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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I'm looking into the next big investment for my Jeep. I used to wheel frequently and I'm trying to get back at it. I currently run 35s on the stock 2012 jks axels. (Front Ujoints were buffed up). Also, stock driveshafts and gears. I would like to run a locker. From the research I've done, the selectable ARB locker is looking like it would be perfect. Is that the best bang for the buck locker and will my set up handle it, or should I work on upgrading axels and driveshafts first?
 

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O man this is going to start a fight, just kidding you are just going to get a lot of opinions so I'll start with mine.

First problem I see is the 35" tires with the DANA 30 in the front. Unless you have a 44 but you didn't say Rubicon so I assume no. The 30 is going to be your limiting factor on any drive line upgrade. 33" tires on the 30 is about it.

Bang for buck is tough with lockers, the ARBs are solid however if you factor in the cost of an air system (tank or compressor), unless you already have one they will typically be the most expensive.

I have the Eaton E-lockers in mine and they work great, however I'm not a hardcore off-roader so I'm sure I don't push them to their limits. I was stuck between the OX and Eatons for awhile, however went with the Eatons because they are simple. Only downside I see with the Eatons is they have an engagement period, so they don't lock immediately and if you like to rock your jeep out of trouble you may have an issue with this. I would suggest watching the videos on how they work and you should be able to pick out the problem with how they engage.

Seriously and your going to hear this a lot, the 30 is tough to keep going with. I upgraded my 30 with gears and a locker and haven't heard the end of it but for what I do I think it will hold up. If I ever get serious with it I'll go find some D60s to put in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Where will the limiting factor be? Will it be the shafts, the housing, the gears? Couldn't I get away with just swapping the axel shafts? Or will my best bet be finding a 44 and just swapping the whole thing?
 

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Depends what you change. If you put a locker in, leave the factory axles in, they will be your week point. Add stronger axles and the Ring and pinion become the weak point.
Add a nice heavy diff cover to help support and strengthen the diff housing.
If trussing is in your thoughts, IMHO just swap up to a D44. Don't waste time and money on a D30.


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If you wheel hard have a plan. Plan an easy fix weakest link and make sure everything else is much stronger than that. When you do break you can fix in the field or limp out and not be stranded.
 

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Where will the limiting factor be? Will it be the shafts, the housing, the gears? Couldn't I get away with just swapping the axel shafts? Or will my best bet be finding a 44 and just swapping the whole thing?
The limiting factor would be the axles at this point in your build. The 35s are adding a lot of stress to them. Next weakest link would probably be the axle tubes which aren't thick enough. Coming off a rock too hard onto the front axle is usually how they are bent/cracked. Trusses are designed to help with this.

From what I hear is you can build up a DANA 30 to be as strong as a 44 however the cost will usually out-weigh just swapping in a 44. Problem with swapping is they are kinda hard to find.
 

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Ok, so I have done the whole beef up your d30 thing, and am still running it.

I have eaton e lockers, artec full armor kit, new ball joints, Ruff Stuff diff cover, etc...

I am still running the factory axle shafts as I want them to be the weak link. Will probably not upgrade those as long as I am running the d30. If I break I'll just replace with factory shafts.

We did all the work ourselves on both the gears/locker and the armor kit so saved a bunch of $$$ that way. I wheel reasonably hard, but didn't have the $$ to shell out for aftermarket and DIY was the only way I could put the money in the axle. SO I have about $1500 total in the axle, including ball joints, which is a pretty reasonable deal.

BTW...I went with Eaton as you don't have to have a compressor. Never had a problem with them front or rear.
 

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Ok, so I have done the whole beef up your d30 thing, and am still running it.

I have eaton e lockers, artec full armor kit, new ball joints, Ruff Stuff diff cover, etc...

I am still running the factory axle shafts as I want them to be the weak link. Will probably not upgrade those as long as I am running the d30. If I break I'll just replace with factory shafts.

We did all the work ourselves on both the gears/locker and the armor kit so saved a bunch of $$$ that way. I wheel reasonably hard, but didn't have the $$ to shell out for aftermarket and DIY was the only way I could put the money in the axle. SO I have about $1500 total in the axle, including ball joints, which is a pretty reasonable deal.

BTW...I went with Eaton as you don't have to have a compressor. Never had a problem with them front or rear.
Just a quick question what size tires are you running on the D30?
 

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Ok, so I have done the whole beef up your d30 thing, and am still running it.



I have eaton e lockers, artec full armor kit, new ball joints, Ruff Stuff diff cover, etc...



I am still running the factory axle shafts as I want them to be the weak link. Will probably not upgrade those as long as I am running the d30. If I break I'll just replace with factory shafts.



We did all the work ourselves on both the gears/locker and the armor kit so saved a bunch of $$$ that way. I wheel reasonably hard, but didn't have the $$ to shell out for aftermarket and DIY was the only way I could put the money in the axle. SO I have about $1500 total in the axle, including ball joints, which is a pretty reasonable deal.



BTW...I went with Eaton as you don't have to have a compressor. Never had a problem with them front or rear.


Same here on nearly everything except I went with arb lockers because I was upgrading my air system. I wheel in Colorado so rocks are inevitable, no matter how easy a trail is.

