Pizziola29

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I had a lot of PMs from people asking about my Dana ultimate 60 axle swap and about my 42" Nitto upgrades. So I felt I will post this in hopes of capturing the reasons I did the axle swap and wheel upgrade and the experience and unknowns of the swap being a diesel (it should be the same as the JT Gas) and if you are considering it so you can use as reference. Please feel free to message me with questions and again I will do my best to capture the major details. Additionally I am not sponsored by any one, I am jeep and overland person and do not work in the industry.
Reasons I decided to do an axle swap and move to 42" Nittos.
I had a 20 JTR and loved it (pictured here) . Was running an EVO coil over 4.5 lift on 38" Patagonias.
03595B33-B187-4E8C-952B-E886B7CF5908_1_105_c.jpeg

Loved every aspect of it with the exception of gas engine and having coils all 4 corners along with could never get the suspension dialed in.

The minute the diesel was available I ordered it. I ordered it in July 2020, and received it early October 2020. During the months waiting I researched my next lift / tire combo along with assessing my needs with it over the next several years. I decided on a @RebelOffRoad Recon Stage 2 Front Coil Over. Between them running 3-4 of their own JTS on it for thousands of miles, me getting to test drive their rigs prior to deciding and the close proximity to my home, it was an easy decision. Since this was the first diesel they had done, it was a bit of a learning curve for all of us. Thankfully King Shocks is also close to us, we were able to collaborate way beyond my expectations to make sure the shocks and springs were 100% dialed in to my needs and since Rebel makes their own lift kit, it was such a smooth process (we did learn quickly of some of the changes Jeep made to the diesel but were overcome easily) . I was still deciding through the lift process on what tire size. After running 37/38's for years I finally wanted to jump up to 40's knowing my lift was going to end up around 5.5 - 6" when done. I decided for the short term to run Nitto 40's and then truss and regear the axles.
BB3430B0-BFC5-4395-B1BB-543435D67476_1_105_c.jpeg


Once installed and dialed in running the 4:88 gears (diesel has different calculations) but it was a perfect combo for off road and freeway for me.

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Put about 7000 miles on it in a few months. Combo of city, freeway, road trips and off road. Was feeling very confident in the suspension and set up I had for my needs. My ONLY part of my build I was never 100% about was the width of my 40" Nitto's. It was a 15.50. I had wanted a 13.50 but in a 20" option it was not available. Right around late January 2021 I had gotten word I could obtain a set of 42" Nittos in the next couple of months which was in fact a 13.50. This made me step back and rethink my current axle / brake set up. As I said earlier, short term plan was to run stock dana 44s and upgrade axles later. The research I had done on stock axles with 40's was overwhelming I should NOT run 40's on stock Dana 44's, but now that I was going up to 42' s, my question to myself was should I do the axles now. After polling the forums of some well respected jeepers I decided on a set of Dana Ultimate 60s. I looked at the Curries and Dynatrac's but the Dana's for me and my needs were exactly the right choice. The Dana's would not arrive till the middle of February so that gave me time to find a buyer for my stock dana 44s and my 5 lug wheels and 40" nittos. There were sold in 1 night to some great people in Tennessee and Chicago. You know who you are and thank you both!
So they arrive.
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Let the process begin.
I decided to stick to the factory elockers so I ordered the Z Locker controller and optioned the eaton elocker offered by Dana.

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And there is the first look of them in. We get our first oh oh moment.

Rebel has installed so many of these axles over the years, its rinse and repeat to them, with the exception of this being a diesel. Well , Dana changed things up a bit on them. Among the few things that we did not know, we needed to use a JK tie rod and the drag link pitman arm on my upgraded steersmart was too short. See images.

IMG_7643.png

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Steersmart overnighted the piece needed and Rebel sourced a JK Tie rod. The last missing piece to the puzzle was the e brake lines were too short.

