After 20 years in this business, it’s not every day that we come across something that could truly change the off-road aftermarket world. This new product for Jeep Wranglers from 74Weld might not change the off-road aftermarket world, but we’re betting it will. If you have spent time with Quad bike magazine or at FourWheeler.com, you’ve heard us talk about portal axles before. Tested in Ultra4 race cars and Trophy Trucks, portals like these from 74Weld Ultimate Jeep give you additional ground clearance, room for bigger tires and shifting. These are things that generally come from a combination of other aftermarket modifications, but portals do all of this at once. Here are the details.
The 74Weld Ultimate Jeep Portal Boxes
These portal boxes are where the magic lies, and they are available for factory axles (although upgraded axle housings are recommended for tires over 35 inches, with or without portals) found under the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2018), Wrangler JL (2018- current) and Gladiator JT (2020-present) models. The boxes are shrunken versions of the 74Welds Trophy Truck and Ultra4 portal boxes, specifically designed to attach to the front and rear axles of these Jeeps. The boxes have four gears and add a 1.19:1 ratio to the axles while adding 3.5 inches of lift and 3.5 inches of track per side. This is like the result you get from spending thousands of dollars on a 3.5 inch suspension lift and then spending thousands of dollars to replace your axles.
And there’s more — the gear reduction of the gantry boxes at the axle ends reduces the amount of stress applied to the axle shafts, ring-and-pinion, drive shafts and basically everything upstream of the boxes. The portal boxes are also compatible with JK, JL and JT speed sensors for ABS compatibility at all four corners. And the lift achieved with the portals allows room for 37-inch tires. The portal boxes also add monoton bearings, front locking hubs and rear drive gears. Scrubbing radius is optimized with 17-inch smallest wheels with 8-by-6.5-inch tread and a recommended 5 to 6-inch backspacing. The system maintains stock front 1350 inner axles and U-joints and upgrades the rear axles to double spline axles, which are included in the kit. The JL Rubicon and JT retain their stock brakes, while the JL Sport/Sahara and JK upgrade to JT calipers (supplied) with new eight-lug rotors. The Jeep portals, as of KOH 2022, cost $20,000 per set, subject to change. It’s not cheap, but remember, you’re saving money on a suspension lift, axle gears, and installation of all that.
As we said, these revolutionary portals can be bolted onto your JK, JL, or JT axles, but Currie, Dynatrac, and 74Weld recommend an upgrade for all Jeeps that run over a 35-inch tire, whether portals are used or not. It’s mostly Jeep’s fault for trying to save some unsprung weight by selling these vehicles with relatively thin and weak axle housings. Fortunately, both Currie and Dynatrac have upgraded housings, including Dana 60 housings, that use JL outer knuckles (which will work with these portals) and the portal boxes are also compatible with both companies’ semi-float rear 60 axles.
Other cool parts: Crawler portals from 74Weld
Just at the risk of the portals not being available for some of the most popular 4x4s out there (and we’re sure there will be more OEM applications to come), we spied something even cooler at the 74Weld booth at KOH 2022. These are the company’s Two-Gear Crawler portals which are more of a build platform for those building pretty extreme rock crawlers. 74Weld sells the gantry assembly and inner knuckle-C as a kit that can be welded onto the customer’s casing. The third part of the housing shown was reversed to represent a common way builders compensate for the two-speed portal changing direction of rotation (not required on the four-speed Jeep planetarys above). Some highlights of the Crawler Portals: a 1.83 Gear Reduction, a 4.27-inch drop from the axle centerline, 40-spline upper and lower gear shafts, and 40-spline unit bearings. Pricing is similar, $5,000 per corner at time of publication for the crawler portals, subject to change.