone have experience with G2 Axle and Gear axles? Because I am in Canada, a lot of American brands are stupid expensive (e.g. Currie) especially after importing.
Very nice looking Jeep. I like your list. A few things to consider though,

If you are only going to 35s, maybe just get some Chromoly shafts for your Dana 30. Is it HP or LP? If it is LP i could see swapping in a HP axle. I wouldnt go to a Dana 60 or 1-ton axles until you are in the 38-39"+ range on tires. Anything smaller and your ground clearance will drop a lot with those huge diffs. Tummy tuck is awesome and i highly recommend it. 3/4 link is good especially if you plan on stretching since you can do all the your custom brackets and locating of all your mounts. Just a few things to consider.
 

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A locked & armored LJ
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Great looking Jeep and nice work to date!

Another vote for doing a HP30 front. Upgrade the shafts (Chromo or even RCVs) and you can even cryo treat the gears for increased strength. A HP30 is a great cost effective option vs an aftermarket 44. Esp if you are staying with 35s. I ran a HP30 w/ 5.13s for several years and never had an issue.

As for the rear, while the D60 is a solid option, it does reduce the ground clearance esp while staying on 35s. A D44 rear is pretty stout axle. Just upgrade the rear shafts.

Tummy tuck is a great bang for buck. Move that up on the list. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Appreciate the input gentlemen.

I believe the stock D30 is LP. LMK if I am wrong but it doesn't look like it is on the high side. It is currently ARB locked and regeared so I have that going for me but it is the stock (and modded) axle with stock shafts, etc. RCVs would be cool but they are pretty expensive upgrade to spend on this axle, which is why I was leaning towards the aftermarket HP44 (JK r&p).

I don't really plan to change the rear in the near term, but chromo shafts aren't a huge cost, relatively speaking, and I could keep my stocks are backups.
 

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I chose to go with the G2 HP 44 front in mine. I had originally purchased it in March/April of 2016 from 4wheelparts and one of their Truck Fest events. 10% off list, couldn't pass it up. Lead time to get took over 4 months. Was not impressed by that. Had hoped to have it before an event in July of that year. No such luck. So keep that in mind. Don't know if hey have gotten better with supplying them quicker now.



Aside from that, I am very pleased with the axle and it's performance. I used it for about a year in the TJ I had bought it for and moved it to the '06 LJ Rubi I picked up a couple years ago. I have since changed out the stock knuckles for a set of Reid Racing ones I got a swap meet (they were only used for mock up so still in new condition) and converted the front end to locking hubs. I have broken teeth on the D30 that was in my TJ before. So the move to locking hubs wasn't for mileage but for the ability to get off the trail in something in the front end gave out again


Could you get a better front axle elsewhere like Currie or Dana, sure. But for the money, I'd buy the G2 again. I am running 37s on the LJ and have no doubt this axle is more than capable for how I wheel. If I were to go bigger, than I'd look into RJ60 or something like that for the front.
 

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I am sure lead times on axles are a bit long. I would check Eastcoastgearsupply (ECGS). They might be able to ship to canada as well. The other option is to possibly consider looking for local shops to build you an axle if you find a D44 core.

Just a few extra thoughts.

I have heard good things on G2 axles so I wouldnt be worried about ordering from them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
I've looked at ECG and for a similar build (actually slightly more built, but not much more) it would be a *lot* more actually, even before shipping and HST. Their front 489 (basically a D44) is more in USD than the G2 equivalent in CAD and the CAD is 30% less than the USD. The G2 HP44 with ARB front locker (that is what I have now), 4.56 gears (again what I have now so couldn't change unless I wanted to do rear as well), 30 spline chromo shafts bolt in is ~$4000 USD here. That is pretty hard to beat which made me wonder if they were decent, but you guys put my mind to rest.

D44 cores here in Ontario at least are as rare as hen's teeth or so it seems. When they do come up (say out of a JKR) they are asking stupid money. Junkyards are said to be picked over, so people either upgrade their current axles, buy built new ones or go one-tons. Since I can't really build myself, I have to get a shop to do it, the G2 option seems pretty competitive. Currently the owner of the shop I have gotten 99% of my stuff down at is doing some casual looking for me through his network and comparing to the G2 option (he is a dealer as well, or atleast can source them). Either way, I will probably have him install it and do the tummy tuck at the same time. Likely over the winter when we can't wheel most trails here, so I probably need to order soon.

Today I need to do some maintenance stuff. Checking bolts, greasing, etc. I got a TMR Battery box to install and I need to fix my compressor lines as I have a leak which makes the compressor kick on all the time when wheelin and its driving me nuts. I put teflon on the threads when I redid my air setup but I must have still messed up one of the threads.

I ordered synthetic winch line, a light snatch block and some soft shackles from TRE, so that one is checked off the list.

I was also comparing Poison Spyder's full cage (~$2,000 for the welded one) to Smittybuilt's bolt on cage upgrade (~$860). Both in CAD. Normally I'd avoid Smitty, but I have to wonder if this cage upgrade is any good. The guy I have been wheeling with made his own with the TMR starter kit but he no longer can weld due to arthritis from a bad accident. He is one of our more experienced club members and has seen dozens of TJs roll and said the front window reinforcement is pretty vital.

Currently I am working for a start-up as a partner so I am not getting a salary until we get revenue coming in meaning all spending comes out of my savings. Which is to say, I am quite reticent to spend willy nilly.

My list is based on things I think are important for safety or for keeping things from breaking, trying to address the weakest parts first. My D30 is probably the weakest link at the moment as far as I can tell anyway.

