Join Date: Jul 2002
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This is a direct quote of the Trail Tough article
While doing transfer case gears is probably the biggest bang for the buck and a quick-fix, it is definitely a lousy way to try and create a reliable, trouble-free drivetrain. So think about this for a minute...you put on larger tires, so your pinion now becomes TWICE as hard to turn putting TWICE as much stress on the u-joints, transfer case mounts and the transfer case itself, as well as the brackets on the side of the frame that holds the transfer case in place. It leads to problem chasing such as having to use unnecessary large and heavy driveshafts, having the bolts pull out of the transfer case on the long arm side, having the mounting boss break off of the transfer case or having the short arm side bracket start to tear off of the frame rail. It is because you have given your transfer case up to 3 times as much power by putting in lower gears and now the transfer case wants to do flip-flops in its mount. Many people consider only the POWER issue of this equation as opposed to considering the STRESS LOADING situation as well. You need to change the ring and pinion gears also - relative to your tire size - which will make the driveshaft easy to turn again, taking all of the strain off of these parts - just like it was made from the factory when the smaller tires were on it. It is a mistake to do all of your gear reduction at one point. Especially that far up the mechanical chain. Do yourself a favor....reduce the ratio at the ring and pinions relative to the size tire you want to run, then select the transfer case gears that will best meet your 4-wheeling needs. By going this route, you will have a well thought out and trouble-free drivetrain, working well within the parameters of strain that the parts can and will reliably handle.