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Old 11-10-2008, 11:56 PM   #1
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Dana 35 and Dana 30 weaknesses?

Okay guys, I need someone to point me in the right direction.

I have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport with the 4.0 liter 6 cylinder, auto trans, 4" lift, and 33" tires. I am relatively new to Jeeps, but am hearing much about the weakness of the factory Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear combo. My Wrangler is mostly confined to light mud/sand duty with light hill climbing and such when I am lucky enough to go home.

I do not rock climb, nor do I jump the Jeep and such as that; I live in south Georgia, and the terrain is mostly flat here. Should I be worried about my setup? What should I be looking at as far as damage goes? I have read about differential trusses and beefed up differential covers to put on the 30 and 35 to strengthen them; should I invest in some of those?

Or, should I consider a Dana 44 front and rear from a junkyard? What about the Ford 8.8s from the Explorers? I am limited financially as most of us are. Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Old 11-11-2008, 12:29 AM   #2
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Okay guys, I need someone to point me in the right direction.

I have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport with the 4.0 liter 6 cylinder, auto trans, 4" lift, and 33" tires. I am relatively new to Jeeps, but am hearing much about the weakness of the factory Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear combo. My Wrangler is mostly confined to light mud/sand duty with light hill climbing and such when I am lucky enough to go home.

I do not rock climb, nor do I jump the Jeep and such as that; I live in south Georgia, and the terrain is mostly flat here. Should I be worried about my setup? What should I be looking at as far as damage goes? I have read about differential trusses and beefed up differential covers to put on the 30 and 35 to strengthen them; should I invest in some of those?

Or, should I consider a Dana 44 front and rear from a junkyard? What about the Ford 8.8s from the Explorers? I am limited financially as most of us are. Any help is greatly appreciated!
From what you say you do with your Jeep, and with only running 33 inch tires, the stock axles will work fine for you. If you run across a cheap Ford 8.8 out of a 96 or newer explorer they have rear disc brakes, you do need to have spring and shock mounts welded on, I would check your area for prices to have this done before you do so, I would also check your Jeeps gear ratio, if it's not the same as the 8.8 you will have to change gears to match or upgrade both, if you do upgrade and plan on keeping the 33s I would suggest 4.56 gears. While your in there a rear locker wouldn't hurt, but if you don't find yourself needing the extra help and don't plan to get into anything meaner then don't waste the money.

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Old 11-11-2008, 01:00 AM   #3
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your dana 30 is a pretty stout little axle and will be fine with 33's. I have pretty much the same setup as you. As for the dana 35 they are a dime a dozen. It could go anytime you might be offroading or pulling out of the driveway. Or you may never have any problems with it all
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:02 AM   #4
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as the weaknesses of the D35 go.. the entire assembly is a combination of disaster.. Everything but the case cracks from axle shafts to spideys.

As the D30, I've seen 2 cases of the spider gears cracking because of forcing it in reverse. And from memory mudweiser had his front tire fly off on the highway.. (he has like 38" swampers though)
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:51 AM   #5
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Don't put money in a D-35.
Chromoly shafts in the D-30 are reccommended if you go bigger than 33s, a locker/shaft kit would be nice, even sticking with 33s.
With a Chromoly D-30 and stock 8.8, 37s would be asking for trouble.
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Old 11-11-2008, 03:16 AM   #6
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Don't put money in a D-35.
Chromoly shafts in the D-30 are reccommended if you go bigger than 33s, a locker/shaft kit would be nice, even sticking with 33s.
With a Chromoly D-30 and stock 8.8, 37s would be asking for trouble.
and I was thinking that a friend of mine was asking for trouble putting 37's on the stock D30 axle shafts
but he hasnt had a problem yet
as long as he keeps out of the gas pedal and crawls everything
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Old 11-11-2008, 03:38 AM   #7
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How far would keeping the stock D35/D30 setup take you with 33's? No flooring it through mud or desert, just rock crawling/daily driving.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:08 AM   #8
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How far would keeping the stock D35/D30 setup take you with 33's? No flooring it through mud or desert, just rock crawling/daily driving.
As mentioned above, the D30 front is a good stock axle, and I wouldn't worry about it with only 33's, especially if not locked. The guy I used to compete with went to the SuperCrawl in Moab about 5 years ago with a D30 front and Detroit locker on 36" SX's and didn't break anything... So they will hold up to some abuse.

