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Hello, Everyone,

I have already started peeling back my stock rear differential cover from trail use, so it’s time to get a tougher aftermarket version. I want a cover that retains close to the stock shape internally to facilitate lubricant flow around the ring gear (I have watched the Gale Banks videos).

I have a 2016 JKU Sport, so I have a Dana 30 in the front and a Dana 44 in the rear.

These are the covers I have narrowed it down to. From research I have done, I have read that the trackbar may rub on the Solid, and that the Teraflex needs grinding because it extends past the bottom of the differential. What about the others?

Poison Spyder and Ruff Stuff have different internal shapes, so I am not interested those. If you love them and they work for you, fantastic!

Also, I plan to add either an E-Locker or and ARB locker. Any issues with those fitting in these differentials?

If you have personal experience with any of these covers, and can give some input, please let me know what your experience has been.


Dana Spicer Nodular Iron Performance :
https://spicerparts.com/parts/axle/automotive-performance/spicer-nodular-iron-performance-differential-covers
Price: $129.00 (Lubelocker gasket included)
Track bar rubs: ???

I’m really liking the looks of these. Is anyone else running them?

Solid:
https://solidaxle.com/collections/differential-covers/products/dana-44-cover
Price: $65.00 ea (Best, lubelocker gasket not included)
Track bar rubs: Yes

Teraflex:
https://teraflex.com/shop_items/dana-44-hd-differential-cover-kit
Price: $111.00
Track bar rubs: ???
Grinding needed to make cover flush with differential.

ARB:
https://arbusa.com/air-locker/differential-covers/
Price: $170.00
Track bar rubs: ???
The dipstick feature doesn’t interest me all that much. But if this one meets all of the requirements—no rubbing, no additional machining, it’s what I will go with.

Thanks!
 

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If your top priorities are internal shape and trackbar clearance, your best bet (IMO) is to go with a diff guard over the existing cover.

I run a Warn diff guard on my rear D44 and it has taken an absolute beating with no issues at all. The Mopar diff guards appear to be basically the same as the Warn guards, but much less expensive.

No matter what you choose, it is always a good idea to file/grind flush with the bottom of the diff to eliminate any 'lip' to catch on rocks.

Warn D44 for $130:
https://www.quadratec.com/products/12022_52X_PG.htm

Warn D30 for $125:
https://www.quadratec.com/products/12022_51X_PG.htm

Mopar D44 for $90:
https://www.quadratec.com/products/92023_1002.htm

Mopar D30 for $85:
https://www.quadratec.com/products/92023_1000.htm
 

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+1 on the diff guards, plenty of clearance, will provide all the protection you need for most sane activities and are made of steel (bends) instead of cast aluminum (cracks.) And no need to remove the stock diff cover.

I didn't need to grind or modify mine as nothing extended beyond the differential case. Even if it did the design of the add-on cover makes peel-back just about impossible as there is a layer of 1/4" steel reinforcing the lip of the diff cover.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FAGL84/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00
 

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Dana Spicer makes em. I run one on my 44, not a jk But the clearance is quite good compared to most near as I can tell.
 

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Poison Spyder covers. Strong, appropriately shaped, and clear trackbars with no problem.
I have run these for years and many many miles with zero issues.



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I run an AEV rear 44 cover and AEV skid plate. Skid has taken some abuse and hasn't budged. Love the combo but I have not replaced the front yet. Looked around and found this Rancho front skid. Kinda interesting but looks to sacrifice some ground clearance. $159.

https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/skid-plates/rs6212-rancho-front-differential-glide-plate-dana-44-red?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjoH0BRD6ARIsAEWO9DsxCzDbPOHJRqtDAhaZ9SRhQnhdAb8_T8FyqTh-r_fdgR6vBJBGF_AaAprfEALw_wcB
I agree on the AEV, but I don't believe they have one for the front dana 30 if he wants matching or both.
 

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Don't forget one of the main reasons we run heavy ductile iron covers is for stiffening of the housing. My Terflex cover hangs over edge a little but I like it, I have grooved some rocks no problem.
 

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To the extent that an aftermarket differential cover increases housing strength (if at all), a diff guard will serve essentially the same function.
 

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To the extent that an aftermarket differential cover increases housing strength (if at all), a diff guard will serve essentially the same function.


Most diff guards don’t add torsional strength like an iron diff cover will.


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Most diff guards don’t add torsional strength like an iron diff cover will.
The diff guards (at least the ones being discussed) are 1/4" steel bolted securely to the housing, and of course this is in combination with the stock cover. To state that this combination provides less torsional stiffness than an alternate cover would require testing over speculation. It's possible that either one might be superior, or there might be no significant difference either way. You can't tell by looking.
 

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The guards I have looked at only
Bolt to the bottom few bolts of the housing where as the full cover supports the full structure.
Non the less a guard is still better then the factory pie plate.


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Re-enforcing the bottom half of the pumpkin should be plenty to prevent the structure from warping (assuming that is really even possible under any reasonable operating condition.) It's not like you're somehow going to apply enough force to warp only the top of the pumpkin while the bottom stays rigid, I doubt even a humongous hydraulic press could do that. For any kind of practical consideration it's really a complete non-issue.
 

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I put Metalcloak's D30 and D44 on mine a few weeks ago. Haven't been beaten up on trail yet, but they're heavy and solid, clearance is no problem. Similar in internal+external shape to factory and Poison Spyder. Painted them with some black VHT enamel and just have to go out and ding them up now. front-diff.jpg

rear-diff.jpg
 

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I have the Dana Spicer nodular iron units and quite like them. No rubbing front or rear (both Dana 44s on my Rubicon). It is close on the rear, but does not rub.
 

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Re-enforcing the bottom half of the pumpkin should be plenty to prevent the structure from warping (assuming that is really even possible under any reasonable operating condition.) It's not like you're somehow going to apply enough force to warp only the top of the pumpkin while the bottom stays rigid, I doubt even a humongous hydraulic press could do that. For any kind of practical consideration it's really a complete non-issue.


Well see that is the problem with the factory housing. Have you heard of gear deflection? When in reverse applying load causes ring and pinion to push apart spreading the housing, just like a diff spreader tool. If it spreads and twists enough the ring and pinion will jump teeth.
One of the reasons we never suggest people tug or pull someone when in reverse.
Maybe the guard with a couple bolts in the bottom is enough maybe not that’s your choice.


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The last time I went to the desert I got home and noticed the lower half of my rear differential housing covered in oil soaked dirt. I have stock diff covers.
I cleaned it off and added about 2 or 3 tablespoons of diff fluid before the diff fill port started oozing fluid.
It hasn’t shown any signs of leakage since then (I actually checked it yesterday).

My only guess is that the housing flexed and allowed the cover to seep when climbing or doing some other activity out in the desert. It looked much much worse than the refill showed. I was afraid it was very low on fluid, but it had barely leaked anything.
That is the only dirt that has ever accumulated on my front or rear diff. I can’t figure out how it would flex the housing, as I am very easy on my rig.

Re-enforcing the bottom half of the pumpkin should be plenty to prevent the structure from warping (assuming that is really even possible under any reasonable operating condition.) It's not like you're somehow going to apply enough force to warp only the top of the pumpkin while the bottom stays rigid, I doubt even a humongous hydraulic press could do that. For any kind of practical consideration it's really a complete non-issue.
 

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I'm not sure what caused your leak but the housing will not flex under that kind of light duty. And the reason for avoiding heavy loads in reverse is primarily related to the cut of the ring and pinion gears being optimized for forward power delivery, not distortion of the housing.
 
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