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Do I need Rubicon? Or will an X do?

Discussion in 'Jeeps' started by Night_Sailor, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. Night_Sailor

    Night_Sailor Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I've been debating purchasing a Jeep for plowing. I'm located in Southern Connecticut and I have have many accounts handed off to me--most of which are difficult to plow for a pickup truck. My brother plows with a 1 ton Mason Dump. We have talked about working as a team where he blasts through to push the big stuff and I follow to do clean up and anything that would require him to do too much back and forth. I'd also like to simply do as many of my own accounts as possible.

    My other option is to buy a 3/4 ton pick up, pull the bed off and cut the frame, move the axle forward, shorten the rear drive shaft, and put some ballast in the back. Obviously, this would be a tough plow truck, nearly as maneuverable as a Jeep, but with not quite as good a turning radius.

    The bottom line is I'm not sure how tough a Jeep is for plowing. Will I need the bigger Rubicon axles? How long can I expect the front end to hold together on a newer Jeep? Am I better off building up an older Jeep with bigger springs and axles? Do I even need all that? Should I go cheap or new? Any advice would be welcome.

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    wel let me start by saying doing all that work to a 3/4 ton would be a waist of time and money, honestly thats the most redicioulous thing i have ever heard. as for the jeep their are alot of guys that plow on here with em, and never complain of problems, how much plowing are you actually gonna do???? sounds like you just got a bunch of small residentials whicha jeep would be fine for.
  3. toby4492

    toby4492 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,513

    I would agree with Goldpro here. Check out the Sno-Way thread. We have many customers with Jeeps running our plows.
  4. the_experience

    the_experience Member
    Messages: 75

    If you're looking for cheap I would bypass the Rubicon. Sure it has "Dana 44's" but they aren't the same as the classic half ton axle you'd find under a Ford, Dodge, Jeep, IH, etc. The TJ Rubicon D44 uses Dana 30 tubes and outers so there is no real gain there. The JK Rubicon is going to be slightly better yet, but there are other issues to deal with on them.

    My recommendation might be to look for a YJ. The leafspring suspension is going to be easier to deal with when it comes to compensating for the plow. They are also cheaper obviously. What's really cool is that they have a high pinion Dana 30 front axle. Is it as strong as the Dana 44 in the TJ Rubicon? Arguably no, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. It is still going to have the same weaknesses as the Rubicon axles.

    I don't think the 4:1 transfer case is going to be advantageous when plowing. You're just going to end up over torquing the wheels and spinning them. Likewise, the air lockers are cool, but need some mods to work "well." A set of Aussie Lockers for the YJ would be a cheaper choice and they just plain work if you find you need traction aiding differentials.

    That's just my input. It's worth what you paid for it.
  5. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511

    I have 20 years plowing with Jeeps A Friend has a fleet of 3 jeeps all have dana 30 F ends we have had no unusual problems with them I get 100K out of ball joints 40K out tie rod ends 75 to 150K out of wheel bearings. 2 years out of U-joints. (by the way the jeep u-joints are the same as the F150 F u-joints) and I do a LOT of trail riding with the Jeep.

    I would get the TJ add air shoks to the front and rear. The shocks from a 1985 T-Berd rear fit the front of the jeeep

    My friend and I both use Fisher RD 7 1/2 plows
    00 Jeep Wrangler, 7 1/2 Fisher RD, Front Air Shocks, Duel Batteries, Lead rear bumper, ARBs, Belt Driven Air Compressor, Dana 60 Rear End, Blizak Tires
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2007
  6. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511

    I have 20 years plowing with Jeeps A Friend has a fleet of 3 jeeps all have dana 30 F ends we have had no unusual problems with them I get 100K out of ball joints 40K out tie rod ends 75 to 150K out of wheel bearings. 2 years out of U-joints. (by the way the jeep u-joints are the same as the F150 F u-joints) and I do a LOT of trail riding with the Jeep.