The D35 rears are just a ticking timebomb of breakage. On my YJ, I ran 33's on the D35 for about 8 months with no locker, and both shafts bent. I have seen Axleshafts break on the trail in weird spots where you wouldn't guess any breakage was possible. I have seen Ring and pinions shear all the gears off driving through mud puddles (less than 3" deep) in parking lots (THAT was funny to see... shoulda seen the look on his face!).

So if you are running the D35 rear with larger tires (33"+), start saving for a new rear axle now, and replace it when it fails, or just save until you have the coin, and get a replacement in there ASAP.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:27 AM   #9
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it depends on how you drive, imo. If you accelerate fast on road and you do the same offroad then the D30's and D35's aer not going to last you. but if you drive normally (the occasional hard acceleration is ok) and go slow when rock crawling then you should be fine. i've seen a lot of people who compensate for there lack of driving/off roading skills with bigger better equipment. when off roading its all about choosing a good line and going at it correctly. You should be fine with the axles you have. just use common sense, if you have 12" of ground clearence under your differential, then you wont clear the rock that is 16" tall, choose a different line. if the water is 5 feet deep and your intake is 3 feet high you will lose, dont go through it. like i said before it comes down to the type of driver you are and the common sense you use.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for all of the replies! I knew to come here to the experts! Would the Jeep Dana 44 solve the problem?
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:38 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of the replies! I knew to come here to the experts! Would the Jeep Dana 44 solve the problem?
Would be a definite improvement, and should be find with up to 35" tires in most cases.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:41 AM   #12
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Thanks for all of the replies! I knew to come here to the experts! Would the Jeep Dana 44 solve the problem?
Yes. just make sure you get one with the same gear ratio as your 30 or you will be doing a gear swap.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:50 AM   #13
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Buy some spare D35 shafts and wheel it until you start breaking. Most likely it will be a shaft when something does go. If breaking shafts is a reoccurring problem then swap axles. A few spare shafts is dirt cheap and really no big deal though. You probably wont have an issue with the D30. Hell, seeing as how you play in sand and mud, you probably wont have a problem because you wont really be seeing much traction any way. If you stay open front and rear, then you'll be even better off.

Some people have great luck with their 35 and some don't. It took backwards air time down a hill in 2nd gear with the throttle pinned and landing on a rock to break a shaft. I was more afraid of the possible roll over due to the crazy uncontrollable air time more than the shaft. Some people break more easily. I say get some spares and have fun. Learn what breaks... then upgrade.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:25 AM   #14
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Ive been beating my dana 35/30 since i bought the jeep 4 years ago. so far so good.

I think the key is keeping the dana 35 open, and having an auto helps. also when my jeep starts hopping trying to climb something i STOP. Ive done several high speed trips through the desert many rock trail trails that require bigger then stock everything, mud pits and more. my jeep been jumped, sunk,and crashed into.

that said im still waiting for the dana 35 to blow up. on my long trips i carry spare shafts.
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:23 PM   #15
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Ive been beating my dana 35/30 since i bought the jeep 4 years ago. so far so good.

I think the key is keeping the dana 35 open, and having an auto helps. also when my jeep starts hopping trying to climb something i STOP. Ive done several high speed trips through the desert many rock trail trails that require bigger then stock everything, mud pits and more. my jeep been jumped, sunk,and crashed into.

that said im still waiting for the dana 35 to blow up. on my long trips i carry spare shafts.
Ditto on all points. I've had alot of fun wheelin' my open diff D35 in two seperate TJ's...ya just have to be aware of the axles limitations. I'm saving my $$$ for a D44 but will run my D35 until it breaks or I can get the D44 replacement.

There's alot of bad press about the D35 especially from guys that run really wild, body damage, sick trails and they are right...the D35 has a limited life span there. I love to watch those guys but I ain't gonna get crazy like that. Kinda like watchin' pro football...fun to watch but there ain't no way in hell I'm gonna do it.

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Old 11-11-2008, 01:44 PM   #16
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good info, i was wondering the same thing
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:51 PM   #17
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as the weaknesses of the D35 go.. the entire assembly is a combination of disaster.. Everything but the case cracks from axle shafts to spideys.

As the D30, I've seen 2 cases of the spider gears cracking because of forcing it in reverse. And from memory mudweiser had his front tire fly off on the highway.. (he has like 38" swampers though)
but the Rubicon/TJ housing is the same except for the center casting.