3E9C7BD7-FCBC-454E-BF47-D87CEC6E7A50_1_105_c.jpeg


I also opted to go with a set of airlift 1000 HD bags for the rear in case I needed some extra spring support in towing heavier items and not having the sag.

Now on to the tires. So the inhouse giant at Rebel decided to make a call out to all other shops to lift a 42" Nitto onto the truck lifted up. Little did he know in a few days he would get over 100,000 views.

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So onto the next challenge for myself by going to 42" Nittos. The process to put these tires on my rims was not easy because I opted for a 20x12 and should have done a 20x10. The tire spec calls for no more than 11.5 width rim. Thankfully I have a rockstar wheel and tire guy in SO CAL that can do things like this. But what if I was in the middle of no where and needed a fix or my spare went out too on the road. Running non beadlocks was a big concern. I am in the process of going to bead locks so I at least have the ability to fix / change things on my own.

7D53C67F-9EA5-4A36-8090-F347E43A54BF_1_105_c.jpeg

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Mounted and ready to install. Rebel spent the better part of half a day checking fitment of the new axles and wheels tires.
Last final issues we came across is the falcon steering stabilizer would not work without welding tabs, and after discussion I am going to drive it a bit without it and see how it does (BTW, it drives better without the steering stabilizer on freeway then it did with it)
So a few hundred miles on it now and I love it. I cannot explain in words the difference in ride and braking. I cannot wait to use it for what I have planned and knowing I have the confidence to go most places.

I love the 13.50 tire width and already notice the difference on the freeway.

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Last few items of note. I have wheel rubbing even on the custom fenders with almost a 6" lift. I am deciding now on a front long arm or cutting the fenders. And I am waiting for PSC to release the Diesel hydraulic steering system (1-2 months they said as its in R&D with their JT Diesel). And lastly as I mentioned above going to a set of bead locks will be forthcoming.

Costs on something like this is about $15-17K retail for the axle swap and each 42" Nitto tire is around $650 retail and then 8 lug wheels are around $300-$600 per wheel retail.

Thank you all again for the questions and comments and hope this helps for any of you wanting to do this upgrade or wondering what it entails.

Just a big shout out to Taylor, Bond and the entire crew at Rebel who make builds like this so enjoyable and make me feel truly part of the process.





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GRAVLER

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What a beast! Referring of course to Rebel's "in-house Giant" AND your rig. Great write-up and build. Looks amazing.
 
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Pizziola29

Pizziola29

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Oh so the axles were $17k INSTALLED and the like?
Yes that is in my research the retail price I found for the axles and install. I paid less than that but $17k seemed to be about the retail price most offered before working on a discount.
 

dirtlimo

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Thanks for posting this up with the deets. My UD60s are going in as we speak with lowly 37's :) Also went the Steer Smarts and Z auto path.
 
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Pizziola29

Pizziola29

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Thanks for posting this up with the deets. My UD60s are going in as we speak with lowly 37's :) Also went the Steer Smarts and Z auto path.
Please send pictures!! Going on 400 miles and the brakes are finally starting to seat nicely.
 

dirtlimo

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Please send pictures!! Going on 400 miles and the brakes are finally starting to seat nicely.
This is all I have at the moment. Do you feel the greater surface area in the brakes makes a difference? The stock brakes seem to take a minute to slow the truck down to me.

IMG_20210224_104015746.jpg


IMG_20210224_104322746.jpg
 
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Pizziola29

Pizziola29

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This is all I have at the moment. Do you feel the greater surface area in the brakes makes a difference? The stock brakes seem to take a minute to slow the truck down to me.

IMG_20210224_104015746.jpg


IMG_20210224_104322746.jpg
Dang looks amazing! Which steering stabilizer is that?
 
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Pizziola29

Pizziola29

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Dang looks amazing! Which steering stabilizer is that?
Yes. The brakes for me made a huge difference. They take awhile to seat they said but each day they are getting better.
 

dirtlimo

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Good to hear! Its a Steer smarts SS as well.
 

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