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Discussion Starter #1
Ive seen a few threads on the matter but never any really solid info. I know most people say its better to just get 4wd to begin with, and while I agree I have seen some killer deals on 2wd JKUs.
Im dieing to get my a 4dr wrangler but the cheapest 4x4 I have seen is in the 19k+ range. Where as I have seen some 2x4 Saharas for like $14k (I think one even less than that).

My question is can I swap to 4wd on a budget or maybe $2k using take off parts? I would imagine (or hope) that there is a pretty decent supply of take off front axles from everyone upgrading. What I dont know about is the cost of the other parts required.

Lastly, can this be done without a lift? If its something my dad and I could do in a weekend than I might consider it. If not, any idea what it would cost to have a shop do it?
 

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Yes, it is doable. You would need a transfer case, new front driveshaft, possibly a new rear driveshaft and, of course, a new fully-loaded front axle. The suspension setup is the same, no need for any lift specific to going from 2WD to 4WD.

Cost? Depends on where you get the parts. New driveshafts can run from $600 to $1,500+ for the pair. Front axles from maybe $500 for a used D30 up to over $4k for a new Prorock or Rockjock Dana 44 everything you need. Transfer case used runs from $600 for the 2.72:1 to $1,600 for the 4:1 Rubi t-case. As always these are typical prices, you might find better deals if you are patient, or worse if you aren't. Also factor in shipping if needed.

Installing these parts yourself isn't too difficult if you've got mechanical skills and a couple of friends to help move the heavy pieces around. Probably a full day of shop time if you pay to have it done.

Unless you DIY and get good deals on parts local to save shipping, it is probably more economical to find a 4WD model.
 

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If you're just gonna do a D30/D44 up front, a stock case, and stock driveshaft, then just buy a 4x4.

If you're planning on a one ton axle setup, huge tires, Atlas t-case, and HD driveshafts, then go with the 4x2 and do it right the first time.

I bought a new Rubicon back in 2009. I got a great deal on it... around $24kish after TT&L, but if I'd known I'd build the Jeep so big, so soon, I'd have bought a 2wd and started from scratch. Probably could've saved a few grand up front. I did sell the stock axles from the Rubicon and I got plenty of use out of the 4:1 case before I broke it, but still think I'd have been ahead of the game (knowing what I know now) if I'd have gotten a 2wd.

Granted, there's no way I could've done all the work myself so I'd have had to factor in that part, too, but it's definitely something to consider.
 

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This is one that unless you can do all the work yourself, you are better off buying the 4x4.

However, if you can handle the labor and if you want to use stock parts, you can do it for less than $2000. I see new take off stuff here on craigslist all the time.

So if you can save $3-4000 on purchase price and then swap stuff over, you will be money ahead. But it will be a pain in the butt doing it.
 

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ok major dumb question time and I apologize if its a hijack but: can you put a rear locker in a non 4wd? might be achepare way to go:dunno::maggie:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is one that unless you can do all the work yourself, you are better off buying the 4x4.

However, if you can handle the labor and if you want to use stock parts, you can do it for less than $2000. I see new take off stuff here on craigslist all the time.

So if you can save $3-4000 on purchase price and then swap stuff over, you will be money ahead. But it will be a pain in the butt doing it.
Thats kinda what I was thinking.
Ive never messed with axles before but I have no problem doing the work myself as long as I have an idea of what I need to be doing. My dad is a mechanic (airline, but knows plenty about cars) so I could easily get some help with it.
While I would prefer to buy a 4x4 and be done with it, Im having trouble finding what i want at the price I want. I have seen a few 2x4s that were VERY cheap so the idea kinda jumps out at me as a possible solution.



The link posted helps too, I havent seen that thread before. Everyone I saw mentioned parts but having the actual part numbers helps a good bit.
 

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I have seen a few 2x4s that were VERY cheap...
Lowe's has 2x4's for about $2 and Home Depot should be close to the same... :thankyou::thefinger:

Anyway, a 4x2 is obviously a consideration. If you're not talking about doing alot of work (just adding stock axles, etc.), though, the labor isn't that intensive.
 

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swapping out an axle can be done in your garage with hand tools, some lifting device (floor jack) and a good friend. its not difficult at all. the hardest part is dealing with the bulk and heaviness of the axle.
 
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