As you all know we have been working very closely with our firends at Rebel Off Road to build the ultimate Jeep JK trail rig. As we were going down the list of the must have accessories and modifications, Bond mentioned the drive train. We secured the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon for it’s trail ready reputation. For all intended purposes the standard Jeep JK drive train would suit our needs just fine. The standard Jeep JK Dana 44 axles are well prepared to accept abuse on the trail and deliver the desired relaibility. Bond quickly reminded us that we consulted him and the talented Rebel staff to help to make the “Ultimate Jeep JK Trail Rig”. In order to get the increased reliablilty and ability to one day move up to the sticky compound Maxxis tires he suggested we consider upgrading the axles to the Currie RockJock 60 models.
After a tremendous amount of research and many conversations with the world renowned Currie family, we decided to pull the trigger and secure some of the most beefy axles available for the Jeep JK on the planet. These axles would offer several advantages over the standard axles, which is quite amazing because the standard Dana equipment is far from something to complain about. Taking a moment to dip into some specs on these axles really helped us to see where the major differences are. First and foremost these axles are huge! Huge in the sense that the axle housings themselves are 5″ wider than standard in the front, and 4″ wider than standard in the rear. This alone should help a lot with stability on the trail. Let’s take a look at these housings on the day we picked them up from Currie
One of the most striking differences between these and the standard axles is the angle of the diff covers. They are kicked back and the covers almost sit on top of the housings. This allows extreme rock crawlers to mash their way through rocks without having to worry about puncturing the diff cover, spilling out all the oil and halting all forward movement.
Here they are, loaded in the back of my truck and ready to be delivered to Rebel. I have to admit, I really wanted to get lost and find myself at my house trying to generate a “good” reason why the housings fell out of my truck and landed under my own Jeep
You can really notice another significant difference with these housings in the above picture. The center sections are cast in a manner that adds a significant amount of extra ground clearance to your trail rig. They are called high pinion housings, that have a special set of gears that allow the pinion gear to come in at a much higher location on the ring gear. That extra gounnd clearance is sure to come in handy on the trail.
The next major difference you will notice is the spindles, these are basically off of a 1 ton truck. They carry some massive u-joints and axle shafts, making the entire drivetrain virtually bullet proof!
The guys at Currie really keep their ear to the ground and their finger on the proverbial pulse of the Jeep world. They know that Jeep has sold over 600,000 Jeep JKs and decide to make a RockJock system that bolts right into the Jeep Wrangler. This means that all the factory brake components work with the exception of the front rotors (which are included with the axles) and the rear rotors which need to be drilled to the new 5.5 wheel pattern. They simply developed a bracket to adapt the standard calipers, making installation a breeze.
After dropping off all of the components at Rebel Off Road, I had to hit the road to a trade show in Arizona. As luck would have it, the Rebel guys were on a mission to get the axles installed in the SCX10JK. This is not abnormal for these guys, they dont like having things sitting around the shop for more than a few days. This also means I missed the step by step install of the housings. In this case an axle housing install as direct fit as this one requires little explanation.
I did get lucky enough to secure some images of the Jeep out on the trail testing out the new hard parts. As suspected the Axles worked flawlessly, and really increased the Jeeps stability especially on side hill obsticles. The reliability was as expected, complete perfection!
After the session out in the mountains the SCX10JK was brought back into the Rebel shop for inspection. It is always best to bring your rig in for a complete inspection and maintenance after really putting it through its paces. This was also a great oppertunity to check out how the RockJock housings were holding up to their extreme duties.
As expected, there were a few scratches and scrapes, but no damage requiring repair.
There is one key feature of the RockJock housings I haven’t mentioned yet, and that is the integrated skid plate system on the center section of the housing. This part is one of the coolest features on the axles. The skid plate allows the housing to easily slide over obsticles it comes into contact with. The skid plate will see some wear and tear over time, but then it can be replaced keeping the meat of the housing in perfect condition throughout its life of service.
All in all, Axial is extremely pleased to be running the Currie RockJock axles. We are also looking forward to learning more about the Curries and their long heritage in motorsport. From what we have seen and experienced thus far, this is a family and a company who truly embody the spirit of the four wheel drive enthusiast. For a little more insight on Currie Enterprises and their business, check out this video from their youtube page, very cool guys!
To get the history on the Axial “SCX10JK”, please check out the following links! Be sure to check back often, as we will continue to build up the SCX10JK and fine tune it for maximum performance!