Crate Axle Buyer’s GuidePosted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on August 1, 2012 Comment (0)
Stock axles work great within factory parameters, but when you throw power-adders, larger tires, and extreme wheeling into the mix, stock axles can buckle under the pressure. In the golden days before ABS and stability control systems, swapping out your stock axle set for a robust set of 1-ton axle assemblies was often as easy as taking a trip to the local junkyard and spending a little time in the fab shop. Now if you want heavy-duty axles under your modern 4x4, without a sea of dash lights, you’ll likely need a bit of aftermarket help.
No matter whether your old Toyota needs a new 8-inch housing or you’re ready to convert your workhorse into a mega-mudder on Rockwells, a great selection of companies can ship new in-the-crate axle assemblies to your door.
To help you with your axle upgrade quest, we’ve assembled a list of the top axle assembly manufacturers and axle housing providers. While some companies require you to reuse factory equipment from your old axles, many on our list offer direct replacement and upgraded housings that simple bolt in place of your stock axles—no fabrication needed.
The Goods: High-clearance CRD 60 axles and Tera 44 replacement housings. Jeep Wrangler YJ, TJ, JK, and XJ model applications available along with a complete line of suspension and steering components.
Cool Stuff: Replacement front axlehousing for the ’07 to current Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JK. These heavy-duty housings have larger axletubes along with beefier axle Cs. The bolt-in axles also allow you to reuse the Rubicon’s factory outers, axleshafts, and differential internals.
Information: TeraFlex, 801.288.2585, www.teraflex.biz
The Goods: Complete and partial Dana 44, Rock Jock 60, Rock Jock 70, and 9-inch axle assemblies. Currie offers multiple vehicle applications from Jeep Wranglers to fullsize pickups.
Cool Stuff: Complete bolt-in Nissan Titan rear axle available in a 60 or a 9-inch.
Information: Currie Enterprises, 714. 982.5300, www.currieenterprises.com
The Goods: Custom 9-inch housing with 31⁄2x0.250-wall 4130 tubes. Full-float design with hub-centric race caps. Axles can be optioned with heat-treated 300M 35- or 40-spline shafts.
Cool Stuff: Complete line of long-travel suspension components, fabrication parts, and drivetrain upgrades.
Information: Camburg Off Road Engineering, 714.848.8880, www.camburg.com
The Goods: From Trail Series Dana 44s and 60s to the company’s now legendary Pro Rock 60 and newly released Pro Rock 80, Dynatrac offers bolt-in semi- and full-float axle assemblies for virtually all Jeep applications and has a number of other complete units for such brands as Hummer, Ford, Chevy, and Dodge. High-strength ball joints, hubs, diff covers, and housings can be purchased separately.
Cool Stuff: Heavy-duty IFS centersections, bolt-on four-gear portal boxes, and Pro Rock 80 are all relatively fresh additions to the Dynatrac family.
Information: Dynatrac, 714.596.4461, www.dynatrac.com
Red River Parts & Equipment
The Goods: New, still-in-the-crate, and used 21⁄2-ton Rockwells. As one of the largest military surplus parts providers in the U.S., Red River has countless in-the-box drivetrain military parts, including H1 portals.
Cool Stuff: Everything military under the sun, including complete 5-ton trucks.
Information: Red River Parts & Equipment, 903.547.2226, www.redriverparts.com
The Goods: Tri-County converts junkyard jewels to bolt-in brawn. From Ford to Dana series axles, the company welcomes build requests and will cut, fit, and machine any of the popular axles to your vehicle’s specs.
Cool Stuff: Full-install shop that can build everything from axles to an entirely custom 4x4.
Information: Tri-County Gear, 909.623.3373, www.tricountygear.com
The Goods: Complete and partial axlehousings ranging from the light-duty Dana 30 to the massive Dana 80. Currently the dealer network is still being set up, but sources say that steering, brake, and bracket options are being considered.
Cool Stuff: OE axles from the most recognized name in the axle world.
Information: Dana Holding Corp., www.spicerparts.com
Solid Axle Industries
The Goods: Complete and partial high- and low-pinion 44s, and high-pinion 60 axle assemblies. Front and rear bolt-in units for the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee models are available. Most axles can be optioned with either a semi- or full-float configuration. A full line of diff covers and axle accessories can be purchased separately.
Cool Stuff: SpynTec bearing conversion for ’07 to current Jeep Wrangler JKs. The SpynTec kit replaces the Jeep’s front unit bearings with a custom spindle and hub unit that is serviceable. New rotors are provided with the kit, but you will need to change your front wheel bolt pattern from 5-on-5 to 5-on-51⁄2.
