When we decided to build a Dana 44 rear axle for our Jeep CJ there were a few things we knew we would need. Since our primary type or 4-wheeling is southwestern rock crawling, nothing short of a full locking rear differential would do, and for us, a Detroit locker was the only suitable choice. A full locking differential means additional stress on axle shafts since there are times when most of the weight of the vehicle is balanced on one rear wheel and that wheel is forced to move the load. Knowing our Jeep would be subjected to this type of abuse, we knew that stock axles wouldn’t last long. Making a call to Dutchman Motorsports in Portland, Oregon they explained exactly how and why their axles are some of the strongest on the market.
Here’s what I learned… Most stock OEM axles are made from 1039 material have a .150″ case depth and a Rockwell “C” scale of 52-54. Dutchman alloy axles are made from 1541H material, 1 piece forged, have a case depth of .300 to .350 and a hardness of 57-60 Rockwell “C” scale. Wow! What does all that mean? Although we’re not metallurgists, the result of these upgrades yields a much stronger axle. The hard case and soft core create an axle that can bend, flex and spring back. Don’t fool yourself; there is no such thing as an axle shaft that doesn’t flex. The key is to create an axle that can spring back hundreds of thousands of times before breaking. Dutchman axles are also splined after they are heat-treated thereby eliminating the possibility of the axle becoming warped or bowed. (Most axle makers spline first, then heat treat) This heat-treating method produces a perfectly true axle on all surfaces; bearing journal, flange face and splines. The splines are also machined to the correct pressure angle for the particular application, typically 30-45 degrees. All Dutchman axles are manufactured with a non-tapered body and a ductile flange with allows for shortening if needed or redrilling the bolt pattern if necessary.
The Dana 44 alloy axles used for our application are shipped as a kit and included the bearings, seals, retainers and studs already installed, who could ask for anything more? All we had to do was install new axle seals, slide the axles in place and install the retaining bolts. With the Dutchman alloy axles now filling the tubes of our Dana 44 we are quite confident that it will be able to withstand any thing we can throw at it. If you are looking for the ultimate in axle strength then look no further than Dutchman Motorsports. Dutchman doesn’t just manufacture axles; they also sell complete third members, disc brake conversions for many applications, and custom housings. They can also respline or shorten just about any axle or housing. Give Dutchman a call or check their website for all the great products and services they offer. From rock crawling to drag racing Dutchman is the only axle source you need.