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Unread 05-13-2004, 04:45 PM   #1
Brett-n-GA
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D35 is it the axle or the housing?

I have read on here many times how weak the D35 rear is. My question is, is it the axle with the small spline count that is week or is it the housing. If its the housing would a axle truss help this any? Or would this be yet another do-nothing doodad? Just trying to see how much it is really going to cost me to move reliably up to 35's.

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Unread 05-13-2004, 05:57 PM   #2
CanukYJ
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Everyone will argue this one over till dawn hehe. Most have said the ‘weaker’ axle tubes flex when under torque and put the inner shafts and what not at an angle so aggressive (since inners and what not shouldn’t twist much at all) it snaps them. I don’t believe that too much, take a look at the size diff between the axle TUBES on a d35 and it’s ‘stronger’ d44, there is very little to any diff in diameter. I think, and most agree, it has to do with weaker inner shafts and a smaller spline count, it just can take the twisting forces applied, expecially in 4low with big tires.


Edit: Sorry, I forgot to add, an axle truss is an –idea- but it won’t solve the fact that it is a weaker axle inside or out. For the price and time\work involved it’s safer and stronger to just go with a ford replacement from an exploder.
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My jeep has only ever killed 3 things, a cat, a deer, and my wallet. What's the problem officer?

1992 Red YJ. Lifted, locked, and loaded with beer (Disclaimer: This doesn't mean said driver endorses drinking and driving, please enjoy alcohol responsibly and do not operate any vehicle of any kind, thank you....)

Thanks to the price of gas here ($4.25 a gal) I just bought a mountain bike, 0" of lift, 0" of travel, MT's, locked rear axle, oh yeah, it's the sh#$.

Last edited by CanukYJ; 05-13-2004 at 06:22 PM..
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Unread 05-13-2004, 10:21 PM   #3
Lewis
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OK, I'm sure I will get flamed for this but here goes.

I was talking to sales guy at a local 4x4 shop about the "weak 35" and all the stuff you read on the internet about them breaking every time you turn around. I was actually looking to upgrade my 35 and wanted to get some more info regarding the super 35 vs. ford 8.8 vs. Dana 44. He asked me about my gearing, tires what kind of off roading I do etc. I said 4:10, 33" BFT ATs and I go 4 or 5 times a year up to the areas in eastern KY.

He said forget about it. Drive it the way it is until I break it because I most likely will never break it. He said he would love to sell me a new axle and get paid to install it, but it's a flat out waste of money. He agreed that the D35 is weaker than the others, but it's weakness is greatly exagerated by people that want to sell upgrades and people who have upgraded and want to think their Jeep is better than others. He said that they have several people in the shop who decided to wheel with the 35 until it breaks and they just haven't been breaking at the rate that the internet talk would make you believe. Take it FWIW, but the guy seemed very knowledgeable about Jeeps and he could have sold me some expensive crap if he wanted to, but he wanted to be honest instead. He did say that for anytype of serious rock crawling, ie. competition that you would need to go with a heavy duty axle preferrably a D60 or ford 9 inch.
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Unread 05-13-2004, 10:58 PM   #4
CanukYJ
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Lewis makes a good point. Alotta 'web wheelers' will just pass around the knowledge that it's junk without experience OR after only breaking ONE shaft way back when... I don't doubt it's a 'weaker' axle but so is a d60 when compared to 2ton rockwells.

I should have added to my prev comments, from all I've read, learned and absorbed in my 4x4 career I've decided to wheel my d35 and if it breaks so be it, if not, I saved alot of cash.
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My jeep has only ever killed 3 things, a cat, a deer, and my wallet. What's the problem officer?

1992 Red YJ. Lifted, locked, and loaded with beer (Disclaimer: This doesn't mean said driver endorses drinking and driving, please enjoy alcohol responsibly and do not operate any vehicle of any kind, thank you....)

