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catITguy 02-22-2009 09:48 PM

Offroad addition recommendation for a noob
Okay, so first off, Im new to this, and perhaps this is a noob question - if it is a simple direct to appropriate thread would be sufficient.

Basically I bought a 2000 Wrangler Sport, 4.0 auto about a month and a half ago. It has 32x11.5 mud terrain tires on it, and a small lift (i think?). I have a winch on order, should get mounted this week or next. It has the stock Dana 30 front axle and Dana 35 rear axle.

A few weeks back, I got stuck in a snowdrift at dark am - ended up digging myself out. Basically lots of lessons learned, but it got me thinking about maybe adding a locking differential to one or both axles. Would this be a reasonable addition?

One thing that I think should be noted, I foresee an urge for larger still tires at some point - having said that, should I look at stronger axles (Dana 44?) for future larger tires before adding the differentials? My understanding is that differentials would not be interchangeable between the 35 and 44 axles.

Most of my offroading at this time is done just messing around, at least until I find a 4wd/jeep club in my area, after which I would love to do trail rides and whatnot.

Again, Im a noob, go easy on me ;)

jdhallissey 02-22-2009 09:55 PM

Were are you located first off!!!!

haha no worries- when you got stuck you tried getting out in 4LO right?

To the others- a locking diff is nice. To swapping in a dana 44 is pricey and I would prefer to just build the dana 30-35's. You can buy the kits that give you lockers on the front and rear with a switch. The front will run you 1300 with a arb and the rear is like 1100 something. I have been thinking of doing it myself soon too. So no it is a very smart idea to do.

catITguy 02-22-2009 09:57 PM

Location is central IL - lots of clay, farm fields, occasional snowdrift (ha).

Would slightly larger tires (say up to 35") be a problem with the existing axles, or are my 32" tire about the top of that range?

Oh and yes tried 4Lo - front rigth tire was kind of in a ditch so all front weight was on left tire - allowing right to spin with very little resistance, so no traction. Back just didnt get down deep enough in the snow to move the front end.

slf41002 02-22-2009 10:04 PM

Well some will say no bigger than 33s on a D35 and most will say no do not lock a 35.Others will say they have been running 35s with a locker for years.It is s toss of the coin really.I say if you want to lock it with the 32s and take the gamble be prepared to upgrade to a 44 in the future.If you want 35s and a locker go ahead and upgrade to the 44.

IslandTJ 02-22-2009 11:08 PM

If the snow drift got you high centered, a locker wouldn't have helped. Spend more time wheeling and get to know your Jeep. I wheeled stock for 9 years, before I built my Jeep. I learned how to pick a line and the limitations of the "run and bump" technique. I tell you, those 9 years on stock were some of the funnest Jeep experiences I've had. :D

jdhallissey 02-23-2009 12:06 AM

I am up in gurnee. UMM you have to make a trip with us out to the cliffs of insane terrain. It is on 55 bout 45 miles south of joliet.

snwchris 02-23-2009 06:00 AM

For those prices you can run a set-up 8.8 for cheaper. I've seen built 8.8's forsale on the JP forum for cheaper then that.

The D35 is ok, but once you start talking lockers, in my opinoin it's a ticking time bomb. Lockers, 35's tires & D35 don't seem to do well.

If your doing moderate wheeling, 33's & the D35 are fine. I really won't jump to lockers, just cause you got stuck, but that just my .02 cents.


4Jeepn 02-23-2009 06:23 AM

Adding a locker can be a catch 22. The dana 35 is considered a weak axle as it has 27 spline shafts. There are upgrade kits with 30 spline shafts (same as 44) and a locker for under 1k. These kits are good for upto 35's. That being said, some still feel the tubes and housing are weak on the D35.

So some folks decide to lock the dana 30. Which is good for upto 35's. If you go with a full time locker such as lock right, etc, on snow covered roads they do have bad habits of pulling the jeep side ways. In my own experience, I hated it. Thus if you lock the front a selectable locker is the way to go, ox, arb etc. cost is more but well worth it in the long run.

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