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Old 10-29-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Front/Rear Axle Swap Strategy

I've researched this topic some and now I'm looking for opinions.

I have a 4.0/AT '98 Sahara with a 3" suspension lift and I'd like to outfit with 33s. It has the standard D30/D35 combo with what should be 3.07s and sure to be a dog with those big tires. After seeing what the heavy hitters on here recommend, I want to regear it with 4.10s. I'm a believer if you have it apart, you should probably treat the components you're taking apart to a little facelift, so I'd like to upgarde the rears to something that is tough but sensible and economically within reason. The Jeep will be a DD and a beach goer with possibly some medium trail action, nothing crazy.

Should I...
- Pull the stock rears out and send them to be regeared/redone?
- Upgrade to a rear D44 (or upgrade both to D44s or maybe D35/D44)?
- Upgrade to a Ford 8.8?
- Or any other suggestion you gearheads have?

I have average mechanical ability and have access to a pretty good heavy truck shop at my Dad's place, so I can pull the rears out to have them sent off. I'm not new to working on cars, just new to the Jeep world my son has introduced me to. It's a cool world if this website is any indication

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:00 AM   #2
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You have the 3-speed automatic so 4.10 is a good choice for those planned 33" tires. So long as you don't also plan to install a locker into your rear Dana 35 axle, your axles are fine as is. The front Dana 30 is good for 35" tires, and the rear is normally good for 33" tires so long as you don't also install a locker into it. For your particular axle configuration, your first locker, if/when, should go into the front axle.

So at this point, I'd do the gears and that's really about it. When you start doing tougher trails and determine you finally need a locker back there, that would be the time to start thinking of upgrading the rear with beefing up or replacing that Dana 35.

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:16 AM   #3
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(or upgrade both to D44s or maybe D35/D44)?
Assuming your saying D35 front and D44 rear. Unless your planing on going to a TTB front end there is no such thing as a D35 front solid axle. Just a heads up!

X2 on what Jerry said.
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Old 10-29-2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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You have the 3-speed automatic so 4.10 is a good choice for those planned 33" tires. So long as you don't also plan to install a locker into your rear Dana 35 axle, your axles are fine as is. The front Dana 30 is good for 35" tires, and the rear is normally good for 33" tires so long as you don't also install a locker into it. For your particular axle configuration, your first locker, if/when, should go into the front axle.

So at this point, I'd do the gears and that's really about it. When you start doing tougher trails and determine you finally need a locker back there, that would be the time to start thinking of upgrading the rear with beefing up or replacing that Dana 35.
Thanks, Jerry. You (or anyone else) know a good place to have the gears done in the DE/ eastern MD area? I don't want to do that; I've seen the procedure in the service manual and I don't have the special tools or the expertise. Can any experienced 4x4 guy do it? There's a lot of them around my area.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
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Keep your eyes open. Last month there was a guy around San Jose selling a set of 2005 TJ axles off a TJ SE for $350 each. Just the center diff sections, he kept the brakes. I saw it on the bulletin board at the local 4WD Hardware store. I mention this because they came with 4.10's and open diffs from the factory, and they were D30/D35's set up for a TJ. Those axles lasted less than a week and sold. (Sometimes you gotta do something because the wife wants the junk out of the garage.) You can definately swap axles in your driveway in an afternoon.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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Thanks, Jerry. You (or anyone else) know a good place to have the gears done in the DE/ eastern MD area? I don't want to do that; I've seen the procedure in the service manual and I don't have the special tools or the expertise. Can any experienced 4x4 guy do it? There's a lot of them around my area.
Ask for shop recommendations on the State forums on here. It's typically ~$1200 (labor/parts) is what is cost to re-gear both front and rear.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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You have the 3-speed automatic so 4.10 is a good choice for those planned 33" tires. So long as you don't also plan to install a locker into your rear Dana 35 axle, your axles are fine as is. The front Dana 30 is good for 35" tires, and the rear is normally good for 33" tires so long as you don't also install a locker into it. For your particular axle configuration, your first locker, if/when, should go into the front axle.

So at this point, I'd do the gears and that's really about it. When you start doing tougher trails and determine you finally need a locker back there, that would be the time to start thinking of upgrading the rear with beefing up or replacing that Dana 35.
Jerry, thanks again, but your reply got me thinking...If I'm looking at a gear change anyway, will stock axles handle 35's? I have a 3" Zone lift (that's what came on the Jeep when I bought it) and everything else is stock. IF 35s even fit, I'd be opening a big can of worms like needing a SYE, dropping the TC and probably a million things I'm not thinking of, etc, etc...tired, redone conversation, I know, but I'd like your expert opinion.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:05 PM   #8
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...If I'm looking at a gear change anyway, will stock axles handle 35's?
As mentioned in post #2 above, your front Dana 30 is good for 35" tires but your rear Dana 35 is not... the biggest I'd run on a stock Dana 35 is 33".
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:49 PM   #9
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Got it. That's what I thought. 33s it is. Classic case of hearing what you want to hear.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:37 PM   #10
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Reviving my old thread....

I'm getting ready to seriously look into that gear change. I've read on here the 4 cylinder 5 speeds came with 4.10 rears. Will all TJ rears fit my '98/4.0/AT in case I find a 2.5/5 speed parts Jeep?

If not, I'll just pay for a gear change on my existing rears (3.07s) with 73k miles.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:37 PM   #11
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Yes, Jeep Wranglers only came from the factory with either the Dana 35 or the Dana 44. All the years will interchange wih each other 1997-2006 Jeep TJ
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:41 PM   #12
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Update...I've found a local 4x4 shop to do the work and I'm going with 4.10 gears in my existing D30/D35.

I saw Jerry say if I do a locker at all, put it up front in the D30. This Jeep is going to be a DD for a teenager; it will see mostly street, some beach time in the summer and maybe some medium trail/mud fun in his grandfather's fields when it rains.

Is the locker worth it? My shop guy is saying add $300 for lockers. Reliability and durability are #1 here.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:07 PM   #13
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lockers are going to give your better performance off roading, not better Reliability and durability.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:34 AM   #14
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lockers are going to give your better performance off roading, not better Reliability and durability.
Understood. I don't want to sacrifice reliability and durability just to say I have lockers that I don't really need. I'm leaning towards no lockers.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:49 AM   #15
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You're in the same situation I'm in. But here's something to nibble on.. You can buy dana 44 axles (around here at least) for about 500 bucks in good condition.. If you can find one with the 4.10 gearing you want, why not spend your money there? You get a beefed up axle, and the gear you want. Then you'd just have to regear the front dana 30 axle. Kill two birds with the same stone.. Just a thought!
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:50 AM   #16
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Understood. I don't want to sacrifice reliability and durability just to say I have lockers that I don't really need. I'm leaning towards no lockers.
Yeah I would skip. For only $300 it would be an automatic locker which wouldn't be fun on the road especially for a new driver. If you were going for a locker in the front, I would do a selectable locker like ARB, Eaton elocker, or an OX locker.

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