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Don't put money in a D-35.
Chromoly shafts in the D-30 are reccommended if you go bigger than 33s, a locker/shaft kit would be nice, even sticking with 33s.
With a Chromoly D-30 and stock 8.8, 37s would be asking for trouble.
anything larger than 35's on a low pinion 30 is asking for failure

Heres a list of options
TJ rear axle options - JeepForum.com


This Jeep has been running a S35 for 3 years on 36 or 35 " tires without failure. Everyone will tell you to replace the 35. It can be made sturdy for up to 35's easily.

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Old 11-11-2008, 03:48 PM   #18
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Yep...known people to run the S35 and wheel it hard for years with no complaints or regrets...just sayin'...and NO...I'm not sayin' the S35 and the D44 are equals for those folks that wanna poke me in the eye over it.
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Old 11-11-2008, 05:54 PM   #19
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Yep...known people to run the S35 and wheel it hard for years with no complaints or regrets...just sayin'...and NO...I'm not sayin' the S35 and the D44 are equals for those folks that wanna poke me in the eye over it.
OK, here is a poke in the eye, its a D35. I'm just saying........
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:09 PM   #20
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OK, here is a poke in the eye, its a D35. I'm just saying........
Awright dere shmahtee-pants...I meany S35 as in the Super 35 from Superior Axle.

Why I oughta shmack youse...


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Old 11-11-2008, 06:10 PM   #21
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Oh! Opps




Guess I shoulda read the whole post.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:46 PM   #22
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Thanks guys! Anyone tried the truss system or the ARB or Rancho reinforced diff covers?
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:36 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Never Monday View Post
but the Rubicon/TJ housing is the same except for the center casting.
you talking about the turd or the 30?
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:06 PM   #24
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Well the 35, even after the super kit, will still have the smaller and weaker ring and pinion and housing. Id skip dumping money into it all together and get a 44 if you can. Granted its not in the cards for some but if you can then do it. Sure, you can probably run 35's on that kit but the feeling of knowing you have that extra strength in the 44 is nice. The 30 is plenty strong for most stuff. Especially after upgraded shafts/u-joints. If you come accross a hp 30 then you could gain some strength with that direct swap too. The ring and pinion are stronger due to the reverse cut of the gears. Im gonna be running 36's on my locked cromoly hp 30 and I think it will hold just fine.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:53 PM   #25
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Well the 35, even after the super kit, will still have the smaller and weaker ring and pinion and housing. Id skip dumping money into it all together and get a 44 if you can. Granted its not in the cards for some but if you can then do it. Sure, you can probably run 35's on that kit but the feeling of knowing you have that extra strength in the 44 is nice. The 30 is plenty strong for most stuff. Especially after upgraded shafts/u-joints. If you come accross a hp 30 then you could gain some strength with that direct swap too. The ring and pinion are stronger due to the reverse cut of the gears. Im gonna be running 36's on my locked cromoly hp 30 and I think it will hold just fine.
wow, what a statement...how many have you broken?

I've blown up 3 lockers in my 30. But the 35 still keep plugging along.

Theres a dude on Pirate who put his Jeep on its side. Then righted it by driving in reverse. He broke a 30 spline Super shaft, BUT THE R&P DIDN"T FAIL
Would you like a link?

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you talking about the turd or the 30?
both
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:13 PM   #26
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Just want to add. You may not like my opinion of the S35. But, experience has shown there are many over blown claims of weakness on the internet about it.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:29 PM   #27
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I appreciate all the help I can get! I am just somewhat tied for cash, and wondering what to do as I want to step it up a bit with my off roading. Still though, I will primarily be in mud and sand. I just don't want to have to look over and see my wheels rolling past me!! How hard is it to find a Dana 44 in a junk yard and bolt it all up?
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:43 PM   #28
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go here and search

Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market

plan on spending 800-1200 for a used 44. A Super kit can be had for 300-500 used and 700-1300 new
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:56 PM   #29
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Gotta toss my hat in on the S35 supporters. Ran one with an ARB and 35's for some time with zero breaks. Only prob I ever had was snapping the air line to the ARB once...

35's on S35 =

Oh and that is WITH a 90:1 crawl ratio and the I6 driving it (ie. significant torque)
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:31 PM   #30
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I know you will never get everyone to agree on the strength of the Dana 35 axle, but I think we can all agree that a stock Dana 35 should never be run with anything more than 35s, I know a lot of people will say never more than 33s and I say go for it with 35s and expect an eventual brake and expect to replace it with a 44 or a 8.8 when that happens, a locker and a new set of gears wouldn't be a bad call either. Have fun, beat on it until you break it, then upgrade it.

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