Rick's thoughts on axles
If I were building a TJ, CJ, or YJ from scratch:
With Unlimited Funds:
- Install a reverse Dana 60 under both ends of your 4x4. While Currie Enterprises is the top dog on Ford 9 inches, Dynatrax in Orange County is carving its name in the Dana 60 market (reverse or standard cut). Several shops will build reverse cut Dana 60s but they're all expensive.
Money well spent: Currie 9", Dana 44, Currie reverse 9" (actually an 8.8")
- Although Currie is the top dog on Ford 9 inches, many off road shops are building them along with Dana 44s and Dana 60s
- Some regional shops like Tri-County Gear, Hicks 4x4, Sam's Off Road, etc., are doing a good job of custom building shorter differentials.
- Another trend is to install the super strong Warn axles with a Detroit Locker or ARB in your stock Dana 30 front differential and go.
- I've also seen reverse cut Dana 30s used in the front. They will be lighter than the other choices, hang-down the least for more ground clearance and are running on the strongest side of the gears (reverse-cut in the front of the vehicle, in the back you're running on the weakest side).
- First choice is a Reverse Cut 60
- Second choice is a Dana 44 with Warn axles or a Ford 9"
- Third choice is a reverse Dana 30 with Warn Axles
- Fourth choice is a Dana 30 with Warn Axles
- First choice is a reverse cut Dana 60 - best choice, but very expensive (about $4500)
- Second choice is Currie 9" - I've had no problems with my rear Currie 9". And don't forget that Currie continually improves their product.
- Watch for after-market modifications that will soon be available on a Dana 44 front axle. Right now the weakest points are the U-joints.
- Reverse Cut 60 axles: these are huge, they can't break, and are very expensive.
- A Cherokee should use a 44 or 9" in rear. The front is OK already with the 30 in front, if it does NOT have a two piece axle.
- You can always find people who can successfully use even the weakest axles because of their conservative driving and choice of trails.