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Old 08-24-2010, 10:49 AM   #1
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OEM axle shafts '06 Rubicon D44

What material are the OEM shafts made of? I have 35's with 6 spd. stock 4.10's (soon to be 4.88's). I don't want to be the guy on a trail run who breaks a shaft. My question is this. Is there a measurable gain in strength going to something like Superior chrome moly shafts in these Dana 44's. Do the OEM shafts ever break in the D44 running setup as above?

As a followup, what's the most bulletproof front axle joint? Any real world experience would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:43 AM   #2
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The Rubicon's OE shafts are carbon steel 30 spline shafts. There is a major boost in strength available by upgrading to Superior Axle's Evolution Series 30 spline axle shafts which are made from a hardened alloy with rolled (not cut) splines.

Don't bother upgrading the front axle u-joints, they are plenty strong as is unless you are doing some just plain crazy stuff. The reason the OE u-joints fail if pushed too hard is not due to weakness in the u-joints themselves. The root cause of front u-joint failure is actually usually because of the ears that hold the u-joints failing on the unhardened carbon steel axle shafts the factory installs.

The "ears" on the inner/outer axle shafts that hold the u-joints are unhardened. As such, when you put much stress on the front tires (especially when the steering is turned very far to one side), those ears stretch or fail which then spits out the u-joint. That allows the now free u-joint to smash into one or more of the four ears that used to hold it, breaking the u-joint. Replacing the front 30 spline axle shafts with hardened alloy 30 spline axle shafts like Superior Axle's Evolution Series will prevent that from happening by their ability to hold onto the u-joints under stress much more reliably.

After breaking my passenger-side axle shaft ears and u-joint while doing Sledgehammer years ago, I replaced my front axle shafts with Warn's hardened alloy axle shafts (no longer sold) and even doing tougher trails after that, I had no more front axle shaft or u-joint failures. That was with Spicer's OE size 5-760x u-joints up front.

So don't bother upgrading your front u-joints, upgrade your axleshafts. Then if you get into some crazy-tough stuff later on (REALLY stupid-crazy hard) and start breaking u-joints by themselves, you can go to CTM's uber-strong u-joint. But at $160 each, they aren't for the faint of heart.

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Old 08-24-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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jerry is an encyclopedia
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:36 PM   #4
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Jerry, that's great info, exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:16 PM   #5
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The CTM u-joints are now $240 each, so I haven't bought those. I did, however, just place my order with Superior, and shafts are coming for all four corners. Make sure they send your commission, Jerry.
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by village idiot View Post
Make sure they send your commission, Jerry.
Hah don't I wish.

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