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View Full Version : Orion 4:1 vs. Stock 3 speed and Rock Box


FJBRADY
03-15-2010, 10:59 AM
I ran in to an issue with my set up in Moab this weekend.

I have a 350 going to a SM420 to a stock 3 speed Toy transfer case with an Advanced Adapters Rock Box/Splitter.

The rock box kept slipping out of the High position on declines. To solve I used a bungy cord to hold the rock box in the high position. I have a fluid leak again which I have been battling on and off for months now. I do believe the stock transfer case is a week link as well.

So I spoke to AA and they mentioned the Orion to me. 4:1 transfer case thus eliminating the stock t-case and rock box. I either patch together what I have or spring for the orion pre CM10.

What do you think? Comments?...........and if you thinking I am going to get rid of the V8, no dice!

I need something reliable, since I can't afford a tow rig this year, and ability to crawl when needed. :ranger:

MDH33
03-15-2010, 11:02 AM
If you have the cash for the Orion, I would go that route. :thumb:

LARGEONE
03-15-2010, 12:06 PM
X2, what Martin said.

But it's not cheap. Also, wouldn't it change your drive shaft lengths adding more cost?

FJBRADY
03-15-2010, 12:11 PM
If you have the cash for the Orion, I would go that route. :thumb:

Just did my taxes so it's all good.

X2, what Martin said.

Also, wouldn't it change your drive shaft lengths adding more cost?

Yes it would.

I have a PM into Robbie to see what he thinks and to see if he has the time to make it work before CM10.

Uncle Ben
03-15-2010, 12:30 PM
I ran in to an issue with my set up in Moab this weekend.

I have a 350 going to a SM420 to a stock 3 speed Toy transfer case with an Advanced Adapters Rock Box/Splitter.

The rock box kept slipping out of the High position on declines. To solve I used a bungy cord to hold the rock box in the high position. I have a fluid leak again which I have been battling on and off for months now. I do believe the stock transfer case is a week link as well.

So I spoke to AA and they mentioned the Orion to me. 4:1 transfer case thus eliminating the stock t-case and rock box. I either patch together what I have or spring for the orion pre CM10.

What do you think? Comments?...........and if you thinking I am going to get rid of the V8, no dice!

I need something reliable, since I can't afford a tow rig this year, and ability to crawl when needed. :ranger:

You need to put in a heavier detant spring in the Rock Box and your leak is normal for anyone using a propeller type cross-member! Switching to the Orion is a good choice but you will still have the same leak problem after while unless a different transfer/transmission support is created plus your torsional cross member has already been removed. You will also need new drive-shafts made if your dumping the Rock Box. Additional considerations are using the 420 and Orion W/O Rock Box will lose 1.5" if clearance as the Orion will need to be clocked downward so the front U-joint will clear the reverse hump in the transmission. Switching to a 465 transmission will gain you back the 1.5" lost but will require a different bell housing. Rock Boxes are good but AA really short changed the Cruiser world when the created the poorly designed propeller cross-member and to this date they still recommend it. Something has to give when your frame is X'ed as you have already discovered by the cracks on the solid welded front cross-member and your leaks. Another possible solution if you want the Orion without the Rock Box and would not like to lose 1.5" of clearance is by using the 6.5" long AA adapter rather than the 3/4" plate adapter. You will still need to create a cross-member that will support while allowing frame flex but you can probably re use your same driveshafts

FJBRADY
03-15-2010, 01:01 PM
You need to put in a heavier detant spring in the Rock Box and your leak is normal for anyone using a propeller type cross-member! Switching to the Orion is a good choice but you will still have the same leak problem after while unless a different transfer/transmission support is created plus your torsional cross member has already been removed. You will also need new drive-shafts made if your dumping the Rock Box. Additional considerations are using the 420 and Orion W/O Rock Box will lose 1.5" if clearance as the Orion will need to be clocked downward so the front U-joint will clear the reverse hump in the transmission. Switching to a 465 transmission will gain you back the 1.5" lost but will require a different bell housing. Rock Boxes are good but AA really short changed the Cruiser world when the created the poorly designed propeller cross-member and to this date they still recommend it. Something has to give when your frame is X'ed as you have already discovered by the cracks on the solid welded front cross-member and your leaks. Another possible solution if you want the Orion without the Rock Box and would not like to lose 1.5" of clearance is by using the 6.5" long AA adapter rather than the 3/4" plate adapter. You will still need to create a cross-member that will support while allowing frame flex but you can probably re use your same driveshafts

Kevin,

This is good stuff. I like the idea of welding in the torsion bar for frame longevity, as it stands the rock box/disk E brake is in the way.

