Facts on Off Roading with Dana 35 Rear Axles - Page 6 - JeepForum.com
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Go Back JeepForum.com > General Technical Discussions > General Jeep & Off-Road Equipment > Facts on Off Roading with Dana 35 Rear Axles

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View Poll Results: Myth or fiction - D35's don't hold up?
Off Road with factory D35 (LSD or locked) and No Problems 73 57.94%
OFf Road w/ D35 (LSD or locked) with Chrome Moly axle shafts and No Problems 17 13.49%
Off Road with Super D35, and No Problems 10 7.94%
Have broken axle shafts when off road with D35 rear axle 23 18.25%
Have broken axle shafts when off road with D35 and chrome moly axle shafts 2 1.59%
Have broken axle shafts when off road with Superf 35 Kit 1 0.79%
Voters: 126. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 10-21-2013, 12:21 PM   #76
Eckoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RowJ View Post
TTT
Keep them coming (on the Poll) please.
Would like at least 100 replys to have a valid sampling.

RJ
well its over 100 now with nearly 80% not breaking.
I still say its more about the way you drive hen anything, and that autos are far "safer" then sticks.

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Unread 10-21-2013, 12:44 PM   #77
sheriff1680
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I posted this in a different thread, but thought I would add it here as well...

If I may offer my opinion, the D35 is actually a pretty good axle and performs well within its design limits. This axle was used in millions of TJs, XJs, YJs and ZJs over a long period of time. This includes all non towing package ZJs with a 5.2 V8. If it was anywhere near as bad as what is regurgitated on the internet, we would see jeeps with broken axles littering the sides of the road daily across North America.

I constantly see posts about the tubes being so weak.....same tubes as a 44. Coke can metal brackets....same brackets as a 44. Ring and pinion junk...tell that to the bunch running S35 kits at Johnson Valley.

The D35 will break. No doubt. Most failures come from flex across the length of the housing. This will snap shafts near the splines or break spider gears. 99% of these failures are from pushing it beyond its design limits. They don't just explode for no reason when you back out of your driveway.

The vast majority of people offroading a jeep do moderate trails. The D35 is fine for that. I have a stock D35 with LSD, stock shafts and 33x10.50s. And I've run it with a 5.2 V8 for the past 3 years. I push it fairly hard so I carry spare shafts. Haven't broke yet and if it does I'll fix it and keep going. If I snap a shaft every once in a while, that's an acceptable failure rate to me. I am confident enough in it with the way I drive that I'm going to run the Rubicon next summer.

The D35 is fine for most people and situations. Jeep understood that when they put it in most jeeps. If you're breaking yours constantly then upgrade to something stronger, but there's no reason to try to convince the people that don't break theirs that they need a stronger axle.
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Unread 10-21-2013, 01:01 PM   #78
RowJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheriff1680 View Post
.....The vast majority of people offroading a jeep do moderate trails......The D35 is fine for most people and situations. Jeep understood that when they put it in most jeeps. If you're breaking yours constantly then upgrade to something stronger, but there's no reason to try to convince the people that don't break theirs that they need a stronger axle.
Excellent Summary of a discussion that has become convoluted, IMO.
After two years, I have grown boarded with OHV parks and trails that lead nowhere.
I'm much more interested in deserted beached, logging roads, mountain firebreaks, national forest trails, and in general, getting out in the middle of nowhere on unknown ground!

Am now glad that I stayed with the D35 and put a little money into it as extra insurance.
It should be all I need..... as long as I stay with 33's!

RJ
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Unread 10-21-2013, 03:38 PM   #79
IslandTJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RowJ View Post
Excellent Summary of a discussion that has become convoluted, IMO.
After two years, I have grown boarded with OHV parks and trails that lead nowhere.
I'm much more interested in deserted beached, logging roads, mountain firebreaks, national forest trails, and in general, getting out in the middle of nowhere on unknown ground!

Am now glad that I stayed with the D35 and put a little money into it as extra insurance.
It should be all I need..... as long as I stay with 33's!

