• Want to add an app icon for this forum to your mobile device's home screen? Check out this thread to see how.
  • Have an event you want to share? Check out the new forum event calendar and how-to use it in this thread here.
  • To both new members and existing members, please read this thread about posting your topics in the correct sub-forum. It makes my job (and my life) a lot easier!

Advice Needed: Choosing a Manual Locking Hub Conversion Kit

Mr. Bills

TJ Addict
Nov 24, 2017
1,362
Area Code 530
I need advice on choosing a manual locking hub conversion kit.

I have no patience for chasing the high speed vibration/harmonic that I have been experiencing since I re-geared my ’06 LJ Rubicon with 42RLE transmission, 241OR transfer cIase and 35” tires to 5.38:1. Adjusting pinion angles reduced the vibration down to a minor annoyance, at the expense of caster angle, so I have decided to convert to manual hubs to eliminate the vibration, restore caster, and get on with life.

There appear to be four commercially available choices:

Alloy USA - , $1,556.
http://www.alloyusa.com/alloy-usa-12195.html

Solid Axle SpynTec Conversion Kit, P/N SAI-SAST-TJ, uses 5 x 5 ½ lug pattern and modified CJ-7 rotors, $1,450.00.
https://www.polyperformance.com/solid-axle-industries-88-07-jeep-tj-yj-xj-spyntec-conversion-kit-sast-tj

Yukon Spin Free Locking Hub Conversion Kit, P/N YA WU-07, retains 5 x 4 ½ lug pattern, $1,236.
https://www.yukongear.com/productdetails.aspx?ProdID=9897

Yukon Spin Free Locking Hub Conversion Kit with 5 x 5 ½ lug pattern, P/N YA WU-08 $1,319.
https://www.yukongear.com/productdetails.aspx?ProdID=9757

Edit: Late addition to list, thanks to @AndyG:

The Ram Man, Inc. 1999-2006 Jeep Wrangler 4X4 Unit Bearing Locking Hub Kit, SKU 000345, $1,795.
http://therammaninc.com/products/shop_view/1999-2006-JEEP-WRANGLER-4X4-UNIT-BEARING-LOCKING-HUB-KIT-345


The Alloy USA version can be crossed off the list without another thought because the product literature states that this product is unsuitable for tires larger than 33” or axles with lockers.

The Spyn Tec kit may or may not still be available. It was brought to market shortly after Warn discontinued its hub conversion kit and before Yukon released their kits. There is not much information on the Internet about this product and no compelling reason I can find for going this direction rather than the more popular Yukon products. Speak up if you disagree.

As for the two Yukon kits, on a recent run with another jeep club from the Northern California coast it was suggested that I limit my consideration to the YA WU-08 kit that converts to the 5" x 5 1/2" lug pattern because it is stronger. One of their members had the smaller hubs on her TJ and had broken one on the trail a few years before. Whatever the issue was had obviously been resolved because she was still running those hubs. I believe she had 35” mud tires but I cannot recall for sure.

My general inclination is always to go for the heavier duty part, which in this case is the YA WU-08 kit that converts to a 5 x 5 ½ lug pattern and only costs $83 more, but it is actually over $2,500 more because I would also have to buy five new wheels and five new tires that I would not need to purchase if I keep the 5 x 4 ½ lug pattern. That’s a much tougher decision

Here is what I would like to know from the professional fabricators and builders on this forum and those of us who actually own either the Yukon YA WU-07 or YA WU-08 hubs or have worked on them:

1. Will the Explorer-style hubs used with the Yukon YA WU-07 5 x 4 1.2 kit stand up to 35” tires and a locker on moderate trails? How about Moab slickrock? Occasional forays onto trails such as the Slickrock, Rubicon and Fordyce Creek trails in NorCal? The John Bull Trail in SoCal? [I will never take this jeep on one of the Hammer trails, but if the smaller hubs can or cannot survive Johnson Valley it would be nice to know that too.]

