XJ: Narrowed D44/9" Swap - Great Lakes 4x4. The largest offroad forum in the Midwest

Go Back   Great Lakes 4x4. The largest offroad forum in the Midwest > 4x4 Talk > Jeep Tech
GL4x4 Live! GL4x4 Casino

greatlakes4x4.com is the premier Great Lakes 4x4 Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Search
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 28th, 2010, 02:21 PM   #1
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default Narrowed D44/9" Swap

About two years ago a friend put a 5.7L Hemi in his JK and another friend John B (96 Classic on NAXJA) put an LS1 in his XJ. I drove and rode in both of these Jeeps and immediately had engine envy. Prompted by this envy I began an 18 month quest to put a 5.3L in my XJ. Frank Z was doing the swap at about the same time as me
5.3L Vortec V8 Conversion - NAXJA Forums -::- North American XJ Association
). And my Instrument Cluster Swap to Auto Meters
Instrument Cluster - Custom Gauges - NAXJA Forums -::- North American XJ Association

About 6 months into the 5.3L quest reality started to set in and I started thinking there would need to an axle upgrade to go along with it. I was running a D30 with an OX and 4.56 gears and an 8.25” with a No Slip lunchbox locker. Stock shafts were in both axles.

I studied a couple threads on NAXJA, some on Pirate and few other sites I could gather information from. Many thanks to:
Cruzin Illusion
Custom Width HP44 Build and Tech - NAXJA Forums -::- North American XJ Association
Starboard M
Bolt In High Pinion Dana 44 - NAXJA Forums -::- North American XJ Association
Mr. N http://77cj.littlekeylime.com/web_rs44.html
And a bunch of others who have taken the time to document what they did.

My intention was to narrow the axles and run them at XJ width. I decided I needed a pre-’78 F150 or F100 as a donor. Up to ’75 has the drum brakes and ’76-’77 has the disc brake D44 and both have the weld on wedges. I started cruising Craig’s List and there were tons of the ’78 up stuff around here and quite a few of the ’75 down stuff. I kept looking for the years with the disc brake front. In the end it turned out to be time wasted because I decided I was going to use the Chevy D44 Flat Top Knuckles for this swap. I found a pair from a ’75 F100 I found on Craig’s List for $250. Aren’t they sexy? Bright red and GIANT skid plates!



I figured the D44 was going to the challenge so I started on that first. I cleaned it up and stripped all of the mounts off of it.




I was really worried about my abilities to cut and turn the knuckles. I studied and stayed awake at night thinking about it! I ended up following Cruzin’s thread to get the XJ width I wanted. I would spend a lot less time and worry on it the second time around. It really was not that difficult to do. You just need to take your time and measure everything to ensure it is correct. My Jeep gets less than 3000 road miles a year so it becomes even less critical that it’s perfect.

I wanted to use the TNT truss for the D44, it seems like a good product and it includes everything you need. A little pricey? Yeah. But I do think it was worth it.




Now it was time to start searching for my Chevy Flat Tops. There are several possibilities to use depending on what you want (see Mr. N’s page), but for my case I was looking for a ’73 to ’76.5 K5 or K10. I am very patient when it comes to waiting for the right deal to show up on Craig’s List. However, this endeavor took me three months; I wasn’t sure I would ever find the knuckles. Then one day they popped up and it was only 20 miles away. I ran right over with my money in hand. The guy wanted $100 for the whole thing; it had no axles, no rotors, and only 1 caliper. What it did have was the knuckles I wanted, the caliper mounts and the spindles. I was able to talk him down to $50 and I turned the housing into a 12 pack of Miller Lite.






The way to run the Chevy Flat Tops with Ford 5 on 5.5 outers was the most difficult information to find/decipher. With the help of Mr. N’s website I did prevail, but even so when I bought these I wasn’t 100% sure this was what I needed.
John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old November 28th, 2010, 02:21 PM   #2
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

I sent to knuckles off to John Nutter http://www.jnutter.com/index.html 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 http://www.justdifferentials.com/ 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:
87xjco http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthrea...ht=shaved+ford
XJ_ranger http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthrea...ht=shaved+ford

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 garagejoural.com 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”:

http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthrea...ht=shaved+ford
I liked what he did with his truss, but the shave wasn’t deep enough.

http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthrea...ht=shaved+ford
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.

John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 28th, 2010, 02:30 PM   #3
RDK_YJ88
Never Lift
 
RDK_YJ88's Avatar
 
Join Date: 06-16-06
Location: Fenton, MI
Posts: 3,003
iTrader: (43)
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Send a message via AIM to RDK_YJ88
Default

Great documentation! Looks like a fun build.
RDK_YJ88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 29th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #4
dentedvw
╭∩╮ 0_o
 
dentedvw's Avatar
 
Join Date: 08-11-06
Location: Lansing
Posts: 644
iTrader: (10)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Default

Fully awesome!
dentedvw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 29th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #5
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Thanks guys.

