Jeep vehicles produced by a succession of automakers – Willys, Kaiser, American Motors Corp. and Chrysler – used a wide range of axles for numerous Jeep models. However, the Dana series axles, particularly the Dana 35 and Dana 44, proved particularly popular due to their reliability and rugged construction. Chrysler produced its own series of axles that helped power some Jeep models.
Jeeps manufactured by Chrysler feature the rugged Cherokee, Comanche pickup, Wrangler, Jeep MA and MB models, Jeep J8 and the Earthroamer. Closer to passenger car status are the Commander, Compass, luxury-oriented Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Nitro and the family-style Wagoneer. The type of axles used by each model depends on the intended purpose. Generally, axle tags identifying the rear axle ratio are found bolted to the axle cover. Some tags are affixed to either the driver or passenger side axle tube. Other axles, depending on the model year and model, have data stamped onto the axle or at the edge of the axle cover.
Chrysler Beam Style Axles
The 2004 and later Jeep Liberty and Nitro featured a Chrysler Corporate Beam Style axle. The tag, which is white plastic with a bar code, is attached to the underside of the axle on the driver’s side midway between the center cover and the wheel. The tag on a 2008 Jeep Liberty, for example, will read “3.73” for a 3.73-to-1 rear axle ratio. Pre-2004 models on the Corporate axles had a metal tag with the same rear axle ratio identification on a metal tag affixed to the axle cover. The tag, for example, may read as “35” for a 3.55-to-1 rear axle ratio.
Chrysler Independent Style Axle
The Jeep Compass and Patriot featured independent rear suspension with a Chrysler Corporate Independent Style axle. Chrysler attached the tag to the top of the rear center axle housing. It also came with a bar code with the rear axle ratio noted at the bottom, such as “3.64” for a 3.64-to-1 rear axle ratio.
Dana Axle Tags
Chrysler reserved the Dana axles for its more rugged line of Jeeps, such as the Wrangler Rubicon or the luxury-oriented Grand Cherokee among other bigger models. Typically, older models had a metal tag attached to the axle cover. The newer versions, such as the 2010 Wrangler Rubicon, have a black label affixed to the axle tube. The 2010 models have no metal tag to identify the rear axle ratio. Some models, such as the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee, will have the data, including rear axle ratio, stamped into the axle tube.
Other Dana and AMC IDs
The Dana 30 front axles, Dana 44 front and rear and Dana 35 rear axles are easily identified by their 10-bolt axle cover patterns. Dana offers patterns to match for identification. Tags on these axles include a build date code on the passenger side axle tube near the axle cover. Just to the right of the build date code is the “Bill of Material” that provides original factory information on the origins of the axle. At the bottom of the axle cover at about 5 o’clock is a lubrication tag. On the axle cover at about 8 o’clock is the metal gear ratio tag. Stamped codes on the AMC Model 20 Axle is on the passenger side axle tube next to the axle cover.
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