So if I keep the SM420 and go with the Orion, order the 6.5" adapter plate, I can reuse my driveshafts?
I need to address the propeller crossmember support. Does AA have something else or is there somebody else who does?

nakman
03-15-2010, 01:07 PM
My only comment is why don't you just take the FJ Cruiser to Cruise Moab.. I don't know how much time & $$ you have available between now & then but this is sounding like more than you could piece together in a couple weekends.. and worth taking more time to get it all done right? You don't want to be booty fabbing something up just because you've got a trip to leave for.. especially at this level. JMHO... :)

FJBRADY
03-15-2010, 01:14 PM
My only comment is why don't you just take the FJ Cruiser to Cruise Moab.. I don't know how much time & $$ you have available between now & then but this is sounding like more than you could piece together in a couple weekends.. and worth taking more time to get it all done right? You don't want to be booty fabbing something up just because you've got a trip to leave for.. especially at this level. JMHO... :)

Noted.....I have gone back and forth on that very subject this morning. I have now driven both at Moab and the 40 is a blast, but a chore to drive to Moab. I bought the 40 for Moab and summertime fun here in CO. I need to see if I can pull this off time wise or it will be moot for CM10 and I will be bombing Moab in the FJC ala C. Davis.....unfortunately on 33's!

MDH33
03-15-2010, 01:39 PM
Noted.....I have gone back and forth on that very subject this morning. I have now driven both at Moab and the 40 is a blast, but a chore to drive to Moab.

When the weather is nice, the top is down on the 40, and you're driving to Moab to have fun in the desert = :D:D:D

wesintl
03-15-2010, 01:59 PM
your leak is normal for anyone using a propeller type cross-member!

I really don't keep up with this kind of stuff but what kind of x-member is preferred? a cradle with bushings? but how would it mount to the rbox or xfer?

nuclearlemon
03-15-2010, 02:56 PM
Ke your own crossmember that supports the tranny. Check out treeroots build on the mud tech pages or in his website for how to make one for a 420. I it's a 465, there's dual ptocovers so it's simple, but420'is a bit more difficult . As metioned a stronger detent spring and also check fo wear on the shift fork. When you have thevery front of your powertrain and the very back supported, everything wiggled and works itself loose

Uncle Ben
03-15-2010, 03:39 PM
Kevin,

This is good stuff. I like the idea of welding in the torsion bar for frame longevity, as it stands the rock box/disk E brake is in the way.

So if I keep the SM420 and go with the Orion, order the 6.5" adapter plate, I can reuse my driveshafts?
I need to address the propeller crossmember support. Does AA have something else or is there somebody else who does?

If you go with the 6.5" adapter you will NOT be able to put back in the torsional crossmember but your driveshafts as they are now will probably fit. The trouble with AA's design is it mounts solidly to the back of the transfercase vis the Rear access cover of the trans input shaft. The sides are then cushioned on solid frame mounts via 1" thick hard rubber donuts. The stock design of FJ-40's designed around this by putting the motor mounts and the bell housing mounts relatively close to each other so the thin donuts were enough compression to allow for frame flex while still locating the powertrain. You can design your own set up but the key is the T-case attachment has to allow flex that the side mounts cannot and it keeps it located. No one that I know of makes an off the shelf after-market cross member that will do what you need it to do. Hopefully Treeroot will hop in here as I know he finally gave up and made some changes as he also was tired of all his gear lube on the ground after twisting it up on the rocks.

bustanutley
03-15-2010, 03:48 PM
The AA piece has a mount built into it. Just buy a standard tranny mount from energy suspension and build a cross member off of that.