Spent the day at a friend’s welding shop and got a lot done on the 9”.

Closed up the gaping hole in the bottom.





Used a dye penetrate to expose two tiny leaks and sealed them up.

Made up the truss, used a big torch and a 3# sledge to form a piece of 3/16” over the ring gear hump and ended up with this; I am pleased with it. Should be able to smash it into anything.




The Parts Mike arms and re-tapered Waggy pitman arm showed up yesterday. A little paint to make them pretty.



Pulled the rear axle out and while I was taking the bolts out of the springs I snapped the front hanger bolt on the driver’s side. Not a huge deal, just going to have to fix it before I can move forward.



Ran into a snag with the TNT truss. The driver’s side upper mount is off a little. The angle would not line up with the upper arm. I was able to modify the hole on the arm to make it work. Seemed easier than cutting off the mount and re-welding. Hard to see, but the angle compared to the arm is different. Eventually I will cut it off and reattach correctly.



Made some good progress, here’s where it’s at now.



These arms are going to give a ton of clearance and should make the steering angles almost nothing.

John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #6
go1lum
Senior Member
 
Join Date: 11-03-08
Location: Mesick/Michigan
Posts: 441
iTrader: (4)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Default

Looking sexy jon. Keep up the good work.
go1lum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 1st, 2010, 12:08 PM   #7
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Progress this week has been slow. Lots of other things to do besides the Jeep L

After screwing around with my junkyard lockouts for 3 days I decided to buy a new set. I should have done that from the start. 90 bucks from Advance for a set of metal Mile Markers. Nice and shiny.



I also discovered that one of my wheel bearing hubs was slightly deformed. I picked up one of those from Advance too. They are 41 bucks at Advance and 101 bucks at NAPA. The computer at Advance doesn’t list the part, I had to find it online and then they could find it in the store. Weird. YH141951 Hub PN.

I have been trying to decide what to do about the clearance, Clarence (Airplane movie). The 5.3L takes up a lot of room and it looks like where it currently is I will only have 3.5-4” of up-travel before my control arms and D44 yoke make contact with either the engine or the exhaust.

I could push the axle forward 1-2” to gain some clearance or limit the up-travel. Maybe both would be best, but the TREs and track bar are lined up perfect where the axle sits now.

Opinions anyone?

Here are some pics of the clearance.



It looks like it will hit the oil pan, but that clearance is OK.



John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 4th, 2010, 02:03 PM   #8
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Yeah! Back on all fours. Tires nicely tucked under, just the way I wanted.



Here's how the 9" shave turned out.



Ordered the steering from Parts Mike, threaded inserts for my track bar and an OX cable. They should all be here Monday and Tuesday.

I decided I can stretch the front at least one inch without issues. I am going to wait until the steering is on to see if I can get two. Then I'll just bump stop whatever else I need to keep it away from the engine.

I was hoping I wouldn't have to do anything to the driveshafts, but the front is just too long now. Going to have to shorten it.
John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 4th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #9
whiterhino
I'm not old, honest...
 
whiterhino's Avatar
 
Join Date: 03-07-06
Location: Davisburg MI
Posts: 22,306
iTrader: (22)
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Default

Looks good. You put a lot of detail into it. What brand chromo's did you go with and what size tire do you expect to eventually run? My guess is depending on how you run it, they will last pretty good but be sure to realize they aren't bulletproof. Ask me how I know.

Re a drain in the rear dif, if you run rocks, you will find that you will hit the bottom 3 nut/studs and they will bend, causing leaks. I pulled my 3rd member and welded a nut onto the inside of the housing. Now, the heads of the bolts get scuffed but don't bend and break the studs. In addition, when you pull the bottom bolt, it doubles as a drain.
whiterhino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 5th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #10
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
Looks good. You put a lot of detail into it. What brand chromo's did you go with and what size tire do you expect to eventually run? My guess is depending on how you run it, they will last pretty good but be sure to realize they aren't bulletproof. Ask me how I know.
Thanks! I am running 35's and that is probably as big as they will get. I am not too concerned about breaking, I was running a D30/8.25 before these. I'll look into the bottom three studs to see what to do.
John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 9th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #11
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Update, making a little progress this week.

1 ton steering kit from Parts Mike.



Making the OX cover pretty.



I am really happy with the way the steering turned out. It is super beefy and the ground clearance with the high steer arms is awesome. The angle from the pitman arm to the TRE turned out really nice too. That is a flat waggy pitman arm and it still has an angle that low.