2. For those of you who have broken the smaller YA WU-07 hub or related parts, or have repaired same, was the repair a relatively simple hub replacement in the field or was it a “big deal.” If a big deal, please describe. Did it resolve the problem? If not, why not?

3. For those of you who have broken the smaller YA WU-07 hub or related parts, or have repaired same, what did the repair cost? Have you been required to make more than one repair?

4. If you have the smaller Yukon hubs and are running a locker and 35” tires do you have any regrets? If so, what are they?

5. General pros and cons of the YA WU-07 5 x 4 ½ kit?

6. General pros and cons of the larger YA WU-08 5 x 5 ½ kit?

7. For those of you who believe the larger YA WU-08 kit is the only way to go and worth the $2,500 additional cost for new wheels and tires, what is the basis for your opinion?


Obviously, I’m trying to avoid buying new wheels and tires if I can but I don’t want to be foolish. Conversely, one can replace quite a few manual hubs for that money. On my CJ I blew a few hubs over the years (3-4, both Warn and Superwinch) but the total cost for the replacements probably wouldn’t add up to the cost of one wheel and one tire and the inconvenience was relatively minor in retrospect. I’m wondering if that would be the case with the smaller Yukon hubs and 4 x 4 ½ lug pattern or if they are “time bombs waiting to explode” with my factory lockers and 35” tires.

Help me find the “proper” balance.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Boinked

TJ Addict
Jul 7, 2018
2,539
Mesa,az
My search skills suck. But i remember a thread and someone blowing up a set of manual hubs. I can't find it. But maybe @Chris will remember
 

AndyG

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Jul 30, 2018
2,516
Alabama
Look up "the ramman" and watch his 12 minute video.

He makes a manual hubs with Timken bearings and larger stub axles .

They run a little higher , but if you are going to do it , it may be worth checking out.
 
OP
Mr. Bills

Mr. Bills

TJ Addict
Nov 24, 2017
1,362
Area Code 530
Look up "the ramman" and watch his 12 minute video.

He makes a manual hubs with Timken bearings and larger stub axles .

They run a little higher , but if you are going to do it , it may be worth checking out.
Very interesting. I'll have to add them to the list. Based on his You Tube videos the company owner is a character to say the least, but he's my kind of guy.

Here is the link to the website:

http://therammaninc.com/products/shop_view/1999-2006-JEEP-WRANGLER-4X4-UNIT-BEARING-LOCKING-HUB-KIT-345

Does anyone have familiarity with these? @mrblaine?

Pros/cons?

Will they stand up to 35" tires and lockers?
 
Last edited:

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,910
San Francisco, CA, USA
I read somewhere that the Yukon bought the rights to make them from Warn when Warn stopped making them. Most people speak positively of the Warn hubs. However, I don't have first had experience with any hubs.
 

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,910
San Francisco, CA, USA
Following. Would also like to know what obstacles one will face if you have a BBK.
That’s a good point, I’m planning on getting the Super 16, but I know @mrblaine has talked about manual hubs removing the vibes (and I’m sure he’s installed them with BBK)

I’m hoping I don’t need manual hubs when I regear.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bobthetj03

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,889
Quail Valley, CA
That’s a good point, I’m planning on getting the Super 16, but I know @mrblaine has talked about manual hubs removing the vibes (and I’m sure he’s installed them with BBK)

I’m hoping I don’t need manual hubs when I regear.
I need a spindle, bearing hub, bearings, and spindle nuts and I can make the small kit work with the 15-16 and Super 16" kit most likely. I haven't done a small 17, but lots of large kit 17's. It's just some minor machine work to the rotor, fitment to check everything and I make it all play nicely together.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tomtaylz

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,889
Quail Valley, CA
I need advice on choosing a manual locking hub conversion kit.

I have no patience for chasing the high speed vibration/harmonic that I have been experiencing since I re-geared my ’06 LJ Rubicon with 42RLE transmission, 241OR transfer cIase and 35” tires to 5.38:1. Adjusting pinion angles reduced the vibration down to a minor annoyance, at the expense of caster angle, so I have decided to convert to manual hubs to eliminate the vibration, restore caster, and get on with life.

There appear to be four commercially available choices:

Alloy USA - , $1,556.
http://www.alloyusa.com/alloy-usa-12195.html

Solid Axle SpynTec Conversion Kit, P/N SAI-SAST-TJ, uses 5 x 5 ½ lug pattern and modified CJ-7 rotors, $1,450.00.
https://www.polyperformance.com/solid-axle-industries-88-07-jeep-tj-yj-xj-spyntec-conversion-kit-sast-tj

Yukon Spin Free Locking Hub Conversion Kit, P/N YA WU-07, retains 5 x 4 ½ lug pattern, $1,236.
https://www.yukongear.com/productdetails.aspx?ProdID=9897

Yukon Spin Free Locking Hub Conversion Kit with 5 x 5 ½ lug pattern, P/N YA WU-08 $1,319.
https://www.yukongear.com/productdetails.aspx?ProdID=9757

Edit: Late addition to list, thanks to @AndyG:

The Ram Man, Inc. 1999-2006 Jeep Wrangler 4X4 Unit Bearing Locking Hub Kit, SKU 000345, $1,795.
http://therammaninc.com/products/shop_view/1999-2006-JEEP-WRANGLER-4X4-UNIT-BEARING-LOCKING-HUB-KIT-345


The Alloy USA version can be crossed off the list without another thought because the product literature states that this product is unsuitable for tires larger than 33” or axles with lockers.

The Spyn Tec kit may or may not still be available. It was brought to market shortly after Warn discontinued its hub conversion kit and before Yukon released their kits. There is not much information on the Internet about this product and no compelling reason I can find for going this direction rather than the more popular Yukon products. Speak up if you disagree.

As for the two Yukon kits, on a recent run with another jeep club from the Northern California coast it was suggested that I limit my consideration to the YA WU-08 kit that converts to the 5" x 5 1/2" lug pattern because it is stronger. One of their members had the smaller hubs on her TJ and had broken one on the trail a few years before. Whatever the issue was had obviously been resolved because she was still running those hubs. I believe she had 35” mud tires but I cannot recall for sure.

My general inclination is always to go for the heavier duty part, which in this case is the YA WU-08 kit that converts to a 5 x 5 ½ lug pattern and only costs $83 more, but it is actually over $2,500 more because I would also have to buy five new wheels and five new tires that I would not need to purchase if I keep the 5 x 4 ½ lug pattern. That’s a much tougher decision

Here is what I would like to know from the professional fabricators and builders on this forum and those of us who actually own either the Yukon YA WU-07 or YA WU-08 hubs or have worked on them:

1. Will the Explorer-style hubs used with the Yukon YA WU-07 5 x 4 1.2 kit stand up to 35” tires and a locker on moderate trails? How about Moab slickrock? Occasional forays onto trails such as the Slickrock, Rubicon and Fordyce Creek trails in NorCal? The John Bull Trail in SoCal? [I will never take this jeep on one of the Hammer trails, but if the smaller hubs can or cannot survive Johnson Valley it would be nice to know that too.]

2. For those of you who have broken the smaller YA WU-07 hub or related parts, or have repaired same, was the repair a relatively simple hub replacement in the field or was it a “big deal.” If a big deal, please describe. Did it resolve the problem? If not, why not?

3. For those of you who have broken the smaller YA WU-07 hub or related parts, or have repaired same, what did the repair cost? Have you been required to make more than one repair?

4. If you have the smaller Yukon hubs and are running a locker and 35” tires do you have any regrets? If so, what are they?

5. General pros and cons of the YA WU-07 5 x 4 ½ kit?

6. General pros and cons of the larger YA WU-08 5 x 5 ½ kit?

7. For those of you who believe the larger YA WU-08 kit is the only way to go and worth the $2,500 additional cost for new wheels and tires, what is the basis for your opinion?


