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Old 05-10-2013, 08:11 PM
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Spider gear question

Hey guys, my spider gears from my 99' wrangler Sahara 4.0 5 speed were chewed up so I recently replaced them. Before I took out the old ones though, there was some noticeable play. If you turned one of the rear wheels, you could see the top or bottom gear "jump" up and down. This was done with all wheels off the ground on a car lift. After I replaced everything, there is still this play, I figured the new stuff would have tighter tolerances. So my question is, is this play normal for the dana 35 axles? Why would spider gear get chewed up also?
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:21 AM   #2
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A little play is totally normal and is called backlash. The gears need some play in order to function properly. This play is normally something like 5 thousandths of an inch or so. Did you remove the carrier to change out the spider gears? If so, the backlash should be checked again to be sure nothing changed.

As far as your rear axle, what size tires are you running? The Dana 35 is a weak axle that has max safe tire size of 31" or 33". These axles are described as crapshoots. Some last for years wheeling on 33's, while some snap shafts or ruin spider gears leaving a stop sign too fast on 31's. If you are gentle on the throttle and don't bounce around, your Dana 35 should live (as long as you don't go above 33") Also, don't add a locker unless you upgrade the shafts. A great option if you don't want to completely swap out your rear axle is a Super 35 kit. These kits change your 27 spline axles to 30 spline, giving your actual shafts much more strength. Most also add a strong and reliable locker like an ARB or Detroit. A Super 35 kit is normally safe locked to 35" tires.
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