Better Axle Bolt-Ins Part 2
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.
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.