    I would get the TJ add air shoks to the front and rear. The shocks from a 1985 T-Berd rear fit the front of the jeeep

    My friend and I both use Fisher RD 7 1/2 plows
  7. ppandr

    ppandr Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    I'd like a dollar for every shameless S--NO-WAY post I see here.payup
  8. toby4492

    toby4492 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,513

    :rolleyes: Shameless???

    Don't really know what you mean. Just here to share experiences and opinions with people just like you but will do it in a positive matter. I am here to learn as others are, but also to educate people on our products. BTW we are even a sponsor here. :nod:

    If you have an issue or are mis-informed about our products let me know and I would be glad to clear things up for you. :waving:
  9. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    I had a YJ with the 4.0HO.....and a Snow-way dp;)

    Just get the 6 banger not the 4:nono:

    If you can afford the Rubicon get it, if not the Sierra will do just fine.
    Heck any 6cyl jeep will get those tricky jobs done.
  10. Night_Sailor

    Night_Sailor Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I agree on the transfer case. I was thinking perhaps highway gearing (not available on the Rubicon) would work better with a lower ratio on the LO range, so that I could make good time and fuel economy on the road when not plowing and use the LO range for plowing. I don't think I need lockers in the front, but they might be fun.

    I had an Eaton in the rear of my '83 K5 Blazer that worked great in the snow--never driven a better vehicle in the snow (heavy 6.2 diesel in the front, heavy when filled big replacement fuel tank in the back and two saddle tanks--57 gallons gave a good weight distribution) That truck could handle 4' of snow (no plow) if I kept moving.

    The JK is the new one eh? A bit to pricey for me. What are the issues with them?

    Regarding the YJ. Those are getting pretty old. I don't want to be working on a Jeep in cold weather--my garage is filled right now and I don't have the space. If I could find a good one, that would be an option.

    I do like beefy axles. Thought the Dana 44 work pretty tough. It is one reason I liked the Rubicon. I've thought about getting some custom made--but that would cost me.

    I don't think it is a bad idea to modify a 3/4 ton. We have some steep driveways, tight turns, and big gully's and rocks--I live where the glaciers dropped there boulders. Backing up is risky some driveways. It doesn't seem like it will be that much work to modify a 3/4 ton as I have a welder friend with time on his hands. I've always loved the full size truck, but the long wheelbase is a problem for some accounts. I'd also like a shorter wheel based for backing up a trailer.

    So what about a 2001-2005 non Rubicon? What do they need to beef them up?
  11. the_experience

    the_experience Member
    Messages: 75

    Leaking hradtops, flimsy body panels (fenders!) and doors that don't fit so well, and some other stuff that is probably just common growing pains type stuff with a totally reworked
    model. There doesn't seem to be nearly the love for the new V-6 as there was the the old 4.0 and 4.2 motors.

    I don't blame you. Still, you can sometimes find a mall crawling Barbi Jeep that was well taken care of and just used to drive around during the summer showing off a bikini clad top.

    Dana 44's are the quintessential half ton axle. In a 1/4 ton truck they are even better. It's just important to note that not all Dana 44's are created equal and I put the Rubicon version towards the bottom of the list. They are stronger than the Dana 30 you'd normally find under a Jeep's front end, but they are a Dana 44 more in name than anything else.

    It's a nifty idea but I don't know how well it would work. It would probably be easier to get a K-5 frame and swap on a crewcab and some heavier axles. Please don't tell me that working on a throttle body injected SBC scares you. It's important to remember that a 3/4 ton is a half ton front with a 1 ton rear for the most part. I know I'm going to get corrected by people pointing out minor differences, but that is the truth.

    What do they need to beef them up. Well...you can do anything you want to them. It's just time and money. Personally, I wouldn't replace anything that hasn't broken and go from there. You'll want to beef the front suspension a little because of the added weight, but aside from that I would let 'er buck. Regular maintenance will be the key. You're going to have to replace parts. That's just the way it is. The unit bearings and tie rod ends will take the brunt of the beating. The unit bearings were smallish for the application before the plow went on and Jeeps like their TRE's because of the steering linkage layout. It's just something you'll have to deal with, just like all those little annoyances you find in every vehicle.

