Cons of Regearing to 4.88?

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Threads
24
Messages
321
Location
Southern California
Considering doing this to help with towing. Any reasons I might have regrets later?
 
Considering doing this to help with towing. Any reasons I might have regrets later?

So far, the only "regrets" I've ever read about re-gearing is the regret of not doing it sooner.
 
Exactly why I’m asking...sounds too good to be true or everyone would be doing it.
 
The reason most people dont do it is because it’s expensive, and you can’t see it.

In my opinion, Toyota geared the 2008-2015 200 series very well. Like, really well. It’s just when you make enough changes to the original design that Toyota setup the gearing for, that a lower ratio can help with.

Ultimately, it’s just about making more cruising power. The 5.7 makes a ton of power, but what matters is mid range power. And the output difference of 1600 rpms to 2200 rpms is absolutely noticeable, to the point of a far better driving experience. That’s all it is going from 3.90 to 4.88 at highway speeds does.

If you want to know what 4.88 feel like, just driving around manually limited the transmission to 5th gear (S5). That’s what 4.88s feel like (on 2008-2015).

To touch on the not being able to see it part. Most of use want the truck higher, with bumpers, with paint jobs and so on before dumping money into something only the drivers knows about.

I’m in that boat, I knew I was going to regear immediately before I even bought my 200. But I still lifted, put a winch bar, and line-X’ed my truck before I regeared.

Nothing wrong with that, and some of us get to a point of of our builds, and stop for whatever reasons, and usually that is right before gears. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just what I’ve noticed (from Jeeps and other Toyota owners also).
 
I have a more scientific set of advice. First define what your problem areas are then compare those areas with the chart below and see that the re-gearing puts you in the right powerband to solve your problem. The below example is with 34s. The colors are just an example of were you would be before and after in a 55mph mountain pass climb. 3rd and 3.90s and 2,934 rpm is probably a great gear to hold. With 4.88s, 3rd becomes a little short and 4th maybe a bit tall (depending upon weight and grade).

My personal experience is with 4.88s on a 100 and 34s. After several years of use I now believe that it actually made my problem areas worse. Yes, 1st off the line was better which made the truck feel more peppy, but when loaded and climbing mountain passes it made 2nd too short and 3rd too tall. I was better off climbing in 2nd with 4.30s. Same with highway. There are times when I can't hold 4th even with 4.88s. 3rd now is too low. I was better off with 3rd and 4.30s when trying to hold a gear and pulling a trailer. If I were to do it again on that truck I'd stick with 4.30s or, more likely, go to 5.29s.

The 4.88s do give a better crawl ratio and restore some off the line performance. In every-day driving the off the line gain may make it completely worth it. Not agruing for or against, just giving some data points to consider.

Gears.jpg
 
Last edited:
Exactly why I’m asking...sounds too good to be true or everyone would be doing it.

The cost is a factor for sure (at least for me), but so is the changing needs as builds get bigger, heavier and more wind resistance is created. I didn't feel the need for gears until my last huge build.

The 5.7 is a beast for sure, but not so beastly after you add 1000-1500lbs of armor, drawers, tools, winch, big tires, etc. etc.

Gears make total sense at that point.
 
Last edited:
I have a more scientific set of advice. First define what your problme areas are then compare those areas with the chart below and see that the re-gearing puts you in the right powerband to solve your problem. The below example is with 34s. The colors are just an example of were you woudl be before and after in a 55mph mountain pass climb. 3rd and 3.90s and 2,934 rpm is probably a great gear to hold. With 4.88s, 3rd becomes a little short and 4th maybe a bit tall (depending upon weight and grade).

My personal experience is with 4.88s on a 100 and 34s. After several years of use I now believe that it actually made my problem areas worse. Yes, 1st off the line was better which made the truck feel more peppy, but when loaded and climbing mountain passes it made 2nd too short and 3rd too tall. I was better off climbing in 2nd with 4.30s. Same with highway. There are times when I can't hold 4th even with 4.88s. 3rd now is too low. I was better off with 3rd and 4.30s when trying to hold a gear and pulling a trailer. If I were to do it again on that truck I'd stick with 4.30s or, more likely, go to 5.29s.

