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View Full Version : Sleeve and Gusset my Rubicon D44 front axle? Yes or No



TX_JK
05-26-2012, 01:08 AM
Let me start off by giving a quick rundown of my JK in its current build state.

2012 JK Unlimited Rubicon
- Teraflex 3" Suspension
- JKS Control Arms uppers/lowers front and rear
- 37" BFG KM2 tires on ProComp 7028 wheels
- Bilstein 5100 shocks

I am considering sleeving and gusseting my front D44 axle with the EVO products. However i have read mixed reviews. One thing i read showed someone who had their front D44 professionally sleeved and the axle tube cracked all the way around. The discussion on this particular axle got down to where the holes were drilled in the axle tube either straight across vs staggered. Some say the installation was done in correctly, some say the rosette welds were not done correctly, or the welds were not done at the right temperature or they didn't completely fill the holes. Some say the welding job didn't bond the sleeve and the axle tube together.

After reading this particular thread i searched around on my local JK forum to see who's actually sleeving and gusseting. Seems like gusseting the front knuckles is a very good idea on larger tires 35's, 37's and above. But i still don't read a ton of people doing this.

So I have the following questions:

1.) If you run larger tires should you (at minimum) gusset the front D44?
2.) If you run larger tires should you also sleeve your front axle?
3.) Is it not IF, but WHEN your front axle tube will bend with larger tires?
4.) Is this all based on ONLY if you wheel hard? Or can a street jeep also have axle problems with larger tires?

One last thing about sleeving the D44, i've read that some people drill small impressions with a drill bit (divots) directly into the sleeve through the hole they've already drilled in the axle tube. The logic behind this is it will allow the rosette weld to adhere to the sleeve better. But i've also read that if the welding is done correctly it will bond the two surfaces (axle tube and sleeve) just fine.

Thanks for listening and i look forward to your replies. :thumb:

Michael

MTG
05-26-2012, 01:23 AM
First , welcome to wayalife.

I researched this as well and came to the conclusion that if you run 35s or bigger you should do c gussets regardless if you go offroad or not. Sleeves are not as essential.

But this is based on what I've read and heard, albeit from knowledgable people. Others with more experience will chime in with their opinions for sure.

Prime8
05-26-2012, 02:21 PM
Welcome! What I have heard time and time again from Eddie is that C reinforcement is a must with 35" tires and up. He typically recommends C's if you are going to wheel with 35"s and he says that even a large pothole can bend your Cs with 37"+. So for you with 37" tires, even of you never even touched a dirt road, I'd say the gussetts are a must. As for the sleeves... If they are done right, they certainly can't hurt. I have the whole C2 package from EVO on my D30. If you are going to wheel a lot in rocks, the sleeves might help from bending your housing. If you aren't going to be banging off rocks though they might not be necessary. I figured it was a small investment to potentially save me a lot of money down the road. That's my 2 cents.

Serg5000
05-26-2012, 03:23 PM
Welcome,

As folks have already mentioned. Putting gussets and sleeves in is a small investment. Having to replace an axle will not be. You would kick yourself if something happens to your D30 and knowing you could have prevented it.

bdmckenna
05-27-2012, 03:43 PM
Yes, well worth it. I used the Teraflex sleeve and gusset kit. I am running 37's and do hit the rocks. While a D60 will come down the road the $400 it cost for the kit and welding was a solid bit of insurance.

TX_JK
05-29-2012, 10:33 PM
I think with running 37's i should gusset the front axle for sure. I'm just on the fence whether sleeving the front D44 is necessary.

JandSJK
05-30-2012, 06:43 AM
If i'm not mistaken the center section is the only difference on the D30 and D44 the tubes and c's are the same. The D44 center section is stronger/larger than the D30. I have the D30 and have had it sleeved and gusseted along with the lower control arm brackets. IMO its well worth the investment.

Holeshot
07-17-2012, 05:09 PM
bump up!

