Get into the power band
By the Staff of 4Low Magazine
Originally Published in Issue 24 of 4Low Magazine
When building your rig, no matter what kind of rig you are building, upgrading the gear ratio in the axles is very important. Increasing tire size is a standard modification, when you do, it changes the ratio between your speed and engine rotation. This change makes it more difficult to get to your engine’s power band when you need it most. Factory vehicle engineers choose gear ratios and tires sizes to best fit into the engines power band. Nitro Gear & Axle has gears available for most vehicle applications to best match your vehicles tire size to the engine rotation to be able to access the engine power band. Their knowledgeable staff is available to help you best choose the right ratio for you. If you are building a rock crawler you are going to want a lower gear ratio to be able to get to your power at a slower speed. For a tow rig, you might not be changing tire size, but if you are always towing it can help to match your ratio to the weight to make it easier to haul.
On a trip around the Pacific Northwest, we decided to stop in to check out what Nitro Gear & Axle has going on. Their warehouse is located in a beautiful small town in central Washington – Cashmere. Nitro Gear & Axle was founded in late 2005 by Jeremy Ayers and Carl Montoya as an online retailer JT’s Parts & Accessories. With their years of experience in the differential industry, they focused on providing knowledgeable customer service and quality parts. The natural progression was setting up gears and doing installs for their local community. They had great success and were able to expand. By using their knowledge of the industry they were able to work with the same manufacturers who build the OEM gears to produce gears that other aftermarket manufacturers were not.
The first big product they developed was the 4.88 gears for the late model 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, GX470, and Tacoma. They found a niche in the Toyota world but also manufacture gears for many other applications that were not readily available. They now have gears for just about every vehicle you could want. Nitro Gear have gear putting down top times on drag strips, winning the hardest off-road races and helping crawlers across the country climb huge obstacles. They, again, took their success of being the go-to quality gear manufacturer and expanded into Chromoly axles, one part number install kits, spools, lockers, diff covers and more. They now have a second distribution center in Atlanta, GA giving them standard ground two-day shipping for most of the lower 48. Their two warehouses are always stocked with not only the gears and axle they manufacture but also top 4×4 accessories. Included are ARB lifts and lockers, Eaton-Detroit lockers, Icon Vehicle Dynamics suspension, TJM lifts, and lockers and much more.
QUALITY THAT MATTERS
Setting up gears is not an easy install, it requires special tools and knowledge to do it correctly. It is not something you ever want to do twice. This is why Nitro Gear & Axle goes above and beyond to make sure their gear sets are the best quality they can produce. Their gears are manufactured in the same factories that manufacture the original factory gears for most major vehicle manufacturers. Every step of manufacture has multiple points of quality control, from the time they are engineered to the material used to cutting and heat treating. They are checked, then re-checked, then they arrive at Nitro Gear & Axle’s Research and Development department, where the gears are checked for fit and finish. They install and test the gears to make sure they fit each application properly and perform correctly. They make sure the gear set up with ease, fit into the axle housing without excessive modification, and they run without excessive noise. That is one of the greatest advantages to having the gears manufactured in an OEM factory, producing quiet running gears that last. Nitro Gear & Axle was also one of the first companies to have a one part number system. With one click on their website, you can get everything you need for your installation. The correct gears for front and rear of the rig, all the carrier bearings, pinion bearings, and shims. There is no need to make sure you are ordering the right install kit with your gears because they have taken all the guesswork out. Of course, all their kits use only the best KOYO bearings and quality parts. Then if you ever have a question about your install the Nitro Gear & Axle team is there to help you out.
WHY WE COME BACK TO NITRO TIME AND TIME AGAIN
Nitro Gear & Axle is always there for us with their friendly knowledgeable staff and reliable products that keep us on the trails. When a new vehicle comes out we know that Nitro Gear & Axle is on top of it to offer a new gear set for it soon. We have never had any issues with any of the gear sets we have installed over the years. When it was time to change gear ratios on a Toyota 4th Gen 4Runner with a V8 running 33″ tires, they walked us through our options and helped us out by getting a set of 4.56 gears. This vehicle is being set up for overlanding travel but also pulls a heavy travel trailer. Our options with 33″ tires were between 4.56 or 4.88 gears, while 4.88 gear would be good for a trail rig and give us more access to the power at slower speed, we decided to go with 4.56 gears because of the long distance travel and on-road miles we do. The gears set up with ease and work great with no noise coming from the drive train. We made sure to follow the gear break-in period because if that is ignored or skipped your gear will fail. The gears need time to set into each other before normal use.
GIVE THEM A CALL
If you are modifying your rig and changing tires sizes you should change your gear ratio to match. You have spent a lot of time and money on other modifications don’t skip one of the more important modifications just because others cannot see it from the outside. Your rig will drive and perform much better when your ratios are properly matched up.