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Old 02-17-2014, 02:51 PM
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Want to swap in an 8.8

I have an 02 Tj and would like to swap out my dana35 for a ford 8.8. There is a 31 spline 3.73 posi 8.8 for $250 on Craigslist. I have heard that it is pretty much an easy swap. Can anyone here tell me what exactly is involved in this swap and how hard it is? I plan on putting a 3" zone lift with 33x12.5's on my jeep and was told that my dana35 would have to be switched to a 4.56 gear set. But then I read on here that there could be problems with putting those gears in the dana35 housing. So I'm pretty confused how that would all work. Any help and info would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 02-17-2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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If the axle isn't all ready set up with TJ brackets you'll have to buy those and weld them on. Here's a basic list of what else you'll need:
*adapter flange
*new brakes, This is your call since it's probably a junkyard axle.
*E-brake cables.
Also, not required but recommended:
*Some sort of new, stronger carrier. It could be a limited slip or a locker.
*Thicker diff cover
*SYE+DC shaft
*rear upper adj control arms
If you're going to have it regeared then tack on an additional $500-$750 for just the rear.

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Old 02-17-2014, 04:00 PM
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So than my question goes to.... Can my Dana35 handle the 33x12.50's since i am on a budget? It will be more of a daily driver than an off road rig. But I do on occasion like to head up to Rausch Creek for a little off roading and maybe a ride on the local beach here.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:04 PM   #4
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So than my question goes to.... Can my Dana35 handle the 33x12.50's since i am on a budget? It will be more of a daily driver than an off road rig. But I do on occasion like to head up to Rausch Creek for a little off roading and maybe a ride on the local beach here.
No the D35 can't handle 33s. It will eventually break. You can try putting in some hardened alloy shafts but I personally wouldn't sink any money into the D35. Just save up the money for a swap.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:13 PM   #5
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What elite56 said. I just finished having mine 8.8 installed.

Mine received:

* Artec truss/bracket setup
* adapter flange
* new brakes
* e-brake cable
* ARB air locker (stock 8.8 carrier is the weak point)
* Riddler diff cover
* SYE/CV ds
* Yukon 4.88 gears
* Yukon master install kit
* upper and lower adj. control arms
* Ten Factory axle shafts (not necessary as stock are very strong...just wanted new bearings and studs as well as a little more strength)


It is a great upgrade, but expect around $3000 start to finish to have one setup and installed. You will need to also regear the front to match whatever you put in the rear, so include that expense. There should not be an additional charge to install a locker with the new gears, so that would be the time to go ahead and do the locker, even though it is a huge expense. The stock 8.8 carrier is weak, and you would hate to have to go back later to have a locker installed if you skip it now.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:35 PM
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Ok thank you. I wonder how it will look with 31x10.5's instead of the 33's :/
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:49 PM   #7
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Ok thank you. I wonder how it will look with 31x10.5's instead of the 33's :/
I wouldn't do 31s on a 3" lift. You can fit 31s on a stock TJ with a couple washers in the steering stops.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:53 PM   #8
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So than my question goes to.... Can my Dana35 handle the 33x12.50
yes, with upgraded shafts
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:50 PM   #9
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I think a lot depends on how ya wheel. I been runnin bfg km2 33x12.5r15's for a couple of years on the my d35 and have had no issues. I get at it pretty good too. If ya wheel smart you can stay with anyone imo. If i come across a deal for a better axle sure i would go for it, but in the meantime i am doin well.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:13 PM
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Well as far as how I wheel.... I'm not very aggressive. I spend a majority of my time on the blacktop. I do not gun it and take off like I'm drag racing or anything. If I do go off roading it might be once a year. I would like to take it onto the beach every now and then. I only paid $3000 for the Jeep a week ago and there isn't anyway my girlfriend is going to let me spend what I paid for it or more on upgrading my axles right now. Her head is still spinning over the lift kit at tires.... lol
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:47 PM   #11
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That'll happen lol. Thats the beauty of a jeep. Constant evolving project. Prioritze your build perhaps, go with what you think you need first and go for the wants later. I think your d35 will be fine for now, but that doesnt mean ol' murphy wont show up lol. Perhaps one day i will upgrade, but in the meantime i am makin do and doin well enjoy that jeep and get creative.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:06 PM   #12
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The d35 is fine with 33s. Been running it for over 2 years now. Just be easy on the gas pedal and be smart offroad. No problems. 35s is where the problems are.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:15 PM
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That'll happen lol. Thats the beauty of a jeep. Constant evolving project. Prioritze your build perhaps, go with what you think you need first and go for the wants later. I think your d35 will be fine for now, but that doesnt mean ol' murphy wont show up lol. Perhaps one day i will upgrade, but in the meantime i am makin do and doin well enjoy that jeep and get creative.

