JK 1 TON AXLE SWAPS

Artec Industries

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We have been providing Swap kits to put bigger axles in vehicles for years and the Jeep Wrangler JK is no exception. But what axles should you use and what information on the internet is correct?? We will be putting all of the years of information we have in designing and building our kits right here, including the technical factors that go into the JK due to the advanced electronics of the ABS system.

First up is axle choice. There are many possible donor axles for the swap, but the best solution we have found is 2005+ Ford SuperDuty 60 front and the 1999 - 2007 GM 14 Bolt Rear.

"These axles do not have the same bolt pattern, why not use the matching Sterling Rear Axle" -Yes, we understand this and it is simple. You can use the Sterling Rear, but due to the offset of the pumpkin to the passenger side there is clearance issues. Sure you can buy an aftermarket tank or fuel cell, but with the amount of money and time you will put into that it is easier to have the front unit bearings drilled to 8 on 6.5 Bolt Pattern and get new studs pushed in. We have heard anywhere from $50 - $100 is what most good machine shops charge to do this service.

"Why not the 99 - 04 SuperDuty Axle?" - Nothing against that axle, but the 05+ axles have an easy to adapt tone ring built in that will make your JK computer happy. All it takes is a Dodge Truck ABS sensor that will bolt right in and plug into your JK harness. That makes is easy, plus the these axles are much beefier than the 99 - 04 versions and Reid Racing offers knuckles to make High Steer simple. Keep in mind you can purchase the Currie Unit Bearings for the 99 - 04 Axles to get workable tone rings, but that can be somewhat costly.

"OK, but which rear 14 Bolt Axle will I really need? I have this older 14 Bolt and you say 99 - 07..." - First, you have to use the 14 Bolt with the extra ribbing as shown in the graphic. You can certainly use the drum brake version, but for what we see these axles cost lately you are better off finding one that came with factory disc brakes. You will thank us down the road when you want good dual piston calipers braking and a Parking Brake.

What is important when selecting your axle is the flange to flange distance of 57.72". This is important because the JK Upper Control Arms sit very wide and as you can see use up nearly all of the room on this axle. With that being said if you are using the factory upper control arms the room is very tight and you may have to make some adjustments to be able to use the parking brake, so dry fitment will be key for this reason. You can also move the UCA mounts in a little or do some trimming if you need more clearance. **If you are going to a 3 Link rear then the UCA placement will not be an issue***

JK1410-axle-measurements.jpg


"But I still want to use this Sterling axle that matches my front" - No problem, we offer a kit to do this, you will just need to either run a stretch in the rear 2" - 4" or purchase different fuel tank option. There are tanks that fit in the rear like the TJ tanks or you can go with a fuel cell and place it in the rear of the Jeep. Just make sure you get one that will be compliant with all of the evaporative fuel system requirements.

What Kind of suspension do I need to run with these kits?" - You can run nearly any Aftermarket Suspension type you want, including our Front 3 Link Kit, but you need to make sure your front lower control arms have a flex joint on both ends. Due to the push out of the front differential on the SuperDuty axle the front lower control arms will be spread out significantly wider than the factory JK LCA's. This will not affect anything the handling of the vehicle, you just need to have the flex joints to allow the LCA's to be able to mount up correctly.

"What else will I need to complete the swap?" - The list can be small or large depending on what you are looking to do with the Jeep. The simple list is:
  • Gears
  • Rebuild Kits
  • Lockers
  • Driveshafts
  • Wheels/Tires (the 5 Lug JK wheels will no longer work)
  • Brake line adaptation
  • Parking Brake adaptation
  • Front Lower Control Arms with Flex joints
"OK, I think I have the axle choices down. What about my ABS?" - Again, a lot of variations here depending on the axle you selected, but there are 3 rules to follow:
  1. The JK requires all 4 sensors to read correctly in order for the ABS system to work properly. Yes, you may get away with running 1 or 2, but the system will not run properly.
  2. All tone rings must have the same tooth count. The JK has 52 teeth from the factory and the SuperDuty axles have 60 teeth.
  3. If you are using the 60 tooth tone rings you must have a programmer capable of adjusting axle gear ratios. **We will cover this more in detail below***
"I am using an 05+ SuperDuty 60 in front and the 14 Bolt Factory Disc in the rear, what do I need for the ABS?" - For the Front you will need to purchase two(2) of the Dodge Sensors listed below. These will simply bolt into the Ford Axle and plug directly into the JK. Since both the Dodge and JK use a similar Canbus system, the computer will be happy.
For the Rear, you need to choose the 14 Bolt ABS Kit with the 60 tooth tone ring to match the tooth count of the front axle. This is very important or the JK will give a ratio mismatch error and may put itself into limp mode.

**Dodge ABS Sensors – Chrysler P/N 5179958AB, Dorman P/N 970-052, or Airtec P/N 5S8491**


"I now have 60 tooth tone rings, what do I do with my programmer?" - You will need to go in and change the axle ratio until the Jeep is happy with your choices. This is a trial and error thing and every programmer and Jeep combo is different, so plan to spend some time here. We have heard from people that have done the swap that the gear ratios can be as low as 3.27 when they actually have 5.38's, so be creative and think outside of the box if you are getting code errors when you do this. Once you get the gear ratio mismatch you can then play with tire size to get the speedometer corrected. Again, plan to be creative as we have heard of programmers needing to be set at 31" Tires when the tires were 40's.

"The SuperDuty axle I have is a 99 - 04 version, how do I get the ABS correct?" - For these axles you will need to place all 4 sensors on the rear axle. There are 2 options for you in this scenario:
  1. Purchase Currie Unit Bearings
We suggest keeping with the factory tooth count, so choose the 52 tooth option, and purchase a second pair of ABS Mounting Brackets. The system will be installed as in the image below wth sensors sitting 180 degrees from each other(Brackets are light gray, sensors are yellow).
BB1411e.jpg


"How do the Tone Rings and ABS Mounting Brackets get installed?" - The axle will need to get torn down and the hub assemblies will need to be machined to press on the Tone Rings with Green Loctite as shown. **We strongly suggest machining after you receive the tone rings as the inner diameter will vary and a tight press fit is necessary**

Tone%20Ring%20Flush%20with%20Hub%20800.jpg

Tone%20Rings%20on%20Hub%20800.JPG


Next, the axle flange will need to be notched and the Backing Plate modified to allow the ABS sensor to pass through.

BB1055e.jpg


Once all of this complete the unit can go back together and look like this. Make sure the ABS sensor slides in and out easily and there is enough clearance so it does not get bent as this will affect the air gap and cause sensor reading issues.





"I am still having issues with my set up I can not figure it out" - We are always here to help, you can call our Technical Support Team M - F 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Arizona Time, email us at sales@artecindustries.com or hit the contact us page on our website and submit your questions.
For more details on the ABS setup you can read more HERE.
All of our Axle Swap Kits and ABS options can be found HERE.