If you take your rig on tough trails that test the limits of your rig, you likely want to use our list of best off-road axles to beef up your drivetrain. The addition of larger tires, heavier beadlock wheels, and overall vehicle weight from a plethora of accessories can put a tremendous amount of strain on your stock axles in high pressure situations. This is why our team of off-road experts has come up with a list of the best off-road axles for some of today’s more popular off-road vehicles.
The best off-road axles are needed if you’re a serious off-road enthusiast. You rely on your axles to get you through some of the toughest obstacles on the trail, and if you push their limits too far they’ll snap and make you an obstacle yourself. In this guide, we have put together a list of some of the best axles available for off-road vehicles so you and your machine can make it back home in one piece.
Lead photo by Justin Fort.
Table of contents
1. Yukon Gear & Axle for Jeep Wrangler JK
Over time, your axles may need to be replaced due to wear from extreme use. Thanks to Yukon, you can get new axles that are designed as an OEM replacement for your Jeep Wrangler. Yukon uses a dual heat-treating process that allows the axles to stand up to the most extreme conditions your ride is subject to, giving you 35 to 40% more strength over stock axle shafts. This is just what you want for taking your ride off-road and what you expect from the best off-road axles available.
2. Yukon Gear & Axle for Ford F-150
Yukon Gear & Axle delivers another high-quality general replacement with its high-performance axle for your Ford F-150. Made from high-quality alloys and using the latest in heat-treating technology, you’re getting a strong axle that is built for off-road action.
This Yukon C-clip axle uses 1541H alloy for the right-hand rear axle and measures a total length of 31-7/8 inches and 31 splines on an axle that exceeds the quality and reliability of what you’d find from an OEM axle at a great price.
Yukon also gives you a 10-year warranty that protects you against manufacturing defects. While it’s not a warranty covering breakage from extreme use, it is still great protection for a long period of time that can offer piece of mind.
3. Yukon Gear & Axle for Toyota Tacoma
If you like to take your Tacoma off-road, you’re going to need a durable axle that can withstand the wear and tear of off-road life. Yukon is known for its high-quality construction and components it uses in making some of the best off-road axles on the market. The high alloy steel used adds extra durability and strength to your axle, giving you additional support and strength, you need to tackle tough trails.
For the Toyota Tacoma, Yukon’s 29-1/4-inch axle shaft is precisely made to meet and exceed OE tolerances for a perfect fit to replace your OEM axle. Just like with all of the other axles on this list, the Yukon axles feature a 10 year warranty against manufacture defects so you’ll have less to worry about when punishing them on the trails.
4. Yukon Gear & Axle Spin Free Locking Hub Conversion Kit
If your rig features full-time 4WD and you’re going to bite the bullet by upgrading your stock axles to some of our recommended best off-road axles, you might also want to consider The Yukon Gear & Axle Spin Free Locking Hub Conversion Kit. Many of todays off-road vehicles feature a sealed front wheel bearing assembly, that when it fails, is expensive to replace. This kit replaces that sealed bearing unit with tapered bearings and races for easy servicing and low cost replacement when necessary.
This kit also comes with a set of WARN locking hubs that allow the front wheels to spin free of the drivetrain when not engaged. This reduces wear, improves fuel mileage and allows the installation of a mechanical front locker without any negative effects while driving on pavement. While it might be overkill for someone using their vehicle as a daily driver, it’s an extremely beneficial upgrade for the serious off-roader.
5. Yukon Gear & Axle Differential Gear Kits
If you’re putting so much stress on your drivetrain that you’re looking to replace the stock axles with one of our best off-road axles, you also might want to consider changing out your differential gears. Off-roaders who take on tough trails likely have increased their tire size from what came stock and this can put unnecessary strain on both your drivetrain and engine. Changing your gear ratio by swapping out your differential gears will decrease the strain you put on your rig, give you better gas mileage and make your off-road vehicle more capable on tough trails.
Since this is a complicated install, we suggest you reach out to a qualified mechanic to do the install. They will also help you decide which will be the best gear ratio that will compliment your tire size.
How do I know if my axles need to be replaced?
Under most circumstances, off-roaders find out they need to replace an axle when it’s already too late. They could be navigating a tough obstacle and then all of a sudden hear the axle snap making them an obstacle themselves. If you’re building up your trail rig and know what kind of stress you’ll be putting it under, it might be a good idea just to get this kind of upgrade out of the way.
I bought my trail rig used and when I tried to put in the axle that it called for, it doesn’t fit. What did I do wrong?
You might not have done anything wrong. When you buy off-road vehicles from private parties you need to make sure you know about all modifications that have been done. Many people don’t necessarily just upgrade the axle shafts, but they’ll completely replace the axle housings from a different vehicle.
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