Why the 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Is Switching to a Full-Float Rear Axle
It all comes down to toughness on the trail.
There's so much jargon in the off-road space that it sounds like another language sometimes. "Does your rig have an e-locker? NV241 or MP3022? Dana 44 or Dana 60?" Now, there's another term to memorize if you're new to the world of Jeep Wranglers: full-float rear axle.
Such equipment is now standard on the 2024 model year Rubicon, Rubicon X, and Rubicon 392. Plainly put, the new Dana 44 HD is a tougher piece of kit that's less likely to break on the trail. This is thanks to its full-float design which is inherently better at handling twisting, heavy loads.
As Jeep boasts in its press release, these types of straight axles are commonly found in commercial vehicles. They've also been a popular upgrade in the light-duty space for years. The full-float name stems from its layout, which features a wheel hub assembly that's entirely separate from the axle shaft. This is a good thing because that means the axle shaft only has to deal with torsional loads while the axle tube manages the weight of the vehicle; in a semi-float design, the axle shaft is responsible for both.
Because the rear axle is that much more durable, it's also better suited for upsized tires. The Rubicon X and Rubicon 392 already ride on 35s from the factory, but if you're itching to toss on 37s, the axle shouldn't be the limiting factor. It wouldn't be surprising if those fit without any suspension mods, and given the Rubicon lineup's rear axle ratio of 4.10, 4.56, and 4.88, it's not like they'll have problems turning them.
Not only does the full-float layout increase resilience but also the towing capacity. 2024 Wrangler Rubicons with the 3.6-liter V6 or 2.0-liter turbo and automatic transmission can pull 5,000 pounds, up significantly from the outgoing model's 3,500-pound limit. It's worth noting that the Ford Bronco maxes out at 4,000 pounds of towing in Raptor guise. Without that, it's 3,500. This seems like an upgrade worth making, then.
Last but not least, full-float axles also make for simpler repairs on the trail. You can replace a snapped axle shaft while keeping the tire on the ground because the wheel mounts to the spindle on the separate hub assembly. I don't need to tell you why ease of maintenance is important when you're a thousand miles from nowhere.
This is just one upgrade to the 2024 Wrangler lineup, but it's an important one. It's clear that Jeep knows its customer base, and this is just the latest example of factory Wranglers running 4x4 equipment that people used to buy on the aftermarket. Don't worry, though, because there will always be plenty of mods for these trail rigs.
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