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Learning About Dana Axles

Off-road enthusiasts recognize that a robust and reliable axle is the backbone of any formidable off-road rig. The market is flooded with a variety of axle options, and among them, Dana axles stand out for their strength and versatility. In this in-depth comparison, we’ll dissect the pros and cons of popular Dana axles, empowering you to make an informed choice that aligns with your off-road ambitions.

1. Dana 30 Front Axle: Nimble Agility

Overview: The Dana 30 front axle is a lightweight contender suitable for vehicles like Jeeps and smaller off-road rigs. While it boasts agility and acceptable ground clearance, it’s not intended for extreme trails or heavy modifications. Shop Dana 30 parts here.

Dana 30 Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.07 to 5.38
  • WMS Width: YJ/TJ – 61.5″, JK 65.5″
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 27 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 7.13 inches
  • Semi-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size Stock: 33 inches
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 35 inches
  • Vehicles: Commonly found in Jeep Wrangler TJ, YJ, and XJ models.

 

2. Dana 35 Rear Axle: Economical Choice

Overview: Often paired with the Dana 30, the Dana 35 rear axle is budget-friendly and competent for mild off-roading. However, its limitations become evident when subjected to heavy abuse and larger tires. Shop Dana 35 parts here.

Dana 35 Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.31 to 5.13
  • WMS Width: YJ/TJ – 61.5″
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 27 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 7.58 inches
  • Semi-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size: 32 inches
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 33 inches
  • Vehicles: Commonly found in Jeep Wrangler TJ, YJ, and XJ models.

 

3. Dana 44 Front Axle: Versatile Performance

Overview: The Dana 44 front axle enjoys a solid reputation for its adaptability, making it a popular choice for a range of off-road builds. It offers increased strength over the Dana 30, suitable for more challenging trails and customizations. Shop Dana 44 parts here.

Dana 44 Front Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.07 to 5.89
  • WMS Width:
  • WMS Width: YJ/TJ – 61.5″, JK 65.5″
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 30 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 8.5 inches
  • Semi-float or Full-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size Stock: 35 inches
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 37 inches
  • Vehicles: Found in Jeep Wrangler JK, some Toyota Land Cruiser models, and various other off-road platforms.

 

4. Dana 44 Rear Axle: Reliable Off-Road Companion

Overview: The Dana 44 rear axle mirrors the performance of its front counterpart, offering durability and strength for demanding off-road endeavors. Shop Dana 44 parts here.

Dana 44 Rear Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.07 to 5.89
  • WMS Width: YJ/TJ – 61.5″, JK 65.5″
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 30 spline, 32 Spline in JK Rubicon
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 8.5 inches
  • Semi-float or Full-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size Stock: 35 inches
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 37 inches
  • Vehicles: Found in Jeep Wrangler JK, some Toyota Land Cruiser models, and various other off-road platforms.

 

5.Dana 60 Front Axle: Unyielding Power

Overview: Stepping into heavy-duty territory, the Dana 60 front axle is favored by hardcore off-roaders seeking exceptional strength for extreme trails and modifications. It’s a staple for those who demand uncompromising performance. Shop Dana 60 parts here.

Dana 60 Front Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.07 to 7.17
  • WMS Width: Approximately 69 inches, varies by vehicle
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 35 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 9.75 inches
  • Semi-float or Full-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size Stock: 40 inches 
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 42 inches 
  • Vehicles: Found in vehicles like Dodge Ram, Ford Super Duty, and custom off-road builds.

 

6. Dana 60 Rear Axle: Robust Backbone

Overview: The Dana 60 rear axle pairs seamlessly with its front counterpart, offering unyielding strength and power. Ideal for conquering daunting obstacles, this axle brings confidence to extreme off-road enthusiasts. Shop Dana 60 parts here.

Dana 60 Rear Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.07 to 7.17
  • WMS Width: Approximately 69 inches, varies by vehicle
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 35 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 9.75 inches
  • Semi-float or Full-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size Stock: 38 inches and beyond
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 40 inches
  • Vehicles: Found in vehicles like Dodge Ram, Ford Super Duty, and custom off-road builds.

 

7. Dana 70 Axle: Industrial Strength

Overview: Designed for heavy-duty applications, the Dana 70 axle is a powerhouse built to withstand extreme loads and rugged conditions. It’s a go-to choice for off-road enthusiasts seeking industrial-level resilience.

Dana 70 Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.54 to 7.17
  • WMS Width: Approximately 70 inches, varies by vehicle
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 35 or 37 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 10.5 inches
  • Full-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size Stock: 42 inches and beyond
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 44 inches and beyond
  • Vehicles: Found in vehicles like heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles, as well as custom off-road builds.

 

8. Dana 80 Axle: Unmatched Durability

Overview: The apex of the Dana lineup, the Dana 80 axle exudes unparalleled strength. While not common in typical off-road setups, it serves those who require the ultimate in durability and performance.

Dana 80 Specifications:

  • Gear Ratio Selections: 3.07 to 7.17
  • WMS Width: Approximately 73 inches, varies by vehicle
  • Brake Sizes: Varies by vehicle model
  • Axle Shaft Sizes: 37 spline
  • Ring and Pinion Sizes: 10.8 inches
  • Full-float Axle
  • Max Recommended Tire Size: 42 inches and beyond
  • Max Recommended Tire Size when Built: 44 inches and beyond
  • Vehicles: Found in heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles, as well as custom off-road builds.

 

Conclusion

Selecting the right axle for your off-road vehicle is a pivotal decision that will shape your adventures. Dana axles cater to a broad spectrum of needs, from light-duty agility to heavy-duty dominance. Analyze your off-road aspirations, vehicle requirements, and budget before making your choice. Armed with this comprehensive comparison, you can confidently forge ahead in your pursuit of off-road excellence.

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