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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to learn more about my axles.

I'm having a little bit of trouble searching the forums because it seems like there's no "beginner" type threads. The tech-talk starts up fast and I end up getting lost relatively quickly.

Some background: I'm driving an '04 TJ X. have a stock Dana 35 rear axle with a 3.73 ratio with 33x12.50 tires. I use it as a DD. The most I'm going to do is take it to Moab, hopefully at least once a year.

How much upgrading should I consider? I definitely don't need my TJ to be a behemoth, but I also want to make sure appropriate components are upgraded/reinforced to avoid long-term problems. I want to be buried in this Jeep.

Advice or even a nudge in the right direction would be appreciated.
 

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Upgraded axle shaft will go a long way, don't run over a 33" tire and don't run a locker in the 35. You can run a locker on the 30 up front though, which greatly helps.
 

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Your weak link is the rear dana 35. Either swap in something else.. dana 44, ford 8.8 or 9".. or a superior axle kit. The kits are good for upto a 35" tire. You might also consider a gear swap to lower gears...I would skip over the 4.11 and go to 4.56 as I don't think your going to see that much help from the 4.11s from the 3.73's.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Wow. I didn't expect this much of a response so quickly. Thanks!

Upgraded axle shaft will go a long way, don't run over a 33" tire and don't run a locker in the 35. You can run a locker on the 30 up front though, which greatly helps.
Someone else said that same thing in another thread I was reading through. I was thinking about stepping up the tires to 35" eventually.

If I bump up to 35" tires, I'm assuming a Dana 44 and lockers would be more beneficial?

Being that I just got my 33" tires last year, I still have some time to do upgrades and not have to rush it.

Your weak link is the rear dana 35. Either swap in something else.. dana 44, ford 8.8 or 9".. or a superior axle kit. The kits are good for upto a 35" tire. You might also consider a gear swap to lower gears...I would skip over the 4.11 and go to 4.56 as I don't think your going to see that much help from the 4.11s from the 3.73's.
That's really what I'm most concerned about. I don't want to "upgrade" and feel very little benefit. If I'm going to upgrade, I want to make sure I see benefits.
 

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Wow. I didn't expect this much of a response so quickly. Thanks!

Someone else said that same thing in another thread I was reading through. I was thinking about stepping up the tires to 35" eventually.

If I bump up to 35" tires, I'm assuming a Dana 44 and lockers would be more beneficial?

Being that I just got my 33" tires last year, I still have some time to do upgrades and not have to rush it.

That's really what I'm most concerned about. I don't want to "upgrade" and feel very little benefit. If I'm going to upgrade, I want to make sure I see benefits.
Dumping a lot of money in a 35 is wasteful. It also depends on how you wheel. If you plan on running 35's a 44 rear should be in your plans as well as a regear, upgraded shafts for the front 30, upgraded steering and a loss in mpg.
 

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A Dana 35 with superior super 35 kit will run ARB fully locked 35" tires without a problem. Just an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If you plan on running 35's a 44 rear should be in your plans as well as a regear, upgraded shafts for the front 30, upgraded steering and a loss in mpg.
Yeah, I was just doing some reading on gearing and splines. There's a lot to it, but that's why I started the thread.

Do I have to worry much about the front axle when I upgrade the rear, aside from gearing it the same? From the reading I've been doing, I don't get the feeling that the front is a huge priority.
 

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Being that I just got my 33" tires last year, I still have some time to do upgrades and not have to rush it.
This right here is very smart and not something a lot of people understand. It is oh so tempting to just throw in a Super 35 kit and throw on some 35s. Take your time, start looking for a new axle now. A Super 35 and 35s is still very close to the limits of that axle. Find a d44 or an 8.8 and you'll have a very comfortable margin for error. Throw in some chromo shafts and you've got a very bullet proof axle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The D44s I've seen are pretty expensive brand-new. Would I be better off finding a used axle and piecing together parts for it, such as the gears and lockers?

Saving money is nice, but I want to make sure I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot doing it.
 

