Changing Axle Gears in my 2008 Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon

2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

RPMs at 70 mph with 4.10 gears with 35 inch tires.

RPMs going 70 mph in 4th gear with the stock 4.10 axle gears and 35x12.5r18 BFGoodrich KO2 tires.


RPMs at 70 mph with 5.13 gears with 35 inch tires.

RPMs going 70 mph in 4th gear with 5.13 axle gears and 35x12.5r18 BFGoodrich KO2 tires.


changing gear oil

After 1,000 miles of driving with the 5.13 gears I drained the rear differential case. This was the horrible looking oil that came out. Got me a little nervous that something was wrong. I then drained and replaced the front differential case and the oil looked the same color as well. A couple thousand more miles and I checked the rear oil and it is the pretty golden yellow color as it was when I replaced it. My guess is the shop used some funky conditioner or something that made the opaque silver color.


I will always remember my last trip in my old heavily used 1991 Montero. That trip was to Scout Camp with KB on the East Fork of the Bear River in the Uinta mountains, the last week of July 2018. What a fun trip and great farewell to an old friend that served me well even though she was run down the day I got her over twelve years ago. The Montero ended up being the best $300 dollars I ever spent.

With the passing of my Montero I was in the hunt for a good 4x4 SUV that would take me into places like a side by side ATV. After a long and exhausting search I found that the best option for me was a used four door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

As I researched more and more into the Wranglers I knew I wanted one with a little lift, 33" tires or larger, a winch and the locker/sway bar options provided by a Rubicon. I also like the color white and preferred to have a little older vehicle that I wouldn't be afraid of scratching.

After a month or so I found the one I wanted in Logan and a trip or two to the credit union I had my first Jeep — a white with black hard topped 2008 four door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

I absolutely love the Jeep however after a couple months of driving it I realized there was one thing that I hadn't researched about with running larger tires — axle gear ratios. The Jeep had 35" BFGoodrich KO2 35x12.5r18 tires which are really only have a 34" diameter when new. My 4 speed auto-transmission with the 3.8 L engine and stock 4.10 axle gears just didn't have enough power to use fourth gear. Unless I was driving downhill I had to turn the overdrive (4th gear) off. 

Weeks of studying gear ratio charts and talking with other Jeep owners I decided I better get the axle gears changed out. Wanting the jeep to last me for a very long time so I felt it best to get the gears changed over as soon as possible. I knew this had to be causing added stress to the transmission and engine by effectively only being able to use three gears of the transmission. I was running some higher than desired RPMs with only being able to use three gears instead of four.

The gear ratio I decided on was 5.13. This would take the gear ratio up three steps from the 4.10 stock gears that were in it. A lot of people tried to get me to go with the 4.88 gears but I really never felt this would offer enough power and I am so glad that I didn't get the 4.88 gears. One of the things I factored in in going with the 5.13 over the 4.88 is that my Jeep has really heavy Rock Slider bumpers and a heavy winch. I also carry a lot of heavy tools and a high lift jack. With the heavier equipment it further helped me decide to go with the lower gears.

I really like the 5.13 gears. I can travel up most interstates in forth gear even on climbs. Some of the steeper grades it does have to downshift to maintain 60+ mph.

If I could do it over again I would really like to try the next step lower 5.38 gears. 5.38 gears are the lowest gears you can fit in the Dana 44 axles that my JK Rubicon has front and back. One of the reasons I probably would prefer the 5.38 gears is when I get new tires. I'm not particularly fond of the KO2 tires I currently have. They are a good tire but I want a more aggressive mud terrain tread on my next set of tires. I'm looking close at the Nitto Trail Grappler Mud Terrain tires and from what I have been reading they are a true 35" tire thus lowering my RPMs from the 34" KO2 tires I am currently running. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that I use a Superchips programmer to get the tires size and axle gears correct. I actually have the tire size set for 33.75" to get the correct MPH using my phone's GPS to verify my speed.

After 500 miles or so of driving it was recommended to me to drain the gear oil and replace it with some new oil. After a bunch of studying on gear oils I chose to use Lucas 85W-140 Heavy Duty Gear Oil. Researching gear oils I found that synthetic gear oil did not transfer heat away from the gears as well as traditional oil so I went with this Lucas 85W-140 Heavy Duty Gear Oil over the synthetic 75w-140 that the owners manual recommends.

