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Crane High Clearance Diff Covers

By Jack Brinks

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Now comes the fun part. I get to go ‘wheelin while I “work.” I headed to Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area, which is an off-road park run by the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition near Gilmer, Texas. This was the Membership Appreciation Weekend and General Membership Meeting, as well as a scheduled Trails Committee Meeting. Since I’m the Trails Committee Chairman for TMTC (another of my “high-paying” jobs), I was obligated to go. Not that this was a problem, because I got a chance to do a little ‘wheelin and test the new Crane Extreme Diff Covers.

After the meetings were concluded, I headed towards the infamous Rockgarden, which is a man-made obstacle about 100 yards long and built of the biggest rocks we could find. The entrance afforded an opportunity to run the front cover directly into a rock. Now, mind you, that’s not an easy thing to do when you’ve been avoiding doing just that for years!

Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
Field testing
Crane High Clearance Diff Cover

At first, I eased up to the rock and pushed my Jeep against it. The Crane Extreme Diff Cover’s built in “ramp” allowed the Jeep to slide up and over - even with the left front tire in the air. I then backed off the rock, trying to rip the cover off from the back side. I lost a little paint - red and green, but that was all. I then proceeded to hit the rock a little harder several times, with the same results. So far, so good!

Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
The Crane cover helped ramp over the rock
Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
Backing off, the cover failed to be peeled from the diff.

The next rock I picked on took revenge. After running smack dab into it a few times, I told my friend Don, “If I keep this up, I’m gonna break something.” Getting the diff cover ever so close to sliding up the rock, the Jeep slid backwards. Before I could get my foot off the gas, the left front tire caught traction on the rock. Well, just for a split second it did, anyway, until a metallic “ching” was heard and the tire quit pulling. Not a good sign.

Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
Crane High Clearance Diff Cover

A quick inspection revealed only a locking hub adjuster cover sticking out in an unusual manner. I thought “great, it was only a hub and I’ve got a spare.” WRONG! Removing the outer locking hub ring revealed the truth. The stub shaft was toast. Since this was just a day run, I didn’t bring a spare axle, so the testing was done for the day. The next day, I found that not only had the stub shaft grenaded, but it also took out the locking hub and the spindle! Crane High Clearance Extreme Diff Cover ‘1’, Jeep ‘0’.

Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
Removing the cover revealed the ugly truth ...
Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
...the stub shaft was toast!

The Results
As you can see, the impacts barely scratched the Crane covers. Spray a little paint on ‘em if you want, and you won’t even see the scratches! I’d say the Crane High Clearance Extreme Diff Covers passed with flying colors - red and green!

Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
Removing the cover revealed the ugly truth ...
Crane High Clearance Diff Cover
...the stub shaft was toast!

By the way, Crane offers their practically indestructible High Clearance Extreme Diff covers for Dana 30, 35, 44, 60, AMC 20, Chrysler 8.25", Ford 8.8's and GM 14 bolts. Crane’s covers aren’t exactly cheap, though. The Dana 44 model retails for $196 but dealers such as 4x4ROCKSHOP.com typically discount them. The price you pay is definitely worth it, as they Crane covers keep your differentials and gears safe and these would probably be the last diff covers you’ll ever need!

Also, when you have a few moments, check out the Crane High Clearance heavy duty High Steer knuckles. They look awesome! Maybe it’s time to go bigger…Dana 60 in front…14 bolt out back…44” Super Swampers…Hydraulic steering…who knows?


Crane High Clearance
4785 Elati St. #33
Denver, CO 80216
Phone: (303) 917-4851
Email: joshua@cranehiclearance.com
Web: www.cranehiclearance.com

10699 Old Hwy 280, Bldg. 8B
Chelsea, AL 35043

Phone: (205) 678-2510
Email: rcarticles@4x4rockshop.com
Web: www.4x4rockshop.com


Jack Brinks

Jack Brinks is a staff writer for Rockcrawler.com.

When Jack isn't busy terrorizing rocks, breaking parts or helping the TMTC, he spends his free time at a high-paying job with high rank and secret status at one of the Big 3 auto makers.

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