Don’t Fear the Gear: Re-gearing the Differential
Re-gearing the differential of your vehicle after modifying it is probably the most overlooked modification. Why? It is a daunting task that many people do not want to chance, and the labor for it is expensive.
Another reason may be that it is hidden behind the differential cover, and is not an obvious modification, purely from a performance perspective. In an age of social media obsessions, a re-gear and lockers may be at the bottom of the list in the quest for more followers.
These days, OEM’s have been under incredible scrutiny by the Federal Government and from consumers themselves, to deliver better fuel economy in the face of rising energy costs. In turn, they have selected ratios for the transmission and differentials to maximize fuel economy, often at the cost of performance. This razor thin line of gear ratios for economy doesn’t leave much room left for larger diameter tires, or weighing it down with accessories to fit your needs. Because of that, a re-gear is ever more at the top of the list of modifications that should be done so that you can maximize the power-band of your engine, reduce stress on your transmission, and best of all – return your engine to the proper RPM range for fuel economy.
When attempting to decide what gear range you should select for your vehicle, consult forums for other owners who have already made the leap and get their feedback. Also consider the gear ratio compared to the stock tire size, and go off that. Re-gearing is not a one-size-fits-all scenario, and it will take some time to figure out what is the best fit for you.
While you’re at it, you may also want to consider adding differential lockers. While this is yet another expense to an already expensive modification, you won’t have to go back in later and be charged the same labor rate as a re-gear just to add lockers.
Check out this video from Victory 4×4 on the process of a ring and pinion replacement: