What are Axle Trusses?
Axle trusses are heavy gauged steel plated reinforcement braces that are welded along the span of the Jeep’s axle. They provide a substantial increase in overall rigidity and strength to the Jeep’s axles and C-yokes. These are typically points of the Jeep that take on the full weight and stress of the Jeep when off-roading and in some cases the full impact of the Jeep against trail obstacles. Some axle trusses also come equipped with polyurethane bushings that help with the overall transfer of impact and stability of the Jeep’s drivetrain.
Axles trusses are typically welded along the top portion of the axles and lead into C-Gussets that help reinforce the C-Yoke. Most installations of axle trusses are done with the axle completely removed from the Jeep. This allows the welding to be performed along the complete length of the trusses and axle. It also allows for proper preparation and painting afterward to avoid any possible corrosion of the trusses or axles themselves. Needless to say, the work involved is primarily labor intensive and will require several hours of labor charges if taken to a shop. The welding in particular is critical to the overall installation to ensure proper reinforcement of the axle and should be performed by a professional welder or off-road/truck shop.
What's the Purpose of Axle Trusses?
As discussed previously, axle trusses are designed to reinforce the Jeep’s axles and C-yokes. Under normal conditions these areas are very well engineered from the factory to provide reliable performance in light to mild off-road use. Stress and potential problems occur when you increase the overall size of the Jeep’s tire size and rotational mass, along with any added lift to accommodate the larger tires. The mass and weight of larger tires put a tremendous amount of stress on the axles and C-Yokes. If the tire size is large enough and the Jeep is frequently taken off-road, the stress on the axles and C-Yokes will cause them to bend and warp. C-Yokes in particular are more susceptible to these problems since they are open ended and the outmost point of the Jeep’s axle. The wheels are connected to the hubs that swivel on the C-Yokes, so these are critical components to the Jeep’s overall mobility. Failure within these parts would cause extensive amount of damage to the Jeep.
Common Axle Trusses for the TJ
Artec Industries is often considered one of the most commonly used vendors of axle trusses and C-gussets for the TJ. Their system is constructed from ¼-inch 10-gauge mild steel that has been CNC cut and bent for precise fitment. The fitment of axle trusses is critical to the overall success of the installation and performance. An improperly installed or poorly fitted axle truss could result in contact with the underbody or produce excessive wear of other parts. Artec trusses also come equipped with an optional polyurethane bushing to help with the overall vibration and impact absorption of the axle. In addition, to the general construction of the axle trusses, Artec’s design features a low profile to help with overall clearance. The trusses cover the length of the long and short side of the axle. The low-profile design is a major benefit of the Artec truss system, it allows the trusses to provide the increase in overall structure reinforcement, without the increase in bulk or mass that can otherwise affect the off-road performance of the Jeep.
Teraflex offers a rear 4-link triangulation axle truss system for TJ Wranglers. The truss is also constructed from ¼ inch steel, CNC cut and bent for a precise fit. The truss itself comes in a thick black powder-coated finish to help with the overall corrosion prevention. The truss is designed to be compatible with a Dana 44 rear axle, but can be modified to be used on a Dana 60 rear axle, giving you some level of flexibility according to your Jeep build. It’s important to note although the Teraflex truss system was designed for the Pro LCG suspension, it can still be used in most custom suspension applications. Proper planning and research should be done before installation to ensure the truss will be compatible with your Jeep’s suspension and any other modifications.
When to Upgrade Axle Trusses
An axle truss might seem like an excessive mod for some or a necessity for others. Generally, if you plan to run larger tires on your Jeep and plan on doing a good amount of off-roading along trails that require an excessive amount of articulation, axle trusses might be a good overall investment. If you plan on replacing your rear axle with a more robust Dana 60 axle, then an axle truss should be done before the axles are replaced. The relatively low cost in parts and ease of installation before the axle is installed on the Jeep, makes this modification an easy decision, especially when considering the added benefit in overall stability and reinforcement of the new axle investment. If you plan on maintaining the factory tire size and driving on light to moderate trails, then axle trusses might be too excessive. The labor and work involved to remove the axle and weld the trusses in place will outweigh the overall use and benefits of the system on a stock Jeep. Ultimately, like most other modifications for your Jeep, the decision is primarily based on your intended use and general plans for your Jeep.
Fitment includes: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, SE, Sport, Sahara, Islander, Renegade, RioGrande, X, Rubicon, Unlimited, YJ, TJ, JK, KL