Dana 30 axle shaft upgrade options? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
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Dana 30 axle shaft upgrade options?

Question or opinion from y'uns.

A few tidbits first:
  • '07 JKU (D30/D44), and swapped out the diff gears for 4.88s.
  • Gears were cryogenically treated just for a little bit extra cheap insurance.
  • Running on 35's, dont plan on going much bigger, potentially 37s way down the line.
  • Auburn Ected lockers installed as well.

I understand my factory shafts are the weaker links in my front axle now correct? I'd like to swap those out for something more durable for insurance.

Is it worth it to go with the RCV axles or chromo shafts. Especially for a teeny Dana 30, I've already gone through the trouble of upgrading the above listed items. Also planning on trussing it now that I have my own welder.

Are the RCV shafts that much better and worth paying double the price for that added insurance or is it completely overkill, or not worth the premium? The Alloy shafts are half the price.

I'm relatively easy on the skinny pedal. I admittedly have not been wheeling in a while since I got the gears and lockers installed.

Last edited by Major Ho; 08-16-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 06:18 AM
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It's like insurance more than anything, but you can upgrade to chromoly shafts, install sleeves and/or a truss (Goody has a great thread going about his truss install), and weld in c-gussets.

Just depends on how much money you want to spend, how much you can do yourself, and when do you draw the line when the upgrade cost starts creeping closer to the cost of buying a used JK D44 or better.

Honestly, on 35s you should be fine unless you beat the piss out of your rig regularly.

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post #3 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 06:23 AM
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You are just moving the weak link somewhere else down the line. I wheel the piss out of my D30. That being said, I like my axle shafts being the weak link. I'd much rather tear them up than I would Ring and Pinion or carriers.

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post #4 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 10:31 AM
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^^ This.

RCV shafts are awesome. No doubt about it. However they are the bad idea to end all bad ideas on a Dana 30 axle. You will *not* destroy those shafts. Problem is, your ECTED will grendade or possibly your R&P. Broken shaft or u-joint on the trail is an easy fix. Broken R&P is not.

If you go with shafts, don't do 1541 alloys. I can't stress this enough. Just don't. Go chromo... Nitro, Ten Factory or Superior. I'm partial to Nitro because they use D44 size u-joints. I'm also partial to Ten Factory due to their no BS warranty. Sleeve your tubes. Get the gussets. At that point, you've polished the 30 to it's absolute (somewhat) safe limits and there is nothing left to do.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepaddons-chris View Post
^^ This.

RCV shafts are awesome. No doubt about it. However they are the bad idea to end all bad ideas on a Dana 30 axle. You will *not* destroy those shafts. Problem is, your ECTED will grendade or possibly your R&P. Broken shaft or u-joint on the trail is an easy fix. Broken R&P is not.

If you go with shafts, don't do 1541 alloys. I can't stress this enough. Just don't. Go chromo... Nitro, Ten Factory or Superior. I'm partial to Nitro because they use D44 size u-joints. I'm also partial to Ten Factory due to their no BS warranty. Sleeve your tubes. Get the gussets. At that point, you've polished the 30 to it's absolute (somewhat) safe limits and there is nothing left to do.
I agree, If I'm going to break anything I want it to be an axle or U-joint and not the R&P. For us uneducated folks why not 1541 alloy over Chromos? Just curious what the difference is.

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post #6 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 12:21 PM
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1541 is a hard alloy steel, but very brittle. Very little deflection before they snap. I have a friend that runs them on his rig and I've watched him snap three of them so far on what a stock axle shaft probably would have taken without problem or worst case would have bent the splines. There are some applications that a 1541 steel is an acceptable upgrade, but front axle applications is not one of them.
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 12:26 PM
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Another thought on the alloy shafts. I run alloy inner shafts and stock stub outer shafts on my YJ. 2 reasons:
1. Inner shafts are custom cut due to a modified d44 axle
2. Stock outers will get trashed first.

This makes my stub shaft my weak link. I carry extra u-joints and stub shafts. I've destroyed both stubs (on the same trail) and my inner shafts were just fine. U-joints and stubs replaced and I was all set. Just another thought if you really want to narrow your weak link.