07wurubi what are you running in your rear?
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
I joined one of the local jeep clubs, the oldest in Ontario and wheeled with them 3 times now. Great group of folks, down to earth and friendly. Saturday we ran the longest single track in our area, about 40km but fairly tame for the most part. It was just a fun day enjoying the beauty and all the changing colors. It is fair to say that Ontario trails are filled with water crossings, a couple were nearly 3' deep, but all with firm/rocky bottoms. The beavers create many of the water holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I think the trail rating system here in Ontario is different than elsewhere but not sure. Ours are 1 to 5. 1 is a fire road more or less. 2 is a pretty easy track but maybe a few rocky climbs and some deeper water holes. 3 has some obstacles that are moderately challenging with everything else added in. Maybe one or two features that stock could not do even with a fairly experienced driver. 4 is super challenging even for well built rigs. 5 is buggy territory or very high risk of rollover trails. Then we have +, like 3+ which is between 3 & 4. Lots of the + trails will have a bypass for the hardest obstacle(s) thus making them not quite the next rating. Many/most of the trails are a long section (20-40km) from one place to another and only a few are out and back.

I've done two 3+, one 3 and one 2+ (with my g/f for the falls colors) here in Ontario and this weekend I am going with a couple folks from my club to one of the 4 rated trails. I am stoked and nervous at the same time. I am still a fairly novice wheeler for the most part. Then I have two handicaps relative to other folks I am wheeling with. My jeep is manual which makes some of the really steep climb obstacles extra spicy. The second is not having the Rubicon t-case.

One of the local members said he was going to put his 231 back in his XJ to sell. I asked him what he was doing with the 241 and he said he was going to sell it, but would let me know before he places an ad. I have some bigger expenditures planned, like the front axle (we'll see how it holds up this weekend), a full cage, then tummy tuck, axle trusses/rear chromo and then refinement of the suspension system. I need to plan so that if I go to the 241 I do it with the tummy tuck.
 

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A 241 is a nice t-case. It is a bit larger than the 231 so you might have to massage the floor of the TJ a bit or instead of a true flat belly that you have a 1" drop skid. Looking forward to the continued progress!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
One of my club members took me to two 4+ trails. I loved it. I much prefer the technical climbs/descents then big water/mud holes, and that is putting it lightly.

This firms up some priorities on mods. Front axle and full cage might be the next things and I leave the tummy tuck till when I do link upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Our wheeling season is rapidly coming to an end, so I was making the most of it and decided to stay in a cheap motel up near the trails this weekend so I could do back to back days. One of my normal wheeling partners was taking out a newbie group from his local area and due to COVID restrictions his group was full so for the Saturday I decided to link up with the other wheeling buddy and we did the popular Scotch/Hydro line, which is newbie friendly with go arounds for all the tough obstacles but enough obstacles to keep the rest of us happy. We also had some newbies in our group including a full size F150 (had to do all the go arounds and then it was still tough for him) and a Cherokee Trailhawk (which did many of the obstacles but I had to winch him once).

It turns out that my one buddy was on the same trail as us on Saturday and as we were going along we came past a Jeep suck in a deep mud pit (optional line) with the hood up. It was his LJ (you can see it in the previous post). We stood around for moral support as he was winched out and eventually able to start her up again. But he limped back to have to check all his plugs and wires. Then my check engine light popped on doing a moderate climbing obstacle. One of the newbies in my group is a mechanic and had a OBD2 reader on him. Turns out with a cylinder 3 misfire, which he cleared, probably from moisture from all the water crossings, or maybe a loose/bad wire. I need to follow up with checking all the spark plugs/wires, but I am ordering one of those OBD2 readers as they are pretty handy. It never came on again.

Sunday didn't work out as planned as I was suppose to do a (in)famous trail called Greens Mountain (short but tough) with a group of guys in my club that I didn't know, just linked up with through the FB chat. Greens isn't the hardest rated trail, that would be Timbers, but it has taken out lots of people in groups I know. Well it might have been a saving grace, who knows because 3 of the 4 guys I was suppose to do Greens with broke down the previous day and were out. That left me solo for the day and I couldn't rally any last minute interest through any of the locals clubs, so I went to a private pay to play offroad park in the area. It is were a lot of the offroaders and atv clubs camp out and has a number of short but quite varied trails. The owner is also the guy to call if you are stuck anywhere in the wheeling region and he will send someone out to help you out, a treasure to all our local clubs, so I figured that was a safe place to wheel it alone. I stuck to the 'intermediate' and 'hard' trails and left the 'extreme' trails for another day when I was with someone who knows the trails or at least is moral support. Was a short day and drove home unbroke.

The nice thing about taking out people who are newer to the sport (who am I kidding, so am I) is that they take lots of photos. I often will record in cab videos on my phone but I don't know anything about video editing and uploading here (youtube I suspect). Some photos....
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
One of the local guys has a metric sh**ton of property and is an avid wheeler. His buggy is basically a rock bouncer with 5 tons axles and a 6.4 hemi. He graciously invited me up for some fun during the prime hunting season which we try to let our fellow enthusiasts enjoy their time on the public land. He was in a JLR (2dr) on 37s, but he also has a TJ on 35s similar to mine in that regard.

Well as a warm up we did an obstacle literally right in front of his house in his front yard. I guess I had too much coffee on the 2.5hr drive up in the early morning.

The other photos are me taking the guy behind me (close to stock JK, no lockers). The entry to this down slope was a steep climb and we climbed back up the far right, but there was a go around for some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Yesterday was a fairly productive day, for me at least. Got to some maintenance items:

1) Spray & Washed the Jeep including the underside.

2) Adjusted the parking brake so it actually works now. Might have to adjust it a bit more but didn't have a jack stand with me, so I made do.

3) Changed the oil in both diffs. Gears look good, that was good to know. Oil was so murky it was brown. All that water fording here in Ontario wreaks havoc.

4) Moved the spare tire up higher so there is less chances of hitting coming down off rocks.
 

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