Thank you! Yeah I'm going to make it mine! I have often referred to a Jeep as a Transformer. Always changing and never truly finished. And yeah ol' Murphy always tends to raise his ugly little head.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:22 PM
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The d35 is fine with 33s. Been running it for over 2 years now. Just be easy on the gas pedal and be smart offroad. No problems. 35s is where the problems are.

Yeah I have no intentions of making the move up to 35's anytime soon. And as far as the gas pedal goes gas is to expensive and goes to quick in a Jeep to be anything other than easy on it. What gears are you guys running in your d35's and how do I know or find out what gears I have in mine?
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:30 PM   #15
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Yeah I have no intentions of making the move up to 35's anytime soon. And as far as the gas pedal goes gas is to expensive and goes to quick in a Jeep to be anything other than easy on it. What gears are you guys running in your d35's and how do I know or find out what gears I have in mine?
The gear ratio should be stamped on your axle pumpkin on a little tag. I have 3.73 with a 5spd
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:38 PM
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The gear ratio should be stamped on your axle pumpkin on a little tag. I have 3.73 with a 5spd
Yeah I also have a 5spd. It's been a little on the cold side to go out and lay under it. But it's supposed to warm up to the 50's in the next few days. So hopefully I can get under it and look at some things and try to figure it out.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:41 PM   #17
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I also have 33's on my d35, however mine is locked front and rear, so I am very easy with it. But I go any where i point it. Little over a year so far. I do wheel just about every weekend, the hardest trails i have had it on is Beasley Knob. Bottom line=take it easy and it should be ok.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:43 PM   #18
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Yeah I also have a 5spd. It's been a little on the cold side to go out and lay under it. But it's supposed to warm up to the 50's in the next few days. So hopefully I can get under it and look at some things and try to figure it out.
70 degrees here its top down weather brotha. Ha. Ill stop... Anyway ya hopefully its still on there. PO replaced mine with an aftermarket cover so it wasnt there.. When i needed new gears... Had to learn the hard way... Anyway its most likely stamped. 3.73 wont be optimal with 33s but not bad enough to drop the cash for a regear however if you have 3.07 id say a regear is in your future and go to 4.56 or 4.88.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:50 PM
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70 degrees here its top down weather brotha. Ha. Ill stop... Anyway ya hopefully its still on there. PO replaced mine with an aftermarket cover so it wasnt there.. When i needed new gears... Had to learn the hard way... Anyway its most likely stamped. 3.73 wont be optimal with 33s but not bad enough to drop the cash for a regear however if you have 3.07 id say a regear is in your future and go to 4.56 or 4.88.
Yeah someone suggested a an upgrade to a 4.56 but I browsed some posts on here and read that the d35 housing wouldn't work very well with the 4.56 gears... And as far as the weather goes, 70 would be an absolute treat! I think we had a high in the upper 20's today.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:01 PM   #20
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Yeah someone suggested a an upgrade to a 4.56 but I browsed some posts on here and read that the d35 housing wouldn't work very well with the 4.56 gears... And as far as the weather goes, 70 would be an absolute treat! I think we had a high in the upper 20's today.
Ya we got snowed in last week. Love the souths weather. snow one week and sunny and 75 the next... 4.11 will work in the d35 and still arent perfect but better than 3.73 which i have zero complaints about. Drives normal to me...
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:15 PM
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Ya we got snowed in last week. Love the souths weather. snow one week and sunny and 75 the next... 4.11 will work in the d35 and still arent perfect but better than 3.73 which i have zero complaints about. Drives normal to me...
Lol yeah your weather has been crazy down there. At least here we are use to having a winter. But I am guessing you didn't really get all that stuck. Yeah I am hoping for at least 3.73's. But my luck will be.... The stamp will either be worn off or say 3.07 :/
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:20 PM   #22
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Lol yeah your weather has been crazy down there. At least here we are use to having a winter. But I am guessing you didn't really get all that stuck. Yeah I am hoping for at least 3.73's. But my luck will be.... The stamp will either be worn off or say 3.07 :/
Nah i had some fun in the ice. Safely of course... But i hear you.. I tend to have luck like that lately. Haha best of luck to ya. Let us know once you find out tomorrow
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:51 PM   #23
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No the D35 can't handle 33s. It will eventually break. You can try putting in some hardened alloy shafts but I personally wouldn't sink any money into the D35. Just save up the money for a swap.
Don't believe everything the internet tells you.