RJ
Nice .
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Unread 10-21-2013, 03:53 PM   #80
Eckoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RowJ View Post
Excellent Summary of a discussion that has become convoluted, IMO.
After two years, I have grown boarded with OHV parks and trails that lead nowhere.
I'm much more interested in deserted beached, logging roads, mountain firebreaks, national forest trails, and in general, getting out in the middle of nowhere on unknown ground!

Am now glad that I stayed with the D35 and put a little money into it as extra insurance.
It should be all I need..... as long as I stay with 33's!

RJ
i am in the same boat... i just run 35s. i have put like 150 bucks into my d35 adding the 4.88s. I just do not see being the "twig" everyone makes it out to be with the way i drive and having the 42rle auto.

I have NEVER seen anything break unless tires were spinning then they suddenly stopped. I watched a guy on 33s on a D35 spinning tired and bouncing it 6-8 inches off the ground to to get unstuck off a downed tree and the ring gear broke before the axles did. I watched a guy at Paragon with a spool in his D35 floor it up a black 3 bouncing and spinning the whole way and everyone was waiting for it to break and it didn't. The guy even said he spooled it so he could break it to upgrade it but he had not been able to break it driving like a complete moron.

If you drive like a tard it doesn't matter what you have you can break it, if you drive smart then a d35 is fine for most off roading.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 09:56 AM   #81
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This debate will never end. Some people say that they saw a D35 locked on huge tires and never have a problem. Others say they broke one pulling into a parking spot. I stripped the ring gear on one in my old XJ with 30 inch tires unlocked and I have a friend wheeling a super 35 on 36s with an OX locker without much trouble. Some survive, some don't. It's still a liability.

The way I see it, just the mere fact that this is a huge debate is reason enough for me to upgrade to something more stout. I personally don't like to wheel knowing that my rear axle may break at any time. I wheel very slow and stay out of the skinny pedal but I still don't trust a D35. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing them break without bouncing or wheeling hard.

True, any axle can break but a D35 will break way sooner compared to something like a D44 or 8.8. I'd much rather have the added confidence that my axle will stand up to my wheeling style off road and take me back home.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 10:11 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwrangler View Post
.... There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing them break without bouncing or wheeling hard......
The stories I love are the one where their axle snapped pulling away from a red light....
or just cruising down the hwy!
I've seen enough hard driven D35's to be convinced these guys broke their D35 over the weekend while off road and it just did not fall apart till Monday morning!

RJ
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Unread 10-22-2013, 10:28 AM   #83
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That's true. I believe most of the breakage on easy stuff like the street are from fatigue in the shafts or other components done from previous abuse.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #84
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[QUOTE=djwrangler;17048442] There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing them break without bouncing or wheeling hard.

QUOTE]

Actually, there are only a few videos and stories about them breaking compared to the millions of D35s that are out there. It's mostly internet hype.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 03:09 PM   #85
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And there are tons more breakages not even captured on video. There are millions of D35s that are not used offroad or subjected to larger tires.

I, along with many others, have experienced the shortcomings of the D35 when it comes to pushing it beyond it's design limits. That's not hype.

Not trying to diss the D35 here, it's a fine axle when used as it was intended by Jeep. But when it comes to big tires, more offroad use, lockers, and all the other things we like to do with our Jeeps, there are simply much more cost effective options.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 06:33 PM   #86
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keep in mind that over 90% of jeeps have or had a d35 in the rear. if even 5% of them fail you will hear more about it then the same percentage of d44s that break.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 06:38 PM   #87
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D35 with 4.10s behind a 4cyl 5 speed TJ on 33s survived. Added 4.88s, same tires, and broke 4 shafts. 3 off road, 1 in a parking lot at school being dumb. All of the shafts broke within 1" of the end of the splines.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 06:51 PM   #88
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You all scared me into an 8.8 and I needed a regear for my four angry squirrels. Love it easy mod and the disc brakes were a bonus.