Information: Solid Axle Industries, 888.290.AXLE, www.solidaxle.com
Drive Train Specialists
The Goods: DTS offers new low- and high- pinion Dana 44, 60, GM 12-bolt, and Ford 9-inch axle assemblies. Each can be outfitted with a variety of bracket options, gears, Timken bearings, yokes, and wheel bolt patterns.
Cool Stuff: Easy to order and outfit with a variety of diff cover options, lockers, brakes, and even powdercoat options.
Information: Drive Train Specialists, 800.521.0628, www.drivetrainspecialists.com
The Goods: Front and rear Dana 44 axle assemblies. The bolt-in units are designed for the Jeep TJ, XJ, and ZJ. Each axle can be optioned with new gears, diff covers, lockers, and your choice of axleshafts.
Cool Stuff: From diff covers to third members, Just Differentials carries a massive list of differential parts for almost every axle.
Information: Just Differentials, 866.349.6801, www.justdifferentials.com
The Goods: Lightweight dropout-style fabricated housings that are popular among Toyota and rock buggy enthusiasts. Complete Toyota 8-inch, 44, and 60 housing are available in a multitude of wheel bolt patterns and configurations.
Cool Stuff: Hybrid 9-inch and 60 combo axles with optional ball joint, King Pin, or Toyota outers.
Information: Diamond Axles, 970.881.2418, www.diamondaxle.com
The Goods: Fresh Corporate 14-bolts, Dana 44s, 60s, and 70 axles along with built-to-order 21⁄2- and 5-ton Rockwells. Looking to cut out your own axle set? Boyce also offers complete vehicles with heavy-duty running gear, including the mega Deuce-and-a-half trucks.
Cool Stuff: 21⁄2-ton axles with the heavy drum brakes removed and off-road-only driveline brakes bolted in place.
Information: Boyce Equipment, 800. 748.4269, www.boyceequipment.com
The Goods: Bolt-in Jeep Wrangler 44 and 60 series (military and civilian) along with massive AAM series Power Wagon axles. Axles can be outfitted with a series of Mopar add-ons such as diff covers and electronic selectable differentials. Portal box axles are said to be on the horizon as well.
Cool Stuff: All parts can be ordered through your local Jeep, Dodge, Ram, or Chrysler dealership or Mopar retailers.
Information: Mopar, www.mopar.com
The Goods: Heavy-duty rear axle assembly designed for the extreme go-fast desert enthusiast. Accepts 9-inch third members and can be outfitted with different hub and axleshaft options.
Cool Stuff: Massive 46-spline drive plates and axleshafts.
Information: Cone Industries, 805.239.2663, www.coneindustries.com
Geartech Heavy Duty
The Goods: Geartech is a custom axle manufacturer that builds automotive, agricultural, and mining axle assemblies. From backwoods monsters to ultralow coal mining machines, Geartech specializes in heavy-duty off-road machinery.
Cool Stuff: 5-on-51⁄2 aluminum hub conversion for the GM 14-bolt rear axles that works with the company’s disc-brake conversion.
Information: Geartech Heavy Duty, 601.899.9831, www.geartechhd.com
The Goods: Super 14 axle assemblies that combine the brawn of the legendary 14-bolt axle with the strength and light weight of a fabricated housing. Optional Dana 60 or 14-bolt outers are available along with trussing options, big brake kits, and 40-spline shafts.
Cool Stuff: Bolt-in Super 14 for the ’07-current Jeep Wrangler JK.
Information: Torq LLC, 801.972.2218, www.torqaxle.com
East Coast Gear Supply
The Goods: From junkyard 8.8-inch rear axles to bolt-in Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee Dana 44 and 60 axles, ECGS has it. Specializing in 8.8-inch rear axle conversions for the Jeep Wrangler TJ, the company can build bolt-in and fabricator-friendly axles for a variety of applications.
Cool Stuff: Bolt-in front and rear Dana 60 axles for the ’99-’04 Jeep Wrangler WJ.
Information: East Coast Gear Supply, 919.672.2705, www.eastcoastgearsupply.com
G2 Axle & Gear
The Goods: Complete and partial front and rear 44 axles for Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee models. For more heavy-duty wheelers, G2 offers Rock Jock series high-pinion front and rear 60s. Many of the axles can be optioned with disc brakes, chromoly axles, and ring-and-pinions already installed.
Cool Stuff: Available at your neighborhood 4Wheel Parts store.
Information: G2 Axle & Gear, 310.900.2687, www.g2axle.com
The Goods: Fabricated housing, brakes, steering knuckles, and wheel spacers are all part of the Spidertrax lineup. For the skilled fabricator the company’s Pro Roller 60 and 9-inch kits can make building a custom axle at home easy.
Cool Stuff: Pro Roller kits available with five, six, or eight-lug wheel bolt patterns and housing options up to a 1⁄4 inch thick.
Information: Spidertrax Inc., 800.286.0898, www.spidertrax.com