If you don't get silly with the throttle, and you don't buck your rig up or down rocks, a trussed Dana 30 will survive. Granted, I did the work and that made it cost effective.

Honestly my regear was probably the biggest benefit. It allowed my 35's to crawl over rocks instead of me having to goose it up obstacles to keep from slipping the clutch and potentially snapping parts. They give the low grunt to just crawl.

Just my .02.


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I have 102k miles now, bought my JKU almost 2 years ago with 30k miles, upgraded to 33's, wheeled it for about 6 months with those tires, then upgraded to 35's (315/70/17 KO2's) and i have been having fun with it since then, Did gears shortly after upgrading to the 35's along with c-gussets, then rear eaton locker, detroit truetrac front last year, and that's about it. I have the D30 in the front with a D44 rear ran those KO2's for 43k miles, before i switched them for Nitto MT last week, I do black diamond trails as much as i can, fire roads are boring :),but i always try my best to have common sense behind the wheel.

For instance:
34663103825_0a2a997b8f_o by Wrangler RSM, on Flickr


Eventually i'll have an aftermarket 44 in the front, i have no plans for 37's anyways, and most 35's are 33.5-34", so an aftermarket 44 will be plenty in my case.

My current Nitto MT's are 33.5" brand new, they're 315/70/17, 1/4" taller than my KO2's. measure ground to the edge of the tire shoulder, and not the highest point on the thread, if you want 35's, you have to get 37's :drinks:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you wheel hard have a plan. Plan an easy fix weakest link and make sure everything else is much stronger than that. When you do break you can fix in the field or limp out and not be stranded.
This is a good plan and I wasn't thinking this far ahead.

Sounds like I might truss up that d30. And have the axels as the weak point. Just carry around a couple for emergencies.

Now it sounds like I'll need to decide on which locker. That Yukon price is tempting. But ARB and onboard air could come in handy
 

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What really blows me away is how many threads and posts there are about people blowing up their Dana 30. Oh wait...... :hide:

Seriously folks. Is the D44 an upgrade over a D30? Yes. Does that mean that you can't wheel a D30 hard? Absolutely not. (see: @Tweak )

The weakness is going to be in the smaller R&P and the 27 spline shafts. As long as you don't plan on being stupid you are going to be perfectly fine with a D30 on 95% of trails with gussets, a truss, and your choice of 35's or 37's.

AND... if you DO break you D30, it's way cheaper to find a replacement 30 than a 44. $400-500 all day long.


(....all this from the guy who is going PR44 up front soon :whistling:)
 

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What really blows me away is how many threads and posts there are about people blowing up their Dana 30. Oh wait...... :hide:

Seriously folks. Is the D44 an upgrade over a D30? Yes. Does that mean that you can't wheel a D30 hard? Absolutely not. (see: @Tweak )

The weakness is going to be in the smaller R&P and the 27 spline shafts. As long as you don't plan on being stupid you are going to be perfectly fine with a D30 on 95% of trails with gussets, a truss, and your choice of 35's or 37's.

AND... if you DO break you D30, it's way cheaper to find a replacement 30 than a 44. $400-500 all day long.


(....all this from the guy who is going PR44 up front soon :whistling:)
Literally backing up a hill.

Your definition of "wheeling hard" must be different than mine. The fun I have with a 60 and a 14 bolt would break any dana 30 or 44.
 

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What are you saying, tweak? That a Dana 30 can't back up a hill? Not trying to snipe. Just curious.


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What are you saying, tweak? That a Dana 30 can't back up a hill? Not trying to snipe. Just curious.


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I'm saying wheeling isnt nearly as fun when you are worried about breaking.
 

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I'm saying wheeling isnt nearly as fun when you are worried about breaking.


Very true. But if you build a 30 properly, it shouldn't worry anyone too much.

Poor technic will break anything.


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Very true. But if you build a 30 properly, it shouldn't worry anyone too much.

Poor technic will break anything.


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Eh you can build all day, there is nothing you can do to make that tiny ring gear bigger.

Technique is only half the battle. I hear the "it's all about technique and skill" thing all the time. It's the same thing I hear from people who build with 110v welders. "The machine doesnt matter, it's the welders skill that matters." Well good job, that's why your shock just fell off.

And I dont mean that in a combative tone, just talkin.
 

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What are you saying, tweak? That a Dana 30 can't back up a hill? Not trying to snipe. Just curious.
Interestingly enough that is the truth.. When in reverse the ring and pinion gears are forced apart due to the way the teeth are cut. Enough force applied under stress like backing up a hill can in fact cause the R&P to push apart which flexes the housing enough to allow the teeth to skip and shear. Installing a heavy diff cover will help minimize housing flex. Trusses will only help IF they bridge the center section..

And yes I have seen teeth sheared off from backing up a hill in reverse. Locker was installed..

This is also the reason we always say NEVER TUG OR PULL WHILE IN REVERSE. Always pull forward..



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But I back up a hill every day and have never sheared teeth. I think what is the ultimate factor is shock loading the gears. Anything shockloaded enough will fail. How was the backing IPA hill? Normal flat surface? Rocky? Boulders? That's a major factor.

I think we are getting away from the OP's question. If you can afford it, get a 44. If not, don't be afraid to run a 30. They aren't made of glass.


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