    If you go with an auto I would recommend a high quality external trans cooler, but that is as far as I think you need to be go.
  12. The Duke

    The Duke Member
    from WI
    Messages: 79

    Get a YJ and beef it up. Put some military wrap heavy duty springs on it.

    The D30 will be fine up front. You can upgrade to Alloy shafts and you won't have a problem even with an aussie in there.

    The D35 in the rear will need to go no matter what, however.(D35 was also in alot of the TJ's, though some did get a D44). Your best option for a replacement is a Ford 8.8 out of an Explorer. It is stronger than a D44, you can get them for under $300 and they have disc brakes on 1995+ Explorers.

    If you are set on a newer one and you can afford it, go for the Rubicon. It does have lockers on it stock and larger tires.

    I never intend to plow with my YJ because I built/am building it for a toy, not to be a plow truck with low-hanging plow frames on it, but depending on how much I get into the plowing scene, I may pick up another one just to plow with.
  13. CJPlow

    CJPlow Member
    Messages: 54

    I have a 99 wrangler with the Western suburbanite plow on it. The 2 snow falls i have used it for so far have been pretty good. It handles awesome gets into tight spaces. I even had a customer shocked that i was able to do a 3 point turn in his 2 car wide driveway with the plow on. You can always find a cheap TJ (stay away from 97's) if you look on some of these jeep sites people are always selling D44 axles custom and oem fit. spend 5k on a stone stock 6cyl spend 2-3k building to handle plowing. Mechanically you will never have to worrie about the 4.2 or 4.0L.
    My only complaint is with the plow, not as good as i expected, westerns version of the downpressure sucks. I will find out shortly if it has to deal with the part they forgot to put with my kit. Westerns set-up is simplistic easy to assemble, I almost went with a sno-way but found it will not work with a "rubicon" suspension. Im wondering if the western is going to be the same way if so, that one can be modified to fit the snoway can't. These companys need to make plows for lifted trucks!!!!
  14. jrunner01

    jrunner01 Member
    Messages: 31

    Lifted Trucks...

    I too have a western suburbanite and wanted to fit it on my 07 rubicon and was told by Western that it wont fit the suspension since its a bit taller than the non rubys. Also I was told the mount wont fit with the auto disconnecting sway bar setup on the ruby. So Im looking to sell it and pick up something from either Meyer or Boss. I was planning to lift it too, so modifying it was going to be necessary anyway for the height issue, but with the sway bar issue, it kinda squashes the whole idea. It really is a ***** that they supported all the other wranglers for 07 except the Ruby yet 3 or 4 other brands support all of the wrangler line.
  15. addicted

    addicted Senior Member
    Messages: 128

    I have an 06 rubicon. the 4:1 lo range and lockers are unnecessary for plowing. . . unless we are talking feet of snow at a time. I plow in 4 hi and have never needed lo range or the lockers when plowing. The limited slip is awesome and the MT/R's are great in the snow. I'd stick with any 97-06 tj with the 4.0. Hard top is nice because of the defroster and wiper. unless you put a huge plow on it or plow at stupid speeds, the d30 should hold up fine.
  16. ppandr

    ppandr Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    90 YJ, 4 cyl, 5 speed, 165,000 miles, 4 years of plowing
    94 YJ, 4 cyl, 5 speed, 175,000 miles, 3 years of plowing
    97 TJ, 6 cyl, auto, 135,000 miles, 2 years of plowing

    All are 100% stock except for helper springs on YJ's and air bags on TJ.
    No axle problems as of yet...knock on wood.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
  17. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    Quick thought about axles

    The Rubicon is a fantasic vehicle. And don't get me wrong, a little over-engineering is always a good thing.

    But in my experience... when plowing, since you're always on a wet, slippery surface, your tires will break free long before you reach the stress limit of your axles. Plowing is actually pretty easy on axles. Clutches, transmissions & suspensions take a beating. But axles on plow trucks lead a pretty easy life.

    I'd love to have D44s under my CJ, but I can't justify it for plowing.

    Just my two cents. After adjusting for inflation... arguably worth that.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2007