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Old 06-30-2015, 09:23 AM
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Difference between Dana 30 and Dana 44

I've seen several threads about people swapping/upgrading their axles, but I would like to read about the differences in the two. I am not a mechanic by any stretch. Is there something that I can read in laymans terms that explains the capabilities and limitations of each axle? I have a JKU Sahara on order and am curious about what I will get stock in teh dana 30 front/Dana 44 rear

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Old 06-30-2015, 09:30 AM   #2
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The axle tubes and C's are essentially the same, but the housing that houses the ring and pinion is the big difference. The 44's ring and pinion are significantly larger than the 30's.

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Old 06-30-2015, 09:32 AM   #3
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On a JK the 44 has a beefier center section and I believe stronger (more splines) axle shafts. For a stock rig I'd say there are no limitations. Once you go 35s or bigger I think is where strength can become an issue on either axle.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:35 AM   #4
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:36 AM   #5
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Oh and the 44 is 14 more than the 30.


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Old 06-30-2015, 09:40 AM   #6
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Oh and the 44 is 14 more than the 30.


He could go with a Dana 60, then he would have 30 more, or twice as much....
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:51 AM
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He could go with a Dana 60, then he would have 30 more, or twice as much....
or half of 4 times as much!
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:01 AM   #8
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I wish they did numbering differently and a Dana 11 was the stout axle. Then I could say my Jeep goes to 11. :lol:
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:26 PM   #9
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The difference is, Snap, Crackle, POP off road!

I have broken two rear axles on my 13 year run with the 30/35's. Of course that was after regearing to 4.10s, installing a locker and 33" tires. Always was easy on the skinny petal.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:49 PM   #10
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The factory Dana 30 is the light duty axle that is cheap to build and lasts as long as the Chrysler warranty. So it goes in the non-Rubicon Jeeps. When they went from the 2006 and older TJ Wrangler to the JK, they redesigned the Dana 30 so it's a little stronger. But not much. It's fine to get started but it's somewhat weak, especially as you start to modify the Jeep.

The factory Rubicon front Dana 44 is a very slightly upgraded axle over the Dana 30. The differential is upgraded to use larger and stronger gears and they put thicker axle shafts between the locker and the u-joint at the steering knuckle. Everything else about the axle is the same. The axle tubes, the suspension brackets, the steering pieces, everything. It is not a very strong axle compared to a "real" Dana 44.

Before they all switched to independent front suspension, older 1/2 ton trucks (including full size SUV's and Jeeps) used a "real" Dana 44 that had bigger, thicker axle tubes and stronger steering components. But they're not always easy to swap in to a Wrangler for various reasons.

Aftermarket companies have designed upgraded Dana 44 axles that are designed to bolt into a Wrangler directly. They are designed from the ground up to be beefier and stronger than even "real" Dana 44's in older generation vehicles. They use the bigger, stronger axle gears inside of a heavier duty differential housing. They have bigger, thicker axle tubes, beefier steering components, and suspension brackets made from thicker, stronger material. They are actually almost as strong as a Dana 60 (3/4 and 1 ton pickup front axle) in some ways.


Why does this matter?

Because taking a Jeep off road puts a lot of stress on an axle. The factory Dana 30 and Rubicon Dana 44 aren't really built for serious abuse. They can be patched with some weld on parts to beef them up but in the end, they're 1/4 ton axles and they just don't hold up if you run anything bigger than a 35" tire on moderate trails and above.

If you plan on serious off road driving with big tires, you really need to upgrade from factory to aftermarket (or modify and swap in something beefy from a heavy duty donor vehicle).

If you're just going to hit dirt roads and remote camping spots and never put on bigger tires or abuse the Jeep in any way, the stock Dana 30 is adequate. Though a couple of minor reinforcements wouldn't hurt.

And that's pretty much it.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:20 PM   #11
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The factory Dana 30 is the light duty axle that is cheap to build and lasts as long as the Chrysler warranty. So it goes in the non-Rubicon Jeeps. When they went from the 2006 and older TJ Wrangler to the JK, they redesigned the Dana 30 so it's a little stronger. But not much. It's fine to get started but it's somewhat weak, especially as you start to modify the Jeep.

