Identifying Wranglers and Their Different Axles

The history of the iconic Jeep dates to WWII. Since the U.S.-led victory, the Wrangler has gained popularity as a civilian vehicle due to their off-road capabilities and rugged drivetrain.

Different Jeep years have different options for axle types that can be found in the front and rear. Knowing which axles are already installed, or which can be added as a swap project, is crucial for also choosing the correct ring and pinion gears for a repair or a re-gear.

The Wrangler was introduced in 1987 and is now on its fourth model, the Jeep Wrangler JL and JT Gladiator. This article will take you through the different Jeep models by year and the axles used. By the end, you'll know what Jeeps have Dana 44 axles, Dana 30 axles and Dana 35 axles so you can properly outfit the drivetrain with the right parts.

1987-1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ

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The 1987 model year Jeep YJ debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 1986. It was the first and last Wrangler with the infamous square headlights.

What axles are in a Jeep YJ? All YJs have a Dana 30 axle in the front and most have a Dana 35 in the rear. Limited YJs produced have a Dana 30 axle in the front and a Dana 44 axle in the rear.

1996-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ

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Jeep returned with the original round headlights with its second-generation TJ along with a coil-spring suspension system for a smoother ride. Jeep introduced the inaugural Rubicon trim level on the 2003 TJ geared toward off-roaders. Rubicon's came standard with a locking front and rear Jeep differential.

What axles are in my Jeep TJ? Wrangler TJs have a few different options. The Sport/Sahara trim will always have a Dana 30 in the front whereas the rear has the option for a Dana 44 or Dana 35. The Rubicon option will always have a Dana 44 in both the front and rear. Popular upgrades include replacing the Dana 35 rear axle on Sport/Sahara models with a Dana 44 axle.

2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK

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The 3rd-generation JK was the first model to offer the Unlimited 4-Door version and retained its off-road features of roll bars, removable doors and fold-down windshield.

What axles come with a Jeep JK? Almost all Jeep JK years have a Dana 44 in the rear. The exception is a small number of the 2007 model which had a Dana 35, less than one thousand JKs were produced with the D35 rear axle in 2007. The Rubicon has a Dana 44 in the front while all other trims have a Dana 30 front axle.Popular upgrades include replacing the Dana 30 front axle on Sport/Sahara models with a Dana 44 axle and completely replacing the front and/or rear axle with complete bolt-in crate axles like those built by Dana Spicer.

2018-Present Jeep Wrangler JL and Gladiator JT

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The JL noticeably increased its ride comfort features but has maintained its off-road performance. It is available in a six-speed manual or an improved eight-speed automatic.

What axles are installed in my Jeep JL or JT? Sport/Sahara JL models come with either an upgraded design Dana 35 or Dana 44 in the rear and the same JK Dana 30 in the front. Like previous Jeep Wrangler models, Rubicon JLs are equipped with a new design Dana 44 in the front and rear. All Gladiator JTs also have the new design Dana 44 axle in the front and rear.

Gearing Your Jeep Axle

Revolution Gear & Axle offers ring and pinion gear sets in several different ratios for the following axle models across all years of the Jeep Wrangler.

Dana 30

These axles have a 7.2-inch ring gear diameter. There are different Dana 30 gear sets for the YJ, TJ and JK. 2018 and newer JLs use the same Dana 30 JK ring and pinion.

Dana 35

These axles have a 7.56-inch ring gear diameter. The same version D35 gear set is used in the YJ and TJ, and a newer design is used in the JL.

Dana 44

These axles have an 8.5-inch ring gear diameter. The D44 used in TJs, JKs, JL/JTs are all different. The JK and JL/JT models use a reverse cut ring and pinion in the Dana 44 front axle. Revolution Gear & Axle offers expanded gear ratios for all the different models.

Now that we've covered some Jeep history, check out our article on why re-gearing your vehicle is important, what it does and the benefits re-gearing can provide!