Are You Ready to Beef Up Your Axles?
Have you ever wondered how long it would take before you replaced the rear end in your Jeep? For us, it was about 10 years. Jeeps come from the factory with either a Dana 35 or 44. How long it will last when you start getting more extreme? Usually not very long! You have options on replacements from Currie Enterprises though. It just depends on how deep your pocket is!
After we started breaking axle parts, we made the call to Currie Enterprises (https://www.currieenterprises.com/) for one of their axles, a family-owned company with nearly 60 years of history. We ended up ordering their Currie F9 bolt in TJ replacement axle. We opted for the Detroit locker, 35 spline axle shafts and the ford disk brakes on the end for some good stopping power. The center section is a 9+ race case for added strength for the abuse we planned for this axle. It took them a few weeks to build this and ship it to Fresno for us to pick it up. After I got this hunk of Jeep Beef or Currie Beef home, we removed it from the crate, installed the emergency brake cables, put oil in it, and painted it silver to match the Jeep.
Installation – Call a Friend
I called a friend to help me install this beast of an axle into our Jeep. It did not come with brake lines installed, so we bent up some brake lines prior to installing it in the Jeep, so we could work a little easier on it. These were not my best bent brake lines ever, as this was the first time I had ever done something like this. I have gotten better after replacing the hydraulic brake lines on our trailer that we use to haul the Jeep on. That is another “how to” story for here later. I had already removed the old Dana 44 that was broken and cleaned up all the control arms and things to be ready for this install.
Since this was a direct bolt in application, it went pretty smooth. We did have to put a ratchet strap on the axle to get things into final place to install a bolt or two. I do have adjustable control arms, and we had to play with them a little bit to get the proper pinion angle for the driveshaft. We did have to order a new rear drive shaft, since this is a Ford 9-inch rear axle, and has the drop out center section. I ordered driveshafts from Adams Drive Shafts (https://www.adamsdriveshaftoffroad.com/) out of Las Vegas. I had to wait to order those until I had the axle installed for the proper measurement. While I was ordering the new rear driveshaft, I also ordered a new front driveshaft.
We had a very short break-in period on this axle, to almost no true break-in. After the axle and driveshafts were installed, we headed to the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari down by the Salton Sea of southern California event to meet friends, Del & Stacie Albright and play in the desert. We also towed a small camper there for some added stress on the new axle for the break-in period.
We have now had this axle in the Jeep for 6 years. How time flies! We have put many miles on this axle on both the road and the trail. I have changed the oil twice in it since new. The first time was after about 500 miles on it to make sure we cleaned out any excess metal or break-in stuff out of it. The last time I dropped the center section to change the oil and look at the ring and pinion, it all looked good. Had a friend look at the setup, and it was still very solid. When I put it all back together, I pinched the axle seal on the right-hand side, and had a small leak. I ordered another seal and bearing kit from Currie and got it installed. No more leak. That leak was caused by me.
This axle is true beef for a Jeep. The ring and pinion is on par with a Dana 60 for size. I don’t carry spares for it, where before I did with the D-35 and D-44.
It did take a little bit getting use to the Detroit locker in the rear, as when you shift, or let up on the gas, the Jeep will move around. Going around corners you can easily make the tires chirp a little bit. Then when that Detroit unlocks, it will get your attention. It makes friends riding along think that something has broken in the drive line of the Jeep. We also have no rear sway bar installed, so the Jeep will heel over pretty good in a corner in town. We did not install this to run around town though. On the trail, the Jeep is point and shoot with the Detroit locker back there. With the addition of the Atlas transfer case, I can run in 2-Wheel drive low all day long on most trails. The axle is heavy, and even when we flex the rear suspension out, the rear wheels stay planted. With that design of the F9, and the octagon shape to it, I hardly every hang the rear end up on a rock.
What Would I Change?
I would change just about nothing with the way I ordered the Currie F9. I have debated installing a high pinion center section to see if that would lessen the minor drive line vibrations we have at 75 mph. But other than that, this beef works!
If you are looking for new axles for your ModernJeeper Adventure rig, I would highly recommend a call to Currie. They will take care of you and help you improve your rig.
Do your homework and research before you change out axles. Make sure you are choosing right for your jeep. But you cannot go wrong with the beef from Currie Enterprises.