Jeepers that spend the weekends on the trail are always looking for new ways to upgrade their ride. If mods are getting into mid to high lifts and oversized tires, check the durability of your axles before you beef up your rig too much. You may be asking for heartache and a huge repair bill. The Cherokee rear axle D35s are a known weakness and there's nothing worse than spending the day getting a tow instead rocking the rough stuff.
Jeep XJ on 35s
The jury is out on D35's. For on-road and light trails where torque is low, and there's no camber, Dana 35's wear as well as any other axle. It becomes an issue when off-roading takes to the bogs and primitive wilderness trails. The axle shafts crack under the tension if swampers or other oversized tires pair with lifts higher than four inches.
The round bottom on the D35 for Jeep Cherokee differential section is thin and prone to breaking when the tires regain traction after a spin. Hopping ledges or climbing that results in droop will likely result in a short-lived trail ride. Another weak point is the spider gears. High vibrations from off-roading or rough pavement cause the gears to shear off or splinter, which sends shavings into the Jeep XJ wheel bearing. Gear issues also occur in a manual transmission when torque is not regulated evenly.
Simplest upgrade is with a Super 35 Kit. The alloy strengthens the shaft by up to 30 percent over the D35, and the rolled splines are up to 35 percent stronger than cut splines. If the budget and time are tight, go to 4WD.com to order from our vast selection of affordable drivetrain replacement parts. We have everything from gear bolt and spider kits to axle shafts and wheel bearings available and ready to ship from any of our six warehouses in the United States.
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