6mm Creedmoor Handloads and Ballistics

3 Shot 6mm Creedmoor group, 103 ELD-X

This 100 yard, 103 Gr ELD-X, 6mm Creedmoor group is exactly 1/2". It fits under a penny and almost under a dime. The third shot was the high one. I felt like I was a little high on the target when the trigger broke. Some might want better groups but this is perfectly fine for me.

Below are my personal favorite loads for my Browning X-Bolt rifle(s). To view the loads you will need to read the warning near the bottom of the page, then accept the warning by checking the box inside the warning.

So far the only bullet I have been playing with in my 6mm Creedmoor X-Bolt is the 103 Gr Hornady ELD-X. I've been really liking the ELD-X bullets from Hornady and have been moving more and more of my rifles over to these bullets.

If you are needing printable targets for sighting in your rifle you can get them here.

WARNING: The load information on this page is for my personal use in my personal firearms and is posted for entertainment purposes only. If you chose to reload the 6mm Creedmoor use only data contained in current manufacturer's reloading manuals. Incorrectly reloaded ammunition can cause serious personal injury and damage to the firearm due to excessive pressure. Reload only after proper instruction and in strict compliance with instruction and data contained in current manufacturer's reloading manuals. If you choose to use my load data on theDIYhunter.com you are doing so at your own risk. I am not responsible for injury and/or death resulting from data posted or referred to on this Website. Improper reloading is dangerous. Users assume all risk, responsibility, and liability for any and all injuries (including death), losses or damages to persons or property (including consequential damages), arising from the use of any data posted on this site. If you have read and accept this warning check this box to view my 6mm Creedmoor load data.

Elk Pack Out Made Easy With The e-Pack Wheel — 2018 General Elk Hunt

Elk Hunting with my boys

Dallen Elk Hunting with X-Bolt 300 WSM

Dallen with Spike Elk

Browning X-Bolt 300 WSM with Elk

e-Pack Wheel Elk Pack Out

Back to the Rubicon with the Elk on the e-Pack Wheel

This year I bought a combo elk tag hoping I would have time to get out and hunt elk again with my bow and for sure spend a few days hunting with my muzzleloader in November. 

The few times I was able to get out and check my trail cameras through the summer and into the fall I have noticed a very distinct change in the patterns of the elk in the area. The elk haven't been coming into the area nearly as much as they have in past years, not that there ever was a lot of elk but this year the cameras were showing a reduced number of elk.

There was one bright highlight to my trail camera footage and that was a nice looking six-point bull had been camped out in the area from July 23rd through August 5th. Unfortunately, he never returned but we sure hoped he would.

One bull and the only elk that was in the area during the hunting seasons was the Unicorn bull I had on camera last year. Funny thing is he was a unicorn again this year except he was a unicorn on his right side instead of his left. What a strange bull. How in the world did he get a unicorn G1 only rack again this year and on the opposite side?!?

Archery season came and went with me just not having the time to break away to get out and hunt at all. When rifle season came around it found me and my two youngest headed up the mountain for the opening weekend. We had a great time sleeping in the tent and enjoying a ride in my new to me 2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon I bought as a replacement for my old Montero. I had a great run with my old Montero but she finally gave up the ghost this summer.

We spent the opening Saturday watching deer but never saw any sign of any elk. We tried boys, we tried. So we checked a few cameras and back home for church we went.

Midweek Dallen took a few days off work to hunt. He hiked over into a different area than where I took the younger boys on opening day. He stayed out all day his first day out moving around in an area of thick oak brush and maples, hunting small meadows in the trees. As the day was coming to a close and he was about to get up to start hiking back out he turned around and a spike with some cows had snuck in right behind him. His occasional cow calling had worked at bringing in some elk. 

Dallen's X-Bolt 300 WSM put the spike down and he was quickly on the phone to me asking if he should also fill his cow tag and ask for me to hike in to help him with an e-Pack Wheel. I was in the process of helping my kids at home with their evening activities when the call came in. No don't shoot a cow, we'll have plenty to deal with getting the spike out this late in the day. Dallen could have taken a cow as well but I was glad he didn't. 

By the time I dropped off Landen at a football game and made it up the mountain to meet up with Dallen it was midnight. Not a good thing for me because I didn't sleep well the night before. Anyhow, needless to say, I wasn't feeling well but we worked into the night boning out his elk. It wasn't one of the fastest deboning processes I've done but we got it boned out sometime in the middle of the night and all loaded on the e-Pack Wheel for the muddy pack out up the side of a canyon and about a mile back to my Jeep.

