Click for Coverage
Exclusive Content
Original Shows, Motorsports and Live Events
Try it free for 14 days
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

Protect Your Diffs: Cheap Axle Insurance

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on August 26, 2016
Share this

If you've ever had the misfortune of peeling back, cracking, mangling, blowing a hole in or otherwise damaging one or both differential covers on the trail, then you understand the worthwhile investment that is a beefy aftermarket differential cover. We've have destroyed diff covers every way you can think of. It's simply something that's an inevitable part of wheeling (and sometimes driver error).

As the tires on our rigs get bigger, we tend to hit things with our diffs a little less frequently. That's only until we get brave enough to move onto trails with bigger rocks. It’s a vicious cycle. Our ’13 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is far from a radical rockcrawler, but it sees plenty of trail action. With Dana 44 axles and 33-inch-tall General Grabber tires, it doesn’t have a tremendous amount of axle clearance.

While Jeep does a decent job of protecting some of the JK's more venerable pieces, the stock differential covers leave plenty to be desired. To upgrade from what would eventually be a messy trail repair, we picked up a set of Pro Series differential covers from Dynatrac. The aftermarket axle specialist is well known for its ProRock axlehousings, but Dynatrac also has a strong assortment of axle add-ons that can drastically improve your current axle set.

We spent a couple hours in the driveway knocking out our diff cover install. For the modest investment in time and money, we are more than happy at the new level of protection our JK now boast.

The Dynatrac Pro Series differential covers are cast from a proprietary nodular iron right here in the USA. Each cover includes a fill plug, an overflow port, and 12-point grade-8 hardware that’s recessed in the lower portion of the cover to remain protected.
Our stock Dana 44 covers are a mere 1/8-inch thick. The Dynatrac covers are more than triple that and come with a machined gasket surface to ensure solid and tight fitment.
Speaking of gaskets, we highly recommend using Great Stuff gasket maker. While traditional RTV works as well, we’ve found Great Stuff to dry faster and last a little longer.
Since the JK’s Dana 44 axles have a built-in drain plug, you can easily service the differentials. If this is the first time you’ve changed your diff fluid, you’ll likely notice some metal build up on the drain plug magnet. Don’t fret—a small amount is normal.
You’ll need to clean off the mounting surface thoroughly before bolting the cover in place. We suggest using a small razor blade scrapper, microfiber rag, and a little brake cleaner.
The final step is to add fluid. We’ve had good luck with Royal purple 75w-90 in the past and used it again on this diff change. You’ll need approximately 1.4 quarts for the front diff and 2.4 quarts for the rear.


Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results