I was wondering if it was a good move to put on gusset, sleeves, RCV's, HD balljoints on my D30. After questionning with some guys over here, they all said no, it would be better looking for a use D44 and doing all the same upgrades. But if the only difference between the two is the center section (cage, ring & pinion), IMO it is worth the upgrade if I don't feel the need for dynatrac. I figure to get on 37's with locker and 5.13 someday.

wayoflife
07-17-2012, 11:09 PM
as mentioned, c's are a must. as far as sleeves go, we never ran any on moby and broke just about everything on it other than the axle housing before upgrading to a prorock 60. on rubicat, we're running 37's with c gussets but again, no sleeves. does that mean you shouldn't get them? not at all - i have personally seen 3 housing break and if you want, they are cheap insurance. are they "necessary"? i don't think so. of the hundreds of thousands of JK's out there today, i only know of about a dozen breaks and i personally think the odds are in your favor that you won't break yours. but hey, that's just me.

Holeshot
07-17-2012, 11:15 PM
I'm thinking your way. I just wanna make sure ;)

So if the D30 is strong enough to run 37's with C's, RCV shafts and HD gears and balljoints, no need to get bullet proof diff like dynatracs ^^

Anyways, I am very smooth with the pedal until it is needed, and even though, driving with your brain will always saves you money :thumb:

wayoflife
07-17-2012, 11:33 PM
...So if the D30 is strong enough to run 37's with C's, RCV shafts and HD gears and balljoints, no need to get bullet proof diff like dynatracs ^^

Anyways, I am very smooth with the pedal until it is needed, and even though, driving with your brain will always saves you money :thumb:

i wouldn't go so far as to say that. adding gussets and sleeves does not = a dynatrac prorock 44 and, i certainly don't think that a d30 is strong enough to run 37's. while the housing may not break, your ring & pinion will still be a lot smaller and well as your shafts/splines. rcv's do have strong joints but, i personally don't think that is a good thing especially on a d30 as your breaks will just happen internally and that is a lot harder to deal with on the trail. but hey, that's just me.

Holeshot
07-17-2012, 11:47 PM
Even with gears like yukon and so, it woudn't be strong enough?

hum.. gotta look out for a used D44 ^^

wayoflife
07-17-2012, 11:54 PM
Even with gears like yukon and so, it woudn't be strong enough?

hum.. gotta look out for a used D44 ^^

don't know why that would make a difference especially being that pretty much every gear is made by the same south korean manufacturer and just packaged in different boxes - this is a fact that can be proven. and, even if it were really somehow made better, you can't make a small r&p be as strong as a measurably larger one. likewise, you cannot take a skinny d30 shaft with fewer splines be as strong as a beefier 44 with more splines. these are where you will see your breaks.

Holeshot
07-17-2012, 11:57 PM
Didn't knew they were all cheap ass korean made :icon_crazy:

I trust your knowledge, and forget the idea of an upgraded D30 .

Thanks for you advices.

highoctane
07-18-2012, 12:57 AM
I've witnessed first hand the carnage a well built D30 can do to the ring&pinion, and even the carrier. At Rausch Creek, on a relatively easy trail, there was a 2dr X on 35" BFG A/Ts with alloy use front shafts, 4.88 gears, and an open carrier, that blew the spider gears through the stock diff cover like a grenade went off, when he was backing up a very slight incline to make way for trail traffic. Surprised us all. Building a D30 with aftermarket shafts definitely makes the ring and pinion the weak point, which is NOT a fun fix on the trail.

StrizzyChris
07-18-2012, 01:48 AM
Nitro makes a sleeve that you dont have to drill holes into your axle to install. Able to do even if you dont know how to weld. You just cant be a wuss and know your way around a BFH!

http://youtu.be/BOnQ8uLnTOw

Prime8
07-18-2012, 12:53 PM
bump up!

I was wondering if it was a good move to put on gusset, sleeves, RCV's, HD balljoints on my D30. After questionning with some guys over here, they all said no, it would be better looking for a use D44 and doing all the same upgrades. But if the only difference between the two is the center section (cage, ring & pinion), IMO it is worth the upgrade if I don't feel the need for dynatrac. I figure to get on 37's with locker and 5.13 someday.