The pack out was a total dream! We loaded the whole elk up on the e-Pack Wheel (150 lbs. of meat and near 20 lb head) and up the mountain we went through the mud. I learned a few things on this pack out to improve the e-Pack Wheel design. Mainly, I wanted to lower the Mud Cutter on the e-Pack Wheel to clean the tire from mud even better than it already did. We didn't have any problems with it but I felt it could use some adjustment to keep mud from getting into the chain. What an amazingly cool system to haul an elk out with and not carry an ounce of weight out on your body. The e-Pack Wheel carries to load up or downhill without you carrying any weight or any pushing/pulling at all. The electric motor is geared to have tons of torque to climb, climb, climb. I love it!

Nice work solo hunting Dallen. This was his first elk harvest being out hunting by himself. After this hunt I feel Dallen is ready to go totally solo on the boning and pack out all on his own. Especially if he has an e-Pack Wheel with him.

After a day I was back out with Landen and KB hoping to find some elk on the second Friday evening and Saturday. And.... once again Dad couldn't find a single elk for my youngest boys. And that finished the extent of my elk hunting this year.

Due to work demands this year I just wasn't able to get out and hunt with a muzzleloader for myself and the two Saturdays I was able to get out with my boys resulted in not finding any elk. I still loved spending time with Landen and KB but wished we could have seen some elk. Next year maybe and we all still have cow elk tags that go through January. 

Cow Elk Hunting — e-Pack Wheel

Sunrise Hunting Cow Elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Glassing for cow elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Cow Elk Hunters

Hunting Solo for Cow Elk with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

Hunters on Cliff with Electric Pack Wheel

Bull Elk but no Cows

Gutless boning out cow elk

With just a couple days to spare my youngest KB turned twelve during 2017. This gave him the opportunity to hunt cow elk from his birthday through the end of January. This has been my most anticipated hunt of the year. Seeing his excitement as he has hunted with me and his brothers throughout the years has really got me excited to help him on his first ever big game hunt. He has been talking about the opportunity to hunt elk for many months now and this has been weighing heavy on my mind that I really wanted him to fill his tag.

Our family was fortunate enough to have all three of my sons and myself draw late season cow elk permits and with us eating tag soup on our bull elk hunts we needed at least two cows in the freezer to keep meat on the table until next winter.

This year has been the craziest year ever to find cow elk in the public and private areas I have access to hunt. The total lack of snow this winter I’m sure has been helpful to the elk and deer herds but it also has kept the elk far away from the areas that we can get into to hunt.

Every year I have had a cow elk permit I have filled the tag. Every time I have gone out hunting cow elk I have seen some and I can only remember having to go out more than once in a season to fill my tag. This year was a lot different. I went out hunting four days before I found any cows. I did find some bulls on two of my first trips but no cows. On one trip I hiked in over four miles to the back of some public property and down the other side of the mountain and couldn’t find cow one even on the adjacent private canyons. 

This year also has been the driest I can ever remember. There isn’t any snow. Yes, we have had a couple snow storms but for the most part, it has been very warm and dry with all of the south-facing slopes devoid of snow up to over 8,000 ft in elevation. 

My first priority was to help KB get his first elk and big game animal. I had him out a couple days but couldn’t find any elk. Dallen had work off one day and I decided to just take him since we hadn't been seeing any to see if we could locate some elk. I should have taken all of my boys that day. Dallen and I found a group of cows and filled our tags. 

The next day I went back in with Landen, KB and two friends of mine. We were able to locate the cows again thanks to some cow elk calling. I had the cows responding to my calls but they were located in the heavy oak brush where we couldn’t see them. With KB on my left and Landen on my right both setup on shooting sticks, I was able to call one out of the brush and it stopped at 95 yards looking right at us. All we could see was it’s head so I told KB to shoot it in the head. After what seemed like several seconds, boom went the rifle and down went the elk. I totally thought KB shot the cow but it actually was Landen. Landen waited as long as he thought he could for KB to shoot and made the right call in shooting before it ran off. Nice work Landen! On the other hand, KB was a little upset but a trooper about it. He had it in his scope he just hesitated with it being his first time hunting elk but KB was a good sport and supportive of his older brother. We had gone over bullet placement a lot but never in our discussions had we talked about head shots. This threw him off a bit.