Obviously, I’m trying to avoid buying new wheels and tires if I can but I don’t want to be foolish. Conversely, one can replace quite a few manual hubs for that money. On my CJ I blew a few hubs over the years (3-4, both Warn and Superwinch) but the total cost for the replacements probably wouldn’t add up to the cost of one wheel and one tire and the inconvenience was relatively minor in retrospect. I’m wondering if that would be the case with the smaller Yukon hubs and 4 x 4 ½ lug pattern or if they are “time bombs waiting to explode” with my factory lockers and 35” tires.

Help me find the “proper” balance.

Thanks.
You should copy and paste my reply over here. ;)
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
37,235
Salem, Oregon
At some point I would like a manual locking hub conversion for mine as well, which is outfitted with Blaine’s 17” brake kit. If I can’t get rid of the vibrations like I suspect I won’t be able to, this may be the solution.
 

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,727
NorCal
I need a spindle, bearing hub, bearings, and spindle nuts and I can make the small kit work with the 15-16 and Super 16" kit most likely. I haven't done a small 17, but lots of large kit 17's. It's just some minor machine work to the rotor, fitment to check everything and I make it all play nicely together.
This is good news. I suspect this will be my only option to eliminate my vibes if nothing else I've tried works.
 
OP
Mr. Bills

Mr. Bills

TJ Addict
Nov 24, 2017
1,362
Area Code 530
You should copy and paste my reply over here. ;)
Will do. Here it is, with the format edited a bit to make it easier to read the most relevant parts.

Mr. Bills said:
1. Will the Explorer-style hubs used with the Yukon YA WU-07 5 x 4 1.2 kit stand up to 35” tires and a locker on moderate trails? How about Moab slickrock? Occasional forays onto trails such as the Slickrock, Rubicon and Fordyce Creek trails in NorCal? The John Bull Trail in SoCal? [I will never take this jeep on one of the Hammer trails, but if the smaller hubs can or cannot survive Johnson Valley it would be nice to know that too.]
mrblaine said:
We have run lots of both sizes of the Warn kits. The Warn Ranger hub will work most of the time in JV. We break them once in awhile, only being dumb usually does it. Simple fix most of the time, carry a spare.
[
2. For those of you who have broken the smaller YA WU-07 hub or related parts, or have repaired same, was the repair a relatively simple hub replacement in the field or was it a “big deal.” If a big deal, please describe. Did it resolve the problem? If not, why not?
mrblaine said:
Typically, no issues. But, we found that unless you ran 30 spline inners, you could break a couple of hubs and then it was highly likely that the inner would be the next break.
3. For those of you who have broken the smaller YA WU-07 hub or related parts, or have repaired same, what did the repair cost? Have you been required to make more than one repair?
mrblaine said:
Cost of the hub a few times, then an inner 27 spline shaft a few times, no broken inners with 30 spline shafts.
4. If you have the smaller Yukon hubs and are running a locker and 35” tires do you have any regrets? If so, what are they?
mrblaine said:
Run both, installed both, wheeled tons with both. No regrets with the smaller version in JV except that sometimes rocks smear the locking knob.
7. For those of you who believe the larger YA WU-08 kit is the only way to go and worth the $2,500 additional cost for new wheels and tires, what is the basis for your opinion?
mrblaine said:
Folks may try and make the bigger kit better for some reason. The only reason it could be construed as "better" is the hub can be replaced with a drive slug if you break too many. It uses the same bearings, seals, spindle nuts and spindle as the smaller one with one minor exception. The bearings are about 1/4" further apart.

There isn't enough performance increase to warrant the money for rims and I don't know why you can't run the same times on a 5 on 5.5 BC rim?
 
