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Unread 09-20-2001, 08:56 AM   #1
Keith
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Axle Debate

Well my first plan to was to build the Jeep up stock drivetrain wise. Throw in a Super 35 kit, lock and regear the D30/D35 combo but now when the reality that this project will be a lot of work I start to think maybe it would just be wiser to do it right the first time and save the trouble of building then breaking the D35.

So I have a couple of questions. First how well can the D30 stand up? What are some of the weak points on it?

Next is the big one. From reading I am still undecided on if the Ford 9 inch or D60 is a better axle overall or maybe just go with a D44. The axle will get abused a lot and I want to run 36-37 inch tires.

So there are my questions.
1. What are the weak spots on the D30.
2. What is an overall better axle 9 inch, D60, D44 and why?
3. What are some companies that sell complete ready to go axles?

Thanks for the help!

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Unread 09-20-2001, 09:48 AM   #2
RodeoRob
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1. the weak spot in the D30 is ujoints, as it is in most front axles. Somewhere around 94, they made a change in the D30 to the stronger 297x ujoints. If you have this D30, the joints are identical to those found in D44 fronts. If you have the older D30, might consider a shaft upgrade with the 297x ujoints to strengthen the front.

2. D44 is in a different class from the D60 and 9". IF you plan on bigger than 35" tires with lockers and low gears, i'd throw it out of the equation. As far as 9" vs. D60, you're opening in a can of worms. In my opinion, both axles completely stock, the D60 is way stronger. The 9" can be made to be really really strong, but you'll spend some money in aftermarket parts. 9" are expensive and D60s are hard to find, so you'll pay aprox the same amount for each.

3. Dynatrac, Currie, Tera are places to start for custom D60s and 9"s

-Rob
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Unread 09-20-2001, 10:47 AM   #3
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Are there any major weaknesses or advantages between the D60 and 9 inch?
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Unread 09-20-2001, 10:55 AM   #4
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the ford 8.8 is a cheap and easy swap so thats a no brainer for the rear for the front the dana 30 would work or you could get a dana 44 up front and then if you do break the ujoints you could:

get currie to do a dana 60 conversion to your dana 44

get those new ujoints that just came out that are way stronger then the 297's that are currently on the market.
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Unread 09-20-2001, 11:04 AM   #5
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Is the 8.8 strong enough to support 37 inch tires? Also is there a good aftermarket for it? Locker/Gear wise.
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Unread 09-20-2001, 11:17 AM   #6
RodeoRob
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Quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
Are there any major weaknesses or advantages between the D60 and 9 inch?
The 9" is the lightest axle of its class, its really easy to work on due to its removable third member section, however that leads to a high pinion angle (not good for Jeeps). 9" third member is cast iron causing it to have a less rigid housing (aftermarkt 3rd members avail to fix this). Smaller carrier/pinion bearings than the D60. 9" only comes in 31, and 28 spline versions with the 28 being more common (can't go about above 31 without expensive modification).

D60's are available in many forms.... any wheel lug pattern, disk or drum, semi-float or full-flot, standard or reverse cut gears. The largest pinion/carrier bearings (next to GM 14-bolt). Comes in 30 and 35 splined version. and its still in production today.

-Rob
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Unread 09-20-2001, 11:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Keith:
Is the 8.8 strong enough to support 37 inch tires? Also is there a good aftermarket for it? Locker/Gear wise.
37's are probably a grey area of the 8.8 strength. Especially if you are running low gears and lockers. But with a light foot and cautious driving, its not impossible... after all, i know people that run 35s on the stock D35C.

Aftermarket support is decent, we put a Powertrax No-slip in my friends. Not sure if detriot has anything. ARB i'm sure supports it. Gear choices are decent too with 4.10, 4.56, and up to 5.14 being available. Not quite the aftermarket support the D44 or D60 have, but still not bad.

-Rob
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1995.5 Isuzu Rodeo - SAS'd and SOA'd, sitting on 36x12.50 TSLs, D44 front, 14bff rear, locked by OX and Detriot, suspensions by Jeep and Chevy, high steer conversion, 5.13 gearing and Teralow in the case.
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Unread 09-20-2001, 11:20 PM   #8
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The Dana 30 shaft ain't much either when compared to 37" tires. Granted the 297-x joints and one piece shaft from the TJs are worthwhile pushing into the 35" tire arena, but that would be the limit in my opinion.

The Ford 9" is a viable consideration in the rear, except that you should realize not all 9" are alike. The Currie 9" is a much stronger housing than you're going to dig out of an old muscle car or early Bronco. There are 40 spline conversions for the 9", but they ain't cheap. Still, for the rear, a 9" is a good sturdy axle. I feel compelled to tell you one buddy of mine bought 9" front and rear from Currie. Fine axles they are. But he regrets not buying 60s. Of course his hindsite (after breaking 9" joints and shafts) is 20/20.

