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post #1 of 17 Old 11-02-2019, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
variable
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Hunting for axles.. maybe

Didn't want to hijack someone else's thread - though there are certainly plenty similar ones.

Currently have 33x12.5 with D30/35 with 3.73 gears. Right away I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

Trying to stay on a reasonable budget (no surprise there), and while I don't have a specific upper limit, spending $1k on anything is a non-trivial amount - not a deal breaker, but means I need to consider how long I'm willing to live on pop-tarts and cliff bars.

First off - I know the D35c is not considered a particularly strong axle, and I've certainly not made its job easier. That said, I've owned 2 ZJ's and an XJ, all had the 35 and aside from some bearings, I've never had a problem with them (except the annoying clunk of the c-clip side). I fully concede that I may have just 'gotten lucky'.

Based on what I've read, it sounds like a 4.56 gearing is probably ideal - 4.10/11 would probably work (better than 3.73), but I don't see a good reason not to just go to 4.56.

So, my options appear to be as follows:
  1. Replace the existing gears with the 4.56 gears and be "done" with it (keeping the D30/35)
  2. Hope I get lucky and can find something that already has those gears and replace the axle(s) with probably a D30/44
  3. Find a replacement rear axle - probably D44(a? HD?) - from the local salvage yard and then upgrade the gearing in the D30 and the "new" D44.

Ideally I'd like to end up with a D44 with disc brakes and the right gearing.

Question 1: Is it realistic to expect to find - or rather, did they ever make a year that had the D30/44 AND have the 4.56 gears? (I'm guessing not). If not, then no matter what, I'm re-gearing the D30 and odds are that if I find a D44, its going to need re-gearing too, unless I find a trashed jeep that someone has already done stuff to (not holding my breath)

Question 2: Is there a mass produced/common donor vehicle (not necessarily a ZJ or even a Jeep) that might have what I'm looking for that would get pretty close to being bolt on? Short of someone already having this setup for sale, I'm not expecting to find something that doesn't need work done to it in some fashion. I know the Ford 8" is a common swap - which is the extent of what I know about that swap..

Question 3: Since I'm trying to keep things cheap, how much stupid is it if I just replace the gearing in the 30/35? I'm assuming the most likely failure point on the 35 is going to be the axle shafts or possibly the weaker housing? (at a wild guess)

Question 4: Other relatively inexpensive options? I know there are lots of more expensive options..

Just for clarification - when I see for sale "reverse rotation" in context of ring and pinon gears, I'm assuming this means that that set is intended for the front axle and not some weird gear setup - i.e., don't use these on the rear axle etc.?

Alternately, if this exact thread already exists (my apologies), can some one point me to it?


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post #2 of 17 Old 11-02-2019, 02:05 PM
CJ7-Tim
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The D30 is capable of 33's with no problems.

The D44A is no better than a D35 and has little aftermarket support for gears or lockers. Spend no money on a D35 for anything, and look upon the D44A with great suspicion. Somebody will pop in and try to pimp a Super D35 kit, but for all that added cost you still have a D35 that probably needs a truss.

If you are cheap, find a 4.11 Ford 8.8 and regear the front axle to match. Not an ideal solution, but much lower cost that 2 axles and new gears x2. The XJ Cherokee Chrysler 8.25 is almost D44 strength, and can be converted to disk brakes with bolt on KJ Liberty brake parts.

Don't forget to budget for any leaf spring rear axle or non ZJ axle that will need all the correct brackets welded on.

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-02-2019, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE=variable;40782919]Didn't want to hijack someone else's thread - though there are certainly plenty similar ones.



Currently have 33x12.5 with D30/35 with 3.73 gears. Right away I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.



Trying to stay on a reasonable budget (no surprise there), and while I don't have a specific upper limit, spending $1k on anything is a non-trivial amount - not a deal breaker, but means I need to consider how long I'm willing to live on pop-tarts and cliff bars.



First off - I know the D35c is not considered a particularly strong axle, and I've certainly not made its job easier. That said, I've owned 2 ZJ's and an XJ, all had the 35 and aside from some bearings, I've never had a problem with them (except the annoying clunk of the c-clip side). I fully concede that I may have just 'gotten lucky'.



