The Dana 30 was a front steering axle that came on a variety of Jeeps throughout the years, and is still available on the newest Wranglers.
Despite being called the “Dana 30” on all vehicles that have it, not all Dana 30s are the same. Often times the Dana 30 is modified between vehicle models to fit different brake systems. Additionally, Dana 30s may not always have the same gear ratios. In order to see what Dana 30s will work in your vehicle, see the compatibility section below!
High Pinion vs Low Pinion (HP vs LP)
You’ll often hear about these axles with the characteristic of being “High Pinion” or “Low Pinion” axles. This phrase refers to the physical location the pinion is located on the axle, and whether it is above the center line or below.
In addition to be stronger, high pinion axles also provide slightly more clearance since the pinion is further away from the ground. For this reason High Pinon Dana 30s are also desirable for those lifting above 4.5″, as the driveshaft angle will be less severe with a HP axle compared to a LP one.
|Stock Ratios||3.07, 3.55, 3.73, 4.10|
|Oil Type||SAE 80W-90|
(Fill to hole)
|CJ: ~1.4 qts (1.3L)|
YJ: ~1.9 qts (1.65L)
XJ: ~1.6 qts (1.48L)
ZJ: ~1.3 qts (1.2L)
|Fill Hole Plug||25ft-lbs|
|Diff Cover Bolt||30ft-lbs|
|Bearing Cap Bolts||45ft-lbs|
|Ring Gear Bolts||80ft-lbs|
|Hub Bearing Bolts||75ft-lbs|
|Max Tire Size||33″|
Central Axle Disconnect (CAD) / CAD Vacuum Elimination
The Central Axle Disconnect was used in place of a manual locking hub in order to lock both axle shafts together within the axle. It used a complex vacuum system that was prone to failure. Often times, hoses will crack leading to a loss of vacuum which will disconnect your front axle shafts. Additionally, if the shift collar is gummed up or worn out, the vacuum system may not have enough “juice” to move the locking disc.
A common fix is to use the Posi-Lock 4×4 manually operated cable system. It eliminates the factory vacuum system and replaces it with a driver-operated cable. It is also recommended you replace the shift fork when doing this upgrade. Here is a video of how to install a Posi-Lock on a Wrangler YJ.
Vehicle-Specific Dana 30 Information
1984 – 2001 Cherokee XJ Dana 30
The 1984 – 2001 4WD Cherokees came with Dana 30s for the front axle for all years. The Dana 30 in the Cherokees could come with one of four gear ratios: 3.07, 3.55, 3.73, and 4.10. If you need help finding out the gear ratio, refer to the Gear Ratio page for more information.
All XJ Dana 30s are 60.75″ wide with a 5 x 4.5″ lug pattern.
1989-1995 w/o ABS: 5-260x
1989-1995 w/ ABS: 5-297x
All 5-260x u-joints can be upgraded with 5-297x/5-760x u-joints with no problems.
All Jeep CJ5’s are narrow track Dana 30’s, coming in at 53″ wide with a 5 x 5.5″ lug pattern. Both Narrow and Wide track Dana 30s had a 28″ center to center spring perch length.
Swaps and Compatibility
CJ – From 1972-1981, CJ Dana 30s were narrow track. From 1982-1986, they were wide track. You are able to swap narrow and wide track Dana 30s with no issue, since the spring perches are in the same location. If you’re swapping the Dana 30 in as an upgrade, you’ll want to find a Dana 30 from 1977-1979, as they came with the highest quality locking hubs and disc brakes. Some 1976 Dana 30s will be disc brake, as it was optional during that year. The Dana 30 is a great swap to upgrade the weaker Dana 27 axle.
If your Dana 30 is from a CJ that had the V6 engine, your front driveshaft axle-side yoke size will be 1100. This will not fit the Dana 30 axle, as it has a 1310 yoke size. The solution is to have a custom made driveshaft that matches the Dana 30’s 1310 yoke and your transfer cases yoke size on the other side.
XJ, MJ, ZJ, TJ, LJ – All five of these Jeep models used coil springs with the Dana 30 and are compatible with each other. For a swap involving an upgrade, you’ll want to find a Dana 30 High Pinion without the central axle disconnect.
It is possible to swap a JK/JKU Dana 30 into these Jeeps using a front axle truss kit from TNT customs found here. The axle shafts from the JK/JKU Dana 30 are not compatible with pre-2006 Dana 30s.
JK/JKU – The Dana 30 found in these Jeeps was specific to them and are all swappable between 2007 and 2016. These Dana 30s are stronger, and can handle 35″ tires stock with no problem. They can be swapped into older jeeps, refer to the paragraph above.
JL/JLU – The Dana 30 found in these Jeeps can be swapped within the same Wranglers from 2017-2022.
Chromoly axles are common upgrade to the Dana 30. Factory set, the Dana 30 can handle about up to 33″ tires without worry. Any taller and you’re looking at possibly broken axles shafts, especially under harsh off-roading conditions or a higher power engine. Luckily, there are companies out there that make Chromoly axles, which are significantly stronger than the stock axle shafts.
Dana 30 Axle Truss for XJ/TJ/ZJ
Although it seems unlikely, the Dana 30 axle housing assembly is able to bend under extreme circumstances. As a result, many serious off-roaders will truss their axle to make the housing more resilient. Trussing a Dana 30 is often not “worthwhile” though, since there are much better axles that can be used in place of the Dana 30. Additionally, even with Chromoly axles the often recommended max tire size is 35″ – meaning to run any bigger tires you’d want to get a new front axle anyways.
Many companies product trusses for the Dana 30. The one linked below is from Iron Rock Offroad and is already put together, ready to be welded onto Dana 30s from the XJ, TJ, and ZJ Jeeps. CJ Dana 30s will require another kit or a custom truss.
Lockers & Limited Slip Differentials
If you’re looking to add more traction to the front of your Jeep you may consider lockers (true lockers or lunchbox lockers) or a limited slip differential. For information regarding all different kinds of locker and LSD solutions, visit the page below.
To Be Completed