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I was just going to grab a pre-'96 Dana 30 from the J/Y, but i just realized there is different versions of this axle.

This is what i came up with so far...
Off-Road Adventures Magazine

Front Dana 30 Tips- If your XJ has the Dana 30 disconnect axle, there are two cures for the common vacuum problems. The first is to install a Posi-Lok. This replaces the cranky vacuum motor with a driver controlled cable actuator. Option two is to replace the two piece right axle with a one-piece unit. Warn makes a kit to do this. The front driveshaft will then be turning, as mentioned above and the same cures apply.

There are three versions of the Dana 30 front axle in the XJ with stock ratios of 3.07, 3.55, 3.73 and 4.11s. Shown is the mid-90s non-disconnect version, which was used on full-time units through ’91 and all XJs from ’92. Through ’99, the high-pinion style was used, but in the last two years of the XJ, a TJ style low-pinion was substituted. The high pinion is definitely preferable. The disconnect apparatus is a pain and to save costs, Jeep eliminated it even on part-time Cherokees. The difference in mileage was negligible, but because the driveshaft was spinning, there were vibration issues.

Strength becomes an issue for many D30s with tires above 31 inches. The high-pinion D30 center section can be built to exceed stock Dana 44 strength overall using the following blueprint: Start with an aftermarket locker that includes a new carrier, add 4340 alloy inner and outer shafts (one piece inner on the right) and a set of Spicer cold forged 760 series u-joints, or the superstrength types. This will give you the ability to run 35s safely. Not everyone will have the need or the bucks to go full-boat on their D30 all at once. If your XJ is older than ’95, it has the small axle u-joints (5-260x) and these should be the first to go. From ’95, the 5-297x size was used, which is some 35 percent stronger than the 260. The first level of that upgrade uses OE replacement shafts that just bolt in. Premium replacement shafts may be of a stouter 1050, 1540h or 1341h alloy. The strongest are of the aforementioned 4340 chrome-moly steel that is some 50 percent stronger than stock. Several companies, including Warn and Superior, offer 4340 alloy shafts. Ox, CTM, Yukon, and others offer super strength u-joints for these applications. Superior Axle makes a 30-spline upgrade for the front Dana 30 also

Jeep Cherokee (XJ) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Front Axle

* 1984 – 1996 : Dana 30, High Pinion, Reverse Cut, 27-spline axleshafts (1989 – 1995 : with ABS used 5-297x universal joints, non-ABS had 5-260x universal joints. Note: Certain XJ models were produced with constant-velocity joints instead of universal joints.)
* 1996 – 1999 : Dana 30, High Pinion, Reverse Cut, 297x/760 universal joint, 27-spline axleshafts.
* 2000 – 2001 : Dana 30, Low Pinion, Standard Cut, 297x/760 universal joint, 27-spline axleshafts.

What should i be shopping for?

Premium Member
11,622 Posts
I would take a pre-99 HP dana 30 with 297x u-joints and without the CAD. The u-joint caps are 1 3/16 (or close to that) just so you know what to look for. I picked up a 98 HP 30 three weeks ago and it's been great. :)

Forget the 00-01 models. They have crappy low pinion P.O.S's. :)
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