The 4.88s do give a better crawl ratio and restore some off the line performance. In every-day driving the off the line gain may make it completely worth it. Not agruing for or against, just giving some data points to consider.

View attachment 1595363
The 100 series had only one overdrive and that is just about the same as the 200s first overdrive. But in the 200s second overdrive, 4.88s are more appropriate. So while I agree that 4.88s were probably too much on your 100, because of the even higher .5:1 6th gear, 4.88s are awesome for the newest LC.

Since the 100 used the A750F transmission, or the same trans as FJ Cruisers, 4-5th gen 4Runners, and 2nd gen Tacoma’s, it’s got a lot of people trying different ratios with it.

I had 3.73, 4.10, 4.56, and 4.88 gears behind that transmission and I felt 4.56 was just about right.

But with the a 200s 6 speed, 4.88s is like the old 5 speeds with 4.56s.

My problem with gear calculators is they don’t incorporate aerodynamic changes. They are a great place to start, but they are not the last place to stop.

One of my biggest failures was setting up two Toyota’s with only tire size changes in mind. And that was going from 3.73 to 4.10, I still wasn’t solving all the issues with increasing drag.

That’s my opinion, doesn’t make it right, but I did want to elaborate a bit more.
 
Last edited:
The chart is just a data point showing where you will at rpm (and powerband) for a given speed and gear. I come from the perspective of someone who didn't do the full research prior to gearing a truck and wish I had as it would have driven me (pardon the pun) to a different conclusion (5.29s in my case). 4.88s may indeed be a great solution for a given 200 build.
 
You guys rock the deep pool, but I’m way over here in the shallows.

I had to replace the tires in my sig and went with Ridge Grapplers (285/70/R18) which I believe are 34s.

When towing our travel trailer to and from Moab over Thanksgiving , I wasn’t too happy with mountain passes and the gear hunting. I plan on spending July camping in Colorado with the family and am dreading towing those mountains and altitudes.

Since the Thanksgiving trip I bought a new trailer which is shorter but more robustly built so it’s about 500 pounds heavier dry, the tongue weight is 200 pounds heavier dry, and it has double the fresh water capacity (78 gallons).

ORV | Creekside 21DBS

I’m considering regearing and upgrading the brakes mostly because of this. It is my daily driver however, and I don’t want to suffer even worse fuel economy than I already do.

I love exploring new places in the LC, I love the 3rd row to spread the kids out, but am starting to feel like I’m forcing it to become something it’s not meant to be. Maybe I should be like everyone else around here and get one of these:

New 2018 Ford F-150 For Sale | Huntington Beach CA

My biggest fear is regearing, getting better brakes, learning it's not enough, and then having to sell a heavily modified LC at a loss because, let's face it, your typical buyer will be turned off by modifications.

How will regearing affect fuel economy?

Does it limit top speed?

A mechanic told me Nitro 4.88s are “noisy”. Is that true?
 
Last edited:
The 200-series has the benefit of the 5.7L motor, which has excellent low end torque and a very wide powerband. Even without optimal gearing, it's still plenty tractable all around.

The 6-speed also helps as it's more flexible with gears spaced closer than transmission of yore. In the 8-speed, with its ultra low 1st gear, with lots and lots of ratios in between, I wouldn't even bother. Just limit it to S7 when cruising. What the 8-speed really needs is programming, rather than a lower 3rd member, because its got the necessary overall physical gearing for just about everything.

That said, shift points and hunting can be helped via the ETC Power button.

I've towed over GCWR on 33.2" tires, and don't feel like I need gears on the 6-speed. To @OregonLC 's point, I actually think the larger tires combined with the stock ratios, puts S4 in the perfect sweet spot to tow my ~7500lb travel trailer.

I believe the point at which these rigs require regearing is somewhere in the 34"+ tires.

At which point, there are likely no drawbacks except for cost. The typical drawback of less MPG, would not be true in this case. As re-gearing would put the engine back at the proper load points, out of the high fuel usage load points.

