Strong aftermarket diff covers for front diff that are likely to clear trackbar and be ideal for LCG lifts.
All offer good to excellent front trackbar clearance and have the fill hole around/approx halfway up, which is ideal for 0" to 4" lift, IMO.
and a few other diffs - Alloy USA
5/16" thick stamped steel. Excellent trackbar clearance. Same clearance as stock diff cover,
but way stronger. These are the highest clearance tough covers made,
Unfortuneately, Alloy USA does NOT make a D44 stamped steel cover. They do make a D44 cast cover that is 3/8" thick (strong as hell), but the cast D44 cover's clearance for front trackbar is not good enough, IMO..D60 - Teraflex
- Their D60 cover is 3/8" thick cast steel (strong as hell) and appears to have reasonably good trackbar clearance.
and possibly D60 - Barnett
sells some dandy looking steel front diff covers for that have fill hole at proper height for front diff with LCG lift, and look like a stock cover from fill hole up. i.e. - have same shape and clearance as stock diff cover from fill-hole up.
The Barnett covers are bought by Currie and resold as a Currie cover. i.e. - Depending on where you buy it, it might be called a Barnett cover (manufacturer) or a Currie cover (one of many resellers of this cover).
From just below the fill-hole to the bottom of the Barnett diff cover, Barnett looks like a Riddler or Crane cover, with angle lip and recessed bolts. It's pretty sweet and seems to offer the best of all worlds. Kind of like a crossbreed of the best features of a flush diff guard (ultra high clearance) and a Crane cover (strong and angled bottom with recessed bolts on bottom half).
And unlike a flush mount cover guard that covers bottom third of cover (like a Warn or Rugged Ridge), the Barnett cannot get mud packed between its guard and the cover because they're welded together, or maybe cast together. Not sure if welded or cast, but either way its a one piece flush deal that cannot get mud between guard and cover.
The Barnett cover thickness in the guard area is 1/4" thick steel (1/8" guard + 1/8" cover), which isn't quite as thick as the other brands of high clearance covers I mentioned above. The other brands of covers mentioned are are 5/16" thick steel (Alloy USA) and 3/8" thick steel (Teraflex).
However, the 1/4" thick steel Barnett cover is strong/tough enough. After all, the Barnett cover is resold by Currie as a Currie product. I think Currie wouldn't resell it unless it was tough enough. Also, Kiwi at this forum has been rockcrawling with the Barnett for years and its holding up well.
With the Barnett having thinner 1/8" steel on its top-half and 1/4" on bottom half, it might offer better differential oil cooling since thinner metal can transfer heat to the air faster.
I would guess that the Alloy USA also offers good diff cooling (based on thicknesses). The Alloy USA and Teraflex would offer more diff housing bracing/stiffness than Barnett since Alloy USA and Teraflex are thick thoughout. The Barnett is only thick on bottom half.
All of the covers mentioned above are excellent covers for clearance and protection, though they each have certain special traits the others don't have.
D30, D44, D60,
and other diffs - various brands
of flush fitting guards
that can be added to stock diff cover that offer good trackbar clearance. Of these, I like the Rugged Ridge best. It looks like a Warn, but the RR has large drain holes at the bottom to drain water and mud (hopefully it would drain mud out). For the RR or W covers, I recommend cutting off the top portion about 1/4" above the highest bolt hole
- (this trimming increases trackbar vertical clearance 1" to 2" or more). However, I think a guard of this type would de
crease diff oil cooling by keeping air off the bottom half of front diff cover, especially if mud packs into the gap between guard and cover.
There are also the diff helmets (look like a faceguard on an old fashioned football helmet) that can be bolted onto lower portion of diff cover. These might work pretty good, but not sure. I'm concerned they'd hang up on something.
The bolt on diff vertical rings that offer protection over the gear area, are NOT good because they decrease clearance to trackbar, and the protection they provide is not very good IMO.
I'd rather have a good cover than a flush guard
(for diff oil cooling reasons). I'd rather have a good cover than a bolt on helmet because I'm concerned the helmet might hang up on things. The bolt on diff vertical rings are a no go for lack of clearance and protection.
The above are the highest clearance options for strong front diff protection (that I know of). We can help alleviate our front trackbar clearance issues with high clearance diff covers (or guards), as well as higher clearance trackbars.
The combination should be very effective.
All these brands/choices have the fill hole halfway up the cover on the right.
Some even have their fill hole partially recessed into cover. Having the fill hole halfway up cover offers several advantages for LCG lifts (compared to fill hole at top of cover). Fill hole halfway up makes it easy to fill diff oil to proper level for the pinion angles that low lifts have. I mean ideal for 0" to 4" of lift. Also, it's much easier to check the oil level, and it can't be overfilled. That's very important since overfilling is messy and almost as detrimental as underfilling.
Most importantly, these diff covers offer much greater trackbar clearance. Part of that extra clearance comes from having the fill hole halfway down the cover, instead of near the top.
The diff covers mentioned above (and the cover guard option) are made for LCG lifts - both in regard to pinion angle and associated oil level, and for clearance with front trackbar, yet they are also strong and tough, and the Barnett is made lipless and angled to slip off or over rocks and has recessed bolts.
For rear diff covers,
I prefer Dynatrac and Rancho (identical covers, different colors) because there are [U]no clearance issues in the rear [/U](no rear diff cover clearance issues for me anyway - because I have an ARB rear trackbar relocaton bracket that moves rear trackbar up at axle end; but a stock rear trackbar setup would have tighter clearance with rear trackbar).
So for me, there's enough room/clearance in the rear
for the external bracing ribs of the Dynatrac or Rancho diff covers. I like their external
bracing ribs because they stiffen/brace the entire diff housing (helps gears mate properly), the ribs increase impact resistance, and the ribs act like cooling fins, helping to cool the diff oil. Note: all brands of very thick covers don't cool oil as well as a thin stock cover. The ribs of the Dynatrac/Rancho cover increases its cooling by acting like cooling fins. I like the fill/bleeder hole halfway up the cover (ideal for lower lifts because the pinion angle is appropriate for the lower fill/bleeder hole located halfway up the cover).
If there is a concern about rear diff cover clearance
to gastank skidplate or trackbar, then I suggest using one of the higher clearance covers such as Alloy USA stamped cover, or Teraflex for rear. I don't think the Barnett would be high clearance in the rear diff (gastank clearance reasons), though it is very high clearance for the front diff (clears front trackbars well, especially stock front trackbar).
In my case, with an OME rear trackbar relocation bracket raising the axle end of my rear trackbar higher. So I don't have any rear diff cover clearance concerns. So I prefer the Rancho/Dynatrac (not a high clearance cover) for my D44 rear cover. If I had a D30 or D60, my preference for a rear cover would be the Alloy USA 5/16" stamped cover (high clearance cover for front or rear, but not made for D44).