We Prep the JK Dana 30 for 37-Inch Tires
The Jeep Dana 30 axle, found in the front of all base-model jks, is no trail champion. The term "bare minimum" comes to mind whenever somebody inquires about the unit's ability to handle the trail. That is why Jeep's JK Rubicon model comes with the stronger Dana 44 up front. However, even the Rubicon 44 has some weak links in stock form. Yet that does not mean you should forgo the next weekend-wheeling adventure on your calendar. Smart driving techniques and a few simple upgrades can get you and your Dana 30/44 through even the toughest of trails. We know what you're thinking: Why waste money on a strengthening a Dana 30 or 44 when you can save up for something a lot stronger? The answer lies in return on investment. Sure, 1-ton axles may be on your wish list, but you can still invest wisely in the stock pieces to buy yourself time and/or ensure that your JK can handle a 35-inch-tall tire on the trail. (Those heavier 1-ton axles will cost you extra at the gas pump, too.)
With this story, we will illustrate exactly what is needed to reinforce each of the critical areas of the Dana 30 front axle. We will also show you how to improve the resale value of your stock parts so, should you decide to upgrade to 1-ton axles later you can sell off the stock parts for more than you might have thought. That way, you can feel confident with your purchases.
What About Resale Value?
Keeping in mind that the used JK front axle market was alive and well when this article was published, we think you can expect to get anywhere from $700 to $1,400 for a fully built JK Dana 30 in decent shape. This price is assuming that the axle has upgrades of equal value to the ones showcased in this story. However, keep in mind that prices depend on the condition of said parts and what the buyer is actually willing to pay for them. The idea here is to stress the fact that just because you do not have $10,000 to plunk down on a pair of built 1-ton axles, it doesn't mean you should refrain from building your Jeep for moderate trail use. By performing upgrades a little at a time, you can still go out and enjoy the activity while saving up for the big winter swap project. We think money is well spent when it enables you to get out and enjoy our wild places-even if the precise place you want to go requires a short hike.
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