The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why C-clip axles are evil

Some folks wonder why Jeepers hate thems some Dana 35 axles. Well, it's not just that Dana 35's are weak and break if you look at them wrong. It's what happens after they break that Jeepers hate. See, a Dana 35 is what's known as a "C-clip axle". There is nothing holding the axle on but a big C-shaped clip on the end of the axle shaft inside the differential. Here's the end of the axle shaft inside the differential (note that the cross shaft and spider gears have been taken out, that's the only way to push the axles in far enough to get to the C-clip which otherwise nests in the side gears): If part A (end inside the differential) is no longer on the same physical plane as part B (end outside the differential) because, duh, the axle broke, here is what happens: Is it a little clearer, now, why Jeepers hate Dana 35 (or any C-clip) axles?

-- Badtux the Jeepin' Penguin


Gordon said...

I was taking my TV in for a new picture tube several years back, yes, us old farts used to do that, and a Chevy pickup in the lane just to the left and a coupla lengths in front of me on the freeway lost its rear axle for the same reason. It was headed right for me, but it started wobbling around erratically in a very eccentric manner and missed me by a mile.

It was no fun, I tell you, to mash as hard as I could on the brake with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand over the back of the seat to keep the TV where it was.

I'm surprised that Dana is still using that method.

BadTux said...

The Dana 35 isn't shipped on any new Jeeps, but there's still a ton of older Jeep Wranglers with C-clip Dana 35's under the rear. If a Jeep Wrangler has drum brakes in the rear, it's probably a Dana 35. My Wrangler has a Dana 30 up front (non-C-clip, has three bolts that retain the axle via a collar at the pivot) and a Dana 44 in back (again positive retention at the outside end of the axle). But I have four-wheel discs.

That said, while Dana does not appear to be shipping any C-clip axles at present, there's still plenty of other folks who are. That was a Mitsubishi in the photo, I think, with one of their own corporate axles.

- Badtux the Jeepin' Penguin

Flyordie said...

Dana 35, non c-clip, No ABS

Thats the kind of axle in my XJ, so I don't think I have that problem. lol.

Geoff said...

Actually, not all Dana 35s have C-clips, only the models in the second half of production. Luckily, they make c-clip eliminator kits.

BadTux said...

As far as I know, all Dana 35's in Jeep TJ's (1996-2006) are C-clip axles. Even if you do install a Super 35 kit to do away with the C clips, you're stuck with a weak axle prone to breaking if you sneeze at it wrong...

- Badtux the Jeepin' Penguin