1998 Jeep Cherokee Repair Question
1998 Jeep Cherokee Front diff
1998 Jeep Cherokee 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 178000 miles
I have a 1998 jeep Cherokee sport that I have put a small lift and trimmed the wheel wells in order to allow me to put my 35x12.5" mickey Thompson claws on. The jeep handled the tires quite well for some time but as I knew would happen something broke..,, the front spider gears destroyed themselves along with all other gears in the front housing, the ring gear was the lone survivor. I would like to put a stronger housing under my jeep..... Front and back. I currently have a 3:55 ratio and wouldn't mind going lower but what I really want to know is are there housings out of something that I can swap into my jeep that would be stronger? What should I try to find as a replacement? I am working on somewhat of a limited budget, this is a toy.
To my knowledge there is no alternative to what is already fitted, you may be able to talk to a diff specialist and find out what they do to beef up 4X4 rally cars, this is a bit out of my area, the question will remain open for others to comment on.
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Your stock diff is a Dana30. If the front shaft seems to come from the upper part of the diff, it is a high pinion (HP). this allows better clearance and less strain on your drive shaft (also less vibration). You can also find old Dana 44 and Dana 60 front diffs, but your problem is your ring and pinion gears.
A dana 30 can take deeper ring and pinion gears (up to 5.10 ) but you rear diff is probably a chrys 8.25 so that limits your depth to 4.56. Both front and rear diffs have to be running the same size ring and pinion gears. With 35" tires you should be running the 4.56. If you're not trying to get air as you go over objects in your off roading the Dana 30 is a good choice. If you can't keep your foot of the skinny pedal go for a 44, but it will have to be reverse cut to give you a high pinion set up.
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