Thanks to the price of gas here ($4.25 a gal) I just bought a mountain bike, 0" of lift, 0" of travel, MT's, locked rear axle, oh yeah, it's the sh#$.
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Unread 05-13-2004, 11:03 PM   #5
NotMatt
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I sort of agree... generally, yes the D35 is weaker... but for most people with stock sized tires and a light foot in 4lo, it's not as big of a deal as some people make it out to be. I still wouldn't feel safe out in the middle of nowhere without at least one spare axle shaft though...
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Unread 05-13-2004, 11:26 PM   #6
Quan
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this web wheeler blew his ring and pinion twice.. then grenaded his detroit locker.. all with Super35 installed.... I say mostly the TINY ring gear.. oh yea.. and the mighty detroit... the one that fits in a d35 is literally the size of a 12 oz pop can.
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Unread 05-13-2004, 11:42 PM   #7
pdw
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I just had the folks over at Drivetrain Direct in Corona, Ca install a Super 35 kit with a Detroit locker install about three weeks ago.
The sales mgr. there started talking down his companies own Super 35 kit in order to try and sell me a Dana 44 with the higher spline count axles & locker for only $1k more! That would have been a grand total of $3k out the door!
I do agree that the axle tubes may well be the weak link for the Dana 35 housing. Especially if you have 33's or bigger tires combined with any kind of a locker! In my case, the Dana 35 with a Detroit on 4.5" Rubicon Express springs had a lot of spring wrap. Another aspect that IMO promotes the failure of the Dana 35 axles! But, a traction bar from the folks over at M.O.R.E. took care of the spring wrap issue.
So, IMO do I have a stronger/better Dana 35 than most people? Yes, but like any mod that you do to a Jeep; one mod only exposes the weakness of the axle in other areas. A definite future additional mod will be an axle truss.

Is it as good as a Dana 44? Well, I have heard people say that a built Dana 35 is as strong as a stock Dana 44. That is up for discussion, but for now I'm happy with my Dana 35!

FYI: I typically get out to wheel at least twice a month. While I may not be doing hard core rock crawling, the trails we tackle are typically rated at a 3+.
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Unread 05-13-2004, 11:55 PM   #8
pdw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quan
this web wheeler blew his ring and pinion twice.. then grenaded his detroit locker.. all with Super35 installed.... I say mostly the TINY ring gear.. oh yea.. and the mighty detroit... the one that fits in a d35 is literally the size of a 12 oz pop can.
I'm curious: Did you have a shop install the second set of r&p? What caused the death of the r&p? On the gas pretty heavy with a lot of wheel spin? All of these things seem to add into the equation.
Does it really matter that the Detroit unit that fits inside the r&p of a Dana 35 is the size of Coke can? The Lock-Rite unit that goes into my Chevy Blazer is half the height of a Coke can, yet it hasn't broken yet!
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RE 4.5" ED lift/SYE & Tom Woods shaft/Tera 4low
Warn bumpers F & R/Warn gas tank skid
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Unread 05-14-2004, 12:20 AM   #9
CanukYJ
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Quan, I didn't mean to word my post as 'all guys who say it broke are web wheelers'. I just meant 90% of the flak the d35 takes is from a 'friend of a friend who heard a guy blew it out with 29" tires in a parking lot'. When yours blew what kind of terrain were you in? Mud ? rocks?
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My jeep has only ever killed 3 things, a cat, a deer, and my wallet. What's the problem officer?

1992 Red YJ. Lifted, locked, and loaded with beer (Disclaimer: This doesn't mean said driver endorses drinking and driving, please enjoy alcohol responsibly and do not operate any vehicle of any kind, thank you....)

Thanks to the price of gas here ($4.25 a gal) I just bought a mountain bike, 0" of lift, 0" of travel, MT's, locked rear axle, oh yeah, it's the sh#$.
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Unread 05-14-2004, 12:56 AM   #10
Lewis
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Quan,
I certainly don't doubt that there are people having problems with the 35, I just tend know how things on the internet are. I tend to be highly suspicious of anything that isn't first hand info. You broke your 35, that is first hand info and is one factual account. A few people have a problem with something. Somebody figures out they can make money addressing the problem. Next thing you know, a thousand internet experts are telling everybody how things need to be.

I'm into Jeeps, guns+knives and mountain bikes and I've seen the same thing in all these. I am a police officer and firearms instructor. I have seen literally hundreds of thousands of .40 caliber rounds shot through Glock handguns with no problems, but if you believe what you read on the internet, .40 caliber Glocks are timebombs ready to blow up in your hand. It's simply not true. Can they blow up? Absolutely. Is it likely? Just about as likely as getting struck by lightning.

Can the Dana 35 break? Of course it can and it will certainly break before a stronger axle. If I had the extra cash just laying around I would switch to an 8.8 in a heartbeat. But is it worth it to go into credit card debt to fix a problem that hasn't happened yet? I don't think so. I do think it would be a smart move to carry spare axle shafts and c clips and a good tool kit. You should have a tool kit when off roading anyway. The spare axle shafts can be had for a couple of hundred bucks. Alot cheaper than a super 35 or an axle swap.
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Unread 05-14-2004, 07:35 AM   #11
igofshn
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I have been known to wheel quite regularly on some pretty difficult trails (sledgehammer, Rubicon) and I use the Yukon version of the S35 and haven't had any problems. I don't suggest doing trails like Sledgehammer with a stock 35 but for the majority of trails the D35 is just fine. The problems usually start when you lock a D35. The only time I have seen a stock D35 break has been when it was locked with 35's. If you stay 33's or less and don't lock it you should be fine.