Based on what I've read, it sounds like a 4.56 gearing is probably ideal - 4.10/11 would probably work (better than 3.73), but I don't see a good reason not to just go to 4.56.



So, my options appear to be as follows:
  1. Replace the existing gears with the 4.56 gears and be "done" with it (keeping the D30/35)
  2. Hope I get lucky and can find something that already has those gears and replace the axle(s) with probably a D30/44
  3. Find a replacement rear axle - probably D44(a? HD?) - from the local salvage yard and then upgrade the gearing in the D30 and the "new" D44.



Ideally I'd like to end up with a D44 with disc brakes and the right gearing.



Question 1: Is it realistic to expect to find - or rather, did they ever make a year that had the D30/44 AND have the 4.56 gears? (I'm guessing not). If not, then no matter what, I'm re-gearing the D30 and odds are that if I find a D44, its going to need re-gearing too, unless I find a trashed jeep that someone has already done stuff to (not holding my breath)

(On my phone, so I'll capitalize everything to show what's my words) IIRC, THE 03-06 TJ WITH THE 2.4 AND AUTO TRANS HAD 4.56 GEARS. THE D30 FROM THAT WOULD BOLT RIGHT IN, BUT IT WOULD HAVE A D35 REAR, WHICH WOULD NEED MODIFICATION TO BOLT IN. I'VE READ GOOD AND BAD ABOUT THE 44A, AND IF SWITCH OUT MY 35 I'LL PROBABLY GET ONE. THEY DO HAVE THEIR OWN ISSUES.



Question 2: Is there a mass produced/common donor vehicle (not necessarily a ZJ or even a Jeep) that might have what I'm looking for that would get pretty close to being bolt on? Short of someone already having this setup for sale, I'm not expecting to find something that doesn't need work done to it in some fashion. I know the Ford 8" is a common swap - which is the extent of what I know about that swap.. A ZJ REAR AXLE IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL BOLT IN. EAST COAST GEAR SUPPLY SELLS BOLT-IN FORD 8.8, BUT $$$. COULD BE WORTH IT THOUGH. YOU CAN ALSO JUST BUY THE KIT TO SWAP ONE IN YOURSELF, BUT IT REQUIRES WELDING.



Question 3: Since I'm trying to keep things cheap, how much stupid is it if I just replace the gearing in the 30/35? I'm assuming the most likely failure point on the 35 is going to be the axle shafts or possibly the weaker housing? (at a wild guess) IT JUST DEPENDS HOW HARD YOU WHEEL. I CAN'T REALLY SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE, BUT I'VE HEARD BOTH SIDES. "THEY BLOW UP EASILY" AND "I'VE WHEELED HARD WITH 35" TIRES AND IT'S NEVER BROKEN"



Question 4: Other relatively inexpensive options? I know there are lots of more expensive options..



Just for clarification - when I see for sale "reverse rotation" in context of ring and pinon gears, I'm assuming this means that that set is intended for the front axle and not some weird gear setup - i.e., don't use these on the rear axle etc.?

REVERSE ROTATION MEANS IT'S FOR A HIGH PINION AXLE (HPD30 VS WHAT WE HAVE, LOW PINION D30)

Alternately, if this exact thread already exists (my apologies), can some one point me to it?[/QUOTE]

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post #4 of 17 Old 11-02-2019, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
The D44A is no better than a D35 and has little aftermarket support for gears or lockers.

Now this is simply 100% crap you're writing here.


D44a is in many ways a LOT stronger axle than a D35, it has reasonable aftermarket support, and can handle serious torque. Pinion shaft and it's bearings are the same size as a D60, and you can use JK rubi D44 R&P which is 8.8 ring gear diameter.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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post #5 of 17 Old 11-04-2019, 09:41 AM
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Yes, the D44a is a great axle for use in the ZJ. If you can find one, and you probably can fairly easily, get it and regear. If you can find an HPD30 from a '95-99 XJ get that and regear it. It is a bit stronger than the stock LPD30 on your ZJ. I sold my stock axles as a set to recoup some cost in the upgrade axles I got.

The 8.8 from a (I think these years) '98-02 Ford Explorer would work for you. Depending on your lift I'd get the Artec truss that will give you all the brackets needed for the ZJ. https://www.artecindustries.com/ZJ_8.8_Swap_Kit IRO offers an 8.8 swap kit as well. There may be others. Make sure the 8.8 is from an Explorer. The Ranger axles are the same width, but smaller spline count = weaker.

