Full-fledged upgraded axle swaps are a great idea in theory, but in practice they aren't always feasible. The problem often comes down to cost: you can easily spend several thousand dollars on a new set of fully upgraded and assembled axles. While they might be perfectly configured for your vehicle and your use, they'll cost as much as family vacation to see the Mouse down in Florida.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend a truckload of cash to make some substantial upgrades to the stock axles on your pickup or SUV.

First, Why Beef Up Your Stock Axles?

The main problem with a stock axle is that it was made for normal use, with a normal set of wheels and tires. Once you upgrade wheels and tires and start going off-road, it's only a matter of time before you deal with some sort of axle related problem:

  • Bent or damaged stock axle shafts

  • Bent axles

  • Broken teeth on ring gears

  • Grenaded differential

  • All of the above

A lot of vehicle owners solve these problems with a complete axle upgrade: pull your Dana 35 off (or whatever axle you have), and put a brand new Dana 44 in its place, complete with upgraded gears, axle shafts, and locking differential. While that's a good solution, it's pricey. If it's not currently in the budget, there are some smaller upgrades that can make a difference without breaking the bank.