The factory Rubicon front Dana 44 is a very slightly upgraded axle over the Dana 30. The differential is upgraded to use larger and stronger gears and they put thicker axle shafts between the locker and the u-joint at the steering knuckle. Everything else about the axle is the same. The axle tubes, the suspension brackets, the steering pieces, everything. It is not a very strong axle compared to a "real" Dana 44.

Before they all switched to independent front suspension, older 1/2 ton trucks (including full size SUV's and Jeeps) used a "real" Dana 44 that had bigger, thicker axle tubes and stronger steering components. But they're not always easy to swap in to a Wrangler for various reasons.

Aftermarket companies have designed upgraded Dana 44 axles that are designed to bolt into a Wrangler directly. They are designed from the ground up to be beefier and stronger than even "real" Dana 44's in older generation vehicles. They use the bigger, stronger axle gears inside of a heavier duty differential housing. They have bigger, thicker axle tubes, beefier steering components, and suspension brackets made from thicker, stronger material. They are actually almost as strong as a Dana 60 (3/4 and 1 ton pickup front axle) in some ways.


Why does this matter?

Because taking a Jeep off road puts a lot of stress on an axle. The factory Dana 30 and Rubicon Dana 44 aren't really built for serious abuse. They can be patched with some weld on parts to beef them up but in the end, they're 1/4 ton axles and they just don't hold up if you run anything bigger than a 35" tire on moderate trails and above.

If you plan on serious off road driving with big tires, you really need to upgrade from factory to aftermarket (or modify and swap in something beefy from a heavy duty donor vehicle).

If you're just going to hit dirt roads and remote camping spots and never put on bigger tires or abuse the Jeep in any way, the stock Dana 30 is adequate. Though a couple of minor reinforcements wouldn't hurt.

And that's pretty much it.
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:31 AM   #12
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The difference is, Snap, Crackle, POP off road! I have broken two rear axles on my 13 year run with the 30/35's. Of course that was after regearing to 4.10s, installing a locker and 33" tires. Always was easy on the skinny petal.
Ain't no D35's in these JK's
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:06 AM   #13
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Ain't no D35's in these JK's
Yeah they had them back in 2007, not all of them but a few
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:08 AM   #14
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Yeah they had them back in 2007, not all of them but a few
That can't be good.
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:22 AM   #15
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The difference is, Snap, Crackle, POP off road!

I have broken two rear axles on my 13 year run with the 30/35's. Of course that was after regearing to 4.10s, installing a locker and 33" tires. Always was easy on the skinny petal.
That was on my 01 TJ.
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:02 AM   #16
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Most of the TJ's have Dana 35 rear diffs.
The TJ Rubicons all have Dana 44's, but of the older version!
Some of the Sport and Sahara model TJ's also have Dana 44 rears, with rear disk brakes. These were mainly 2005 and 2006 models.

As for the JK's, only a few of the earlier 2007 models have Dana 35 rears!!!!!!!!

This weak Dana 35 axle, is only held in by C-Clips. The axle would twist off at the side gears or the C-Clip would brake and then your axle assemble and wheel would work it's way out of the housing tube. A poorly design and safetY issue..IMO
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:44 AM   #17
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C-clips aren't that much of a problem, I plowed a lot of snow and did a lot of hauling with an 87 K20 that had the 9.5" semi-floater 14-bolt and never had a problem. Same goes for the C1500 & K10 I had (10-bolts are C-clip axles) and the several Dodge 1/2 tons (the 9.25" is also a C-clip axle.) It's definitely not an IDEAL design, but like I said I worked & wheeled those things HARD and never had a problem. I also wheeled the heck out of my '90 YJ w/33s & 3.07s - I was NOT stingy with the skinny pedal - and it was the bulletproof 4.2l that ended up breaking.

Honestly, I'd bet 75% of the time someone mentions D35s breaking, it's hearsay or some guy a friend's friend's brother-in-law's neighbor knew. Kinda like the ugly girl with the sausage in the high school bathroom, every town in America had that happen at its high school if you believe all the stories.

