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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:22 PM   #1
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Default D44 XJ Info

Okay, I just read the Dana Axle Info Sticky post. It is excellent but I still need more information. I'm installing the Ford 8.8 in the rear of both my XJ's ('89 & '97) and need stronger front axles with the driver's side drop.

My HP D30's are okay but the serviceable front bearing of the D44 is more desirable. I like the flat cast steering knuckles on the 1976 and earlier (i.e., older) GM 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton pickups as I want crossover steering. My problem is I'm not knowledgable on this vintage of GM products to really know what I need and what I would be getting with this choice of front D44. Can anyone help me with this question?

Can I get these older GM D44 axles in a high pinion configuration?

Will these axles work with my NP231 & NP242? What about the wheel bolt mounting circle? Presumably this is easy to match to the XJ bolt pattern.

So what would I like in a D44? HP, disc brakes, XJ wheel bolt pattern, drivers side drop, crossover steering and the ability to work with the NP 242 (as the NP 231 is easier to accommodate with auto lockers, etc. since it is strictly a part-time T-Case.). Fabrication does not bother me; I just want to avoid large efforts and $$$ to get the desired result.

Please advise.

Thanks,

Rick

Last edited by RAVC1; October 9th, 2007 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Typo!
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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:31 PM   #2
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Ford Hi Pinion Dana 44 is probably your best bed. GM axles IIRC are not driver drop.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:31 PM   #3
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only ford were hp
can't do xj pattern, have to do 5x5.5" bp

early 70's to 77 f-150 44 (not cast wedges) with gm outers on it with the orignal ford hubs (have to use the small bearing gm spindle) Narrow it to 85-91 grand wagoneer inner axle shaft lengths, which is almost stock width

either stick with the 30 or get ready to shell out some $$

BTW I got all the parts
http://www.greatlakes4x4.com/showthread.php?t=62632
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Old October 9th, 2007, 11:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 99grandtj View Post
either stick with the 30 or get ready to shell out some $$
this is the unfortunate truth.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #5
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This is why I sold the 8.8 I had bought for my XJ and generally don't recommend them to people. They are a good stong axle, but become very expensive since people grow out of a D30/8.8 rig too fast and want to upgrade the front.

Its not that it can't be done, but the only axle that is already at the right approxomate width is low-pinion and doesn't have flat-tops. Its just not cheap, like Adam said.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PavementPounder View Post
This is why I sold the 8.8 I had bought for my XJ and generally don't recommend them to people. They are a good stong axle, but become very expensive since people grow out of a D30/8.8 rig too fast and want to upgrade the front.

Its not that it can't be done, but the only axle that is already at the right approxomate width is low-pinion and doesn't have flat-tops. Its just not cheap, like Adam said.
What would you recommend as a good strong axle set up for an XJ? This is something I have been thinking about doing. Right now it is my DD on 31's and I want to go to 33's, but I plan on going to 35's or 36's in the next couple of years when it is retired to a trail rig.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 09:16 AM   #7
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My personal recommendation to people running a driver drop in just about any vehicle is the 78-79 F-250 HPD44/D60 for a variety of reasons:
  • The first thing that comes to mind is width. With appropriately backspaced rims (H1 or H2), its not the big deal people think it is. YJ's are about the same width as XJ's, so look at JeepFreak81's build thread to see what these look like on a vehicle that wide. Others have posted pics of these axles in XJ's, but I forget their names and it would take a while to find the pics.
  • The second thing that comes to mind is the lug pattern. They are 8x6.5. Lots of people complain abiout not wanting to switch patterns due to already owning nice wheels, but guess what? You'd be doing it anyway with the 8.8 in order to run a front D44. There are a lot of options out there for 8-lug rims, especially used beadlocks and the H2's open the door to 17" tires.
  • 30-spline FF D60 shafts are the same diameter as D44, but people forget that you are still getting a strength increase due to the change in housing design. SF axle shafts help bear the weight of the vehicle, adding stress. FF shafts do not support the weight of the vehicle and their full strength is devoted to the drivetrain. Beyond that, FF D60 rears have a lot of potential for further upgrades in the way of shaving the housing for clearance, chromo shafts, 35-spline and up conversions, disc conversions, etc. Parts are cheap and common. They are like CJ's - you can pretty much buy anything for them.
  • You're getting a matched set that is commonly found in 4.10 ratio. This is good enough for people to get by with for the time being since a lot of XJ's and other vehicles come with 3.55's or 3.07's. You can focus your funds on setting up the axles the right way and worry about regearing or adding traction devices later. You also benefit from not having to screw with your proportioning valve since the set was engineered to work with each other already. The volume of brake fluid supplied my the master cylinder may be an issue that needs to be addressed, though
  • This particular D44 front is pretty much the biggest, strongest factory unit out there. The shafts are not anything different than 1/2 ton axles, but the housing and other parts are. You get a 3" diameter full tube with 1/2" wall thickness, factory flat-tops on both sides (only the passenger needs to be milled/drilled/tapped), dual-piston calipers designed to stop a much heavier vehicle, a driver-drop reverse-cut differential (high-pinion), and lockouts. With YJ's, this set bolts directly in SOA. With anything else, there are no cast areas on the tubes or knuckle yokes to worry about welding to. Thick gears are also available of lower ratios, so you don't have to bother with a new carrier if you don't want to.
  • The 78-79 F-250's and F-350's shared the same frame. For YJ owners that are ready to upgrade to a HPD60 front, the 78-79 F-350 HPD60 bolts directly in place of the HPD44. This is what we did with Leanz's YJ. With an XJ or TJ, you can pretty much use whatever HPD60 you want, but the 78-79's differential is not positioned as far outboard as the later trucks and it gives you more room to work with on the tube.