D30 with locker, 5.13 gears, and 37's? That's a recipe for disaster... Your ring and pinion are toast...

wayoflife
07-18-2012, 03:32 PM
Nitro makes a sleeve that you dont have to drill holes into your axle to install. Able to do even if you dont know how to weld. You just cant be a wuss and know your way around a BFH!

http://youtu.be/BOnQ8uLnTOw

honestly, i'd like them to show the math as to how much actual strength these really offer. if you take a deck of cards, hold it on either end and then try bending it, you'll be able to with little effort regardless of how thick it is and how many cards are in the stack. now, try gluing a few of the cards together and then try bending them again - not as easy. this is how plywood gets it's strength and, why the welds are important in sleeves as well. the sad thing is, even with the sleeves and them being welded in, they only offer about 30% more strength.

GCM 2
07-18-2012, 04:52 PM
.....if you take a deck of cards, hold it on either end and then try bending it, you'll be able to with little effort regardless of how thick it is and how many cards are in the stack. now, try gluing a few of the cards together and then try bending them again - not as easy. this is how plywood gets it's strength and, why the welds are important in sleeves as well....

Man, that is a great comparison! :thumb:

StrizzyChris
07-18-2012, 06:28 PM
honestly, i'd like them to show the math as to how much actual strength these really offer. the sad thing is, even with the sleeves and them being welded in, they only offer about 30% more strength.

I would also like to see the numbers of how much additional strength it gets vs a weld on.


Man, that is a great comparison! :thumb:

While I too like the comparison, I donít feel it is fair or completely accurate. My explanation of why is going to get long winded so sit tight lol :munching:

Because in that comparison you are adding another variable. Youíre adding the properties of glue, not a weld. A weld does not saturate the entire length the tube like in the making of plywood or adding glue to the whole face of a card.

If you take a single playing card and measure the force required to bend it then it will be very little. If you take 10 playing cards then that required force is exponentially higher (when looked at in respect of the scale), which is what adding a sleeve of any form would do. If you take those same playing cards and drill verticle holes throughout the stack, then put a plug fusing them(like tubes are welded and not how plywood is made) vs. teeth friction(how nitro tubes are held), which one would be more structurally sound? Ultimately the only difference we are talking about is the lateral support the weld gives the sleeve from sliding inside the axle tube. Is it stronger? I would assume so, but to what degree I am not sure. But I donít think itís that simple.

BUT...since we are talking paper and friction...It reminded me of a mythbusters I watched and thought I would share \/this\/. No glue used!

http://youtu.be/hOt-D_ee-JE

wayoflife
07-18-2012, 11:50 PM
While I too like the comparison, I don’t feel it is fair or completely accurate. My explanation of why is going to get long winded so sit tight lol :munching:

Because in that comparison you are adding another variable. You’re adding the properties of glue, not a weld. A weld does not saturate the entire length the tube like in the making of plywood or adding glue to the whole face of a card.

If you take a single playing card and measure the force required to bend it then it will be very little. If you take 10 playing cards then that required force is exponentially higher (when looked at in respect of the scale), which is what adding a sleeve of any form would do. If you take those same playing cards and drill verticle holes throughout the stack, then put a plug fusing them(like tubes are welded and not how plywood is made) vs. teeth friction(how nitro tubes are held), which one would be more structurally sound? Ultimately the only difference we are talking about is the lateral support the weld gives the sleeve from sliding inside the axle tube. Is it stronger? I would assume so, but to what degree I am not sure. But I don’t think it’s that simple.

sorry, gonna have to disagree with you here. you ever do any construction? to make floors more rigid/prevent deflection, you can add a 2nd sheet of plywood to the top of the first and simply screw or even nail it in place. this is similar to the rosette welding process as the 2 sheets do not have to be "glued" together to still provide the desired results. IF the tolerances of the sleeve were so tight that a press was required to install them (much like axle tubes are pressed into a differential housing and i should add, STILL get welded in place), you might have an argument BUT, if you can actually just hammer them in, i have a hard time believing there would be enough friction to do much of anything. even if the sleeves have teeth, there aren't any on the inside of the axle tube for them to grab onto or, not that i know of anyway so not only are they irrelevant, they would in fact REDUCE the amount of surface area that would otherwise provide friction.

what it all boils down to is that this company realized that there are a lot of scared people who feel the need to beef up their axle and don't like the idea of drilling holes and welding things. needless to say, they came out with this do it yourself solution and really, it's a great marketing scheme and one that might even provide a tiny bit of extra strength. but, unless someone can prove otherwise, that's about all it is. of course, that's just me.