My D35 went 15 years, with 10 of those years being on 33s, before swapping it out for an 8.8. The 35 is under a friends Jeep still going.

OP, unless the 8.8 already has brackets welled on for a TJ it's not what I would consider an "easy" swap.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:59 PM   #24
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Don't believe everything the internet tells you.

My D35 went 15 years, with 10 of those years being on 33s, before swapping it out for an 8.8. The 35 is under a friends Jeep still going.

OP, unless the 8.8 already has brackets welled on for a TJ it's not what I would consider an "easy" swap.
15 years with stock shafts and no breakage?
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:20 PM   #25
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15 years with stock shafts and no breakage?
I do admit it sat in garage for 3 years and barely driven, but yes, all original parts when I gave it to my friend.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:27 AM   #26
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Yeah someone suggested a an upgrade to a 4.56 but I browsed some posts on here and read that the d35 housing wouldn't work very well with the 4.56 gears... And as far as the weather goes, 70 would be an absolute treat! I think we had a high in the upper 20's today.
4.56 gears work just fine in the D35 housing. I have been running a D35 with 4.56, stock shafts, and a Detroit Tru Trac for years on 33" (now 35") tires. No carnage yet. That being said I have a replacement D44 in my shop waiting to be re-geared to 4.88.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:26 AM   #27
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I do admit it sat in garage for 3 years and barely driven, but yes, all original parts when I gave it to my friend.
I guess it all depends on your luck really.
People have broke them on the street before just by going over bumps into their driveway while some people wheel the heck out of them and they never break.
I'm not saying a D35 is just going to snap in half right when you stick 33s on it. I'm just saying there is a good chance to have a shaft break.
I run 33s on a D35 and I haven't broke it yet. I wheel it very carefully though and have 3.07s so I don't have to worry about my power as much as someone who's regeared.
That aside though, I will be replacing it in the near future with a stronger axle so I can wheel it harder and won't have to worry about breakage as much.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:47 PM
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Well I just called the local jeep dealership and asked them to run my vin number for a build sheet. They told me that my jeep has a d44 with 3.73 gears.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:00 PM   #29
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Well I just called the local jeep dealership and asked them to run my vin number for a build sheet. They told me that my jeep has a d44 with 3.73 gears.
Some guys have all the luck.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:01 PM   #30
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Lol i feel ya on that one. I cant find one at a decent price for nothin. Ah well, in the meantime i'll keep my luck in my good fortune on the trail. I always have a blast and can always drive home under my own power, and i am alright with that

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