Should I upgrade my Dana 35 axle?

Westtown Willy

TJ Enthusiast
May 10, 2018
552
Saltopia, PA, USA
"Thanks for this detail. Exactly what I was looking for. I can do the axle swap myself versus if I replace gears in my existing set up I want someone with more experience to set the gears (I'd hate to blow up a $2000 set up to get some practice...) This is why I've been seriously considering the 44s as I'm thinking the labor savings will make the price closer. If I stick with the drum brakes it looks like about $6k to go with the 44s (front and rear) and $5k to rebuild the existing set up. For me, the extra $1k is probably justified to have some future optionality if I really want to go crazy on the build!"

John, definitely there are costs to be saved in avoiding the re-gearing cost quagmire so that's a definite plus for the ready-made swap in. Keep in mind however that the front axle will cost more than the rear, I've priced them many times out of boredom & they seem to run around a third higher than the matching rear. For some reason I don't see a D44 front axle on the ECGS website & the Currie site just listed the housing @$2,000 but Quadratec has a G2 Core 44 full Front assembly for $4,050 shipped (compared to $2,868 for the ECGS D44 rear). I'm no expert on G2 or any of these other bolt-ins but I've read some questionable things about the G2 so I'm not suggesting you'd go that route without researching it.

Were you able to find a combination of front & rear for $6,000?
 

JeepNWilly

Jeep Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 23, 2017
1,201
Loxahatchee, FL, United States
I am sure things have changed since 2010 but I paid $6290 for complete set of D44 axles front and rear with ARB lockers on both as well as rear disk brake kit. The also included the ARM Compressor and Tire Inflation Kit.
Both were geared to my choice and came with upgraded shafts.

I shopped around quite a bit until I got what I wanted
 

John9999

Member
May 10, 2018
62
Denver, CO, USA
If you know, then you know. What a lot of folks overlook is weight transfer increases as we lift our rigs. We know we should upgrade the fronts since they do the vast majority of the work. So now we have better working front brakes, a bit more lift, and now what happens with weight transfer when all that is done?

That's right, it increases which in effect removes weight off the rear tires under hard braking. So, that little incremental change you are looking for may just be enough to move the correctly non locking up rear brakes past the tipping point to where they now lock up. Reality is when we get all this done, we should be looking at how to slightly reduce the effectiveness of the rear brakes to deal with the higher weight transfer or at least do some testing to find out.
Has anyone on the forum done any upgrades on the front brakes? Given that they're working harder with the larger tires plus the increased weight transfer, seems like it makes sense to do some work there...
 

JeepNWilly

Jeep Addict
Supporting Member
Mar 23, 2017
1,201
Loxahatchee, FL, United States
Has anyone on the forum done any upgrades on the front brakes? Given that they're working harder with the larger tires plus the increased weight transfer, seems like it makes sense to do some work there...
Mine are still factory brakes. I have had to replace the front calipers only once. I run 35's and a few years back some guy decided to run across busy road not realizing he was in a collision course with me. I slammed on my brakes and locked all 4 tires and my stinger stopped about a foot away from the pedestrian.
 

John9999

Member
May 10, 2018
62
Denver, CO, USA
"Thanks for this detail. Exactly what I was looking for. I can do the axle swap myself versus if I replace gears in my existing set up I want someone with more experience to set the gears (I'd hate to blow up a $2000 set up to get some practice...) This is why I've been seriously considering the 44s as I'm thinking the labor savings will make the price closer. If I stick with the drum brakes it looks like about $6k to go with the 44s (front and rear) and $5k to rebuild the existing set up. For me, the extra $1k is probably justified to have some future optionality if I really want to go crazy on the build!"

John, definitely there are costs to be saved in avoiding the re-gearing cost quagmire so that's a definite plus for the ready-made swap in. Keep in mind however that the front axle will cost more than the rear, I've priced them many times out of boredom & they seem to run around a third higher than the matching rear. For some reason I don't see a D44 front axle on the ECGS website & the Currie site just listed the housing @$2,000 but Quadratec has a G2 Core 44 full Front assembly for $4,050 shipped (compared to $2,868 for the ECGS D44 rear). I'm no expert on G2 or any of these other bolt-ins but I've read some questionable things about the G2 so I'm not suggesting you'd go that route without researching it.

Were you able to find a combination of front & rear for $6,000?
I haven't looked very hard yet. In the past, I've seen them in that range, but it was about 5 years ago the last time I looked and I can't recall where I found that price. This time around, I'm finally serious about doing the work, hence the questions here to see what realistic costs are so I can figure out what exactly I'm going to do and get the funds in place. I did a quick price check on the G2s as they are easy to find and I've seen $7-$8k, but I expect with some more serious shopping around and some patience I can find something better than that. I'd probably try to get Curries if the cost is comparable, but otherwise don't really have a strong preference on brand. You mentioned hearing questionable things on the G2s. Anything specific or any other crate brands that are obviously a poor choice?
 
OP
Chris

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,399
Salem, Oregon
Has anyone on the forum done any upgrades on the front brakes? Given that they're working harder with the larger tires plus the increased weight transfer, seems like it makes sense to do some work there...
Black Magic Brakes are your best bet. I personally recommend their Vanco big brake kits. I had one on my old TJ and love it. I intend on doing the same to my new TJ.
 

