Normally, you would think too much of this:
And maybe this:
Would lead to this:
And finally this:
And, you’d be partially right. On a recent trip, my (what I once thought to be) indestructible Dana 44 front axle developed a crack big enough to fit one of your fingers in. The axle has actually been cracked for (I’m guessing here) about a month. I’m guessing a month because that’s long enough to have developed a nice coating of rust and I made a point to inspect my axle very closely in the past two months. The reason for the break in that particular section is that the Synergy track bar bracket (adjusting the track bar angle) was mounted to the axle and acted as a truss on the front axle, but only in one small section. While the rest of the axle was allowed to flex and move (a little), this section was isolated & rigid. Rigid things tend to break when everything around them flexes too much, so the axle developed a crack. We’ll call this metal fatigue. However, once the damage occurred, the Synergy bracket continued to act as a truss lending its strength to the broken axle, keeping the damage contained, and the axle in one piece until it took one too many hits (Windrock Park trail 21 perhaps?) and the crack widened enough to finally split apart.
To fix this unfortunate break, I went with the Tera44 axle housing and TenFactory axles installed by my local dealership. Yeah, I know the labor isn’t cheap at a dealership, but without a Jeep trailer/truck, I would have burned up any labor cost savings by paying for a tow to any other shop. I briefly considered a Dynatrac ProRock 44 or a Currie Rock Jock 44, but since this is 90% repair and only 10% exciting new toy, the Tera44 axle housing won the comparison due to price point and ease of install. Don’t get me wrong, there was no loser on that list as all three axle housings are incredibly solid. But the ease of dropping all of my stock components while beefing up the housing (+0.5″ axle tubes!) sealed the deal on the Tera44 and wouldn’t you know it, 4wd.com had a killer deal on it just as I needed it! Yes, I know this would have been the ideal time to swap out gears & knuckles…. but with the cost of this unexpected repair, I simply didn’t have any more in the Jeep fund.
Eeeek! It’s so naked!
Coming together nicely!
Aaaaaand we’re back!
After exactly two weeks of sitting on trailers, waiting on parts, and being up on a lift, everything has finally been installed and the Jeep is back on the road. My Jeeples have been asking me how I like it, and I’ll tell you…
It looks nice and it’s good to have an axle with out a hole in it. But so far I don’t really like how it drives. I’m blaming a lot of that on the single Fox steering stabilizer. In a dual set up, those stabilizers are excellent at keeping the steering nice and tidy. As a single shock, it’s all over the place. Bottom line, this was a huge repair bill that I wish I hadn’t incurred. Sure the replacement is much stronger, and looks all sorts of shiny. But in my long term Jeep plans, I never intended to replace my axles or my axle housing. I always thought the OEM goodies (axle shafts, axle housings, t-case, elockers, etc) that came on the Rubi would be strong enough for me. That’s a big part of why I sprang for the Rubicon to being with. Maybe I’ll like this set up more in time, but right now I’m really upset that the stock axle broke and hate eating Ramen for every meal while I pay off this huge expense.