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post #8 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all,

Saved me at least $500 by not going with the RCVs. U joints are relatively cheap and easier to repair.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFR2212 View Post
Another thought on the alloy shafts. I run alloy inner shafts and stock stub outer shafts on my YJ. 2 reasons:
1. Inner shafts are custom cut due to a modified d44 axle
2. Stock outers will get trashed first.

This makes my stub shaft my weak link. I carry extra u-joints and stub shafts. I've destroyed both stubs (on the same trail) and my inner shafts were just fine. U-joints and stubs replaced and I was all set. Just another thought if you really want to narrow your weak link.
That's not too bad of an idea (assuming you're running chromo not 1541 inners). On the YJ, XJ and TJ the stubs are fairly plentiful, but there just aren't enough junkyard JKs out there right now to make replacements easy to find for spares. If on a YJ, you change out to TJ style shafts which allow you to run 760 joints, then you have the option of being able to use both TJ and XJ.

Tech on what RFR2212 is doing for those reading: You risk taking out an ear when your u-joint goes, which when you're running chromos it's usually just the u-joint that breaks instead of taking the ears with it.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-16-2012, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepaddons-chris View Post
That's not too bad of an idea (assuming you're running chromo not 1541 inners). On the YJ, XJ and TJ the stubs are fairly plentiful, but there just aren't enough junkyard JKs out there right now to make replacements easy to find for spares. If on a YJ, you change out to TJ style shafts which allow you to run 760 joints, then you have the option of being able to use both TJ and XJ.

Tech on what RFR2212 is doing for those reading: You risk taking out an ear when your u-joint goes, which when you're running chromos it's usually just the u-joint that breaks instead of taking the ears with it.
It's got a custom cut D44 out of a 3/4 ton F250. I believe the inners are 4340's from Moser. I just run a stock spicer u-joint and stub. Stock u-joints when they went did no damage to the inner shafts. Sure, I had to replace both, but needless to say, the expensive shafts were just fine.

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post #11 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 07:13 AM
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I guess I'll offer a different opinion. I'm running an arb and nitro shafts in my d30. I want the r&p to be the weak link because that's the cheapest to replace @ $150ish. Granted I can do the work myself saving install labor. If I break a shaft I'm done for the weekend anyway same as a r&p.
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post #12 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthomas View Post
I guess I'll offer a different opinion. I'm running an arb and nitro shafts in my d30. I want the r&p to be the weak link because that's the cheapest to replace @ $150ish. Granted I can do the work myself saving install labor. If I break a shaft I'm done for the weekend anyway same as a r&p.
Doesn't all the broken pieces of the R&P usually take out the rest of the carrier as well? Usually when I see photos of broken R&P everything else is chewed up from all the debris. I'd rather snap and axle honestly. But to each their own.

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post #13 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthomas View Post
I guess I'll offer a different opinion. I'm running an arb and nitro shafts in my d30. I want the r&p to be the weak link because that's the cheapest to replace @ $150ish. Granted I can do the work myself saving install labor. If I break a shaft I'm done for the weekend anyway same as a r&p.
Uh, a stub and u-joint costs more? I don't get it...

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post #14 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svtmaniac View Post
Doesn't all the broken pieces of the R&P usually take out the rest of the carrier as well? Usually when I see photos of broken R&P everything else is chewed up from all the debris. I'd rather snap and axle honestly. But to each their own.
Very rarely with an arb. Stock carrier is a different story.
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFR2212 View Post
Uh, a stub and u-joint costs more? I don't get it...
I don't know what nitro charges for just a stub, but an ujoint for my shafts is $100 by itself.
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 10:22 AM
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If you break a u-joint, you could at least pull that shaft out and plug the axle housing. At least then you would have 3WD and still be able to use low gearing instead of only having 2WD if you blow the front ring and pinion. I know there are some places I would for sure rather have at least one front tire pulling than rely on only my rear.

Also, if the front ring and pinion goes it can cause a huge mess in the housing which may effect the locker, bearings, etc. There are clean breaks and not so clean breaks. I have had four teeth of the front R&P blow and when I opened the diff housing I spent about a half hour pulling out tiny shredded metal that was everywhere. Needless to say I changed all bearings just to be safe. The pinion bearing is pretty exposed.

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post #17 of 17 Old 08-17-2012, 11:45 PM
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What he said, easy install on trail of need be, think of it as a crumple zone in the event of failure on the trail, gussets, trusses, sleeves, fine, moving parts, that's another story. JMO

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