Skids for the new Dana 44s

So if you’ve been reading my blog, you’d know that I swapped out my Dana 30/35s for a set of Dana 44s about a month ago. I toyed with the idea of regearing the stock axles, but decided that would be silly. Ok, so my buddies talked sense into me. I’m so glad I listened, Cumberland Crawlerz is an incredibe club.

I assumed I could buy the same Rough Country differential skids for the new axles, but they don’t make them for Dana 44s. So I started looking around. Some of my friends recommended Metal Cloak, but while their rear diff skid plate was the perfect design, their front skid plate requires also requires their diff plate. Um, nah.

I did a lot of research, and asked a bunch of people, including folks who have YouTube/Wordpress blogs. The feedback I got leaned heavily towards skid plates and not diff covers. Probably a 60/40 split. The only skid plates I could find to fit the Dana 44s are made by Rancho. Pretty good design at 1/4″ thick steel. These meet my requirements, including providing the ability to slide over anything I might land on.

Rancho’s front diff skid attaches with four front facing bolts, and a U bolt to hold the back end up and out of the way. Their rear diff skid is much the same design, though the U bolt is replaced with a bent piece of the same 1/4″ thick steel. Here’s the installed product. Clearance loss is minimal at 5/16″, less than 1/8″ distance between the diff and the skid plate.

A few of my buddies are all saying I should get diff covers, but based on my riding style, and the research I’ve done, they don’t make much sense for me. That said, WhistlinDiesel might need diff covers, since he’s…well…