Upgrading the Rear Axle in a Grand Cherokee
Installing a Currie-built Ford 9" High Pinion  Short Cuts
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By: Chris Bassett - 6/2000

Grand Cherokee Currie High Pinion rear-end, or Building a ZJ Ford Tough!

Currie high pinion 9" rear, ready for installation.

photo by: Chris Bassett

After going through an axle shaft, carrier, Gearless Locker, and two Ring and Pinion sets in my Dana 35c rear-end, I decided it was time for an upgrade.

After much research for a suitable upgrade, I decided my two options were reverse cut Dana 60 or Currie High Pinion 9". Not having the time or work area to build my own, I decided to purchase a complete rearend. This narrowed the market even further, as I wanted a proven solution built by someone who knows how to built extreme axles. Two resources repeatedly surfaced in my research, Dynatrac and Currie Enterprises. Dynatrac is known for their custom Dana axles, Currie is THE resource for High Pinion 9" axles.

Time to decide which axle to buy. The vendor options actually aided in the decision process. While Dynatrac is known for kick-ass axles, they're also known for expensive axles. Very expensive axles. The prompt lead time, and reasonable prices of Curry were factors in my decision to go with the Currie unit.

Currie Enterprises is known for building bulletproof rearends for the drag strip. They've taken that knowledge and applied it to offroad applications. The 9" rear-end is a very strong solution, only marginally less stout that the D60, yet much lighter and with better ground clearance. The Ford 9" dominates the drag strip scene. As I'm running nowhere near 1000+ horse-power, I'm confident it will be plenty strong for my Jeep. Additional benefits of the Currie axle are the Extra HD housing cut to length for the ZJ, extreme duty axles, and high-pinion 3rd Member. The High Pinion 3rd Member provides the highest output yoke available. It also provides a special return oil port ahead of the pinion bearing, which allows oil passage through the bearing.  While keeping the pinion bearing lubricated, this aids in dissapating the heat created by the unique forces of a reverse-rotation gear set. 

Also included with my axle were a Detroit Locker, 4.56 R&P gears, Currie's (Explorer) cross-drilled rotors, and complete ZJ bracketry.

View of the Currie Explorer discs

photo by: Chris Bassett

I bought my Currie rear-end through Jeep Toys OffRoad in Irvine, CA. Proprietor Michael Palmer made the purchase very easy, taking care of all the interfacing with Currie. All I had to do was provide my specification order, send a check, and wait 3 weeks for delivery. The rear-end was ready 3 weeks after building commenced, as promised. This beats the heck out of Dynatrac's 3-4 months estimate which, from what my research revealed, is almost guaranteed to slip. The only bummer about taking receipt of the rear-end was Currie neglecting to provide the shipping company with my phone number. I took the day I expected to receive the rear-end off, both to be there for the receipt and to begin installation. I was quite upset to receive a call from Michael, telling me my rear-end was sitting on Viking Freight's dock and wouldn't be available until the next day at the earliest! I called Viking and told them I'd be there in an hour to pickup the rear-end myself. They had no problem with this, so 1.5 hours later I was back home with my new rear-end. Unboxing the Currie felt like Christmas. The Extra Heavy Duty housing is a beaut, the cross drilled rotors are icing!

A rear-end swap is merely a handful of steps beyond a suspension installation, so I was very confident I was prepared for the task at hand. The best bet for performing this swap is to purchase a Mopar service manual and follow the instructions. A Haynes or Chiltons manual will do as well.

Next - Installing the 9"

Contacts: Related Links:
  • Jeep Toys Offroad
    Email: Michael Palmer

    2 Sundown Pass
    Irvine, CA 92604
    Phone (949) 559-7200

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