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Old 02-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #1
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Dana 35 weak link?

OK, I have a 94 YJ, 2.5, 5spd. 4.10 gears. I've read and reread everything I can find on lockers, gears and such. I got a super sweet deal on a set of 33's. Mud terrain type. And I have the 30's on OEM alum 5 spokes. My plan is to use the 33's mostly just for trail and light wheelin. The 3o's for runnin around. Now I get that a D44 or a 8.8 would be so much better, but that isnt in my immediate if ever future. I have a spartan for the front, and keeping the disconnect so it works on the street. And a lock right for the rear. Skinnier 30's to let some slip around corners. Being a life long Chevy gut I'm well aware of the dreaded c clip. My question is simply what part is the most prone to breaking, i.e. the weakest link? C clip eliminators i can see being done as well as better axles, and with the locker I cant see bustin a carrier. Being new I dont want to be the FNG that has to have his rig drug out of the trail and bugger up everyone elses day. Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-13-2013, 04:59 PM   #2
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the whole friggin thing. if i had to say just one area it's probably the c clip and the axle shafts are weak.

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Old 02-13-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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Im a believer that the 35 is stronger than its given credit for IF its upgraded.Last week my 4.56 gears,E locker & super 35 axles got installed,in my 35. I did a bunch of hard wheeling,a lot of old,logging roads & got really lucky with my stock 35.decided it was time to upgrade.Im almost 100% that the tubes of the 35 are bigger than a 44
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:44 PM   #4
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The Dana 35 is a turd. No way is it better then a Dana 44.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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Seen this play out many times on many threads. It seems the majority dislike the 35 and the 8.8 is a the great replacment and now they are getting hard to find where I live and expensive. The argument will keep going on and I still drive a D35 with no upgrades and 33s, mild wheeling and you all have me paranoid to the point I have trail spare axles I carry with me pending an 8.8 later this year. There is nothing worse than a breakdown and really bad when it is an axle. So what ever you can afford or whatever you want to do is fine with me. Love watching this play out though because I learn a lot.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RubiconRich View Post
The Dana 35 is a turd. No way is it better then a Dana 44.
Why is it a turd when properly upgraded? Have you had one break?
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:30 AM   #7
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based on being on the trail with several busted dana 35's over the years here is what I know. the clip is not the weak link in and of itself, its the small 27 spline shafts that bust and then because the axle shaft is held in only by the c-clip the entire shaft will slide out of the axle tube. The breakage I have seen has happened with faster wheel speeds or if the majority of the weight is on one rear tire. I have seen open diffs bust with tires as small as p215's.

the super35 kit, which gives you 30 spline shafts(same as a dana 44) is a major improvement and in general good for tires upto 35 with a locker. In fact on some of these upgraded kits the locker becomes the weak link.

The ford 8.8 is a good swap option, but not the only one. it gives you bigger thicker tubes, 31 spline shafts and disc brakes(don't make that much of a difference) Prices will vary but they still can be found for $200 bucks out of 95 to 2000ish explorers and mountianers. many came with 4.11 gears as well. Add a couple hundred more for brackets and install and you have a decent rear axle. Locked 35" tires are good, and some say upto 37's.( they do make a super 8.8 kit which could run the 37's much better) Like all swaps you may need to adj the rear shaft etc etc so plan on spending more $$ than you think.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:47 AM   #8
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^^^ This
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:11 PM   #9
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Dana 35 destroyed...

