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Discussion Starter #1
I've got an 07 - D44 front axles from 07& 08 are known to fracture mid tube. Does anyone recall if this is a metallurgical issue or just a thin casting?

I've been considering my upgrade options for the front axle. Internal sleeving and/or external plating won't address a metallurgical problem - but internal sleeving/external plating combined with a truss will address most strength issues.
I feel comfortable welding on the axle housing, so adding the appropriate steel isn't an issue.

I do need to regear at some point (and would drop off the axle at a shop).

A J8 axle housing is only $1000 or so...add a truss/gussets and will it be strong enough?

A teraflex or ProRock about $2500 for just the housing. Seems like a lot for someone that isn't likely to be rock crawling frequently.

What make sense for 35s? 37s would be awesome, but on a 3.8 am not sure.

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The D44HD/J8 Hybrid has thicker tubes but maintains the regular Rubi center section. It is a direct swap for all Rubi parts. If you are hard core and think you need to sleeve and truss, don’t bother, just go directly to something heavier like the Dynatrac with axle bigger tubes.
The full true J8 D44 only comes as a complete unit and parts do not interchange with the Rubi.
The Dana/Spicer Ultimate 44 is a nice upgrade as well and is affordable.


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Discussion Starter #3
The D44HD/J8 Hybrid has thicker tubes but maintains the regular Rubi center section. It is a direct swap for all Rubi parts. If you are hard core and think you need to sleeve and truss, don’t bother, just go directly to something heavier like the Dynatrac with axle bigger tubes.
The full true J8 D44 only comes as a complete unit and parts do not interchange with the Rubi.
The Dana/Spicer Ultimate 44 is a nice upgrade as well and is affordable.


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I'm not really that hardcore - that's why I was thinking about just building out the axle. It needs new gears for bigger tires (and new BJs)...so all the parts that may get hurt by heat will be out. And welding some bracketry is no big deal - I figured I'd be way ahead in the $$$ department.




Any idea if this is the hybrid housing?


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I'm not really that hardcore - that's why I was thinking about just building out the axle. It needs new gears for bigger tires (and new BJs)...so all the parts that may get hurt by heat will be out. And welding some bracketry is no big deal - I figured I'd be way ahead in the $$$ department.




Any idea if this is the hybrid housing?


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Yes that is the hybrid housing. It comes with balljoints and axle seals installed. No need for a truss or sleeves on this housing unless you are hard core. We’ve built 3 of these and I have run 37” Pitbulls on with 0 issues.


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The reason those axles are failing is because people are putting 37s-40s on them and then giving them hard hits on trail obstacles like they're not using a housing with 2.5" OD x .25" wall tubing. If you're not doing serious wheeling with those larger size tires then your housing almost certainly won't fracture and fall apart. If you're going to get a beefed up D44, then go Dynatrac or a UD44.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The reason those axles are failing is because people are putting 37s-40s on them and then giving them hard hits on trail obstacles like they're not using a housing with 2.5" OD x .25" wall tubing. If you're not doing serious wheeling with those larger size tires then your housing almost certainly won't fracture and fall apart. If you're going to get a beefed up D44, then go Dynatrac or a UD44.
That may very well be true for the later model year JK Rubicon's, but not the early ones (like my 07)...the posts about axle failures have signifigantly declined. In the early days, you'd see posts about failures with 35s - yes they usually correspond with a comment about hitting something or wheeling. But posts like that are few and far between now. I've spoken to a few shops and they too also saw more failures in the early days too....

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Who knows, maybe the early ones were a little weaker but it mustn't have been too bad since faulty axles are a major safety hazard and if it was widespread in those years it would have generated lawsuits and press. It still sounds like it was people pushing them too hard wheeling with larger than stock tires. If you hit the axle tube on a boulder hard, a smaller tire isn't going to help. And with throttle 35s can toast a D44.

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter. If you're concerned your axle is too weak for what you want to do with it, then upgrade. Personally, I'd inspect it to make sure it's still straight and doesn't have any cracks in the housing. If it was good, I wouldn't hesitate to wheel it with 35s. In fact, I wheeled stock Rubi axles on 35s with no strength upgrades for years and didn't run into housing problems. Now that's not proof of anything, but I'm hardly the only one. If you're worried about impact damage or just want more strength in the build, then buy a beefier housing.
 

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I had a accident with my 08 in 2011. Took a direct hit at 30mph to the passenger front tire (stubby bumper). Didn’t break or even bent the axle tubes but it did bend all the brackets, bent the control arms, and broke off the shock. New brackets were welded on that housing and it went back on the road. People who like to jump their Jeeps or bounce them around in the rocks seem to have more issues.
Overall I have never had an issue with bent or broken diffs in any of our JKs.


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If you are comfortable doing the install, the truss and gussets are inexpensive and the first upgrade recommended by the shop for "hardening" the front axle. If you aren't hardcore and beating on it, that should suit you well.

The full kit is only $270... Artec JK APEX Front Axle ARMOR KIT
 

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But, you also have to be aware that there are clearance issues with some truss kits hiting the 3.6L oil pan if there isn’t enough bumpstop and lift.
My point being, if you have to buy a housing anyway and you feel the need to truss, just buy a heavier housing to start with and not worry about a truss.



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Discussion Starter #11
But, you also have to be aware that there are clearance issues with some truss kits hiting the 3.6L oil pan if there isn’t enough bumpstop and lift.
My point being, if you have to buy a housing anyway and you feel the need to truss, just buy a heavier housing to start with and not worry about a truss.



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I have a 3.8....still an issue?

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If you're going to truss it, you need to put your axle at full bump and then measure how much clearance you have. I wouldn't add bump to fit a truss on an axle like that, I'd just replace the housing. If you do truss, make sure it's welded carefully and preferably with some kind of jig or alignment setup to keep the housing from warping.
 
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