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Regearing question, axle swap in order?

Old 09-27-2016, 10:20 AM
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Default Regearing question, axle swap in order?

Ok, I am at a bit of a crossroads and don't know which way to go. for background I picked up my GC to take the family off road and I like to do some challenging stuff but nothing stupid tough. so basically moderate trails and no rock crawling.


I have the stock D35/30 combo with 3.73 gears, which are too tall for my 33's. looking to go to 4.56's and a Detroit locker in the rear and possibly an elocker in the front sometime in the future if I find I need it. I called a local shop and they wanted $2,100 to regear and install the rear locker. I contacted an on-line company that can set up an 8.8 the same way, shipped same price at $2,100 but I will have to regear the front, probably another $700-$800. to make this even more confusing there is a guy I know who would sell me his D44a when he upgrades, probably pretty cheap but I would have to regear and lock it. the D44a sounds good except I don't like the aluminum housing and there are plenty of rocks where I have gone off road. I hear the D35 is not that strong but since I am not planning on beating my jeep I am thinking it would be more economical to stick with the D35. another advantage is that if I did break anything I can pull a part from the JY easy enough. a third point is I would not have to go through the swap where matching everything up can bring unexpected problems.


so should I replace the D35 with something else? are there any other companies out there that sell a rear end (direct swap, no unexpected problems) that are worth looking at?
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:44 AM
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With that gear 4.56/locker/tire size you don't want to keep the D35 I feel it would be a waste of money to do so. I run that gear/locker/tire on my XJ front and rear D30 Chy 8.25 and have no issues.


My 04 WJ has a D30, D44a in it with 3.73 and both LSD, Up Country pkg. its a DD mostly with a little off road stock AT 17" tires, it works very well off road (only issue clearance) and is excellent on the highways in all road conditions.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:00 AM
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The dana 44a is fine people truss it and put a skid plate on it and run 37s hard.And http://www.mountainvistafabrication....e-D44ASKD1.htm has a bolt on skid plate for the 44a,But keep one thing in mind the 44a is not a normal 44 its really a 44hd which has a bigger diff and gears then a normal 44 so make sure anything you buy is 44a or 44hd if not its too small lol.Take a look at http://d44tech.com/Dana_44A.html
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:43 AM
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thanks guys. to add to the confusion someone was recommending to install 30 spline chrome molly shafts in my D35 https://www.summitracing.com/parts/gta-96-2049-2-30 and that would considerably improve its strength. is the shaft the weak point of the D35?


this will move the weak point further up the drive train so will my transfer case be the next weak point? I sometimes think its better to have the axle go than anything else.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:08 AM
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The problem is the D35 design.
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Old 09-28-2016, 01:25 PM
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Yes, this axle was originally the AMC-15 used in most AMC cars from 1962 until 1985 when they sold the production lines to Dana-Spicer. You can figure out why they were put into jeeps by the ownership of Jeep in those time periods.
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:34 PM
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Your prices for the re-gear seem a little steep. But in all honesty, putting money into a dana 35 is not going to get you what you want. The dana44a is alright for what it is, but like the other poster said the parts are 44HD and they are 3x more expensive for the gears and parts.

The ford 8.8 swap seems a little overwhelming at first, but in all honesty it is not too bad. I had the axle built with 4.56 gears and all welding done for $950 by a local shop. I already had 4.56 gears in the front, but my 44a bearing blew up and ate the housing journal when the outer race slipped. It took me one day to get the 8.8 in, and total cost was $1100 because I bought new break pads and rotors and all new hardware for the suspension bolts.

The locker is what it is, and full carrier lockers are not cheap. If you are doing wheeling where you really need one, then the 8.8 is the only way to go. Otherwise a lunchbox locker can be added to an open differential later on and it is a super simple install.
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:25 AM
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The problem with the dana 35 is the housing itself self will flex and thats how you break parts in it.Unless you fully weld on a truss then that moves the weak point to the diff its self.If you swap to a stronger rear axle your t case won't be the next weak link the driveshaft/ujoints will be which is what you want.You could break the t case housing if you go rock crawling hard with out any kinda skid plate over the t case.Of try to run tires bigger then a 38 tell then the t case is fine.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:12 AM
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thanks for the responses. the prices are a bit steep here compared to most places, but its probably the "tax" I pay for living in Kalifornia.


I could pull an 8.8 from the JY and save some $$ that way but I have never done one and have no idea what problems I will run into or what I really need to do for the swap. do they match up or are there modifications that need to be done to make them fit?
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jon-d View Post
thanks for the responses. the prices are a bit steep here compared to most places, but its probably the "tax" I pay for living in Kalifornia.


I could pull an 8.8 from the JY and save some $$ that way but I have never done one and have no idea what problems I will run into or what I really need to do for the swap. do they match up or are there modifications that need to be done to make them fit?
If you pull the axle, you need to weld the bracket kit on. The setup is not too bad and there are several how to videos online, and the kit comes with detailed measurements. But welding experience is needed, or you can clean it up an bring it to a shop, I bet it would be pretty cheap for them to knock it out in about an hour.

The brake lines bolt right up, just keep the banjo bolt on the ford calipers and put the existing block when you remove the jeep calipers.

Drive shaft had a different size u joint, but an adapter joint came with the bracket kit so I pressed out the old joint and installed the ford part on the end of my jeep driveshaft. When you take the axle get the last joint on the drive shaft that bolts to the pinion flange. I think you can buy on that fits the jeep u-joint and bolts to the pinion flange, and honestly that might be the best option. I used a ball joint press to make short work of the u-joint, but you can hammer the out.

The driveshaft on my jeep slid out about 1/2 inch further (still have slip yoke on NP249) when I installed it keeping all suspension geometry the same as my Dana 44a. I plan on installing a NP231 with SYE in the future, but for now the stock driveshaft works fine and has pretty good engagement.

Everything else just bolts right on. The axle is 1.25" narrower (5/8 per side) so you need some spacers.
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