With the cow down and plenty of daylight, it was a great opportunity for the boys to learn more about boning out elk. They both jumped in and were helping. It was a great memory for me to be there teaching them about the antimony of an elk.

KB and I went out one last time and hiked a bunch looking for some cows. We did find some but they were on the private ground we couldn’t hunt. We couldn’t even find any elk tracks at all on the ground we were hunting on. What a crazy cow elk hunting year.

Other than spending time with my boys the greatest pleasure I had while hunting with them for cow elk this winter was using the Electric Pack Wheel I have been perfecting. It worked amazing! We hauled our cows out so easily with it. KB was even using it hauling both his and my day pack around as we were hunting. I’m particularly tickled to death about how well this electric powered system has come together. I’ve spent many thousands of hours over the past decade perfecting the Pack Wheel and in particular a lot of time this past year tweaking an electric system by testing motors, batteries and frame design adjustments. The e-Pack Wheel makes packing heavy loads just about anywhere a total dream.

As I write this I can’t help but feel really bad that I let KB down by not getting him an elk. I like taking care of my kids and him not getting an elk hurts, probably the most distasteful tag soup I have ever had... no, my 2012 LE Archery elk hunt really stunk. On the bright side, he is really young and will have plenty of opportunities in the future.

Another bright note is that our family was very blessed with filling the freezer with elk meat. When I dropped off the meat to the butcher he said something along the line that the previous year they butcher 250 cow elk in January and this year only 10 so that made feel really fortunate that we were able to fill three out of the four tags.

You can bet I’ll be helping KB extra hard this coming fall on his first bull elk and mule deer hunts.

Hell's Canyon Speed Rifle with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel Cow Elk Hunting

Landen's Cow Elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Dallen's Cow Elk with Electric Pack Wheel

The DIY Hunter's Cow Elk With Electric Pack Wheel

Pack Out Electric Pack Wheel Cow Elk

Glassing for cow elk with Electric Pack Wheel

Dallen Pack Out Electric Pack Wheel Cow Elk

Landen Pack Out Electric Pack Wheel Cow Elk

X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Rifle — Setup Lightweight and Long Range Ready

Lightweight Hunting Rifle - X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed 300 WSM

I often get asked what my favorite scopes are for my rifles. For my long range hunting rifles, my favorite scope has been the Vortex Optics HS-LR 4-16x50 with the generous 24 MOA per rotation elevation turret and a capped windage turret. In my 28 Nosler X-Bolt I can dial up shots waaaaay out there with this combination. So why did I break from Vortex and go with this Leupold scope for my Browning Hell's Canyon Speed X-Bolt?

I wanted to keep this rifle really lightweight. To do so I needed a scope with a short windage cap to make sure that the fat WSM shells cleared the turret on ejection. Why do I need a small windage cap? Because with a scope with large windage caps that is mounted close to the barrel does not provide enough clearance for shells to eject... so you either have to raise the scope up a lot or go with a small windage cap. If I raise the scope up high enough for clearance on ejection I then also have to put something on the stock to raise the comb hieght up for proper head postitioning behind the scope. To keep it lightweight and simple a small windage turret is the best option.

I also wanted to have the ability to dial up most of my shots and have a capped windage turret.  So here is my solution. I have went with a 4.5-14x40 VX-3i with 30mm tube (had to get 30mm tube to get an adjustable objective) and I had the Leupold custom shop place an Impact 32 MOA reticle in it. I also have one of Vortex's small steel bubble levels mounted around the scope tube as well.

I really like the setup for keeping my rifle lightweight. If I had a Vortex, Nikon, Burris and many other brands of scopes I would have to put the scope up on a rail or use really high rings. With a scope up so high I would then have to build comb height adjustment into the buttstock.

What I have now is a lightweight long range hunting rifle that shoots Hornady 200 Gr ELD-X bullets sub 1/2 MOA. I have an awesome tree showing 32 MOA of holdovers in the reticle, I can dial up 14 MOA on the turret (700+ yards) and I have a sticker on the top of the turret marked with actual yardages to dial, currently set for 6,500 ft of elevation. I can always place another sticker on the cap and mark it for a different elevation and bullet combo.

This rifle as shown with a full magazine and a Clincher sling has a total carry weight of 8 lbs 1 oz.

 

 

Subcategories

  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

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