Ultimately your money your decision.

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post #6 of 17 Old 11-04-2019, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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So basically what it comes down to is:
  • try and find a 44a with the 4.56 gears (doesn't sound like thats a reasonable expectation)
  • find a 44a and re-gear it
  • stick with the 35, re-gear it and hope it doesn't explode till I'm ready to spend some real money on it

I'd really like disk brakes in the back... but I think my engine and transmission would appreciate the gearing more than the brakes (assuming I'm paying attention...).

Sounds like the D30 is a pretty solid axle - not the best, but "better" than the 35 for reasons I'm not entirely aware of. The short of that being, re-gearing it is a decent-ish long-ish term solution.
Re-gearing the 35 sounds like an 'ok' short term solution but may or may not be a ticking time bomb (and doesn't have disk brakes).

I can weld and don't mind doing it to an extent, I had to weld on a new front left LCA mount after it ripped off (long and highly speculative story), though my biggest concern is 'getting it right'. A 1 car garage in a small apt. complex makes grinding and welding... interesting... (thats life in the san jose bay area these days... pretty soon: what's a house?)

I guess at the end of the day, am I totally crazy if I just re-gear the 30 & 35? Its not cheap, but its a lot cheaper than doing what I really want to do (story of my life), and 99% of the time I don't go wheeling by myself, so I guess there's that... Į\_(ツ)_/Į

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post #7 of 17 Old 11-05-2019, 05:10 AM
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Dont re-gear the D35, find a D44a and do this.

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post #8 of 17 Old 11-07-2019, 10:05 AM
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Why not swap in front and rear 44s from JK? Weld on mount trusses can be had for both
https://www.ironrockoffroad.com/prod...-swap-kit.html
https://www.tntcustoms.com/jeep_part...zj_tnt_customs

Using www.car-part.com I can find the 44 fronts for 1300-1700 and the Rubi rears (read e-locker) for about the same price. All geared in 4.10

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post #9 of 17 Old 11-07-2019, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Puddles View Post
Why not swap in front and rear 44s from JK? Weld on mount trusses can be had for both
https://www.ironrockoffroad.com/prod...-swap-kit.html
https://www.tntcustoms.com/jeep_part...zj_tnt_customs

Using www.car-part.com I can find the 44 fronts for 1300-1700 and the Rubi rears (read e-locker) for about the same price. All geared in 4.10
Because thats ~$3000 I don't have laying around - and thats not quite the gearing I'm looking for. Also, I have a 1 car garage with enough space to open a door if I hug the wall on the other side.

Don't get me wrong, that sounds like a much better solution, and maybe some day... but thats another conversation <sigh>

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-07-2019, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Actually... now that you got me thinking about it, time = $ too... would that be a direct swap? For that matter, is there a list/post somewhere of direct swaps like that?

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post #11 of 17 Old 11-07-2019, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by variable View Post
Actually... now that you got me thinking about it, time = $ too... would that be a direct swap? For that matter, is there a list/post somewhere of direct swaps like that?
You would probably need new drive shafts and JK wheels.

I think there's a swap list in the FAQs but I'm not at my comp at the moment

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-11-2019, 11:14 PM
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The d44a is comparable to the 8.8 in design and strength. Regearing them is getting cheap because you can use jk44 gears, etc.

Anybody touting the old d44a may as well be a d35 line hasn't touched one in years.

The d44a is the best and only upgrade you can do that will bolt in out of a yard.
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-12-2019, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I think that about answers that question!

Wasn't quite sure what you meant here though:
Quote:
Originally Posted by kg6mov View Post
Anybody touting the old d44a may as well be a d35 line hasn't touched one in years.
Thanks for the input, at least now I have a direction

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post #14 of 17 Old 11-12-2019, 05:58 PM
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Wasn't quite sure what you meant here though:
He's saying that the people that say "the D44A is no better than the D35" are wildly misinformed.
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-12-2019, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, I haven't had a vehicle with a 44, nor have I had a 35 fail on me, but I'd seen it plenty of times that a 44 was a desirable upgrade - hearing that its no better than the 35 made me tilt my head :-P

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