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The D44s I've seen are pretty expensive brand-new. Would I be better off finding a used axle and piecing together parts for it, such as the gears and lockers?

Saving money is nice, but I want to make sure I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot doing it.
A D44 out of the back of any TJ or LJ is a direct bolt in replacement. Mine came out of a Sahara that had a wrecked front half of the frame. Of course, before anyone gives you any more advice, what is your intended use? Daily driver, weekend toy, etc? What kind of wheeling do you like? Rock crawling, hill climbs, fire roads, mudding, etc? These will determine how built up your axles, brakes, steering, etc need to be. Also, auto or manual?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A D44 out of the back of any TJ or LJ is a direct bolt in replacement. Mine came out of a Sahara that had a wrecked front half of the frame.
Good call. Sounds like I'll have to keep my eyes open on a wide range of sites.

Of course, before anyone gives you any more advice, what is your intended use? Daily driver, weekend toy, etc? What kind of wheeling do you like? Rock crawling, hill climbs, fire roads, mudding, etc? These will determine how built up your axles, brakes, steering, etc need to be. Also, auto or manual?
When the weather gets warm, it's easier to take mass transit here in Chicago, so the TJ moves away from being a DD. I think I'm about middle of the road between DD and "weekend toy."

I'm still trying all kinds of different wheeling. I think rock crawling and hill climbs are some of my faves. Don't really know what fire roads are. :)

I have an automatic transmission.
 

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Regearing is tough when you are not sure what size you will run. I think 4.10 is right for the 3 speed auto on 33s. Don't take my word for it though, I have 35s, a 5 speed manual, and 4.88s. I've also never been on 33s so everything I can say about them is speculation and stuff I've heard or read.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I found a graph (and of course I'm having a hard time trying to find it again) that compares gear ratio to tire size and shows their RPMs. The graph was color-coded to show optimal gear and tire configurations.

That said, if I find a used axle that's "bolt in," does that essentially mean I can run it without having to make further modifications to CVs or transfer cases, et al? As always, I want to make sure I'm doing this right, but it would really help me in the wallet if I can do the build gradually versus dumping everything in at once.
 

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Figure out what size tire you want to run long term. I prefer 33s and that is what I run with the 3 speed tranny and 4.10 gearing, but mine is a daily driver. You only want to regear once so make sure you have the axle you want. A Dana 44 out of a TJ or LJ is a direct swap and will work fine or you can go the Superior Super 35 route. Figure that out and then regear as needed. 33s and the auto tranny are ideal at 4.10 gearing although 3.73 is not too bad either.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
33s and the auto tranny are ideal at 4.10 gearing although 3.73 is not too bad either.
I've got 33s with 3.73 right now on my stock D35. I really like the 33s, but like I mentioned above, I'm considering switching to 35s when it's time to get new tires. That's a long ways off yet, so I want to plan as I go.
 

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I've got 33s with 3.73 right now on my stock D35. I really like the 33s, but like I mentioned above, I'm considering switching to 35s when it's time to get new tires. That's a long ways off yet, so I want to plan as I go.
If you think you will go to 35s then I would just save all of your "gradual" mod money until you need new tires and then do tires, rear axle, regear, steering, brakes, etc. If you decide you want lockers, its a perfect time to get them when you are regearing. However, if you decide to lock the front you will likely need chromoly axle shafts as the stock ones will be on borrowed time. And depending on how many miles you have on the front axle you can switch to better u-joints (Spicer 5-760x) at the same time. You will also need to make sure you have the necessary lift components to clear 35s (at least a 4" lift with a 1.25" body lift unless you run flat fenders and do a heavy amount of trimming like me). Also, with that much lift you will need a Slip yoke eliminator (SYE) for your transfer case, probably new driveshafts, and adjustable control arms. See what we said about 35s opening up a huge can of worms?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
See what we said about 35s opening up a huge can of worms?
Pretty sure that already happened when I bought a Jeep to begin with. :)
 
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