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New Jeep owner needs imput on rear axle upgrade - thanks

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Joined: 02 May 2005

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject: New Jeep owner needs imput on rear axle upgrade - thanks Reply with quote

First my specs:

2005 Jeep Wrangler X
4sp automatic Transmission
3" Tera Flex Lift
33" 12.5 15 (BFG AT's)
Dana M35 rear with 3.07 axle ratio
Limited Slip differential

I was looking to get a rear ARB air locker but before I do, I wanted to know if the rear (and maybe front) axles could handle the load. I'm not going to climb boulders and crap but I do hit some pretty deep ruts on the dry Arizona 4X4 roads.

I've heard upgrading to a Dana 44 rear is the way to go but how much is that going to set me back. I just dropped $26K on this new jeep (including the Tires, Lift Kit and custom bunpers and nerf's).

What should I do? I can't drop another $3000.00 on a Dana 44 with a locker.

I've heard those Super 35's are crap so what is a guy to do? Thanks.

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Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Location: Eastern PA

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read these....
04 Unlimited
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MN Dave

Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Location: MinneSNOWta

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i would like to retract my statment and instead refer you to my sig
I don't know sh#%!
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Joined: 02 May 2005

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, guys, you're killing me. I'm a complete newbie to 4X4ing and all this tech talk has got my head spinning.

I wouldn't know the first thing about putting some ford 9 axle in a Jeep.

I guess I feel comfortable going with a Dana 44 so let me ask this instead.

My current stock gear ratio on my X is 3.07

If I got a Dana 44 (no matter what gear ratio) I would go ahead and re-gear the rest to match, if you even have to do that, I have no idea. What would I need to do and how much would I be looking at.

Also, where can I get the best deal on a new or slightly used Dana 44 that will fit right into my 2005 TJ Wrangler X? Preferable with an ARB air locker but not necessary, I can add that later. Doesn't have to be disc brakes either. Just looking for best deal on the axle. Oh yeah, will my front Dana 30 hold up Ok if I upgrade some parts to it (hopefully not too expensive). What would I need to add to it and how much would that be?

You guys are my life line here. I can't thank you enough.

Thanks again.
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Orng Beep

Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Location: Northern Michigan

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correct me if I'm wrong. Isn't there a nice warantee on that thing? If so, lock it and drive it like you stole it. Worry about changing parts when something breaks. If you explained your wheeling habits correctly, I'm willing to bet that your D35 w/ 3.07's will hold on for the long haul. I have had that same setup in my last 2 Jeeps. Most of my friends have the same thing. A few of them have lockers. All of us are completely ruthless when we get together and I have not seen any major damage yet. When I say major damage, I'm speaking only of the d35. We have sent Jeeps back to the garage on trailers for many other reasons headbang

If I were in your situation, which I kinda am, I would lock it and put the $ I saved, into the gas tank. Then get out on the trail and have fun!
If Jeepin' is a disease, I hope they NEVER find a cure!
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Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Location: Epping New Hampsha

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt you find any "deals" on a D44 w/ARB installed. Look at Currie Enterprises and you will see that buying a prebuilt bolt in unit is expensive.

Your best bet is start scrounging around in the junkyards and build from there.

This is one problem that seems to follow purchasers of the X model. The X has street gears and the moment larger tires go it, the offroad crawl goes in the dumper. Even small tire increases like 31's will degrade both on and offroad mobility due to the 3.07's. There are no easy answers here. Whatever you do will cost some serious cash. Not just upgrading the rear axle assembly, but then having to regear the front D30 to match the rear.

As far as the D30 goes. It has been around a zillion years and with the exception of hard core rock climbing it is a good sound axle assemble. In general the biggest problem with the D30's is when its under a rig driven with a big right foot. Crawling over obstacles is all about finesse, not speed. Blasting threw or over obstacles will break anything, but is exceptionally hard on front end peices...most especially the u-joints.

I was in the same boat as you once. I bought the X model with dreams of running offroad too. My solution was trading it in for a Rubicon a year later. This worked for me after weighing out the costs of upgrading, including all the hours of having to build and rebuild junkyard peices etc. For me it was way cheaper to get the Rube and saved months of my time that it would have taken to do the upgrades myself.

Real Jeeps dont wear Bra's
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Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Location: Denver

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My general advice would be not to put any $$$ into the D35. It's just not worth it, you are better off putting that cash towards a better axle.

The problem you will find with swapping axles into the TJ is that you have all sorts of bracketry that makes junkyard swaps and custom builds way more complicated and expesive. If you are trying to do this on a budget, I would look for an OEM housing that already has the TJ bracketry in place. (e.g. - get an OEM 44 rear from a 97 or newer TJ or Rubicon)

The amount of money you want to spend will determine if you are going to get a used housing or a new one. The benefit to buying a used one is that you could get it complete, with a locker, gears shafts and maybe brakes. The benefit of buying new parts is that you have a greater flexibility to put in the parts that you want.

A lot of people are selling slightly used complete Rubicon rears for $1800-$2500. This would come with the lower gears you are looking for and an air lcoker, plus disc brakes. The 4.11 ratio is about right for your 33" tires, and will be a world of difference from the 3.07s you have now. This is a bolt-on install, with 3 small exceptions. (1 - pinion yoke, 2 - brake portioning valve, 3- maybe need to shorten your drive shaft).

Unless you are planning on doing a lot of work yourself, a custom axle is totally out of the question. Custom axles from Currie, Dynatrac, etc.. are the most expensive option. They seem reasonable until you select the locker you want, the brake option you want, and then pay them to locate and weld on all that bracketry.

Send me a personal message if you have questions about the Rubicon rearend setup. I'm currently working on one for a 99TJ.
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