Ditch

Member
Aug 18, 2018
30
Watford City ND
where would you guys recommend I purchase upgrades to my stock 30&35 axles? I’m on a budget but want my 98 tj to be more competent off road, it’s also my daily driver , I’m thinking the super 30&35 kits you guys referred to here, and e-lockers, i currently have 33’s on it, may go 35 one day. It seems too high geared right now even in in 4 Lo.
Probably need to regear,
Do I also need a new beefy driveshaft when upgrading axles?
Any suggestions are very much appreciated,
 
OP
Chris

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,399
Salem, Oregon
where would you guys recommend I purchase upgrades to my stock 30&35 axles? I’m on a budget but want my 98 tj to be more competent off road, it’s also my daily driver , I’m thinking the super 30&35 kits you guys referred to here, and e-lockers, i currently have 33’s on it, may go 35 one day. It seems too high geared right now even in in 4 Lo.
Probably need to regear,
Do I also need a new beefy driveshaft when upgrading axles?
Any suggestions are very much appreciated,
You can get the Revolution Super 35 kit on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYDRKLT/?tag=wranglerorg-20

Keep in mind that you'll still need a 30 spline locker / differential to go with that, so you'll want to pick out whichever locker you want to run with it. My top choices are the ARB and Eaton E-Locker.

You'll definitely want to re-gear, and you'll need to upgrade to a SYE and double cardan driveshaft if you're planning on installing a lift at the same time and want to avoid a transfer case drop.
 
Reactions: Ditch

Ditch

Member
Aug 18, 2018
30
Watford City ND
You can get the Revolution Super 35 kit on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYDRKLT/?tag=wranglerorg-20

Keep in mind that you'll still need a 30 spline locker / differential to go with that, so you'll want to pick out whichever locker you want to run with it. My top choices are the ARB and Eaton E-Locker.

You'll definitely want to re-gear, and you'll need to upgrade to a SYE and double cardan driveshaft if you're planning on installing a lift at the same time and want to avoid a transfer case drop.
It alreasy has a lift, thanks for the info, I can now get a shopping list in order,
 
Reactions: Chris

Ditch

Member
Aug 18, 2018
30
Watford City ND
So in my quest to do a very capable but not too extreme Jeep on a budget , the rabbit hole goes deeper.. I’m thinking of the super 35 with Eaton e locker, then eventually a yse when I go bigger than my 33’s, I have the super 35 kit currently in my amazon shopping cart
 
OP
Chris

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,399
Salem, Oregon
So in my quest to do a very capable but not too extreme Jeep on a budget , the rabbit hole goes deeper.. I’m thinking of the super 35 with Eaton e locker, then eventually a yse when I go bigger than my 33’s, I have the super 35 kit currently in my amazon shopping cart
That's a good setup without being too extreme. Extreme would be Dana 60 axles, coilovers, 4-link suspension, etc.

You're plan is actually a very sound one that will make for a Jeep build that is capable without being too insane!
 
Reactions: Ditch

Ditch

Member
Aug 18, 2018
30
Watford City ND
Yeah, this is all new to me, I want lockers and eventually 35” tires and still be my daily driver
, I figure this is the most inexpensive but quality route to get me there, would you suggest an upgrade to the front axle also or just an Aussie locker up front?
 
OP
Chris

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,399
Salem, Oregon
Yeah, this is all new to me, I want lockers and eventually 35” tires and still be my daily driver
, I figure this is the most inexpensive but quality route to get me there, would you suggest an upgrade to the front axle also or just an Aussie locker up front?
The Dana 30 is up to the task of handling 35s, but it will need chromoly axle shafts in order to do so. While you're in there, it makes sense to put a locker in as well. I personally don't care for automatic lockers such as the Aussie locker. Sure, they are cheaper, but I don't like the fact that they aren't selectable. A selectable locker such as an ARB or Eaton E-Locker is a bit more expensive, but then you have the ability to turn the locker on and off when you want to, which makes for much more pleasant on-road driving conditions, especially in inclement weather.
 

Kevin Bright

Another Part, and another and another and another
Supporting Member
If you are looking to rock crawl or a rig that you never want to worry about ever off road. You need to be over axled and under powered. That’s the safest way. The super 35 I would recommend the chromoly axles and even truss, the rear axles and do C truss on the front 30 if you are off roading heavy. If you ever want to go bigger than 35’s. You have to go Dana 44’s. But those are even only up to the task of running 37’s when truss and built. The super 35 can run 35’s all day if you don’t use the skinny pedal to get you over obstacles. The biggest problem with running bigger tires is the stress on the studs, ball joints and front C’s. Don’t go with a non selectable locker. Personally I’ve had both and I kicked myself everytime for not spending the extra 200 and then having to go back and spend another 700 to do it the right way with a selectable. Super 35 with 33’s will stand up to the abuse but you are stuck at 35 inch tires. A regear was the best and most effective upgrade I have ever done to my tj. Currently runn 4.88 and 37’s and I love it!
 
Reactions: Chris and Ditch
OP
Chris

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,399
Salem, Oregon
If you are looking to rock crawl or a rig that you never want to worry about ever off road. You need to be over axled and under powered. That’s the safest way. The super 35 I would recommend the chromoly axles and even truss, the rear axles and do C truss on the front 30 if you are off roading heavy. If you ever want to go bigger than 35’s. You have to go Dana 44’s. But those are even only up to the task of running 37’s when truss and built. The super 35 can run 35’s all day if you don’t use the skinny pedal to get you over obstacles. The biggest problem with running bigger tires is the stress on the studs, ball joints and front C’s. Don’t go with a non selectable locker. Personally I’ve had both and I kicked myself everytime for not spending the extra 200 and then having to go back and spend another 700 to do it the right way with a selectable. Super 35 with 33’s will stand up to the abuse but you are stuck at 35 inch tires. A regear was the best and most effective upgrade I have ever done to my tj. Currently runn 4.88 and 37’s and I love it!
You're running 37s on a Dana 35?