Does this mean 3.45 is less likely to break?Far enough! To clarify…
I do a lot of different Jeeping. I use it as my daily driver, it covers a lot of trails, and it rock crawls to the fullest capacity it is built for (it can’t keep up with Flex, Rocks, and Rollovers on YouTube). I have it built with a ProRock Dana44 fron’t with RCV shafts and factory Dana 44 rear. It is geared in 4.56 because it started as an Xtreme Recon. It has full belly skids and full MetalCloak 3.5” suspension system/lift.
I do not Jeep with other people 90% of the time. If I do, it is with one friend and only during the summer months when he has his TJ out on the road. Otherwise he is in the Jeep with me or its my wife. I have zero desire to be sitting in a park full of trails waiting my turn. There is a lot great terrain in NH that you can find.
That means if the R&P strips, the knuckles go, or something otherwise catastrophic, I am likely not getting out of there. I run the rig on 37s. And as much as I would LOVE 40s, I do not feel personally like I would want to take on the risk of failure by running them on D44 gears. I would want the much larger R&P provided by D60 axles or bigger.
There are a lot of different things that can go wrong out in the woods. My preference would be that it is something less catastrophic than a differential so that I have a higher chance of rigging it together and getting out.
The jeep will hopefully end up on 40s at some point, but that means new axles, hydro, drive shafts, etc before wheels and tires get added.
I hit a huge hole in a dirt road that was covered by snow last winter going about 10mph and it bounced the Jeep hard enough to bend the axle housing slightly. Freak accident. I was lucky it didn’t snap a tie rod end either and that it only bent one. It doesn’t take much to go wrong.