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If you don't know about Ruff Stuff Specialties, you are missing out, they make some top notch fab parts. You can see their site here:
RuffStuffSpecialties.com - Off-Road Fabrication Parts

I bought several fab parts for them for my u-bolt flip and shock relocation, but this is about their diff. cover.

This is what Dan at Ruff Stuff says about their diff covers:
"All materials are at least .375 (3/8") thick A50 Steel Plate (50,000lbs Tensile Strength), all high quality US manufactured steel Covers . All have a fill plug. We have added a drainplug option for $5 and we will countersink holes for $5 also. The countersunk covers come with grade 8 bolts. All
finished Diff covers come with a lifetime guarantee, no questions asked. We have now sold over 2400 covers, I think we are doing something right! One of the things we do right is after they are welded the ring is machined flat! I believe we are still the only manufacturer doing that. Lets face it, Steel moves when welded, if you don't machine it, it isn't flat, period!"


For those of us with the M226 axle, it is a Dana 44 variant axle, meaning it resembles a d44, but is not identical. Ruff Stuff currently makes covers for the d44, but not the M226. I special ordered a d44 cover with no bolt-holes in it since our axle has the holes in slightly different spots, and we also have 2 extra holes. Don't bother calling Dan, as he won't send you a cover without holes, it was a HUGE deal to get it this way, as they had to write a whole new CNC program for their laser cutter so that it didn't cut the holes.... BUT.... the good news.... I am going to make a hole-placement template for them and they will start producing this cover based on my template.

I will compare this to Shrockworks' diff skid simply because it is the only other diff protection out right now (Blue Torch Fab has a cover, but it is a custom piece).

Shrockworks:
3/8" ring
1/4" skid
Partial coverage
Stock fluid capacity
$109 + $9.59s/h (based on MY zip)

Ruff Stuff:
3/8" ring
3/8" skid (thicker)
FULL coverage
INCREASED fluid capacity
$100 + 9.45s/h flat rate for up to 2 covers.

I am NOT bashing Shrockworks, they make a very nice piece, I just wanted a full cover, and quality competition is always a good thing.









For those of you who don't know, this is what the Shrockworks skid looks like:
 

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good deal steve!!!

i believe the SW is a diff skid and not a cover but who am i to say anything.

-dan
 

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Yeah def do, I'm interested to see if they are going to offer some type of protection if you land on the bottom of your diff. The SW doesn't seem like it provides any other protection other then backing into anything.
 

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Yeah the Shrocl diff armor is just a skid/cover plate. That thing replaces the whole diff cover. That being said though, that thing is bad ass! One hefty looking mofo.
 

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Just by coincidence, I've been looking at those for my Jeep recently. They seem rock solid.

So the M226 is on the ORs and the MTs only, right? Does he have plans to make them for the C200?
 

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My guess is not. I think the only reason they are going to make them for the M226 is because it's the same basic shape as the D44.

If you are looking for diff covers for the Jeep, stop looking and just buy the Solid covers. By far the best covers you can buy.

northridge4x4.com usually runs good specials on Solid covers (if you can find any, they are the same as the old RockCrusher covers).
 

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Thanks, Jason. At the risk of hijacking here... Interesting to note that the D44a, the aluminum variant in my ZJ, has almost no aftermarket covers. This guy Dan at RuffStuff told me he's working on it but he really needs an entire pick-a-part axle to get it dialed.

Everyone's got something for the 30 up front.

But back to the X: So an M226 profile is closer to a standard 44 than the 44a is? I'm just curious as to why this small-ish shop is making covers for some of our Xs. He still had to make a totally different mold or pattern for the 226, right? And does pattern similarity really make that task easier?
 

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The only thing different between the M226 cover and the D44 cover is where the bolt holes are located and how many there are. If you read the first post in this thread he states that he convinced them to send him a cover with no bolt holes and he drilled them in the correct location himself.
 

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stevet47 said:
For those of us with the M226 axle, it is a Dana 44 variant axle, meaning it resembles a d44, but is not identical.
I did read the first post carefully, but because Steve said the covers weren't identical I was not positive that the only difference was the number and position of the bolt holes. Just making sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
d-rap said:
stevet47 said:
For those of us with the M226 axle, it is a Dana 44 variant axle, meaning it resembles a d44, but is not identical.
I did read the first post carefully, but because Steve said the covers weren't identical I was not positive that the only difference was the number and position of the bolt holes. Just making sure.
You didn't read it carful enough. When I said they resemble each other but are not identical I was refering to the entire axle.
The the covers are the same size/shape, we've just got different holes. Ruff Stuff is go to make these because all they have to do is drill the holes different; other than that, it is a d44 cover.
 

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Thanks for the clarification, and my bad. I'm certainly not trying to be the guy who jumps in without reading.

Anyway, this looks like a very stout cover, just what many people will want. Great pics, BTW.
 

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What do you plan to do about the fill plug being so much higher on the new cover? You don't wanna overfill the diff, thats for sure.
 

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The key is this. As you lift the rear, you will need to tip the axle back to keep the pinion angle correct. When you do this the stock fill hole becomes too low and doesn't allow you to fully fill the diff. Most aftermarket diff covers come with a higher fill hole to correct this problem. In most cases you do not want to fill up to the fill plug like stock since this will most often cause over filling.
 

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These two quotes don't seem to agree. One speaks of laser cutting the holes and writing a new program, the other speaks of simply drilling a different hole pattern. I only mention this because it may affect the time-frame of these being available.

Looks like a nice solid product. Great to have another choice and another vendor.

Original Post:

Don't bother calling Dan, as he won't send you a cover without holes, it was a HUGE deal to get it this way, as they had to write a whole new CNC program for their laser cutter so that it didn't cut the holes....

Post from yesterday:

Ruff Stuff is go to make these because all they have to do is drill the holes different; other than that, it is a d44 cover
 

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Darrin, I agree with what you are saying. I also find it odd that if they already have the CNC programed to not cut the holes, why would it be hard for them to do it again, the work has already been done.

That being said, as long as the shape is the same, no matter how they cut the holes, it would not be hard for them to change them and do a run of covers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok let me see here....

1) The added capacity. Muzikman said it best. The shape of the cover, not the higher fill holes accounts for the added capacity. I don't know how much is "just right" but I'll just fill it up with the stock amount, then fill it a little more I suppose.

2) Drilling/Lazer/waterjet, whats the difference, they all give you holes, lol. Here's the long story.... Ruff Stuff's covers are made on a CNC machines, whether it is a mill, laser, plasma, or water jet I am not sure. I wanted a cover with no holes, which they originally thought wasn't going to be a problem, but ended up being a big problem because of the downtime to setup the machines for a single cover instead of a large lot of them. Once I get Ruff Stuff the correct pattern, they will be able to write a CNC program for the holes. They are willing to produce this cover because the only process that is different is the creation of the holes, other than that it is a standard d44 cover.
If you still don't get it, that is the best I can explain it, sorry.
 

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well said steve. but how are the holes going to get in the diff cover again? lol
 

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Yeah, Steve, your explanations are great. I've got the picture at this point.

And as someone running 3+ of lift in the rear I'm an obvious candidate for getting one of these covers as soon as they hit the streets. It sounds like my diff needs a little more to drink.
 
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