|Strengthen your Dana 35 Axle!||Short Cuts|
By: Randy Wheeler - 2/2002
Some people say that the Dana 35 axle is weak due to the tubing diameter. Some say the Dana 35 is weak due to the rosette welds on the housing. So what's a person to do to increase the strength of the Dana 35 besides upgrade to a Dana 60? Install a Superior Super 35 axle truss, that's what.
|Remove the old differential cover and clean the surface. Here you see the Super 35 Detroit locker installed.|
Superior Axle & Gear are known for making high quality axle shafts, gears and their rugged Super 35 Kit. Now they've come out with another way to increase the Dana 35 without breaking the bank. The new Super 35 Axle Truss was designed to provide additional strength to the Dana 35 by reducing the stress to the axle tubes and axle housing by spreading the stress out along the truss.
The Super 35 truss utilizes an integrated differential cover which is welded to the truss support arms. The differential cover was redesigned to include a fill port and a drain port. Unlike the older Dana 35 covers which uses a rubber fill plug, the Superior design uses a threaded fill port. For added convenience, they've also added a threaded drain plug near the bottom. The truss is also held into place along the axle tube by four u-bolts.
The Super 35 truss is available for both YJ's and TJ's equipped with the Dana 35 axle. It comes with four u-bolt retainers that clamp around the axle tube to secure it in place along with reusing your stock differential cover bolts.
Installing the truss is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Start by removing the old differential cover and drain the fluid. Prep the differential housing by removing all the old silicon from the surface until it is free of any silicon, oil and grease. Clean the truss housing of any oils and grease before installation.
|The brake line retainer plate interfered with the u-bolt. Cut the plate in two pieces and bolt down using the stock bolts.|
Next test fit the truss on the axle. Take note of where the brake lines run across the axle tubes. On the passenger side axle tube, you'll notice a retainer plate which holds the brake line in place. The outer u-bolt on the truss crosses right where the retainer plate is located. You can either leave the plate off or cut it into two separate pieces to allow for the placement of the u-bolt. I opted to cut the plate and install the plate on either side of the u-bolt. This will keep the brake line secured properly.
Once you're satisfied with the placement and fit, run a bead of silicon sealer around the outer surface of the differential housing. Allow the silicon to set up for a few minutes before fitting the axle truss in place.
Install the axle truss onto the differential and secure the differential cover using your stock bolts. The truss does not come with new bolts. Once the differential cover bolts are tight, install the four u-bolts. On the drivers side outer u-bolt, there is also interference with the brake line just to the left of the brake line junction. You'll have to bend the brake line up slightly to be able to slide the u-bolt beneath it.
Tighten the u-bolts, remove the fill plug and fill the differential with gear oil. You'll notice that the placement of the fill plug is tucked in beneath the truss bar, so filling the differential may have to be done using some ingenuity. The best approach I found was to use a flexible tube and a funnel. Once filled to capacity, screw in the fill plug and you're done!
|The Super 35 Axle Truss installed.||The Super 35 Axle Truss installed.||The TJ prototype version truss cover used a welded drain plug.|
The design of the Super 35 Axle Truss is straightforward and well constructed. Installation is a breeze and can be completed in about 45 minutes. The one downside to the design is the drain plug. The large plug is susceptible to damage caused by the differential sliding over rocks. I'd like to see a lower profile drain plug incorporated into future designs. I'm not sure the welded style of the prototype TJ version is all that much better. Perhaps the same style as the fill plug would work.
Overall, this product will provide added strength to your Dana 35 axle by reducing the flex of the axle tubes and limiting rotational forces which can oftentimes break the welds of the axle housing. If you're looking for an inexpensive way to strengthen your Dana 35, the Superior Super 35 Axle Truss is a great alternative.