There are a number of Rockwell Axle Jeeps out there in the world. The benefits to Jeeps and other short wheel based rigs with Rockwell 2.5 ton axles is the short wheel base and the limited turning radius of the big military rig axles. Easily overcome in larger rigs with four wheel steering, smaller rigs can get away with one steering axle. This makes things much more reasonable when outfitting your rig.
Challenges to Rockwell Axles and short wheel bases
The biggest challenge with Toploader military axles and short wheel bases is similar to the issues in other rigs. They can become top heavy, or have a high center of gravity with the lift needed to clear the axles in stock locations. You do need an additional 7″ of clearance over traditional front loading axles. Of course the best answer to this is to move the front axle forward and the rear axle backwards which is easily done with the body lines of most Jeeps. You can run tube fenders up front and competition cut the rear and run 39″ or larger tires easily with CJ’s and YJs’s. Of course YJ’s are great as you can combine the fuel injected motors and the gearing with rockwells and build a great trail rig on the cheap.
If I was going to build a Rockwell Based Jeep
My next Jeep Rockwell project would be a YJ based rig. I would run YJ Springs up front, with a doubled up long spring (from the rear pack) and I would build a custom front end stinger that incorporated pushing the front axle forward 6-8 inches, allowing the motor to sit behind the axle top end. I would run XJ springs in the rear , to push the axle backwards with aditional axle wrap control, or 4-link the rear end, pending budget. I would run 39-42″ Iroks with Hummer double beadlocks recentered for the rockwells. I would weld the spiders (for budget) and then run a split manual brake system, with a twin sticked transfer case to independently brake the front or rear axles for front or rear digs. To run 39″ tires and rockwells I would shave the bottom end and add a custom skid pan available from a number of vendors, or custom made from our own.
Jeeps with Rockwells
I have come across many jeep based rigs with Rockwells. They regular the Top Truck Challenge, and there have been some well documented buildups