93 YJ lifted with 35 tires sitting on a Dana 35 rear axle. Totally locked up just driving on pavement yesterday. Spider gears, ring and pinion, carrier assembly and bearings all need to be replaced. My local shop said $1500 to replace the above rear differential components. Not happy... Strongly considering an upgrade even though they offer a 100,000 mile warranty. Anyone else had this problem? I rarely offroad and when I do it is light by my standards. Will a Dana 44 swap out easily? Can I find one or something better without having to break the bank?
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dr.V View Post
93 YJ lifted with 35 tires sitting on a Dana 35 rear axle. Totally locked up just driving on pavement yesterday. Spider gears, ring and pinion, carrier assembly and bearings all need to be replaced. My local shop said $1500 to replace the above rear differential components. Not happy... Strongly considering an upgrade even though they offer a 100,000 mile warranty. Anyone else had this problem? I rarely offroad and when I do it is light by my standards. Will a Dana 44 swap out easily? Can I find one or something better without having to break the bank?
Something you did prev must have weakened it.Just driving normal on dry pavement wouldent have exploded it.Heck,Ive done some really tough wheeling down & up old logging trails on a totally stock d35 33' tires.
Ive since upgraded my 35 with superior axles & a locker.Guess Ill see how I do.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:09 AM   #11
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In my experience, the tubes on the D35 rear are the weak link. They are thin and smaller diameter than the 8.8, D44 or even the 8.25. The added weight of larger wheels and tires in addition to the way we tend to drive our jeeps causes the assembly to bend. This throws off the alignment of the shafts causing the spider gears and bearings to wear quickly or even bind up and self destruct. After repairing mine twice(I am a slow learner), I upgraded to a Super35 kit(bigger spline count and chrome moly shafts). The biggest addition was the assembly truss. It stiffens up the axle assembly to help keep everything in line. Been together for 5 years now with 4:88 gears, detroit locker and 32" BFG M/T's. No problems, and trust me I DO NOT BABY IT!. It wasnt cheap, but I like being different.
As a side note, I am in process of building a 8.25 out of a XJ to bolt under the YJ. Cheaper than a 8.8, same width as the D35, easy to regear and setup, and different than what most everyone else does. Maybe not as strong as a 8.8, but way stronger than the D35.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:45 PM   #12
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In my experience, the tubes on the D35 rear are the weak link. They are thin and smaller diameter than the 8.8, D44 or even the 8.25. The added weight of larger wheels and tires in addition to the way we tend to drive our jeeps causes the assembly to bend. This throws off the alignment of the shafts causing the spider gears and bearings to wear quickly or even bind up and self destruct. After repairing mine twice(I am a slow learner), I upgraded to a Super35 kit(bigger spline count and chrome moly shafts). The biggest addition was the assembly truss. It stiffens up the axle assembly to help keep everything in line. Been together for 5 years now with 4:88 gears, detroit locker and 32" BFG M/T's. No problems, and trust me I DO NOT BABY IT!. It wasnt cheap, but I like being different.
As a side note, I am in process of building a 8.25 out of a XJ to bolt under the YJ. Cheaper than a 8.8, same width as the D35, easy to regear and setup, and different than what most everyone else does. Maybe not as strong as a 8.8, but way stronger than the D35.
You might want to check your info on the tubes of a d35 being smaller than a d44
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:04 AM   #13
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I am refering to the D44 from the full size jeeps. You are correct in that the D44 from a TJ uses the same tube diameter as the D35. Just happened to lump them all together. I apologize for the mistake.
That does not change the fact that the Super35 kit strengthens the housing via a truss to prevent it from bending and destroying the internals. The upgraded axles and carrier provide added beef for the internals.
I will go crawl back under my jeep now and try not to post anything else for risk of being in error.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jeepfreak94 View Post
I am refering to the D44 from the full size jeeps. You are correct in that the D44 from a TJ uses the same tube diameter as the D35. Just happened to lump them all together. I apologize for the mistake.
That does not change the fact that the Super35 kit strengthens the housing via a truss to prevent it from bending and destroying the internals. The upgraded axles and carrier provide added beef for the internals.
I will go crawl back under my jeep now and try not to post anything else for risk of being in error.
Dude I didnt mean to offend you.In fact I wasent sure the size of the tubes 100% which is why I didnt say i knew.I just heard they were somewhere & I THINK Jerry B had mentioned it somewhere.
Not here to start arguments or offend someone so come out from under your Jeep & play.Do you need a hug?
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:39 AM   #15
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Could always use a hug or a drink. Or maybe just in increase in the dosage of my meds. No worries. I think the standard in the YJ community is there are no standards.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:56 AM   #16
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So the D35 is weak, but not as bad as some claim. You have to have half a brain to wheel with it. You guys can check out what I have done and where I have wheeled, and see that they aren't that easy to break. There are a ton of factors that go into a breakage. Shafts are the weakest. TJ d30 and d44 (rubi) and the dana 35 and d44 (rubi) are the same axle outside of the pumpkin, basically. So same tube thickness etc. And yes the non TJ dana 44s are stronger, slightly more than a ford 8.8 actually.

Here is some stuff to read about axles, although John talks some crap on basically anything that isn't a ton axle... Still a pretty accurate ranking. Not sure why the ford 8.8 from the explorer (both axle shaft variants) is lumped so far below the full width 8.8, as he doesn't give an explanation and thinking about it I can't think of a reason why. Short of a full width it seems like the 8.8 is the best axle to keep your jeep near stock specs, without going to the length of narrowing an axle. Weakest to Strongest Axles - Jp Magazine
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:53 PM   #17
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^Well said. Great info.

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