If one were at or under 33" tires, without much if any armor or aero affecting mods, than I'd say it's likely a waste without much of any benefit. Only useful if your trying to win a drag race and don't mind the excessive rpms day to day.
 
Since going to the Nitto Ridge Grapplers (33.98") from the Toyo Open Country (33.3") I've seen my fuel economy average dip from around 13.5 mpg to 12 mpg. I also feel like it's a bit more sluggish and jumps to 2nd gear much more quickly.

That might have something to do with tire inflation as I dropped from 50 psi to 40 psi per tire shop recommendation, but all other things being equal, I wonder if regearing would fix this?

If I see a benefit in towing without affecting the daily grind then the cost of regearing is well worth it as far as I'm concerned.
 
That helps to know you're on 34s. At that tire size, a 4.88 would be a tad aggressive of a re-gear. You'll be on the other end, spinning ~300rpm higher than stock for every mph.

Without knowing what gear ratios are available to the 200-series platform, a 4.27 would be back to stock gearing. With significant armor and racks, perhaps a 4.56 would be ideal.
 
4.30 is available right from Toyota by using a Tundra tow package 4.30 front differential assembly and an early 4.30 equipped 100 Series 9.5" rear (which supersedes out to the current GRJ200 part number).
 
I had to replace the tires in my sig and went with Ridge Grapplers (285/70/R18) which I believe are 34s.

When towing our travel trailer to and from Moab over Thanksgiving , I wasn’t too happy with mountain passes and the gear hunting. I plan on spending July camping in Colorado with the family and am dreading towing those mountains and altitudes.

I'm in the same boat as you (34s, travel trailer, rough through the mountain passes). I'll be interested to see what you do and your opinion if you proceed. FWIW An F-150 and a LC are two different vehicles with two different purposes in mind. The F-150 will probably tow better if that's your primary objective, but if you're running trails in Moab then the long wheelbase will make it a poor choice.
 
How are you feeling about the air bags?
 
How are you feeling about the air bags?
They work fine. There's some debate on this forum as to whether they actually mess up weight distribution, but at least with my setup I've been happy with them.

I did notice the compressor was reading low on the bags last week but the temp has dropped about 50 degrees since I set them at ~5psi back in Sept or Oct so it may just be the cold (pushing the deflate button on the compressor they still hiss, so I can't quite tell if there's a super tiny leak or it's just cold air requiring less volume because there's definitely some pressure in them).

If I had to do it again I'd probably start with heavier springs (i.e. the TDs are 240# vs the 170# factory coils) and a little better WD setup (my Pro Series is entry level and the 550# bars are a bit less than the actual tongue weight when fully loaded) and then move to air bags if that wasn't enough.

If I sell my trailer and end up with a heavier tongue weight in the next trailer I will need a different WD setup. At that point I'll decide if I want to keep them or if the new WD hitch does a better job shifting weight to the front axle. Nice thing is to undo what I've done just requires replacing the air bags with a new set of jounce stops ($100 list price for the pair). I've considered just going to HD springs in the future as well which would minimize the WD impact though I fear making the day-to-day ride too harsh (with the 240# TD standard coils it's about perfect).
 
I have the OME HD springs. I sold the Equalizer hitch with our previous trailer and will probably end up buying the Blue Ox Sway Pro when the new trailer arrives in March. Thanks for sharing about the airbags, I had considered them but was leaning towards ruling them out, so your input helped solidify that decision.
 
I believe airbags can be helpful, especially for a vehicle that is not full time towing, and will see varying loads.

The important part of setting up a WD hitch with airbags, is to calibrate WD after setting up bags with the target pressure. In other words, don't adjust the bag air pressure after WD has already been setup. Because the effect of adding air after setting WD, is to lesson the amount of WD being applied. Similar to how a tongue jack will relieve WD tension bar pressure (which reduces WD).
 
I did just read most of your thread JBHorne, and your enthusiasm is contagious.

Question: Can anyone recommend a shop in Southern California (preferably Orange County) that I could trust to do the install? I’m hesitant about lockers since I have never put myself in a position to need them, but I’m open to the idea, especially if I can find a shop that I can trust to do it clean, switches and all.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top Bottom