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Installing The Next-Gen Dana 44s From Mopar

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on May 1, 2010
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Bolt-in products should always be easy for the installer. It doesn't matter whether it's an axle set, air intake, or exhaust system, if you are gifted with a shred of mechanical inclination then "bolt-in" should mean you can install "X" part in your driveway. Last month we let you in on the new bolt-in JK-to-TJ conversion axles from Mopar and highlighted what makes these next-generation Dana 44 axles a major upgrade over the old style Dana 44s.

For this installment we've plucked out our '97 Jeep Wrangler's puny Dana 30 and 35 axle combo and rolled out the toolbox to see what it takes to put these next-gen Dana 44 axles in place. Since these were the first batch of next-gen Dana 44 conversion axles to hit the market, we enlisted the help of the veteran Jeep experts at Off Road Evolution to ensure the install went smoothly. While we had the help of the pros and a two-post lift, this doesn't mean you can't grab a buddy, floor jack, and spend a little time in the driveway over the weekend knocking out this bolt-in axle upgrade. Though this axle swap is extremely straight forward, you will need a few additional aftermarket items to complete it. Compiled here are some of the highlights and info that will provide all of the tech you need to toss in your new axle set.

Ripping out your old axles is the most time consuming process of the swap. Although it's only a few dozen bolts, you will need to take care when removing all of the miscellaneous tabs, lines, and hoses, since most pieces will be used again.

How It Works
We've had the axles installed for a few months now and after piloting our '97 Wrangler over the road and through the Rubicon trail, we are very pleased with their performance. Since the Jeep is currently running 33-inch tires, the Dana 44 axles did get a few scrapes over the rocks, but they never received any significant damage. The on-road driving is leagues better with the selectable lockers, and off-road they engaged and disengaged quickly and work just like factory lockers should.

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Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Off-Road Evolution
Fullerton, CA 92833
Auburn Hills, MI 48321
Rubicon Express
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
Painless Performance Products
Ft. Worth, TX 76105
JE Reel
Pomona, CA 91766

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