People break 2.5 ton and 5 ton Rockwell axles on mud trucks, so just have fun with your D30 & D35 and repair or upgrade them as needed when they break. I only take it easy with my TJ because it's also my DD, but that's what my YJ will be for when I finish it.
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:45 AM   #18
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Yeah they had them back in 2007, not all of them but a few
You're correct. A small number of Sahara and X 2 doors had D 35's installed in 2007 before full production went to D 44's in the rear.
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Old 07-01-2015, 07:54 AM   #19
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The factory Rubicon front Dana 44 is a very slightly upgraded axle over the Dana 30.
In regards to the housing minus the center section, yes. In regards to the ring and pinion, no.

The tubes and C's can be considerably strenghthened (by over 100% bend resistance) with a little time and know-how.

Post #23: https://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/da...n-1047657.html

That axle has a 35 spline ARB and G2 shafts, 5.38 cryo treated gears, custom 1/4" brackets, Reid knuckles, BR6 calipers/rotors.....it's incredibly stout.
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Old 07-01-2015, 08:32 AM   #20
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In regards to the housing minus the center section, yes. In regards to the ring and pinion, no.

The tubes and C's can be considerably strenghthened (by over 100% bend resistance) with a little time and know-how.

Post #23: https://www.wranglerforum.com/f202/da...n-1047657.html

That axle has a 35 spline ARB and G2 shafts, 5.38 cryo treated gears, custom 1/4" brackets, Reid knuckles, BR6 calipers/rotors.....it's incredibly stout.
It's interesting that you cut my very next sentence where I mention bigger and stronger gears as well as bigger shafts.

And it doesn't matter what you do to a factory stock axle. The aftermarket axles are stronger. Their differential housing is custom designed to be stronger. Their axle tubes are bigger with thicker material (up to 1/2" thick wall). The forged inner C is massive. There is nothing you can do to a stock axle to make it anywhere close when it comes to strength.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:03 AM   #21
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It's interesting that you cut my very next sentence where I mention bigger and stronger gears as well as bigger shafts.

And it doesn't matter what you do to a factory stock axle. The aftermarket axles are stronger. Their differential housing is custom designed to be stronger. Their axle tubes are bigger with thicker material (up to 1/2" thick wall). The forged inner C is massive. There is nothing you can do to a stock axle to make it anywhere close when it comes to strength.
X2 and all that money beefing up a 30 will get you a good start on that Pro rock, or rock jock 44
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:03 AM   #22
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X2 and all that money beefing up a 30 will get you a good start on that Pro rock, or rock jock 44
It's one thing if you can do the work yourself. But most people can't disassemble an axle and weld it all back together. They'd have to pay a shop to do it. And when you do that, the labor alone will shoot the price higher than buying an aftermarket axle. And you'll still be left with the weaker factory components.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:19 PM   #23
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It's interesting that you cut my very next sentence where I mention bigger and stronger gears as well as bigger shafts.

And it doesn't matter what you do to a factory stock axle. The aftermarket axles are stronger. Their differential housing is custom designed to be stronger. Their axle tubes are bigger with thicker material (up to 1/2" thick wall). The forged inner C is massive. There is nothing you can do to a stock axle to make it anywhere close when it comes to strength.
Coming from someone who's been around a lot of very nice axles (far nicer than any 44) and have installed a new JK Currie 44 under a TJ.....I'm aware.

But since you're so confident that my "factory" housing is still so weak, I'd love to hear you take a guess at the actual 'strength difference' between it and said Currie (or Dynatrac) housing and ends. Mine has 3" x 1/2" wall tubes that are fully welded to the center section and to the C's, while the 1/4" C gussets are fully boxed and welded to the new tubes and the center bridge is welded to the center section and both tubes. The ARB keeps gear deflection down to a minimum.

As an engineer that specializes in destructive testing and post-failure analysis, I think you'll find that my housing and the aftermarket housings are closer in transverse, axial and torsional loading results than you may think.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:45 PM   #24
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Coming from someone who's been around a lot of very nice axles (far nicer than any 44) and have installed a new JK Currie 44 under a TJ.....I'm aware.

But since you're so confident that my "factory" housing is still so weak, I'd love to hear you take a guess at the actual 'strength difference' between it and said Currie (or Dynatrac) housing and ends. Mine has 3" x 1/2" wall tubes that are fully welded to the center section and to the C's, while the 1/4" C gussets are fully boxed and welded to the new tubes and the center bridge is welded to the center section and both tubes. The ARB keeps gear deflection down to a minimum.

