Are Some Differential Covers Better?

05 Blue Unlimited

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I know some folks will fight with me posting this here, for some of those interested in the tech, Gale Banks is doing a video serious on diff covers.
No I don't think anyone will argue with you over the vid from Banks. In fact he has at least 3 vids on the subject, the one you post, this one regarding a stock design.


And this one regarding a flat back design.


With each seeking to answer what happens to the fluid at speed.

So the answer to the OP's question appears to be no, all designs are not equal. Go for protection in as near an OEM design as possible or an external skelton. IMO.
 
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MallCrawlOnTons

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I would rather add a guard in front of the dif cover than change it. The manufacturer spent lots of time and money to design the cover to work for that axle. Do you think most aftermarket manufacturers spent that much money and that much resources into making sure every aspect of it works perfectly with that differential.
This is what Gale Bank gets at in the video series’s.
 
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Boinked

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This is what Gale Bank gets at in the video series’s.
I understand that. But their cover doesn't out preform a stock one. At lubricating.

At $189.95 for thier cover vs. The Warn gaurd at $97 i don't see a benefit of it.

An argument could be made that one is better protection but quantifying it would be difficult.
 
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Mike_H

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Hah...This is a timely thread. I've been looking for a fab project as winter sets in around here. I'm trying to keep my self from going nuts and pulling the engine on the TJ to paint it or some crazy shit. I found a guy selling front and rear factory D44 covers today, so I bought them. Figure I'll buy some 1/8" plate and build up some Barnett Copy Cat covers. I got them for 40 bucks, shipped, so no big thing if I eff them up.
 

mrblaine

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General question re diff covers:

During the CJ/YJ era differential guards were widely in use. Aftermarket diff covers not so much. One of the most popular differential guards was the hockey mask style marketed by Mike Duncan at 4XDoctor in Burbank CA. I had one on the Dana 30 in my CJ-7, also the AMC 20 rear axle.

I don't see those on TJ's. Have they simply lost favor or is there some other reason? I would think that these would solve the issue of damaging the cover without raising the issue of interference with the tie rod or track bar.

View attachment 68648
We ran a bunch of them on TJs in JV. We only quit due to the ease of acquiring Barnett covers. I never had an issue with them other than tearing up the bolts but we do that with any cover.

They quit making my favorite cover which was 5/16" stamped steel exactly like the factory cover. I would run that on everything were they still available.
 

RedrumRH

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With stock axles the only differential covers I would ever consider running are the Currie / Barnett diff covers which you can see here:
https://www.currieenterprises.com/js-hd30

They don't look pretty, but they provide the clearance you want.

The ARB diff covers and that fancy looking one you linked to above are very well known for causing interference issues with the track bar and such under full articulation.
@Chris I believe changing the diff cover would be an easy DIY project? I will find the right tutorial before I attempt, but it seems like an easy job. Besides cleaning everything really really well before reinstalling, are there any nuances to replacement of dana 30 diff cover? Thank you.
 

Chris

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@Chris I believe changing the diff cover would be an easy DIY project? I will find the right tutorial before I attempt, but it seems like an easy job. Besides cleaning everything really really well before reinstalling, are there any nuances to replacement of dana 30 diff cover? Thank you.
Yes, changing the diff covers is probably one of the easiest things you can do.
 

TRST

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As far as the guards go any real difference in quality between Warn and Rugged Ridge? Both seem to be basic 1/4 steel guards but the warn is 50% more cost.
 

Jerry Bransford

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As far as the guards go any real difference in quality between Warn and Rugged Ridge? Both seem to be basic 1/4 steel guards but the warn is 50% more cost.
I have a Warn on my rear D44 cover and just received a Rugged Ridge version of it for my front D44, I don't see any differences other than the RR doesn't have the W cut out of it. I got it from eBay at http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&toolid=10001&campid=5337789113&icep_item=400481680679

I'm replacing my front Barnett diff cover (yes, the horror of that thought) with the stock cover and the RR guard because I've had a very irritating front diff leak since installing it. After multiple, multiple attempts to get the Barnett to stop leaking, I gave up. It even leaked after Blaine sealed at after replacing the front inner seals when I was up there for some other issue. Nope, the leak is not the Rubi D44's drain plug on the bottom, and the housing is not cracked.

In regards to giving up trying to get the leak stopped, I first used a Lubelocker gasket and it leaked. Then Permatex Gear Lube RTV, finally multiple times with Mopar RTV. I've cleaned my driveway one too many times to let it continue leaking... 1-2 drops a day builds up both on the driveway and, ultimately in my brain. My TJ doesn't leak from anywhere else so it doubly bothered me.

My previous Barnett (actually its predecessor from T&J) cover on my previous TJ's rear D44 didn't leak.
 

Gasman

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I was thinking of changing out my OEM covers to these (or something similar - these appear to be QT's version of Rugged Ridge's cover) and using lube locker gaskets when I change my diff fluid. Primary reason is the addition of the lower drain plug. I figured it would make future fluid changes easier. I'm not really in need of heavy duty armor.

Any opinions?

 

tworley

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Interesting, both my lube lockers hold in oil very well. The rear has been battered numerous times and both covers have been off/on several times.
 

toximus

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Interesting, both my lube lockers hold in oil very well. The rear has been battered numerous times and both covers have been off/on several times.
I used to be in the LL camp until I learned that using rtv when installing in my garage is easier than replacing a lubelocker on the trail. I replaced the one on my transmission for the same reason.

I'm sure it does come down to how hard you hit it and how much. I know mine was fine for a few bumps over the years.
 

Gasman

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I assume the reason why you want a beefier cover is to protect against bumps. In that case I'd avoid using a LubeLocker. They can leak after the cover is hit.
My reasoning for the cover change is to make future oil changes easier (drain plug and no need to remove cover, scrape and clean old RTV, etc).

Or does it even matter?