Jeep Axles Spotters Guide

Identifying axles isn’t particularly hard, it’s usually a matter of knowing the finer details that make each unique. This article covers most of the popular factory axles offered in Jeep CJ’s and Wranglers and a few of the more common non-Jeep axles.

Definitions

  • Semi-floating – The Jeep’s weight rides on the axle shaft, the axle shaft also provides rotational force.
  • Full-floating – The hub supports the Jeep’s weight. The axle provides rotational force only.
  • 2 piece axle – The axle consists of an inner shaft connected to an outer hub. Most commonly held together with a large outer nut. Axle to hub connection is usually though splines and a keyway.
  • Flanged Axle – The axle and hub assembly are a solid unit.
  • Pumpkin/chunk – common names to the center section that houses the ring, pinion, and differential components.

Jeep OEM axles.

AMC 20

  • Key Identifiers – 12 bolt round cover.
  • Came in – 76-86 CJ and Scramblers, 79-86 Wagoneer, 80-86 Jeep Trucks
  • Ring Gear – 8.875″
  • Good – Larger ring gear than a Dana 44
  • Bad – Weak two piece axles, small axle tubes prone to flexing.
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.73 to 4.56, 1 piece axle shafts, Warn full floater axle kit.

Dana 30

  • Key identifiers – 10 bolt cover, most commonly a front axle
  • Came in – 72-86 Jeep CJ and Scrambler, 87-present Wrangler YJ/TJ/TK.
  • Ring Gear – 7.2″
  • Good – Small center giving better ground clearance, readily available parts. Good axle for Jeeps with 33 or smaller tires.
  • Bad – Small tubes, small axle shafts.
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.72 to 5:38. Larger and stronger axle and U-joints.
  • Variations – Varying widths, Some reverse cut models, CJ models featured hubs, YJ until 1994 features vacuum actuated axle disconnect, Right and left side off-set, Drum and disc brakes.

Dana 27

  • Key identifiers – 10 bolt cover, most commonly a front axle
  • Came in – 66-71 Jeep CJ
  • Ring Gear – 7.2″
  • Good – Small center giving better ground clearance
  • Bad – Closed knuckles, narrow width
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.72 to 5:38.

Dana 25

  • Key identifiers – 10 bolt cover, most commonly a front axle
  • Came in – 41-65 Jeep CJ
  • Ring Gear – 7.2″
  • Good- Small center giving better ground clearance
  • Bad – Closed knuckles, narrow width
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.72 to 5:38.

Dana 44

  • Key identifiers – 10 bolt oblong shaped cover, flanged axles (some earlier used a 2 piece)
  • Came in – 67-75 Jeep CJ, some 86 CJ, Wrangler TJ/LJ option rear, Wrangler Rubicon TJ/LJ/TK front and rear, Comanche
  • Ring Gear – 8.5″
  • Good – 19 and 30 spline axles, large ring & pinion, strong axle tubes. Readily available
  • Bad – Larger tires 38″ and up not recommended.
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.72 to 5:89. Varying widths available. Several aftermarket versions are made especially for the off-roader.

Dana 35

  • Key identifiers – 10 bolt cover, oval shape, flanged axles
  • Came in – 87-96 Wrangler YJ, 84-97 Cherokee XJ, 97-up Wrangler TJ/LJ (std), 07-up Wrangler TK (std)
  • Ring Gear – 7.562
  • Good – ?
  • Bad – C-Clip axle shafts
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.72 to 4.46.

Non Jeep OEM popular axles.

Dana 60

  • Key identifiers – 12 bolt oblong shaped cover,
  • Came in – Jeep J10, Some Ford F series, GM, and Dodge trucks
  • Ring Gear – 9.75
  • Good – Larger version of the Dana 44. Large ring gear and axle shafts. Strong axle tubes.
  • Bad – Heavy, Thick center section reduces ground clearance.
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.72 to 7.17. Full-floating and semi-floating versions. Several aftermarket versions are made especially for the off-roader. Forward and reverse rotations.

Ford 8.8 (Aftermarket)

  • Key identifiers – Semi square shaped cover with 10 bolts.
  • Came in – 81-94 Ford Bronco, 90-96 Ford Explorers and Ranger, Ford F150 light trucks.
  • Ring Gear – 8.8″
  • Good – Strong axle with similar axle width to a Wrangler, readily available.
  • Bad –
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 3.08 to 5.14.

Ford 9 inch (Aftermarket)

  • Key identifiers – No rear cover, center section is a 3rd member.
  • Came in – 66-88 Ford Bronco, 55-87 Ford F series trucks
  • Ring Gear – 9″
  • Good – 3rd member design allowing quick changing of ratios (with pre-set up 3rd members)
  • Bad – No longer in OEM production but still readily available
  • Options – Most lockers and limited slips available, gearing from 2.80 to 6.50. Several aftermarket versions are made especially for the off-roader.