BUT...since we are talking paper and friction...It reminded me of a mythbusters I watched and thought I would share \/this\/. No glue used!

http://youtu.be/hOt-D_ee-JE

great episode but, i hardly think that teeth on a tube would give you the same frictional bond as a thousand sheets of paper essentially laminated together.

StrizzyChris
07-19-2012, 04:15 AM
sorry, gonna have to disagree with you here. BUT, if you can actually just hammer them in, i have a hard time believing there would be enough friction to do much of anything. even if the sleeves have teeth, there aren't any on the inside of the axle tube for them to grab onto or, not that i know of anyway so not only are they irrelevant, they would in fact REDUCE the amount of surface area that would otherwise provide friction.

No need to be sorry, I like a debate and different perspective. I 100% agree there is no way that the added strength by a "slip in" sleeve could be greater on something that is welded in. I know that most reviews state that the Nitro's had to be placed into a chest freezer for 24 hours prior to install because the knurl wouldnt fit and this is had much force required to install even them. I'm assuming that they expand and form a very tight fit, but to what degree I am unsure. I am still curious to see the numbers of both.


great episode but, i hardly think that teeth on a tube would give you the same frictional bond as a thousand sheets of paper essentially laminated together.

I wasnt meaning to imply that this was the same as a single sleeve inside the tube, but rather a fun video on the power friction.

wayoflife
07-19-2012, 02:52 PM
No need to be sorry, I like a debate and different perspective. I 100% agree there is no way that the added strength by a "slip in" sleeve could be greater on something that is welded in. I know that most reviews state that the Nitro's had to be placed into a chest freezer for 24 hours prior to install because the knurl wouldnt fit and this is had much force required to install even them. I'm assuming that they expand and form a very tight fit, but to what degree I am unsure. I am still curious to see the numbers of both.

truth be told, by the time most people install their sleeves, there is a slight amount of bend to the factory axle tube and this often makes installation of any sleeve a bit difficult. the freezing process helps in general but again, if you can actually pound in a sleeve with a hammer, frozen or not, the tolerances are still far too great. again, if you've ever seen an axle being made, you would see that an industrial press is needed to press in the axle tubes into the differential housing. this alone should be good enough to hold it in place but, for good measure, they are still rosette welded to ensure it. but let's cut to what really mater - evo openly advertises that their sleeves will provide 30% more strength. to the best of my knowledge, i have never seen nitro say one way or another how much strength their hammer in sleeves provide. just sayin.

of course, you're talking to a guy who doesn't even feel the need to run sleeves, never did on moby and still don't on rubicat. :crazyeyes:


I wasnt meaning to imply that this was the same as a single sleeve inside the tube, but rather a fun video on the power friction.

indeed, it was a fun episode.

Serg5000
12-20-2017, 07:37 PM
I am aware this is an old thread. However I thought I would update the info stream. If memory serves we well, I installed the sleeves in 2014. Around Father's Day. This morning I noticed a bit of rust dust coming from the tube end. Turns out the Axle shaft is making contact with the sleeve. I got under to inspect a bit closer. What I found was a crack about 2 inches long. About 1 inch from either side of one of the spot welds. Not a good sign. We don't wheel hard at all. So not sure what factors brought us to this unfortunate conclusion. If I were to do anything to a D44, it would be installing an EVO truss rather than sleeves. :twocents:

wayoflife
12-20-2017, 07:41 PM
I am aware this is an old thread. However I thought I would update the info stream. If memory serves we well, I installed the sleeves in 2014. Around Father's Day. This morning I noticed a bit of rust dust coming from the tube end. Turns out the Axle shaft is making contact with the sleeve. I got under to inspect a bit closer. What I found was a crack about 2 inches long. About 1 inch from either side of one of the spot welds. Not a good sign. We don't wheel hard at all. So not sure what factors brought us to this unfortunate conclusion. If I were to do anything to a D44, it would be installing an EVO truss rather than sleeves. :twocents:

Thanks for the update, I'm sure it will help others. That being said, a truss really isn't that much better and not exactly what I would consider to be a solution, even if it's made by EVO. Of course, that's just me.

