Should I upgrade my Dana 30 or just go with a Dana 44?


J Harding

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I have a 2005 LJ. In the end (of this build), it will have E-lockers front and rear with 4.56 gears. Tires will be 33s. I plan on off-roading it frequently. Mostly varied/steep terrain trying to avoid large rocks. I want to get to the trails and watch others break their stuff. I want to do the Rubicon Trail taking bypasses on the hard stuff if necessary. I already blew up plenty of drive train components on my CJ-2A. So I know how to drive without trashing the drivetrain.

Dana 30: If I add E-locker, gears, and upgraded chromoly axles, I am about $2200 (parts only) in to that axle. This is a plus because it is lighter than the Dana 44. Less un-sprung weight is a good thing when you're 59!

If I go with a new 44, it is $4000 to $5000 and the axle comes ready to bolt on. The Prorock44 looks like it is going to be very heavy (1/2in wall thickness on the tubes). I haven't contacted Currie yet. Have not found a new 44 from Dana that is a direct bolt-on. The G2 is an option, but I have heard it is mostly foreign parts. I am trying not to take USA parts off my Jeep and replace them with foreign parts.

The bolt-on 44 sounds like hitting the easy button. Just bolt it on while I install the lift kit. Change the driveshaft yoke and I'm done. However, the upgraded Dana 30 may be the best option considering weight and I'm only going to 33s.

Yes, the 44 is better, but has anyone been exploding (or getting stranded) Dana 30s on the trails with 33s? Thoughts?
 

someguysjeep

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this almost always comes down to the ends are the same on both axles which makes the limits the same.
if you plan to regear the 30 and add a traction device then might as well go to 30 splines cause you want an axle shaft upgrade from stock as well.
 
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Irun

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By the time you're done with a Currie, you'll be close to $5500. Since your staying with a 33" tire, want to save weight, and will end up with the same ball joint limitation with the 44, build the Dana 30 and use the money for other mods, like a Swayloc. Built right, the Dana 30 will serve you faithfully!
 

SvtLdr

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A built Dana30 will be more than enough for what your planning to do.

FWIW, I'm running a HP30 with 4.88 gears on 35's.
 
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Jerry Bransford

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No need to replace the factory Dana 30, it's easily upgraded with aftermarket 4340 shafts. Few need the added driveshaft clearance of the high pinion XJ Dana 30 or added strength of the standard rotation R&P gears the HP Dana 30 has.
 

rhanna

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If your jeep never sees snow you could go with an automatic locker in the dana 30 about $2-300 and the install isn't too bad. Of course you will have to accept the ratcheting noise unless you go with Powertrax No-Slip locker.

I went with the Aussie torq locker, super easy to install and they market that it's stronger than the others since it has less parts. I don't mind the ratcheting noise since I know it's normal but it will turn heads and people will think your jeep might fall apart. I even had a fellow Jeeper come over at the gas pump and warn me that I had a noise. :LOL:
 
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J Harding

J Harding

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Thanks for all of the great info. Based on your input I am going Dana 30 with an E Locker and RGA 30 spline axles.

I really appreciate the help.
 
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Jerry Bransford

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Thanks for all of the great info. Based on your input I am going Dana 30 with an E Locker and RGA 30 spline axles.

I really appreciate the help.
30 spline inners with 27 spline diameter outer shafts is like a strong chain with a weak link.

Personally I'd stay with 27 spline 4340 or 4310 inner/outer shafts which are MORE than strong enough for 35's, a locker, and VERY tough trails. It's I how built my previous TJ after breaking a factory front shaft and it never broke even on some very tough trails including Sledgehammer in Johnson CA.

The only way to get 30 spline outers too is to install a manual hub conversion kit which is not cheap.
 
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J Harding

J Harding

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I asked RGA about the 27 spline outers. They said it is not the weak link. They said because it is the short side and a bolted assembly which would make it stronger than a longer shaft that floats on the diff. Imagine the long side starting to bend a little on load which will add more stress to the splines. Also, the axles are the same price for 27 splines or 30 and the E-locker is only $92 more for 30 spline. So, for $92 more it doesn't seem like a bad plan. Thoughts?
 

Modoc Guy

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I had ECGS build me an HP30 with 4:10 gears to run 33’s ( I have a 32RH automatic), a 30 spline ARB locker and Yukon 4340 axles with the big u-joints.
It bolts in with no modifications.

And I took the opportunity to upgrade my brakes to a Black Magic big brake kit, also an all bolt on setup.

The HP30 ran 3K, and all I have to do is put it in. It made more sense to me that messing with the stock Dana 30. At 68 years old, I wanna skip extra labor/effort.

And I get the added benefit of the high pinion and reverse cut gears.

ECGS can do your E-locker at about the same price point IIRC.

Just thought I’d mention what I did
 

PurpleTJAZ

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I have a Dana 30 with e-lockers and Yukon axles and running 35” tires. Twice through the Rubicon and 4x through Moab never taking the easy line. I have had zero issues. Failure point I have witnessed are almost always the u-joint or ball joints and they are the same on on both. Just my experience........
 
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J Harding

J Harding

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Jerry and PurpleTJAZ: Thanks for the wheeling examples. Sounds like keeping the Dana 30 with a 27 spline chromoly axles is the way to go. Both of you are saying I can go up to 35s later. The 30 spline inners may be overkill at this point. I don't think it's worth calling and changing the orders at this point. It's only a few bucks more.

Since you mentioned broken ball joints...On another post, Jerry has said to go with the Spicer ball joints. Should I replace them when I have the axle apart regardless of condition? The Jeep has 78K miles on it?
 

imahnu17

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It would definitely be worth it to change them out while you’re in there. It would suck to have to change them in 10-20k miles when you could just do it now. Plus you would be good for a long while. And yes stick with the spicer ball joints.
 
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SvtLdr

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Another reason to consider sticking with 27 spline, if you do happen to break a shaft, it's alot easier to find a 27 spline than a 30 spline to throw back in there. Plus your factory shafts can still serve a purpose as trail spares.
 
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Apparition

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I had ECGS build me an HP30 with 4:10 gears to run 33’s ( I have a 32RH automatic), a 30 spline ARB locker and Yukon 4340 axles with the big u-joints.
It bolts in with no modifications.

And I took the opportunity to upgrade my brakes to a Black Magic big brake kit, also an all bolt on setup.

The HP30 ran 3K, and all I have to do is put it in. It made more sense to me that messing with the stock Dana 30. At 68 years old, I wanna skip extra labor/effort.

And I get the added benefit of the high pinion and reverse cut gears.

ECGS can do your E-locker at about the same price point IIRC.

Just thought I’d mention what I did
Were you able to use the same driveshaft?
 

mrblaine

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Another reason to consider sticking with 27 spline, if you do happen to break a shaft, it's alot easier to find a 27 spline than a 30 spline to throw back in there. Plus your factory shafts can still serve a purpose as trail spares.
If you get the big joint Revolution shafts, do not stay with 27 spline since that guarantees a break at the inner. If you are staying 27, then get any junk out there that you like the pretty pictures on the box since they aren't enough different that it matters.