A 44 will hold up to 37" tires depending on driving style. I have a friend running 37s on dual 44s with a Tera low in his 300 and hasn't busted a shaft. Although he does run Warn full floater shafts in the rear and Moser shafts in the front. These are some totally cool shafts. Increases the meat in the joint area significantly.

The Dana 60 is a Dana 60. Not much else you can say except I disagree with the Amigo driver putting it in the same class as a 9". Not even. A 9" and a 44 are actually much closer in axleshaft diameter.

The 8.8 is a pretty much a new axle to the hardcore arena. They are popular swaps right now due to availability and cost. But they're not brute strength. They're a cheaper alternative that's almost Dana 44 strength.

MIT is another axle builder in addition to the ones the Amigo driver mentioned. There's a fellow on this board already beginning a relationship with them and getting quotes on a 60. MIT can do a good job. But you better know what you want, and you better make sure they know what you want. There will not be any extras in there if you didn't request them.

I personally wouldn't touch an axle from Currie. I know how they've built 44s in the past and sneaky **** like that just makes me not want to do business with them. Sorry, but their 44 housings are junk. At least for the TJs. Not sure about others. But that's enough to make me steer clear. Hell, if they had only told their customers up front so they knew what they were buying, that would have been different.

Dynatrac is about the best. When you order a Dana 60 from them, you're gonna get 35 spline on all shafts (including outters). You're gonna get 1/2" thick tubes. You're gonna get 1480 joints. And it's all gonna be brand new. None of that needs to be negotiated, that's the only way they build them. There are lots of other extras to consider. But one thing for sure, nothing is cheap from Dynatrac.

Another option is Sunray. They make the 9" Dana 60 hybrid. Basically 9" ring & pinion and housing, the rest Dana 60. And I hear they do 35 spline outters too. The only thing, they're kinda new and it seems enthusiasm for their product has waned now that more are out there. Something to look into in any case. Try the POR board for info on them.

Sam's offroad makes a mighty fine Dana 60 from what I hear. And I tried to give them a chance to build mine. But getting thru to them was not an easy task. My patience grew short.

There's a number of other axle builders out there. Ya just gotta talk to people who've actually had axles built for them and see what they think. Mine were built by Dynatrac. I paid a hefty price, but I wanted to be sure I got good axle for my good money. By going Dynatrac, that's guaranteed. For one year anyway! But seriously, Dynatrac IS a quality axle builder. That's pretty much legendary.

On a side note, I just heard yesterday Dynatrac has a lifetime warrantee on their new high clearance housings. Basically to relieve the fears some are having about the durability remaining after you shave so much off the pumpkin. If they had this high clearance diff when I was ordering axles, I would have jumped on it with that warranty.
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Unread 09-21-2001, 01:11 AM   #9
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I agree. DynaTrac is the best way to go if you can afford it. You can usually get the DynaTrac axles for a little less thru a shop or something, because DynaTrac sets up dealers for their axles a pretty good price break. The high clearance (shaved diff) option did void the 12month warranty on the housing, but it would make since if they changed that.

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Unread 09-22-2001, 12:43 PM   #10
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Excellent point! I did buy mine thru Four X Doctor and his quote was better than the quote from Dynatrac direct.
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Unread 09-22-2001, 01:42 PM   #11
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what did you wind up paying for your d-60?what would be a good price?
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Unread 09-23-2001, 12:40 AM   #12
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About $4K for the rear and almost $5K for the front. Honestly I couldn't say what a "good" price is. On another thread on this board, a fellow got a quote of like $3600 I think it was for a rear from MIT.
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Unread 09-24-2001, 02:20 PM   #13
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Ah, this would be me. The quote from MIT that totalled $3500 for a rear D60 also included regearing my front D30. Without a front re-gear, and without labor (installing it myself), the pricing for the D60 is $2820, give or take. Cheers!
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Unread 09-24-2001, 06:00 PM   #14
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i'm gonna enjoy what i have till it breaks.when it breaks,i can justify overbuilding it to the mrs.(when is definately the key word hehe)i bet you have never had one break yet!i'm saving for them now.i kept going round and round between an 8.8,d-44,etc...just build it right the first time,never rebuild it.
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Unread 09-24-2001, 08:49 PM   #15
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In our area, D30 is strong enough for 35" tires and D35 is decent for 35" as well. Members in the club have D44's and running 38.5" Swampers with no problems for years. The guys running 40" and larger tires are using D60's under their rigs .. but there has been breakage under heavy throttle.
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