Serg5000
12-20-2017, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the update, I'm sure it will help others. That being said, a truss really isn't that much better and not exactly what I would consider to be a solution, even if it's made by EVO. Of course, that's just me.

Not having any experience with a truss kit, I will take your word for it.


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JKDream
12-20-2017, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the update, I'm sure it will help others. That being said, a truss really isn't that much better and not exactly what I would consider to be a solution, even if it's made by EVO. Of course, that's just me.

Had an EVO truss here. Axle still bent.

wayoflife
12-20-2017, 08:35 PM
Not having any experience with a truss kit, I will take your word for it.

I hope you understand that I'm just trying to save people some money and based on what I've seen and experienced.


Had an EVO truss here. Axle still bent.

It happens.

I-Eat-Mud
12-20-2017, 11:56 PM
Iím the odd man out here. But I have a trussed/gusseted Dana 44 with some heavy Toyo 37x14.5s on steel wheels. I wheel most weekends, and I have no bending or issues yet.


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wayoflife
12-20-2017, 11:59 PM
Iím the odd man out here. But I have a trussed/gusseted Dana 44 with some heavy Toyo 37x14.5s on steel wheels. I wheel most weekends, and I have no bending or issues yet.

Your Jeep sits on top of your axle, not the other way around. How heavy your tires are will make no difference in whether or not your axle housing will bend. As far as wheeling goes, clearly, we all have our own idea of what that means.

I-Eat-Mud
12-21-2017, 12:02 AM
Your Jeep sits on top of your axle, not the other way around. How heavy your tires are will make no difference in whether or not your axle housing will bend. As far as wheeling goes, clearly, we all have our own idea of what that means.

Yeah, thatís true. Wonder if it could be more that Iíve got a pretty light two door build. As opposed to a lot of the heavier JKUs here. Maybe itís dumb luck. I just know itís worked for me and everything Iíve done so far.


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wayoflife
12-21-2017, 12:06 AM
Yeah, thatís true. Wonder if it could be more that Iíve got a pretty light two door build. As opposed to a lot of the heavier JKUs here. Maybe itís dumb luck. I just know itís worked for me and everything Iíve done so far.

A 2-door will fair better than a 4-door and speed will break more stuff than any crawling could ever hope to. That being said, I ran the factory front 44 on Rubicat without any modifications for about 50,000 miles before finally replacing it with a ProRock 44. Sure made it easier and a lot faster to save up for it by not throwing any money at the factory axle. Of course, I had done it the other way in the past and learned from my mistakes.

DK570
12-23-2017, 02:16 AM
The JK front axle bending is a bit confusing to me. I seem to hear about it a lot for JK's, but not TJ's. I've wheeled a TJ with 35's, 4.56's, and an ARB in a Dana 30, and haven't had issues yet. Eventually I want 37's for the JK, I'm contemplating swapping in a Recon housing with the thicker tubes and C's, plus probably RCV shafts.

notnalc68
12-23-2017, 02:22 AM
The JK front axle bending is a bit confusing to me. I seem to hear about it a lot for JK's, but not TJ's. I've wheeled a TJ with 35's, 4.56's, and an ARB in a Dana 30, and haven't had issues yet. Eventually I want 37's for the JK, I'm contemplating swapping in a Recon housing with the thicker tubes and C's, plus probably RCV shafts.

A JK is much heavier than a TJ.


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wayoflife
12-23-2017, 02:48 AM
A JK is much heavier than a TJ.

This ^^^^

Comparing a TJ to a JK is like comparing apples and oranges. The weight of a 4-door JK is over 1000 lbs. heavier than a TJ.

DK570
12-23-2017, 10:32 PM
This ^^^^

Comparing a TJ to a JK is like comparing apples and oranges. The weight of a 4-door JK is over 1000 lbs. heavier than a TJ.
True, but isn't a JK Dana 44 beefier than a TJ Dana 44?

wayoflife
12-23-2017, 10:36 PM
True, but isn't a JK Dana 44 beefier than a TJ Dana 44?

A JK Front Dana 44 is only a 44 because of it's ring and pinion and shafts. The tubes, end forgings and knuckles are all Dana 30. Also, the JK axles are WIDER than a TJ as in, they have LONGER tubes.