As for Quan breaking his, I don't know the reasons but if you break an axle with a Detroit locker, the locker will usually be trashed. It is because of the forces involved with the Detroit. Axle snaps and the Detroit snaps back and there it goes. This will happen with any axle(8.8,9,D44).
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Unread 05-15-2004, 01:07 AM   #12
GrimJeeper91
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I've only seen one D35 broken on the trial. The guy was on a steep granite hill (lots of traction) when the Jeep started hopping up and down. Unfortunately he didn't back off and the axle finally snapped. IMO, driver error was at fault. Driving like this can break any axle you stuff under it. The same could be said for tires. A guy I know busts two tires every time he goes out. That tells me he's not paying attention to tire placement. Driving skill is highly unrated. I'd rather wheel with a bone stocker with a pro behind the wheel than a $40k YJ with an bozo in the drivers seat.

As far as the detriot issue, the way I look at it because I have that locker I can tackle obstacles with less wheel speed and throttle. I shudder when I see unlocked vehicles getting the rpm's up, clutching and generally thrashing their rigs to get through a obstacle that a equally set up Jeep, except for the addition of a locker, just crawls right up. I also think an auto helps as it acts like a shock absorber in the driveline. I carry spare axles, but until it breaks I'm not going to mess with it.
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Unread 05-15-2004, 03:00 PM   #13
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broke my d35 on 30" tires in the transitions from mud to dirt.....had it spinning threw a mud hole when i got to the other side i hit the dirt and it was like hitting a dry road...and it snaped....i was really surprised too...i had it in 4 h and the front wheels were on the dirt before the rear (obvisiously) i figured it would have pulled me through it......upgraded to a s35kit along with new r&p....i've been pretty happy with it of course i try to take it a little easier on it.....but with the addition of the detroit i dont need as much speed as i used to need when it was unlocked....
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Unread 05-17-2004, 04:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrimJeeper91

As far as the detriot issue, the way I look at it because I have that locker I can tackle obstacles with less wheel speed and throttle. I shudder when I see unlocked vehicles getting the rpm's up, clutching and generally thrashing their rigs to get through a obstacle that a equally set up Jeep, except for the addition of a locker, just crawls right up. I also think an auto helps as it acts like a shock absorber in the driveline. I carry spare axles, but until it breaks I'm not going to mess with it.
Thank you very much! I don't think that I could have said it better myself!
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RE 4.5" ED lift/SYE & Tom Woods shaft/Tera 4low
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Warrior Corner Guards/JKS Quick Disco's & telescoping front track bar/M.O.R.E. Rear traction bar/PSC ram steering
Borla header/Turbo City intake/Flowmaster muffler/new cat
all propelled by a [B]MONSTER [/B] 2.5l I4
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Unread 05-18-2004, 08:20 PM   #15
sentinal02
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one other thing that might not be too obvious in this debate is what's pushing the axle in the first place. It was used on all three stock jeep engines: 4.2, 2.5 and 4.0. Are you going to snap it with the 2.5? I kind of doubt it. 4.0? maybe. i think the 4.2 with the highest low end torque would be the most likely candidate to actually cause the fail because of too much torque stripping splines, etc. Add to the mix the fact that most modded jeeps are also modded under the hood for more torque/power and you're pushing more torque to the 35 then it was ever designed to handle. Yeah the axle may be stock, but what else is in front of it? 4.7 stroker? 4 to 1 low? Granny geared trannys? And I'm sure there is some inflation to the 35's weakness coming from people who went to 350 power and did nothing with the axles. Personally? 31 splines and disk brakes to keep my tires from falling out if I do snap a shaft is enough incentive to go with an 8.8. But like Canuk pointed out, wheel it til it breaks or when you're doing an axle mod like SOA until you do. Or if you're doing some serious power mods like a stroker kit or V8 conversion. Granted, when it breaks you probably will be out in the middle of nowhere like Cynics senario, so preventative upgrading is good too. guess it depends on the wheeling you do. But I'd agree that its rep as a weak axle is a little over rated.
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