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Axle Swap Observations / Dakota spring plates

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Hi all,


Just got thru swapping in an 8.25 traclock XJ axle in place of the dana 35 at my buddy place (he has a welder) and thought I'd pass on some info.


For one, the 8.25 is significantly beefier than the D35, but most of you know that :brows:


- Even with the 4x4 springs in place the yoke ended up hard up against the trans (due to the 8.25 longer snout), so in a pinch, we moved the axle back one hole on the mopar perchs, then drilled a hole in each shock mount to clear the spring bolt/nut. It got me home, but looks silly right now with the wheel set an inch back in the wheelwell. :nuts:


- I re-used the XJ 3" u-bolts that came with the axle but noticed they are significantly thinner than the original 9/16" diameter MJ U-bolts- the truck is parked right now. They are thinner diameter I believe because the XJ is SOA therefore do not directly carry the weight like SUA.


- The 96 Dakota brake hose I bought had a slightly bigger diameter end fitting for mounting, so I had to remove the holding plate (2 10mm bolts) and open up the hole a bit. After that, it mounted like factory.


I was at the junkyard today and noticed a 2000 Dakota that had the SUA setup and some nice beefy spring plates (I noticed my originals and the doubler plates were slightly warped) and nice 9/16" 7" long U-bolts with flattened tops to conform the top of the 8.25 axle it had. I snagged the plates and the u-bolts. My buddy is going to help with fabbing the shock mounts to the dakota plates. The dakota plates should help with the ground clearance too.


I will post picks when we get em fabbed together. :cheers:

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Yeah I know they should be replaced, however the dak ones I got are perfectly straight and rust free, unlike my badly bent/rusty originals.


My original shock mount plates and doublers are also deformed, so they appear to be one time use as well...


The Dakota spring plates are nearly 3 times thicker in cross-section than the MJs and are formed to resist bending. They are thicker than the MJ plates even with the doubler.


Hmm... Out of curiosity, I'm going to price out the Dak u-bolts from the dealer. My local spring shop wants $90 for a 9/16 in set of u-bolts. Of course, I could get three inch u-bolts from O'reillys for $7 but they are the same thickness as the XJ ones.

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Wow, the quoted $90 u-bolts also have to be ordered and the lady claims they are grade 8 through the threads, including the nuts and washers...


Hey guys, I got a price on the dakota U-bolts. Around $40 shipped from mopardiscountparts.com. They are from a 98-04 Dakota 2WD (same goes for the spring plates). These would be great for an 8.25 swap (not sure if the Ford 8.8 is also 3" tube).


The dak u-bolts at the bottom of the "U" are flattened slightly to conform to the axle better and they are 7" long which help if you are using the mopar spring perches (they are taller than stock) because the 6" long u-bolts were almost too short in my application.


BTW, I got the modded dak spring plates installed! I will try to post pics tonight. Thanks all

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