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Old 01-27-2008, 10:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Anyone familiar with 'Heavy Duty' AX15?

I'm looking into a 5spd to use on a 98 5.9 ZJ and trying to decide between the 3550 and the HD AX15.
First off - No NV4500. I don't want the 'almost granny' 1st gear.
Second - I'm not talking about a stock rated AX15. The unit in question is a "Heavy Duty" AX15 built by Aisin to rsgear specs.

On the Jeep forums the 3550 is almost always spoken of as an upgrade from the AX15. Recently I was corresponding with George at Tcaseunlimited about a Tcase for this build and he strongly adivsed against using the 3550 due to both strength and the parts availablity issues.
He said he has new Heavy Duty AX15s that are rated at 420 to 450 ft lbs input torque vs the 3550s 300 to 320 rating. Obviously this higher rating sounds better but it seems like almost no one has any actual experience with this HD box.

I'd appreciate any feedback on this HD box if anyone has one or knows anyone that uses one.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice cross post.

I like the 3550
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Why don't you just step up to an NV4500 if you are worried about the strength...?

Thats what I would do.

It only about 100 pounds heavier.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by the freeak View Post
Why don't you just step up to an NV4500 if you are worried about the strength...?

Thats what I would do.

It only about 100 pounds heavier.
No, that's the whole point. I'm looking for more street friendly gearing. The NV4500 is the best box for offroading for sure and the "almost granny" 1st gear would be an asset there but it's not really useable for my application.

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Nice cross post. I like the 3550
Hope that's not a big no-no here. The issue is driving me nuts. I've been posting this question in the various Jeep forums for about two months and so far absolutely no one with any familiarity with this new and improved AX15 has responded. Def sounds better than the 3550 if it's true but it seems like I'm entering uncharted territory!
Thanks for any input folks.

Last edited by Z88Z; 01-27-2008 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So, you're building a pavement pounding jeep?
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So, you're building a pavement pounding jeep?
Umm, ya... and yes, I'm familiar with just how popular that idea is on the forums but considering this HD box sounds like a viable option for 3550 or stock AX15 replacement I think it is an appropriate place to ask about it.

For the record, no dubs or alteezas. Just engine, drivetrain and suspension mods for better DDing.
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Your kinda loosing me on the "almost granny" of the 4500. You dont use that gear for normal driving. You are excluding a trans that is miles ahead of the other two because it has a granny gear?
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Old 01-27-2008, 12:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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ax-15

I am quite familiar with ax-15s but have never heard of an H.D what is it out of ?a dakota?Its still an aluminum housing correct?If it is I highly dont think it can handle that kind of load as you stated.There is a guy in florida that is a guru on these I will try to find his #,he sells his own type of H.D on ebay.Is the tranny purple painted because if it is I bet its one of his.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Your kinda loosing me on the "almost granny" of the 4500. You dont use that gear for normal driving. You are excluding a trans that is miles ahead of the other two because it has a granny gear?
Why install something that weighs that much more that I'd have to use as a 4spd? I don't plan on abusing the 5 spd but I'd rather start with the stronger box.

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I am quite familiar with ax-15s but have never heard of an H.D what is it out of ?a dakota?Its still an aluminum housing correct?If it is I highly dont think it can handle that kind of load as you stated.There is a guy in florida that is a guru on these I will try to find his #,he sells his own type of H.D on ebay.Is the tranny purple painted because if it is I bet its one of his.
Not sure which housing it uses. These are Aisin built units - supposedly brand new and built to RS gear specs (rsgear.com) and sold by tcasesunlimited in New York. George there is known for building good Tcases including hybrids like a 249/247 cross so I'm assuming he knows what he's talking about.
But of course he is trying to sell his product too.
Let me know if you find that link to that ebay site. Meanwhile I'll try to find it.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Id run the 3550 for sheer simplicity since it came behind the 318 (same motor, but balanced externally (or is it internally... one is balanced one way, the other the other way) in the dakota, and Ram. Although the same logic could be used regarding all the mounting/fit because the ax15 came stock in '93 6 cyl grand cherokees.

I personally prefer the 3550 over the ax15, although, I would want some sort of short throw shifter for it.

If you do an AX15, I would call marlin crawler, as he sells rebuilt ax15's.

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You aren't making any sense:

Either you want a HD trans so you can beat on it, or you don't.

Take a moment and figure that out.

I DID see a thread in the for sale section where some one said that their 3550 was a 3/4Ton "HD" model...but I have NEVER heard of an AX15 being "HD".

EDIT: Here is the thread!
/forum/engines-trannys-t-cases-sale/617603-complete-4-3-vortec-nv3500-package.html

The 3550 is used to REPLACE the AX15 quite often.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Z88Z View Post
Recently I was corresponding with George at Tcaseunlimited about a Tcase for this build and he strongly adivsed against using the 3550 due to both strength and the parts availablity issues.
He said he has new Heavy Duty AX15s that are rated at 420 to 450 ft lbs input torque vs the 3550s 300 to 320 rating. Obviously this higher rating sounds better but it seems like almost no one has any actual experience with this HD box.

I'd appreciate any feedback on this HD box if anyone has one or knows anyone that uses one.
Sounds like "George" doesnt HAVE any 3550's and wants to make a sale.

And I SERIOUSLY doubt either trans would survive for long with 420 ft lbs of torque being put through it.

Hell, the 4500 doesnt even see that amount of torque STOCK! (well, maybe with a Diesel)
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO USE THIS GRAND CHEROKEE???

Last edited by the freeak; 01-27-2008 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Never heard of an HD AX-15. I have also searched for any aftermarket improvements on this tranny and have found none. your getting smoke blown up your butt.

But anyone can prove me wrong. Hell, if there is an upgrade out there, I am game because that is what Im running now.

