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Snowplowing with Wrangler Rubicon

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Joel G, Jan 1, 2005.

  1. Joel G

    Joel G Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I just purchased a 2003 Wrangler Rubicon (6-cyl, 5-spd), and I was shocked to see that the owner's manual states: "Do not attach a snowplow to this vehicle." For the past 10 years, I plowed my 150' driveway with a 51 M-38, with an old Meyer plow, and I wanted to upgrade to something with a defroster and power angle. Jeep advised via email that the frame, brakes, and suspension are not sufficient to handle the extra weight of the plow. Meyer says they make a mount for the new Wrangler, but installation is at the "owners risk."

    Does anyone have any experience plowing with the late model Wranglers?

    Note: This is not for commercial use. I only intend on plowing my own driveway, and maybe help out the neighbors as needed.

    Joel G.
    Middletown, PA
  2. 85F150

    85F150 Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    i wouldnt try and claim any warrnty work to it after installing the plow. I am slightly suprised to see jeeps says that since their whole line is supposte to be rubicon tested (the off road meca of rocks) . Per paper i would say the rubicon would be awesome at plowing, with the choice of such low gearing, front/rear selectable lockers, d44 axle f/r. if it is just for your self why not run a snoway, aren't they lighter?
  3. apkole

    apkole Member
    Messages: 75

    As soon as you bolt a plow on that Jeep, the manufacturer might very well wash their hands of any warranty claims, even if the failures are not related to snowplowing activity. No first hand experience here, just a word of caution.

    We plow with a '77 and '78 CJ-7 Jeep. I don't believe your frame is any less strong that ours. And I believe that those are Dana 44 axles standard on your Rubicon. Certainley stronger that those on the CJ's. And aren't those disc brakes on all four?

    Run your warranty out, then bolt a plow on it.

    Any extra weight on the front end with the plow may cause handling problems. Jeeps notice in the manual is most likely just a way to minimize liability in the event of a lawsuit.

    Most things in life have no warranty.

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2005
  4. MMcMann

    MMcMann Junior Member
    Messages: 6


    Although the axles are dana 44's which are used on most 3/4 ton trucks of old these dana 44's are definitely NOT the same thing. The new versions for the rubicon are a aluminium housing and that is why they say no snow plow. You could bend the housing quite easily with the added weigh of a plow on there. I have seen many people in the offroading community swap out the axles for regular 44's or go larger for the bigger tires. The frame and brakes I would say are easily up to the task just not the axles.
  5. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    agreed whole heartedly on this one, the dana 44 used on the rubicons are not what most are familiar with. Just look on ebay for those axels(rubicon 44,s) you will see alot of heavy duty four wheelers swap them out for something more stout. Although I did hear rumor a company was making some kind of beef up kit for them.
  6. apkole

    apkole Member
    Messages: 75

    Ohhh, okay that would be a different kettle of fish then. I didn't know that about the Rubicon axles. Best try something different. A shovel perhaps? ;)
  7. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    i thought you couldnt even jack up jeep with the aluminum center section dana 44's without the possibility of bending the axle tubes.
  8. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Not true, grand cherokees have an aluminum housing, not rubicons.

    I have seen plenty of Wranglers, rubicon and not with plows for light use. They should be fine with a 6.5 plow. The low range of the rubicon won't help for plowing, because it is too low to be usefull for plowing, as most low range is.

    I plowed snow as many people have with a dana 35 and a dana 30, so the 44s are that much better.

    As far as the warranty, if it says not to do it, they've sort of got you there, but as far as the Jeep, it is up to the task, INCLUDING the axles.

  9. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    not to argue, but you are wrong the Rubicons do in fact have aluminum axle housing front and back, they also have the weakest style lug nuts I have ever seen. I like them and for general off roading they are awesome but they are weak in the department of there axles, again these are not the dana 44,s we grew up with they are a new beast all together(and are quite similiar of the Grand Cherokees, one of the biggest differences is the pumpkin). Gotta love the lockers though.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2005
  10. LINY Rob

    LINY Rob Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    alternate choices:

    #1-a good snowblower, take up less room when its not in use either.
    I do my 85' driveway in about 10 minutes with my 29" 9hp snowblower, I hate plowing the driveway and making big piles of snow that take forever to melt.