Last edited by PävementPounder; October 10th, 2007 at 09:21 AM.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info!
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #9
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Super 88 and hp44 is a good combo.

Or a 9" and hp44 if you have the driveshaft room.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 01:58 PM   #10
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Subscribed for future reference.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PavementPounder View Post
My personal recommendation to people running a driver drop in just about any vehicle is the 78-79 F-250 HPD44/D60 for a variety of reasons:
  • The first thing that comes to mind is width. With appropriately backspaced rims (H1 or H2), its not the big deal people think it is. YJ's are about the same width as XJ's, so look at JeepFreak81's build thread to see what these look like on a vehicle that wide. Others have posted pics of these axles in XJ's, but I forget their names and it would take a while to find the pics.
  • The second thing that comes to mind is the lug pattern. They are 8x6.5. Lots of people complain abiout not wanting to switch patterns due to already owning nice wheels, but guess what? You'd be doing it anyway with the 8.8 in order to run a front D44. There are a lot of options out there for 8-lug rims, especially used beadlocks and the H2's open the door to 17" tires.
  • 30-spline FF D60 shafts are the same diameter as D44, but people forget that you are still getting a strength increase due to the change in housing design. SF axle shafts help bear the weight of the vehicle, adding stress. FF shafts do not support the weight of the vehicle and their full strength is devoted to the drivetrain. Beyond that, FF D60 rears have a lot of potential for further upgrades in the way of shaving the housing for clearance, chromo shafts, 35-spline and up conversions, disc conversions, etc. Parts are cheap and common. They are like CJ's - you can pretty much buy anything for them.
  • You're getting a matched set that is commonly found in 4.10 ratio. This is good enough for people to get by with for the time being since a lot of XJ's and other vehicles come with 3.55's or 3.07's. You can focus your funds on setting up the axles the right way and worry about regearing or adding traction devices later. You also benefit from not having to screw with your proportioning valve since the set was engineered to work with each other already. The volume of brake fluid supplied my the master cylinder may be an issue that needs to be addressed, though
  • This particular D44 front is pretty much the biggest, strongest factory unit out there. The shafts are not anything different than 1/2 ton axles, but the housing and other parts are. You get a 3" diameter full tube with 1/2" wall thickness, factory flat-tops on both sides (only the passenger needs to be milled/drilled/tapped), dual-piston calipers designed to stop a much heavier vehicle, a driver-drop reverse-cut differential (high-pinion), and lockouts. With YJ's, this set bolts directly in SOA. With anything else, there are no cast areas on the tubes or knuckle yokes to worry about welding to. Thick gears are also available of lower ratios, so you don't have to bother with a new carrier if you don't want to.
  • The 78-79 F-250's and F-350's shared the same frame. For YJ owners that are ready to upgrade to a HPD60 front, the 78-79 F-350 HPD60 bolts directly in place of the HPD44. This is what we did with Leanz's YJ. With an XJ or TJ, you can pretty much use whatever HPD60 you want, but the 78-79's differential is not positioned as far outboard as the later trucks and it gives you more room to work with on the tube.
Good advice
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Old October 10th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #12
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Yeah, it costs a lot. I have..$1400 into my swap right now, and its not done yet. I got GREAT deals on everything I bought too, didn't pay normal dollar amounts. Keep a few things in mind, it is a pain in the ass and isn't cheap. I hope it will be worth it
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:02 PM   #13
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Default Dana XJ Axle Choices

PP - Your points are well made. However, I have to question if this solution is best for my application/intended use. Both of my XJs will be trail rigs.

That said, I have only recently realized a trail can be more challenging than we all generally consider. This is what generated my interest in crossover steering.

I also plan to use 33" tires, little lift (2" - 3"), bump stop and trim where needed. This is the configuration I prefer as it will also make it easier for my wife & I to drive daily in this "vertically challenged" state. Many offroaders are using this strategy and still getting excellent suspension flex...down or away from the undercarriage where you need it.

