Project Teal-J II, Intro
Project Teal-J II, Part 1
Project Teal-J II, Part 2
Project Teal-J II, Part 3
Project Teal-J II, Part 4
Project Teal-J II, Part 5
Project Teal-J II, Part 6
Project Teal-J II, Part 7
Project Teal-J II, Part 8
Project Teal-J II, Part 9
Project Teal-J II, Part 10
Project Teal-J II, Part 11
Project Teal-J II, Part 12
Project Teal-J II, Part 13
Project Teal-J II, Part 14
When it came time to focus our attention on the rear axle in Project Teal-J II, our original thought was to yank out the stocker and replace it with a custom axle. The more we thought about it, though, the more we were inclined to keep the original Dana 44 still residing under our '97 Jeep TJ. These days everyone seems to be talking about how Dana 60s are the best thing since peanut butter and chocolate.
Yet the Dana 44 is a tough axle that can take a good amount of abuse on the trail, especially in a light vehicle such as our Jeep. Plus it was already in our Jeep, so we didn't have to swap it out. Keeping the axle would also be a lot more cost-effective than building a whole new custom housing.
Another reason we decided to keep our rear Dana 44 involves the availability of the Super 44 axle kit from Superior Axle & Gear. Designed for '97-and-up Jeep Wrangler TJs, the Super 44 kit includes stronger 33-spline axles, a Detroit Locker and all the necessary bearings, shims and seals to complete the job. The new axles are larger in diameter and also feature rolled splines that are, according to Superior, up to 40 percent stronger when compared to stock axles. The axles also feature dual bolt patterns for 5-on-41/2 or 5-on-51/2 wheel patterns.
To handle the installation, we went to the pros at Drivetrain Direct. We found that the installation was fairly simple for someone experienced with setting up axles. It only took a couple of hours to make our Dana 44 stronger. Follow along as we show you what is involved.
The very first step is to take the brake drums off the rear to allow for access to the fla
Next the rear driveshaft was unbolted and hung out of the way.
With the brake drums removed, the axle flange nuts can be removed.
Once the flange is loose, the stock axles can simply be pulled out of the housing.
With the cover off and the gear oil drained, the bearings caps can be removed. Next, our o
Once the pinion bearing was extracted, the pinion itself was removed, along with all the b