I'm in the process of switching from a 2F/H42/Orion setup to a 350/SM465/NP203/Orion. For the trails we run I found that the Orion was too low in very many situations. I'd run out of speed in 4th gear low but not have the grunt needed in 1st gear high. I was constantly shifting back and forth between low and high in quite a few situations too.
The 2:1 low of the NP203 will probably be the range I will be running in almost all of the time on the trail now. Especially with the 6.58:1 first gear of the 465. I'll still find myself using the 4:1 of the Orion, but I doubt that I will ever need the 8:1 Stupid Low of both of them together. High range will be almost exclusively for the road.
Eventually I will probably replace the 465 with an H42 using one of Jerry's adapters between it and the 203. But for now, since I have all of the parts sitting in the shop, I'll go with the 465/203 combo.
The 350??? Just a side effect of the driveline changes. Need the room for the extra Tcase, so the straight six has to go.
Would you be switching if you had the 3:1 orion instead of the 4:1?
Maybe not. My biggest complaint is the lack of overlap between high and low. For full on rock crawling that would be no big deal. But my use of the rig entails long distance travel with lots of slow speed work mixed in. I get into stuff where high range can't handle it. As soon as I get through that spot I run out of speed in low range and can't keep up with the group without shifting the Tcase again. Doing this repeatedly all day long gets old.
I'm not sure if the 3:1 low range would give me enough speed. It would probably be low enough for 90%+ of the uses I put the rig to. Even with an H42
That can be easily compensated by switching between the toybox or the transfer case being used as the main gear reduction. You could use just the toybox with the sm465 to get some different gear ratios going, or vice versa.
Besides being 289:1 is fun
well i am down here in socal so the buggy is going to be really just for cawling. so i think i just might go with the combo. another question how are the vortec