What Axle Does My Jeep Have? Ultimate Guide

Jeep Wranglers are known to be versatile vehicles that can be driven on all kinds of terrains. Jeeps can be made in the factory using different axle combinations.

The kind of axle that your Jeep Wrangler has depends on its trim level.

Types of Jeep Axles

Since you can customize a Jeep Wrangler easily, it may not have the original axle installed in the factory. In particular, if you are buying a second-hand Jeep Wrangler, identifying the installed axles is not just a matter of looking up the manufacturer’s manual.

Dana Axles

Beginning in 1987, Jeep has used 3 types of axles made by the Dana Holding Corporation. These are known as the Dana 44, 35, and 30. There is a high likelihood that any given Jeep Wrangler will have one of these 3 models.

Dana 30

The front axle is usually the Dana 30. It serves as the front axle in most Jeep Wranglers. You can recognize this component easily because the differential cover has flat sides. The top and bottom are rounded. This axle is commonly installed towards the front in Jeep Wranglers. Hence, you can be quite sure that the axle towards the back will not be a Dana 30.

Dana 35

On the other hand, the Dana 35 serves as a rear axle in Jeep Wranglers. You can easily identify this axle version since the differential cover’s width is greater than the height.

Dana 44

The Dana 44 may be installed at the front or the back. And whether it is installed towards the front or back, the differential cover will remain the same. The cover has flat sides while the bottom and top are angular.

The Rubicon Wrangler trim level has the Dana 44 installed by default. When Jeep owners move to bigger tires and wheels, they switch to the Dana 44.

Dana 60

You should also note that Dana manufactures the 60 series axle as well. This axle is notable for its good off-road performance. Many use it for its greater strength and its ability to withstand the stress of holding bigger wheels and tires. This is a key selling feature. So those buying a used Jeep keep track of the axle that is installed.

To check if it really is a Dana 60 axle, you can see the model number stamped towards the bottom right in the center section. The center section of this axle is considerably bigger so that it can accommodate bigger gears. This will also help to accommodate much larger tires that are at least 38 inches.

Having Trouble Identifying the Axle?

If you are still having trouble identifying the axle, then there is another way you can do it. You should have a look at the axle’s Bill of Material number. This can be found axle shaft’s long tube. The number has 6 digits along with one or two digits towards the tube end. Using this number, you can go on Dana’s website to check out your axle identity.

Where stock configurations are concerned, owners of the original Jeep YJ built anywhere from 1987 to 1995 will have a Dana 35 towards the rear and a Dana 30 at the front. This is the only combination that Jeep used during these years.

When the Wrangler TJ was produced from 1998 to 2006, owners of the stock configuration will have Dana 35 in the rear and Dana 30 at the front. However, there also was a Dana 44 option for the rear axle for owners that drove a manual transmission. Starting from 2003, the Rubicon trim level came out in the TJ Wrangler that had a Dana 44 in the front and back axles. Those who own the original LJ Unlimited (from 2003 to 2006) have a Dana 44 at the back and a Dana 30 upfront.

For the JK Wrangler edition that was produced from 2007 to 2018, owners of the original version have Dana 30 axles at the front. The Rubicon trim level is the exception to this for it has the Dana 44 at the front and back. Those who have an early production model JK will find a Dana 35 axle towards the rear. However, Jeep quickly made the switch to Dana 44 for the rear axles. Owners of the 4-door JK Wrangler have the Dana 44 towards the back.

If you have just bought a new JL Wrangler, then there will be a Dana 35 on the rear axle and a Dana 30 on the front axle. However, this will not be the case if you purchased a model that was upgraded with Dana 44s. Owners of the Rubicon JL have got the Dana 44 on both the rear and front axles. However, these are different from the previous Dana 44, 35, and 30 axles. The newer axles are lighter and stronger when compared to the previous axles. Hence, you cannot change new generation axles with older generation axles.

If you own the original vehicle, and you would like to confirm what you got, then you go to Jeep’s website where you can try entering the vehicle identification number to the build specifications of your Jeep.

Which Jeep Axle is Best for You?

For most people, the Dana 30/35 configuration will work nicely with normal driving as well as light off-road driving. But if you are thinking of upgrading your Jeep, that is, you are thinking of adding extra weight, then you should upgrade the axles as well. Upgrading axles is the right thing to do especially if you will be installing wider and bigger tires.

There are no hard and fast rules that you must follow. However, most TJ and YJ owners switch the factory axles with the Dana 44 when they upgrade to tires that are 33 inches and larger. The same holds true for owners of the JK who will be installing tires in excess of 35 inches. By upgrading the axles in this way, Jeep owners can make sure that their vehicles will be able to handle bigger and wider tires with ease.

Bottom Line

Next time when you search for “what axles does my Jeep have?” You can follow the steps mentioned above to find out more.

Mark Anders

I love my Jeep and will share my years of knowledge with you here! Stay with me and read on!

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