As an engineer that specializes in destructive testing and post-failure analysis, I think you'll find that my housing and the aftermarket housings are closer in transverse, axial and torsional loading results than you may think.
So you're good at breaking things. Good for you.

I'll trust the engineers at Dynatrac, Terraflex, and Currie. They're good at building things.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:50 PM   #25
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Derf ftw!
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:52 PM   #26
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Derf ftw!
I too am an engineer. I know that when someone throws their credentials at me, they don't have much more to offer. I've pissed off a lot of certified "Professional Engineers" by fixing their crap for them way more times than I should have.

To be fair, I'm sure the axle he built is plenty strong. But what he did to build it isn't an option for, well, just about everyone. Having the engineering knowledge and fabrication skills to produce that, not to mention the initiative and means to do it, is well beyond most people.

Given the fact that the aftermarket produces axle housings that are very well engineered to be dramatically stronger in every respect than the wimpy factory crap means that everyone who has the cash has the means to obtain a very stout axle that they can install with not a whole lot of effort or mechanical skill.

And that's the whole point. The Rubicon Dana 44 is a very weak axle outside of the differential housing (which is not as strong as the aftermarket units). Every reasonable thing you can do to beef it up will leave you with a differential housing that doesn't have all of the reinforcement cast into every aftermarket housing, it will still have weak axle tubes that have some strength patched into them (and no, replacing the tubes is not a "reasonable" thing for most people to do), and it certainly leaves you with the crappy cast inner C's rather than the beefy forged units offered by all the aftermarket companies.

It's interesting to see someone spend so much time and effort to rebuild a factory axle housing like that. But that's all it is. Interesting to see. Because it's probably a one shot deal that will rarely be duplicated, if ever.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:15 PM   #27
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Coming from someone who's been around a lot of very nice axles (far nicer than any 44) and have installed a new JK Currie 44 under a TJ.....I'm aware.

But since you're so confident that my "factory" housing is still so weak, I'd love to hear you take a guess at the actual 'strength difference' between it and said Currie (or Dynatrac) housing and ends. Mine has 3" x 1/2" wall tubes that are fully welded to the center section and to the C's, while the 1/4" C gussets are fully boxed and welded to the new tubes and the center bridge is welded to the center section and both tubes. The ARB keeps gear deflection down to a minimum.

As an engineer that specializes in destructive testing and post-failure analysis, I think you'll find that my housing and the aftermarket housings are closer in transverse, axial and torsional loading results than you may think.
How do the new tubes and gussets help the Dana 30 ring and pinion out? If you spent the money to switch out every single part on your Dana 30, have you really saved any money over just buying a larger axle? Sure, since you put 3x0.5" tubes on your Dana 30 like a ProRock 44 or other aftermarket housing may get the tubes will be just as strong. But you still have that tiny ring and pinion, especially at a 5.38 ratio. I really feel that the ability of a Dana 44 to accept another 480 ft-lbs of input torque is a decent advantage over a Dana 30.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:22 PM   #28
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How do the new tubes and gussets help the Dana 30 ring and pinion out? If you spent the money to switch out every single part on your Dana 30, have you really saved any money over just buying a larger axle? Sure, since you put 3x0.5" tubes on your Dana 30 like a ProRock 44 or other aftermarket housing may get the tubes will be just as strong. But you still have that tiny ring and pinion, especially at a 5.38 ratio. I really feel that the ability of a Dana 44 to accept another 480 ft-lbs of input torque is a decent advantage over a Dana 30.
I was under the impression that he started with a Rubicon Dana 44. That gives you the bigger ring and pinion, the Rubicon locker, the factory Dana 44 differential housing, and 30 spline inner shafts (vs 27 spline). But everything else is the same as the Dana 30.
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:28 PM   #29
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Why suggest doing all that stuff to a housing as an option to the OP who's talking about a front Dana 30?
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:40 PM   #30
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Why suggest doing all that stuff to a housing as an option to the OP who's talking about a front Dana 30?
He's proud of the work he did building it and he wants to show off his knowledge. It's how engineers measure themselves against other people. I know because, as an engineer, I have to consciously make the effort to not do it myself.

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