What do I need to know when looking for a replaement axle for my TJ? - Great Lakes 4x4. The largest offroad forum in the Midwest

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Old March 16th, 2013, 12:51 PM   #1
Gewehr43
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Default What do I need to know when looking for a replaement axle for my TJ?

Hi, all. I bought a 2003 Jeep Wrangler last year and I absolutely love it. It's my daily driver, but one of the projects I'd like to do with it is swap out the D35 rear axle with either a D44 or 8.8. I currently have the stock drivetrain of a D30 front w/a D35 rear running 3.07 gears. I've been researching for a while now, but I'm not sure what I should be looking for when looking at replacement axles.

I'm a bit of a noob to the world of auto maintenance, but I have quite a bit of experience working on light aircraft.

I'm looking for the most cost effective way to upgrade the rear axle. I don't know of any good welding shops in the area (I'm in BC), so as close to a bolt-on replacement as I can find would be good. Where do I even start? I've found a lot of information on how to do the actual replacement work, but nothing that shows a newbie what to look for.

90% of my Jeep's use will be road driving, the rest is light-moderate wheeling. No bogging or rock crawling, just trails, fire roads, and things like that.

Any information is greatly appreciated.
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Old March 16th, 2013, 01:51 PM   #2
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You need to know what size tire you want run and your budget. The answers to these will determine what axles you should run.

If you just want to run "mild" trails and fire roads then don't change anything. Just enjoy yourself and don't be dumb.
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Old March 16th, 2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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If you want to be budget minded and do the work yourself, find a Dana 44 out of a tj and bolt it in. It's the only one you will not have to change a bunch of stuff on to make it work. Finding one with a 3.07 gear ratio might be difficult, but I would swap the front to a 3.73 which could probably be found for cheap as well.

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Old March 16th, 2013, 03:30 PM   #4
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4.10 axles out of a 4 banger tj and 33's. Bolt on and go!

If you then get the bug and start wheeling harder you can find a 8.8 later on with 4.10s pretty easily
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Old March 16th, 2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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find a tj/lj dana 44 rear, or buy a super 35 kit if you must.
8.8 is an ok axle, but not worth swapping. it has its downfalls too.
its narrower than you axle width.
its heavier than the stock d44 or d35.
it has horrible ground clearance!
its too weak to shave for ground clearance, without adding a truss.
its a c clip axle just like the d35 you have.
the pinion is offset more than a factory jeep axle.
it use a funky pinion flange that you have to adapt your drive shaft to.
the 31 spline factory shafts have very weak flanges and bend easily.
parts for an 8.8 cost more than the same dana 44 parts.

find a used dana 44, its way more simple.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_jeep View Post
find a tj/lj dana 44 rear, or buy a super 35 kit if you must.
8.8 is an ok axle, but not worth swapping. it has its downfalls too.
its narrower than you axle width.
its heavier than the stock d44 or d35.
it has horrible ground clearance!
its too weak to shave for ground clearance, without adding a truss.
its a c clip axle just like the d35 you have.
the pinion is offset more than a factory jeep axle.
it use a funky pinion flange that you have to adapt your drive shaft to.
the 31 spline factory shafts have very weak flanges and bend easily.
parts for an 8.8 cost more than the same dana 44 parts.

find a used dana 44, its way more simple.
My .02

The 8.8 is the best option for a tj on tires smaller then a 37.
The tj dana 44 is a wimpy pos
The 8.8 is a inch narrower, doesnt matter unless you run stock wheels. Aftermarket axles or spacers overcome this if it is a problem.
the tj dana 44 maximum torque rating is 4600 lbs, only 500 more then a d35
the 8.8 is 5100 almost as much as a dana 60 at 5500 lbs
A double cardigan driveshaft doesnt care if it sits a little crooked, a stocker might viberare a little
the 8.8 is heavier, thats how you get a heavy duty axle
the 8.8 c clip axles are so much stronger then the non cclip in the 44 you dont need to worry if it will break. If it ever did brake the disk brakes hold the wheel on.
If you know how to pick a line the lower ground clearence of the ford 8.8 is almost never going to be an issue
The driveshaft flange is just yoke, you can run the conversion adapter or buy the correct yoke from spicer
If you do need parts for a 8.8 they are everywhere, in every pick and pull
If you need parts for a tj 44 you cant find them...anywhere ,unless new
I really really doubt parts are cheaper for a tj 44 vs a 8.8
the explorer 8.8 can be had for $89 disk to disk
I could not find a tj dana 44 for less then $1200, and it was beat. People think they are gold when really they are barely better then a d35


I am building a axle jig right now to build tj axles. In about a month I will be able to position tj brackets on any axle a person chooses.

I am planning on offering 8.8s ready to bolt in and run for around $750. This is with used gears,carrier,bearings.
After searching for a reasonalbly priced tj44 for two years I gave up. After I gave up I figured out I didnt really want one anyways.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 09:50 AM   #7
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there is one on here for sale for 500 pm pinktaco.
its your best option!
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Old March 17th, 2013, 01:57 PM   #8
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^^ Thats a hell of a deal.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 07:30 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input, guys. It gives me a lot to study up on and consider. If I'm just doing light-moderate wheeling w/31" tires, I may just keep the D35 and save up money for a while. I should have mentioned in my post that I wasn't planning on keeping the stock 3.07 gears when I made the axle switch. I'd probably lean towards 3.73 gearing based on the fact that the ride is 90% road warrior. Is there a good shop in the Kzoo/BC area that could do a quality re-gear job once the time comes?

bdd1496, I'd definitely be interested in your 8.8 offerings once you're ready to go live with sales.
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