Air Randy
03-15-2010, 05:34 PM
Steve,

I can also tell you that I had a brand new Orion 4-1 installed last year just prior to CM. I had Profitt's Cruiser's do the work and they are generally considered to be very good at this type of thing. Everything worked perfectly except the TC would pop into nuetral about every third steep descent.

After CM I took it back to Profitt's and watched as they tore it all down again to check the shift forks and to make sure all of the AA updates were included (the Orion's had lots of pop out problems early on). It still pops out occassionally on steep descents if I don't lock it in. I installed a small eye bolt on the floorboard and use a velcro strap to lash it into place.

I guess what I'm saying is, going to the Orion may solve your gear lube leak issue but it may not solve the issue of popping out of gear. I still like mine because it gives me such better gearing but I would be really ticked if I bought it only to solve the popping out issue and it didn't solve that.

FJBRADY
03-15-2010, 05:40 PM
but it may not solve the issue of popping out of gear.

Yeah I read about the Orion's popping out of gear when I considered swapping one in a few months back. Bit unnerving coming down the steeps.

I think for the short term I may dig into what I have....hopefully it is a easy fix. If not I might just have to put 35's on the FJC and wheel it for CM10! :drumsticks:

Uncle Ben
03-15-2010, 07:06 PM
Steve,

I can also tell you that I had a brand new Orion 4-1 installed last year just prior to CM. I had Profitt's Cruiser's do the work and they are generally considered to be very good at this type of thing. Everything worked perfectly except the TC would pop into nuetral about every third steep descent.

After CM I took it back to Profitt's and watched as they tore it all down again to check the shift forks and to make sure all of the AA updates were included (the Orion's had lots of pop out problems early on). It still pops out occassionally on steep descents if I don't lock it in. I installed a small eye bolt on the floorboard and use a velcro strap to lash it into place.

I guess what I'm saying is, going to the Orion may solve your gear lube leak issue but it may not solve the issue of popping out of gear. I still like mine because it gives me such better gearing but I would be really ticked if I bought it only to solve the popping out issue and it didn't solve that.


Neither mine, nor Treeroots, Orion pops out of gear. Check for body flex hitting the shifter lever. The early ones had the issue but AA's fix solved the problem.

Air Randy
03-15-2010, 07:23 PM
I've checked for body flex, etc and thats not it. Profitt's checked to make sure it had the new and improved components (it does) but it still does it. I just gave up and put the strap on it. I would like for it to work right without the strap but I'm not sure where to turn next.

TIMZTOY
03-15-2010, 08:27 PM
heaver detent springs ?

74fj40
03-21-2010, 12:10 PM
A littlebit off topic... But what about if you had a toybox mounted in your drivetrain. where would you recommend the cross member to go if recommended at all?

Thanks Max

Uncle Ben
03-21-2010, 12:47 PM
A littlebit off topic... But what about if you had a toybox mounted in your drivetrain. where would you recommend the cross member to go if recommended at all?

Thanks Max

If you are running the Toy Box you will have to remove the torsional cross member. The best thing you can do is relocate it further rearward. You will need something to support the cases but if you create your own cross member with a central mounted flexable joint you would be fine. The key is to keep the drive train located and allowing the frame rails to flex. If using just the Orion you do not need an additional crossmember if your running the engine side mounts and the bell housing mounts. If relocating the torsonal cross member be sure to support the frame rails in all 4 corners evenly before cutting the old one and as you add in the new one.

Bikeman
03-21-2010, 01:05 PM
Take the FJC to Moab on 35's and when you get back, look into an auto tranny like the 700R4 and then you have many crawler box options like the Atlas. Autos offroad are sweet.

Uncle Ben
03-21-2010, 03:01 PM
Take the FJC to Moab on 35's and when you get back, look into an auto tranny like the 700R4 and then you have many crawler box options like the Atlas. Autos offroad are sweet.

Atlas' are centered rear output. A fantastic choice is a 700r4/4L60E with a reduction unit from a NP203 T-case and late model splitcase on the end. Very strong set up and having a "doubler" is handy as heck. Issue is length.