John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 9th, 2010, 12:57 PM   #12
bigbchevy
missmrgreenagain
 
bigbchevy's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09-15-07
Location: fenton /hartland mi
Posts: 19,984
iTrader: (167)
Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Default

looking great ! nice work
__________________
H.o.r.e
(mr.green)So you are calling CC a liar?? Not a nice way to treat your bitch.
tube bending and gear installs pm me for info! gears installed for $150 and up per axle.
bigbchevy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 15th, 2010, 06:49 PM   #13
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

This friggin banjo bolt feasco is making me nuts! I finally have the correct banjo bolts and they won't fit into my brake line adapter thingies. What do you call the end of this brake line where the banjo bolt goes through and where do you buy them?

Maybe I should just get some extended lines for a K5 Blazer (that's where the cailpers are from) but there is nothing wrong with these if I can find the correct end.

John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2010, 09:35 AM   #14
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Made a little progress yesterday before the dog got sick all over the house

Stretched the front 1.25" and it made gobs of room. By gobs I mean a little more (there's a 5.3L sitting above the front axle ya know?). I will actually have a little up-travel now. The track bar and steering are in and it's really tight. I know it's still in the garage, but the steering feels effortless as compared to before when it had a giant drop pitman and a huge angle to the bottom of the D30 knuckle. Going to need to trim the back of the bumper, but that should be all. The front drive shaft fits now too!

Finally got the brakes bled. Been so long since I messed with drums and I had them out of adjustment. 3 quarts of brake fluid later I finally figured it out. Even did a bench bleed on the MC while I was wasting time and fluid. Oh well, there's not a drop of old fluid left in the system now.

Waiting on shocks now so I still can't drive it. Probaby going to put it on jack stands and start breaking in the gears while I'm waiting.
John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #15
shawn
Resident HVAC/R Jambi
 
shawn's Avatar
 
Join Date: 11-05-05
Location: Milford/Commerce
Posts: 10,158
iTrader: (24)
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Send a message via Yahoo to shawn
Default

What shafts did you get for the front? Are they a stock length shaft? life for a Ruby 44? or did you have to custom order them.

I'm thinking about custom biulding a narrowed HPD44 that uses stock length Ruby D44 shafts. I like the truss.
shawn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19th, 2010, 02:37 PM   #16
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
What shafts did you get for the front? Are they a stock length shaft? life for a Ruby 44? or did you have to custom order them.

I'm thinking about custom biulding a narrowed HPD44 that uses stock length Ruby D44 shafts. I like the truss.
Just by chance they were off the shelf axles. I gave him my measurments and he said he had them. The long side was a tagged as a Rubi shaft. The short side was tagged as a 30 spline D30 shaft which I am pretty sure is the same as a Rubi shaft.
John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21st, 2010, 09:13 PM   #17
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

I actually pulled it out of the garage and took it down the street today! Started the swap on Thanksgiving weekend and it finally moves again - sorta. The toe in is about an inch or so and the brakes need to be bled one more time. It was interesting to say the least. Just waiting for the wife to get home so she can help me do the alignment.

Finished installing/mounting the OX cable too.



John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2010, 12:20 AM   #18
go1lum
Senior Member
 
Join Date: 11-03-08
Location: Mesick/Michigan
Posts: 441
iTrader: (4)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Default

Epic
go1lum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2010, 01:16 PM   #19
kmetz71
Newbie
 
Join Date: 03-18-10
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 9
iTrader: (0)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John D View Post
This friggin banjo bolt feasco is making me nuts! I finally have the correct banjo bolts and they won't fit into my brake line adapter thingies. What do you call the end of this brake line where the banjo bolt goes through and where do you buy them?

Maybe I should just get some extended lines for a K5 Blazer (that's where the cailpers are from) but there is nothing wrong with these if I can find the correct end.

Call Summit they hooked me up with some banjo style bolts and the correct adapters... I believe they were from Earl's I think Russle has them also.
kmetz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2010, 02:53 PM   #20
John D
Senior Member
 
John D's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-01-08
Location: Rockford, MI
Posts: 584
iTrader: (6)
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Default

Thanks but the K5 Blazer RWD lines worked perfect. They are almost the exact length of my SS lines and they were only 21 bucks each.

Advance Auto brake line PN H86551 Right, H86550 Left.
NAPA banjo bolt PN 82698

Side-by-side shot of the 6" XJ extended and the K5 RWD OEM length lines.

John D is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Great Lakes 4x4. The largest offroad forum in the Midwest > 4x4 Talk > Jeep Tech

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:02 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2012, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.
Page generated in 0.57331 seconds with 82 queries