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Thread: XJ: Narrowed D44/9" Swap
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Old November 28th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #2
John D
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I sent to knuckles off to John Nutter to have the passenger side machined and drilled/tapped to accept the Hi-steer arms. It looks like he is out of the business for now, so I don’t know where you can get it done. Maybe he will start back up, he had great service, fast turnaround and the price was great. I think I paid him about 60 bucks including the return shipping to machine it.

I painted it orange because all the cool kids on the playground have orange ones J
Kidding, the Jeep is Hemi Orange and several of the parts/pieces are painted orange to accent it. It’s the little things that make the difference.

I also found a pair of ’78 Ford Bronco rotors and hubs with all the bearings for 40 bucks. Yeah you guessed it, Craig’s List. Took them over to my buddies shop, sand blasted, turned and painted them to look like new.

I had a big bonus coming in from work so I figured I better hurry up and spend it. I started talking to the guys at JT’s They are a NAXJA Vendor so I figured I would see what they could do for me. I got in touch with Carl Montoya and we started talking. Basically we went back and forth for about a month (remember I said I was patient?) and we came up with a deal. Carl asked me not to post the price I paid, but these guys are willing to deal. As with many companies the more you buy the lower the prices go, these guys were awesome! Here is the list of parts I ordered from them:
1. D44 chromo axle kit
2. 300M joints
3. 5.13 gear set
4. Master kit
5. Nodular 3rd member w/ pinion support, 35 spline Detroit Locker and 5.14 gears set-up.
6. Cut-to-length 35 spline chromos
7. Bearings, seals, plates and studs

I put the OX together, gathered all the D44 stuff with housing and dropped it off at a buddy’s house to get the gears set-up.

Then I was looking at the 9” thinking, “what am I going to do with this?”
I didn’t have any trouble finding stuff about shaving it and trussing it Thanks to:

But what about narrowing it? I will admit I am not the best at searching these threads, but I found very little. Seems like most people avoid this and just run it full width. But like I said, I really wanted to run them XJ width. While measuring I discovered the center section was offset 2”. Again, this is something that doesn’t seem to be covered by anyone. Eventually I came across this thread
How To Narrow A 9 Inch Ford Rear End Housing: - The Garage Journal Board
which answered my questions about the offset, but left me wondering how I was going to turn down the ends of the housing for the narrowing process. I could have spent a lot of time finding a local machine shop to do it. I talked to Moser and for $125 they would narrow it to the width I wanted. I was going for 5” to match the front so I had them do 1” on one side and 4” on the other, centering the center section.

Here is some good tech from the website:
I am going to show the steps involved in narrowing a 9" Ford rear end housing. I am narrowing the following housing to accept Maverick 8" Ford 28 spline axles and housing ends to end up with a 56 3/8" wide 9" Ford rear end that will bolt in to a '65 Comet.

-First off, to clear up some mis-conceptions, a rear end is NEVER measured from backing plate to backing plate. That measurement tells you absolutely nothing because there are so many different backing plates, brake offsets and brake shoe widths. ALWAYS measure a rear end from the outside of the axle flange to the outside of the axle flange.

-Here are some terms, vital measurements and facts:

-28 spline 8" and 9" Ford axles are the same spline.

-You have to cut at least 4" out of 8" or 9" Ford OEM axles in order to shorten and re-spline them. Some of the older axles cannot be shortened at all. You cannot remove 1", 2", or 3" from any stock Ford 8" or 9" axle.

-Axles are always measured from the outside of the axle flange to the end of the splines.

-Brake offset is the measurement from the outside of the axle flange to the inside edge of the bearing retainer flange + 1/8". (the 1/8" is the thickness of the brake backing plate)

-Most small bearing 8" and 9" Fords have a 2 1/2" brake offset.

-Most big bearing 9" Fords have a 2 3/8" brake offset.

-These brake offsets are the most common, but there are always exceptions, so your best bet is to measure what you have.

-Centered pinion rear ends will ALWAYS have a left side axle that is 4" shorter than the right side axle.

-Rear ends that have the same length left and right side axles ALWAYS have the pinion offset 2" to the right.

-The "dogbone" is a tool that shows where the edge of the axles end up when bolted in the housing. It allows measurements to be taken with a bare housing when narrowing a housing.

-The space between the two axles is ALWAYS 1 1/8" on 8" and 9" Fords whether the rear end has an open diff, posi, locker, spool etc. This measurement is the same throughout all years of production.

I dropped the D44 off at a buddy’s house so he could do the gear set-up for me. I also dropped off the 3.50 3rd member that came with the F100 axles. He’s a dirt track racer and turns out he was looking to buy a 3.50 3rd member to have for certain tracks. We made an even swap; the 3.50 3rd member for his D44 set-up labor. My lucky day!

Did some reading on shaving and trussing the 9”:
I liked what he did with his truss, but the shave wasn’t deep enough.
This is more like what I had in mind for the shave.

So I marked it out and hit it with the cut-off wheel. Talk about a “no turning back now” feeling. Believe it or not you could go even deeper. I still have 3/8” between where the plate is going to be and the ring gear.

Here’s about what it will look like when I weld the plate on.

I started thinking about a drain plug. Poked around a while and all I could find was:
1. Tap the lowest 3rd member stud hole and put a bolt in there.
2. Remove the 3rd member when you want to change oil.
3. Put a plug in the plate in the bottom.

None of these were the option I wanted so I decided to dill, tap and install a plug in the little crease just above the plate. It will still have a little oil in it when I drain it, but it will get most of it. I’ll probably cut a ½” piece of schedule 40 pipe and weld it around it to help protect it.

Gave Dan a call at Ruff Stuff and ordered a few goodies. 9” pinion guard and a 9” axles swap kit.

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