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Del Albright on top of the Sweetwater Mountains

(Del's Jeep near the CA/NV border looking over a storm brewing in the valley.


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Get drive train, gears and drive line products here at

Transfer Cases:


You have plenty of options on t-cases. I don't think the folks who built the 4:1 in my TJ are still in business. I DO, however, recommend the 4:1 type transfer case modifications rather than extremely low gears for those who have the extra bucks and use their rig on the pavement. Someday I'd like to have an Atlas to try it out.

BEFORE you buy, you should first understand the relationship between GEARS -- TIRES -- TRANSMISSIONS -- TRANSFER CASES before you get wild and crazy with changing your rig. Crawl ratio is what it's all about if you're a rock crawler.  If you're a sand crab, then you want horsepower. Gears, tires, tranny's and t-cases are what make a good crawl ratio or put horsepower on the ground -- where it counts. Motors don't mean much if it's not getting the horsepower on the ground.

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You can read a great explanation of all this gear stuff in the July 2001 issue of Four Wheeler ( Trent Riddle takes you through a thorough, but understandable write-up of what crawl ratio is all about and how to figure it for your rig and application. If nothing else, I hope you quickly learn that you don't change one thing in your rig without understanding what it is doing to other things in your rig. It's a cumulative impact sort of thing. Learn the whole picture first. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble and money.

So with that in mind, here's how I suggest you look at it.

1. Decide what you mostly do (crawl, sight-see, or run the dunes).

2. Decide how much money you want to invest in your rig.

3. Learn as much as you can about your particular sport and what affects performance.

4. Make a list of the modifications you want to make to your rig and prioritize that list in order of finances and best bang for your buck.

5. Start making changes.

Here's some examples. Before you can put on big tires, you need some lift. If you get some lift, you may have to change your driveline and other components. If you upgrade your horsepower, your drivetrain may not stand the new strain. If you put on bigger tires and don't change your gears, you'll lose horsepower on the ground. In this example, you also will hurt your crawl ratio.

For another example, take two Jeep TJ's, very much alike (4.0L, 5 speed). One has 35" tires with 4.56 gears and a 4.1:1 t-case reduction kit. The other has 33" tires and 4.10 gears with a 4.1 t-case reduction kit. WHO WILL CRAWL SLOWER? The answer? The 4.10's and 33" tires. The tire size makes a HUGE difference in this case. If you try to throw big tires, you'll lose horsepower and crawl ratio -- UNLESS you change a lot of other stuff.

Don't Know Your Gear Ratio?

I found this tip in Jp Magazine.  If there isn't a tag on your differential cover, jack up your rig, put the rear axle on jack stands, throw the transmission in neutral, and roll both tires by hand. The number of driveshaft revolutions required for the tires to make ONE FULL rotation will give you your gear ratio. For example, if the driveshaft spins four and a half times with one full tire rotation, you have 4.56's.

Transfer Case Adaptors and Help with Conversions

Where is a good place on the Internet to get vehicle specific information?

Visit DriveTrainDirect Home Page
Get drive train, gears and drive line products here at

Email me if you have questions about this or would like to view some charts and tables on choosing the right set up. Most of the 4WD magazines have web sites that link you to selection charts for tires, gears, etc.

General Tech Talk Rig Fixits Gears
Rig Diagnostics Noises Tires
Shocks Rig Modifications On-board Air Systems
Winches Wheels Buying a 4WD
GPS & Radios Electronics Great 4WD & Product Links
Transfer Cases 4WD vs. AWD Rig Builders
Starting Problems Steering & Braking Find a Good Mechanic
General LINKS BACK to Products BACK to Del's Home Page
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