Contrary to what some seem to think, the factory driveshafts that come on a Jeep JL Wrangler are in fact, surprisingly strong. The rzeppa joints used are really beefy, the one u-joint that comes on the front driveshaft is a 1330 (bigger than a standard 1310) and although the tube walls are on the thin side, they more than make up for it with their very large cross section. In the past and on a JL Wrangler, I would have recommended that the front driveshaft be replaced after installing a 3″ lift or more but thanks to the all new FAD system that the JL Wrangler comes with, there really isn’t a need for it. Of course, on a 4-door Unlimited, the rear drive shaft is so long, you really shouldn’t have any problems running it even with a set of 37″ tires. That is, so long as you aren’t running too tall of a lift.
Now, if there is a reason to consider an aftermarket, double cardan u-joint style driveshaft for your JL Wrangler, it’d be because you have a 2-door. Being that the rear driveshaft is so short, a 2.5″ lift or more will cause it to sit at a steep enough angle that the CV boots will be in a constant state of pinch. Sooner than later, this pinch will cause the boots to fail prematurely and that’ll leave the bearings inside to fry. Also, if you have a 4-door JL Wrangler and are running 3.5″ of lift or more, you may want to run a new rear driveshaft as well and mainly because the diameter of the rear factory shaft is so big, it’ll rub the side of your gas tank at a full flex. Because aftermarket driveshafts are made with thicker tubes, they can be made a lot narrower diameter and that goes a long way to help out in the clearance department. The same can be said up front as well especially if you’re running shocks that allow for big droop. The narrower diameter of an aftermarket driveshaft will do a much better job of clearing things like your skid bar and exhaust cross over.
As you can guess, the last two reasons are why Cindy and I decided to upgrade our JL Wrangler’s driveshafts to set of aftermarket, 1350 u-joint style double cardan driveshafts and in this episode of the JL JOURNAL, you’ll get to see what it takes to get them installed. As an added bonus, we also included the necessary steps of how to set your rear pinion angle after the install as well. We hope you find our video to be helpful to you and if you have any questions, please let us know.
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What Driveshaft Should You Get?
First off, I would highly recommend that you NOT waste your time with a set of 1310 driveshafts. As mentioned, the one and only u-joint that comes on the front driveshaft is a 1330 and is STRONGER than a 1310. If you’re going to make this upgrade, do yourself a favor and spend the extra money on a 1350. Second, I would recommend that you buy a driveshaft based on what u-joints it comes with and NOT necessarily based on brand. I personally prefer to use Neapco u-joints because they have always proven themselves to be strong and because they’re made in the U.S.A. A good alternative u-joint would be ones made by Spicer. I would also recommend that you NOT get u-joints that are greasable being that they are hollow and tend to be weaker.
With that said, I personally prefer to have custom shafts made by my local driveline shop. If you play as hard on the rocks as you think you do, a local shop is something you will be using on a regular basis to have your driveshafts re-balanced and/or rebuilt. That being said, I have run JE Reel shafts in the past and would highly recommend them. At the time we made this video, Cindy and I were down in the Vegas area and in a pinch for time so, we decided to buy a set of Adam’s Driveshafts and give them a try.
What You Will Need
• Rear Upper Adjustable Control Arms
• 13, 15, 18, 21, 22mm Sockets & Wrenches
• 9/16, 5/8″ Wrenches
• 8mm or 5/16″ Socket & Wrench (12 Point)
• 1-1/4″ Socket
• Torx T-50 Bit
• Short & Long Ratchet Extensions
• 200 Foot Pound Torque Wrench
• Fine Inch Pound Torque Wrench (Optional)
• Impact Wrench
• 3-Jaw Gear Puller
• Angle Finder
• Brass Hammer (Optional)
• Brass Punch
• 2 Lb. Hammer
• RTV Gasket Maker
• Red Locktite
• Gear Oil
• Floor Jack
• Jack Stands
• 1-1/2″ Wrench (EVO Jam Nuts) or Large Crescent Wrench
PLEASE NOTE: I have no illusions that there are a ton of people out there with a lot more experience than me. I would never pretend to know more than the next guy or to be some kind of an expert. Like all our videos, this one was made to simply show how I personally like to install my driveshafts and with the hopes that it might be able to help out others. If you disagree with my methods or know how to do it better, I would encourage you to make your own how to video so that I can learn from it.