Superior Axle & Gear's New Detroit Super 35
The Super 35 Kit just got Stronger! Short Cuts

By: Randy L. Wheeler - 7/2000

Photo courtesy of Superior Axle & Gear
Superior's new Super 35 Detroit Locker Kit

The Dana 35c rear axle used in most Jeeps since 1987 is a fairly strong axle when used with the stock configuration of tires, gears and transmissions.  Start adding taller tires, lower gears and changes to the transmission/transfer case and the Dana 35c becomes a weak link.  Several years ago, Superior Axle & Gear introduced the Super 35 Kit for the Dana 35. This kit featured 1.31-inch diameter, 30 spline axle shafts, a new carrier and a Lockright locker. This was a great improvement over the stock 27 spline shafts commonly found on Jeep YJs and TJs.   In order to fit the larger 30 spline axle shafts into the carrier, the carrier itself had to be machined to accept the larger diameter shafts. This machining process tended to weaken the carrier and thus made it susceptible to failure in certain situations.  

To alleviate this problem, Superior Axle & Gear refined their Super 35 kit to include the venerable Detroit Locker.  The Detroit C-Locker included in this kit is manufactured specifically for the 30-spline shafts equipped with c-clips.  The Detroit locker has been around for a long, long time and its proven performance and reliability make it the locker of choice for many hardcore 4wheelers.  The Super 35 kit comes complete with:

 Detroit C-Locker

The installation was performed by Foothill Offroad of Auburn California.  Owner Tom Grancey and his professional staff did a fantastic job during the installation.  

The staff at Foothill Offroad started the installation by removing the tires and putting the Jeep up on the hydraulic hoist.  Starting on the rear axle, the existing Lockright locker was disassembled and the c-clips removed.  Once the c-clips were out, the axle shafts were removed along with the carrier.  Since a new Detroit locker was being installed, there was no need to retain the carrier, shims, bearings or axle seals. Since I was also installing new 4.88 gears, the new ring gear was installed onto the Detroit locker. New axle bearings and oil seals were installed along with new roller bearings. The new pinion gear was also installed at this time using the supplied bearings, race, shims and pinion nut.

Once the ring gear was bolted up and the new 4.88 pinion gear was installed, the locker assembly was fitted back into the differential housing.  Mechanic Kevin Thompson finished the installation by setting up the gears using the supplied shims, checking backlash, gear depth and wear pattern.  Finally the bearing caps were torqued to spec and the backlash checked one last time. Once the gears were properly installed, the new axle shafts were slid into place and the c-clips re-installed through a special access port on the locker. 

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Kevin Thompson installing the new Detroit locker and 4.88 gears.  Here you see the locker unit being installed into the differential housing. The new 4.88 gear and Detroit C-Locker combination.  Note the gear marking compound.  The c-clip access port can be seen in the middle of the locker.

The operation of the new Detroit locker is much quieter and has less under steer than my old Lockright.  It still clunks sometimes, but it's not as harsh as the old locker.  I do tend to hear and feel the locker engage and disengage, but this is normal as the internal drivers engage and disengage. Overall, the on-road manners of this locker are great.  With this upgrade, I feel a lot more confident that my Dana 35 will be able to tackle tougher trails and still get me home in one piece. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to truly bulletproof your Dana 35, then this new Detroit Super 35 kit is for you. 

My thanks go out to the staff at Foothill OffRoad.  Their entire staff did a fantastic job with the installation of my new gears and locker. Foothill Offroad is an authorized dealer for Superior Axle & Gear products including the new 4.88 gears and the new Super 35 Detroit kit. They also feature a full shop and carry a wide variety of products for your 4x4.  They specialize in custom axle buildups as well as installations and machine work.

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The Foothill Offroad Staff


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