And my tranny is startin to fuss up as it is. I feel this thing will puke out in about a year, then Im going 3550 route.

And if your going with a pavement pounder, why not go t56 or something like that. remove the front axle assembly, t-case, convert the the front to IFS, run 24 inch blingys with xxx/25 ZR 24 road tires while your at it.

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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man-trans 877-626-8726 he builds them to your specs.with dyno results and blueprints .He is kinda of expesive but I have only heard good things about them.I have heard of people using the ax-15 in v-8 applications but they usually only last a little while.
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You aren't making any sense:
Either you want a HD trans so you can beat on it, or you don't.
Sounds like "George" doesnt HAVE any 3550's and wants to make a sale.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO USE THIS GRAND CHEROKEE???
Well maybe I didn't explain it well but here goes. I guess there are two ways to describe "heavy Duty". One being a strong box with low gearing for pulling heavy loads, the other meaning made with more durable parts.
I don't really want to get involved in debating what I use my Jeep for.
This ZJ will be getting used as a DD but it will see some "spirited driving" once in a while and I'd like to improve to ability to hold in corners. (If that doesn't make sense to you - forget I said it)

I don't "beat on" anything. Some types of builds (offroad, drag etc) are going to get extremely hard usage but that isn't really what a lot of people build for unless they're trying to beat the other guy. Either you know how to drive or you don't. I bought an 86 5.0 5spd Mustang brand new and got it to 215K miles on the original clutch. Did I baby it? Not really but I didn't beat on it either.
Of course by the time I got rid of it the synchros were going and I was the only one that was able to drive it.
George is known on most of the Jeep forums as a builder of quality Tcases and has a good reputation. Besides, the lack of available 3550 parts is a known issue judging by what I read on the forums.
So the bottom line is, assuming he's not trying to BS anyone and destroy his reputation among his main clientele - a box capable of handling 420 ftlbs should be a lot more durable than a box that is rated at about 315.
The 3550 has about the same rating as the 3500 and, as I read on the Dodge forums - "the 3500 can hold up to clutch drops behind a built motor or it can crap out behind a stock motor, It all depends on what kind of day they were having at New Venture when it was built"
I'm not planning a mega horsepower build but when I know the choices are either boxes that barely hold up to stock motors or boxes like the 4500 that are overkill and not geared for my usage, then ya, I'm going to look for something in the middle.
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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your getting smoke blown up your butt.
And if your going with a pavement pounder, why not go t56 or something like that. remove the front axle assembly, t-case, convert the the front to IFS, run 24 inch blingys with xxx/25 ZR 24 road tires while your at it.
Aw come on, now who's blowin smoke up my butt! Pardon the chop job but it was easier to answer that way.
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Never heard of an HD AX-15. I have also searched for any aftermarket improvements on this tranny and have found none.... But anyone can prove me wrong.
Umm, I think I'm about to - finally heard from someone in the know on another forum... (Talking about RSGear)
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Originally Posted by Paoluchi
I bought one for my TJ to replace my NV3550 when I installed a Golan stroker and an Atlas II. Price was right around $1,500 out the door. So far I'm impressed with it and it's a bolt in replacement, you can even use your current shifter (NV3550). The folks there were top notch and good to talk with.
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Originally Posted by Paoluchi
Just checked my invoice, it was $1,350 plus tax.
The Terminator - I believe this is the box and I believe George's are built to these specs too: http://www.rsgear.com/terminator.asp

I'll check with man-Trans too and check prices/specs etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRMhick View Post
If you do an AX15, I would call marlin crawler, as he sells rebuilt ax15's.
Is there a website or number for him?

Last edited by Z88Z; 01-28-2008 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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...........

way to man up newbie
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Old 01-29-2008, 05:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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is there a short throw shifter for an AX15? I know there is for an NV3550 and it's nice to use.

I agree on not using the NV4500, it's just a 4 speed transmission unless you are crawling/towing/hauling.

If you've got money, why not a ZF6 or a T56 like mentioned? I'm sure it could be made to work and 6 gears are better than 5.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Z88Z View Post

Is there a website or number for him?
www.marlincrawler.com
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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is there a short throw shifter for an AX15?
Hurst makes one for the AX-15. At least they used to, I had one on my AX-15 before I swapped to an NP-435. It was a big improvement over the stock shifter.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:35 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Old 02-09-2008, 06:48 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Thanks GRMhick.

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Old 02-09-2008, 07:07 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Is it possible to get a 4wd tailshaft on a tremec? I believe that the tremec (or even a world class t5) should be fine with the torque from a stock 5.9.
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:56 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Whats interesting is that the AX-15 is a variant of the R150 series used in the Toyotas. The turbo toyota transmissions used a lower 4.something first gear, and Marlin also will rebuild them with a 5.15 first gear gearset.

I wonder if that gearset fits into a Jeep AX15 case.....
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Whats interesting is that the AX-15 is a variant of the R150 series used in the Toyotas. The turbo toyota transmissions used a lower 4.something first gear, and Marlin also will rebuild them with a 5.15 first gear gearset.

I wonder if that gearset fits into a Jeep AX15 case.....
When I first started researching these boxes someone mentioned checking the Toyota forums for that reason. I still plan on checking Marlin's site too.

BTW - As for the term "spirited driving" - I should explain that one. That's a holdover from my days as a Jaguar mechanic.
It's a typically British reserved and understated way of saying "let's fly around like a S. O. B. and test the very limits of the vehicles performance".... as in "Say Nigel, what say we take the Jag down to Lyme Rock for a bit of spirited driving"... so, whether it's a road course, a mud bog or creeping over a pile of rocks, enjoying your vehicle and pushing it to it's limits falls under the category of "spirited driving".

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