My D35 on 33x12:59x15s was just fine and is now under another YJ doing great.

I am old and slow like my heep and had no issues but it was always in the back of my mind.

It's an owners choice but yes the D35 with common sense will last a long time.

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Unread 11-12-2013, 11:28 PM   #89
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Wellllllll. Then theres me. Running a D35 with 35s..... Ive been doing some things in the last few days where i thought i would brake a shaft. But nope..


Now granted i have TEN factory shafts....



ANd 4.56s



and a Detroit locker.... Yeah thats right. its locked. hahahhah

But with that said im currently seeking a ford 8.8......
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Unread 11-14-2013, 04:38 PM   #90
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One thing that I'm also curious about is how long have the folks who've had "no problems at all" owned their Jeeps and how often (and for that matter how difficult of terrain) do they wheel? I've seen a lot of comments on this thread that say "I've wheeled it like this for three years and it's fine". To me, three years isn't very long. After another seven, let me know how it's doing.

I'm an occasional wheeler (8-12 weekend wheeling trips per year) and run trails that are moderate to nasty as well as a fair amount of street use and foul weather driving. I'm very easy on the skinny pedal (I don't like to break things) and I'm currently on 33 12.50 15s.

Over the 15 years that I've owned my Jeep I've bent a housing (slid off a honk'in big rock going up a creek bank), broke a driver side shaft (while climbing a hill a large rock rolled loose under the tire and when it caught purchase in the dirt under it, it snapped), and I currently have a bent passenger side shaft. I'm not sure when this last one happend, as I didn't realize it until they raised the speed limit on a highway that I frequently drive (vibrations only occur above 65mph). All of these (except maybe for the last one) happened on 31 11.50 15s. I've wheeled it a few times (some very, very rough wheeling) since going to the 33s and haven't had any issues.

A lot of people might say that these were flukes and that I've had good luck given the amount of time, but I have to disagree. I'm not saying that Jeep should have put a different axle under it, I'm just saying that it's not "worry free" on tires 31" and taller. I've owned and wheeled several different ORVs. I never worried about the axles in any of them. I worry about it in my YJ.

That's why it'll be getting an 8.8 in the near future. Since I've got parts set back for a stretch, I figured that I'd wait until then to put in an 8.8 (no sense messing with driveshafts twice). That's the only reason that I'm going to bother fixing the d35 for a 3rd time. I'm considering it a stopgap until I get around to the 8.8.

Since the OP was trying to make a decision, he needs to ask himself this:
Do you wheel anything more difficult than "moderate" trails?
Are you running (or do you intend to run) tires larger than 33s?
Do you run (or do you intend to run) a locker in the rear axle?
Do you wheel agressively (hard on the skinny pedal)?
Are you willing to risk having to do a trail repair of this type?

If you answered yes to more than one of the questions, it's time for an axle upgrade or swap.

If you answered yes to at least one of the questions, it's time to seriously think about and axle upgrade or swap.

As far as upgrading to a super 35 or swapping in an 8.8, that's something you really need to research and decide for yourself. The way I look at it, for the price point, I'd rather go with an 8.8. You still have a lot of room for upgrades if you break them. With a super 35, you're sinking a lot of cash into the axle and you still can't go above 35s. If you start breaking stuff in a super 35, there's no where to go but axle swap (you can't really "upgrade" your R&P...). If you can do the work yourself, it should be cheaper to do the 8.8 (unless you buy an ARB to go in it at the same time).

If (for whatever reason) I wasn't in a situation where I could do the work myself and I knew that I'd never want more than 35" tires, I'd probably just go with the super 35 with a truss (and I'd still worry about the R&P). For me, the 8.8 is a no brainer. I turned down a deal on a non C super 35 with a truss, 4.88 gears, and disk brake conversion for $500. I've wondered if I made the wrong decision, but it'd been wheeled pretty hard and I'm seriously considering eventually running 37s (and I don't want to worry about the R&P).
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