    #2-buy a older jeep that has already had its warranty expired if your really set on plowing

    #3- throw the service manager a few dollars and ask him if it really makes a difference if you plow your driveway with it, tell him you are buying a plow designed for home use and will not be doing it commercially and then hope for no driveline failures anyhow. Would have been a wise idea to ask the sales people and get it in writing that you could plow with it, I called my plow dealer first, then went truck shopping.
  11. SteveVB

    SteveVB Member
    Messages: 66

    OK, Ill argue, I dont know where you are getting your info but its not correct- the housings on my Rubicon are Cast Iron. All the information Ive ever seen confirms that the housings are Cast Iron. They are NOT Aluminum.
    I have no idea about the lug nuts care to explain? Are they not conical seat 1/2-20's?
    The weak link is the front axle shaft ears, they dont have the full circle clips and spit out caps. The low transfer case gearing and low axle gears dont help. The Dana 44 over the years has seen many variations- the Rubi is just another in the line.
    As for plowing the axles would be fine- I wouldnt use the lockers, that would be asking for a broken front end on a clean pavement surface. Im not sure you really want the rear locked up- you would get too much side slip I would think. The Limited Slip in the rear should be fine, and low range would be way too low, unless you were in 3 or 4th gear. The lockers only work in Low range unless you modifiy the switch circuit.

    Im thinking of adding a plow to my Rubicon (04), and cant think of any problems it would have.
  12. GripTruk

    GripTruk Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Thank you.
    I knew I wasn't crazy, but I checked to make sure, and they are indeed cast iron, NOT aluminum. This information is from a guy I met who has one of the craziest rubicons I have ever seen, and has done all his own work.
    He also recommends to replace the axle shafts with superior shafts, the stock ones are a weak point for anyone who 'wheels it. but let's not get too off topic here.

    As far as snowplowing is concerned, since the 30 and 35 have proven to be strong enough for many people, the 44s should be more than strong enough as well, since, even if they are not as strong as some versions of the 44, they are definitely stronger than the 35 and 30.

  13. MMcMann

    MMcMann Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    Yep went back and checked and the housings are cast iron, I was thinking of the WJ ones that are aluminum. So they I would say they are just fine for plowing once the warranty runs out.
  14. 85F150

    85F150 Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    don't worry about the u-joints with the c-clips unless you are really hard on the wrangler and pushing the axle to its limits, in stock mode you shouldn't have that issue.

    I have this issue on my d-44 ttb udnder my ford but the common cure is to just place a tack weld on th cap to the ear..
  15. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    I plowed with a 5 spd Bronco II for 3 years
    Let me tell you how to do it.
    DO NOT SLIP THE CLUTCH,dump it, more so against piles of snow!
    Back up and lift plow,move forward,then drop plow.
    This saves you a fried clutch.
    Push in clutch right before forward motion on snow pushes stop.
    Try to use low range to keep cooling up and charging at where it should be.
    Don't clip curbs with the Jeep,It will kill the front axle from what I hear.
    The voice off experience.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2005
  16. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    OK your right, I misunderstood what a friend who is a jeep tech and custom builder had told me. I called him and he confirmed exactly what you said, he had said the car show Rubicon was thought to have had them (Alum), not that I remeber that part of the conversation. When there though he showed me a box filled with broken lug nuts from Rubicons, he said they broke easily even with proper toque specs. This he said has been fixed. As for the lockers my point was more for the off-road abilities of them. I like jeeps quite a bit and said on more than one occassion give me the unlimited in rubicon trim and I will be all over it, but I want the deisel in the liberty in mine. I bought my wife a 2004 Grand Cherokee limited for mothers day and when visiting told him about it and this is where I believe the root of my misunderstanding started. I was wrong, so anyone can disregard what I said as like most I make mistakes. All said knowing that there axles are indeed cast iron makes me want one even more.
  17. jpunlimited

    jpunlimited Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    plow with it!

    if you have a 51 then you do not care about the warranty. jeep owners know that great vehicles are built not bought. we can only start with a good platform and you have one. the axels you have are perfect! what next put a dana 60 in there come on! that for the extreme rock crawling . I have the unlimited and plowed the hell out of it. it snaps then we fix it. there are plenty of people using them on this site. do not forget that the rubicon has disc brakes all around and will have no problem stopping with a meyer 2meter on it.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2005
  18. 85F150

    85F150 Senior Member
    Messages: 340

    hey chainlink, check out the the 4 wheel & off road feb 05 issue.....in the test for 4x4 of the year they have a wrangler rubicon unlimited and now offered with a six speed that they say wakes the jeep up alot more....
  19. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    loyal subscriber I saw that thanks
  20. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    this is off topic but a dodge m37 old gov trucks anyone know where you can find them looking for something to restore