OP
Mr. Bills

Mr. Bills

TJ Addict
Nov 24, 2017
1,362
Area Code 530
To @mrblaine:

@AndyG has provided the website for an outfit in Ft. Worth that markets a modified Timken unit bearing with manual hub. It appears to be a very easy install that retains the factory ABS, brakes, rotors, etc.

http://therammaninc.com/products/sh...WRANGLER-4X4-UNIT-BEARING-LOCKING-HUB-KIT-345

Any thoughts on these? In particular, any opinion on whether they would stand up to 35" tires and lockers? [27 spline outer I believe]

Perhaps one or more of the Black Magic BBK's might work with this hub conversion kit without any additional machining or modification of parts? The prospect of that combination intrigues me and I wouldn't be adverse to becoming a guinea pig if the engineering is sound.
 
Last edited:

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,889
Quail Valley, CA
To @mrblaine:

@AndyG has provided the website for an outfit in Ft. Worth that markets a modified Timken unit bearing with manual hub. It appears to be a very easy install that retains the factory ABS, brakes, rotors, etc.

http://therammaninc.com/products/sh...WRANGLER-4X4-UNIT-BEARING-LOCKING-HUB-KIT-345

Any thoughts on these? In particular, any opinion on whether they would stand up to 35" tires and lockers? [27 spline outer I believe]

The slight increase in cost over the small size Yukon hubs would probably be offset by savings in install labor (and might even be easy enough for an amateur shadetree mechanic like me to do myself.) I like the idea of readily available off-the-shelf replacement parts.

It is an intriguing product but largely unknown because it is a small company that gears its marketing more toward full size pickups. However, that wouldn't stop me from being a guinea pig if the engineering is sound. Some great ideas have come from small shops.
The strength looks fine. I do have some questions about the 2 piece stub shaft and how they retain the stub in the yoke and whether it is heat treated as an assembly. The labor cost shouldn't be a factor and they make it sound much harder than it really is. Can you swap a unit bearing? If so, you can install a hub kit.

There is no ABS unit bearing for the TJ. I'd like to know what one they are using first before I say much else.
 
OP
Mr. Bills

Mr. Bills

TJ Addict
Nov 24, 2017
1,362
Area Code 530
The strength looks fine. I do have some questions about the 2 piece stub shaft and how they retain the stub in the yoke and whether it is heat treated as an assembly. The labor cost shouldn't be a factor and they make it sound much harder than it really is. Can you swap a unit bearing? If so, you can install a hub kit.

There is no ABS unit bearing for the TJ. I'd like to know what one they are using first before I say much else.
Then I will telephone him on Monday and try to ask the right questions. I'll communicate his answers to you "off line."
 

AndyG

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Jul 30, 2018
2,516
Alabama
Keep us posted all the way. Seems like freeing it all up would have some benefits....I realize it’s been debated.
 

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,889
Quail Valley, CA
Keep us posted all the way. Seems like freeing it all up would have some benefits....I realize it’s been debated.
The only debate is from those who don't have a kit who don't want to believe those who do.

Some of that is also on the site for the unit bearing kit. You will never recover the cost of that kit with the .01% increase in fuel mileage savings it will net.

Go read any of the high mileage TJ threads. It is common for folks to get 150, 200, 250,000 miles on a TJ. Do you see them complaining that they wish they had something to stop them from wearing out the front end components that hub kit promoters tout as a huge benefit? No you don't because it really isn't a problem that needs to be fixed and certainly not one you would toss 2 grand at.

The other side of that is one of the main benefits folks would use to justify the kit is to get rid of the non serviceable unit bearings and replace it with something that could be rebuilt or maintained. Now what?

A hub kit has a few nice benefits. Being able to stop the front driveshaft from spinning is the only one that makes one worth getting.
 

mrblaine

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Nov 20, 2015
4,889
Quail Valley, CA
Then I will telephone him on Monday and try to ask the right questions. I'll communicate his answers to you "off line."
Being the curious person that I am, I dug around some and found this after it occurred to me that there are only going to be a few locking hub bodies that fit through the small hole in a 5 on 4.5" rim. I also was very curious about the hub that has ABS and is held together by something other than the stub shaft.

All of that pointed to the Ford Ranger.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E1SNDVU/?tag=wranglerorg-20

I know nothing other than similarities in appearance and I'm assuming nothing.