After reading through dozens of threads on the subject, I still have some questions. I have the stock D35 and for a while I was thinking of swapping in a D44, but I have since learned that a Super 35 kit would be sufficient (not to mention a lot easier on the wallet). Having said that, here are my questions:
- Is the Super 35 something I can install myself, or is it best left up to the professionals? I'm by no means an expert mechanic, but I try to do all the work on my TJ when possible. I have never touched anything in the drivetrain however. If possible, I'd like to do it myself to save on labor costs, but if I'm just asking for trouble then I'll definately have a shop do it.
- Same question as above for the ARB. Seems like some lockers are easier to install than others, but I don't hear much about how easy or hard the ARB's are to install.
toe and heal
Honestly, You don't need to pull the pinion out, just swap out carriers so you likely will be able to get by with the same pinion shim. Check the run out (it shouldn't be a problem...probably don't need to check it) on the ARB and nail the backlash with a dial indicator then run your gear pattern. If its acceptable, rock and roll. If not, well...it can get little ugly. Plus, having the shims inside the carrier bearings sucks. It can be simple, or it can be alot of work. If you get it wrong, well, you could have thermal nuclear melt down of your gears
You can get pictures of acceptable gear patterns on the intraweb and what to do when the pattern shows up one way compared to the other. You'll need all the torque and specifications for the dana 35 before you start as well.
__________________ Louisiana 4X4 '97 TJ Sport Black, 3.5" RE, PSC Trail Cage, Ford F150/Explorer Hybrid 8.8 Aussie locked, Lockright in the XJ HP 30, 4.88 gears, Borla Headers, No Muffler, 35x12.5 R15 Baja MTZs, Currie TrackBar. Homebuilt Longarm 4 link, AA HD SYE, TW CV DS, Warn tire carrier, Jeeperman front bumper, Warn X8000i with Amsteel Blue rope with a safety thimble, CO2 GeauxLook@myJeep
I have a Superior S35 with ARB. Just installing the parts would probably be doable but setting up the gears is not something that you will want to try. You need to know what you are doing to get them set up right.
Find a good gear guy in your area and take the whole kit to him and have him install it. He also needs to drill a hole in the housing and install the air fitting. From there you can install the pump, hose, wiring and switches.
The guy that did mine charged me 300 for install and set up.
You don't want to install it yourself if you've never done gears before. Also don't let just anyone install them, find a shop with a good reputation for installing ARB's and setting up gears. If you don't know of one in your area, call ARB direct and ask for a referral. Tell them you want to know who the best installer in your area is, not just a dealer referral.
I would suggest regearing at the same time too, seeing as the gears need to be re-setup anyhow when installing the locker. If you have 3.07's stock you're actually forced to regear as those won't work with the Super 35 locker.
$200-350 per axle is average for regearing and installing a locker.
If I were you, i'd hold out for the 44. I have a S35. I bought mine for $350 (whole axle) with 4.56's already in it. That's the only reason I have it. It doesn't make sense to buy the kit for $900, spend another $250-$300 on a master install kit and gears, and put it in your axle. Couple hundred more dollars and you could have a D44 or an 8.8. You will want one eventually, so do it right the first time.
I should probably mention that I do plan on regearing at some point (I have 3.73's now). I guess it makes more sense to do it all at once. Once my 32's wear out (I'm figuring within a year or so), I'm going to 33's and I don't plan to go any higher than that. My understanding is 4.56's are perfect with 33's and the manual tranny, correct?
I wouldn't mind having a D44, but I won't get one if I don't really need it - that is unless I found a great deal on one somewhere. So far, the cheapest I've seen for a complete D44 ready to bolt in is almost $3000, and that doesn't include another ARB and 4.56's for the front D30. A S35 plus regearing for both axles and 2 ARB's would put me close to $3000. Also, wouldn't I need a shorter DS with a D44? I'm going to need a new one anyway when I upgrade to the RE 3.5" SF someday, so I'd like to just do it once if possible.
I wish I could do everything at once (lift, CV/SYE, D44, regear, ARB's) but my budget won't allow that right now. I'm left to either do it in stages or wait a while (probably a LONG while) until I've saved up enough to do it all at once.
Should I just hold off on the axle upgrades for a while, or is there a logical step-by-step process I could follow? I thought I had it all figured out, but now I'm not so sure. Whatever I do, I just want to make sure I do it right the first time.
We just got home (8:30 PM local) from spending 4 hours changing axles in a TJ with a D35 and ARBs. The entire 4 hours was spent in the dirt on the trail under his Heep so that we could get his wheel back on to get back to the trailer.
I have broken more than my share of axles on the trail, and either fixed or limped them home but I have never had a swap that was as bad as this one. The c-clip was the root of the evil but the ARB made a bad situation a lot worse (have you ever worked on one in the field - PITA). If you ever plan on running larger than 33" tires or on anything harder than mild trails, do yourself a favor and upgrade.
I have had to fix more ARBs than any other locker and they are not very popular with the croud that I run. Most of us run Detroits or OX. I prefer the Detroit but run an OX in the back of my TJ.