The F-250 hp D44 you mention sounds excellent and feasible for an XJ to consider (Despite having already purchased my wheels...). What concerns me is the D60. Can the D60 housing even fit under the vehicle configuration I've described? I currently know only one person using the D60 and he likes building the fullsize Wagoneers. It seems easy to conclude the gain in ground clearance I experience as a result of using a relatively small tire like the 33" is likely to be lost by the D60 pinion housing.

The wheel BP discrepancy between the D44 & Ford 8.8 bothers the hell out of me (..as I did purchase my wheels already...did I say that already...stupid of me.) but people commonly push the D30 further than they expect to and they always use the economics of the D30 axles in defense of this position. Any of us can be proud; I just prefer to stay away from breaking hardware.

Keep this discussion going; I'm learning a lot from it. I just want to explore some ideas for custom work on either the D30 or D44 to address increasing the strength of the D30 and that blasted bolt pattern issue between the D44 & the 8.8. Clearly, the 8.8 is not the problem.

Front & rear D44's instead? I thought the 8.8 was stronge than the D44...

No, we cannot use cost as a means of refraining from these changes; particularly if they make you reliable. However, I do not think I will ever be able to justify the $1100 for the D30 front lockout hub upgrade. We have to be able to spend our money in a smarter manner than this.

Rick

Last edited by RAVC1; October 10th, 2007 at 10:08 PM. Reason: grammer!...typos!
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #14
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Another negative with the f-250 stuff is even with the high backspacing wheels they are still wide.

Super 88 kit is dual bolt pattern and has 5x5.5" bp, same is true for higher end 44 rear shafts.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PavementPounder View Post
[*]The 78-79 F-250's and F-350's shared the same frame. For YJ owners that are ready to upgrade to a HPD60 front, the 78-79 F-350 HPD60 bolts directly in place of the HPD44. This is what we did with Leanz's YJ. With an XJ or TJ, you can pretty much use whatever HPD60 you want, but the 78-79's differential is not positioned as far outboard as the later trucks and it gives you more room to work with on the tube.
So what you're saying here is that a HPD60 from a F250 will bolt up in a YJ without mods? What about a HPD44 from a 79 leaf sprung F150? If it does I may have to hold on to the one I have.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 10:44 PM   #16
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So what you're saying here is that a HPD60 from a F250 will bolt up in a YJ without mods? What about a HPD44 from a 79 leaf sprung F150? If it does I may have to hold on to the one I have.
if you go sprig over on the yj yes to question #1
as to the 79 150, i thought they were all rad. arms in the front???
and yes they have the cast wedge on them but that is an easy fix with an air arc and a little skill
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Old October 11th, 2007, 05:57 AM   #17
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As Sglide said, yes. The F-250 axles are factory SOA. However, that F-150 axle would not be my choice due to the cast ends. If you want to run 5x5.5, you want a 1977-down half-ton axle that has full tubes like the 78-79 F-250.

RAV, my XJ is going to be receiving a HPD60/D70 this winter but I started out with a different HPD60 since I didn't need spring perches. I also had it narrowed to match the C&C D70 rear I'm using.

As for the bolt pattern discrepancy with the D44/8.8, its generally because people go buy 5x4.5 8.8's. 5x5.5 8.8's are out there, but all that really does is save you a few bucks on adapters.

Adam makes good points and width really seems to bother a lot of people. Dual-patter shafts are out there and solve problems, but they are the example I was making as far as a lot of added cost that people don't expect when trying to combine a D44 with an 8.8. I was considering hunting down an XJ D44 rear for a while to just throw some blingy shafts in and maybe put discs on if I ever needed to.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 06:52 AM   #18
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The F-150 super cab was leaf sprung front, I can't remeber the specs but I would guess a smaller tubed f-250 setup but was 5 lug. Just a FYI
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Old October 11th, 2007, 06:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
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As Sglide said, yes. The F-250 axles are factory SOA. However, that F-150 axle would not be my choice due to the cast ends. If you want to run 5x5.5, you want a 1977-down half-ton axle that has full tubes like the 78-79 F-250.
the 78-79 do have full tubes, it is not the tube that is cast, its a mounting wedge for the rad. arm.
and tho they look like they are part of the axle tube they are not, they are sub-arced on and are remove able easily with the right tools.
i wish i would have slowed down and took some pics of removing them from mine before welding the tj brackets on the next set i do i will do a write up with picks on how to make the cast wedges go away.


so basically if you don't have access to a welder that is experienced with air-arc cutting equipment, then you really want to take pavement pounders advice.

but if you do, then there is no real reason not to use the 78-79 f150 44.
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Old October 11th, 2007, 09:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
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The F-150 super cab was leaf sprung front, I can't remeber the specs but I would guess a smaller tubed f-250 setup but was 5 lug. Just a FYI
Yes, but the knuckles are apparently not recommended for hi-steer. IIRC, they will accept the dual-piston brakes.


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the 78-79 do have full tubes, it is not the tube that is cast, its a mounting wedge for the rad. arm.

Look at pictures 14-16 here: http://77cj.littlekeylime.com/Dana44.htm

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