Maybe this question might sound stupid to some of you.. .but here goes...
I have a 92 YJ with a dana 30, with 4.56 gears and a detroit trutrac, on 33's; but the shaft just broke....
I have two options:
1.- Buy chomoly axels, install, and ready to go. (g2 axels, about $700)
2.- Purchase a Dana 44 thats on a 1960's Ford Bronco, 4.56 gears, stock axel shafts, spool and manual hubs. ($450) I just have to pay welder to add the spring perches and get some wheel spacers/adapters to fit my wheel. Since the axel is 5X5.5 and my wheels are 5X4.5.
Junkyard shafts from a 96+ XJ with the larger joints- axle tube seals and genuine Spicer 5-760x joints is what I am doing- I broke my shaft last time out too. I figure I have wheeled it the way it was on 35s for a while before it broke. I will now have a spare set of shafts so I will be able to fix it if it breaks again. IF I manage to break it again then I will probably spring for the cromo shafts- JY shafts are only $21 each at my local Pick N Pull and I would want to put new joints in any JY shaft (my spares I will keep as pulled from the JY).
All together I am only into this swap ~$150 and most of that $$ I would have had to spend even if I did the cromo shafts (new ujoints and axle tube seals).
1994 Jeep YJ off road toy
1981 CJ7 SBC 350
2005 KJ Libertyt 4x4 CRD w/ 2.5" Frankenlift DD
What you gain with a 44 swap is stronger (larger) gears and maybe manual hubs. Nothing more.
The weak area of a 44 is the u-joint. It is the same size as the 96+ D30 joints.
That said, you can upgrade to better shafts in your 44 and then it is a better axle than what you have, but with the cost of swapping in a 44 then upgrading the shafts you could just swap in a 60.
Ok, off my soap box, the 44 isn't a bad axle, but its not much of an upgrade to the 30 (with TJ style shafts). Not enough to justify the swap, IMHO. The 30 can handle 35's locked with TJ shafts (or chromos with full circle clips, prefered). Where the 30 loses its credibility is with 37's. The 44 doesn't buy you reliability for 37's since the U-joints are still the weak link and anything over 37's you should be running tons, again IMHO.
Hope this helps confuse you more!
This whole discussion assumes stock drivetrain. Start adding large engines and my opinion and my decision matrix changes, but I don't think that's what you're asking.
The 44 is a minor upgrade over the 30. Don't get me wrong, the 44 is ok but if you are getting air, or hitting the rocks hard you can break shafts and bend the housing just like the 30. Either axle should probably have a truss and upgraded shafts.
The flip side is if you really don't offroad all that much, just get a used set of 30 axles and carry a spare offroad.
I have broken 5 30 axles and can change them offroad in about 25 mins. So it isn't that big a deal.
Hold on: Dana 30 27 spline axle shafts Dana 44 30 spline
Dana 30 small R&P Dana 44 bigger R&P
Dana 30 small shafts Dana 44 bigger shafts
I put a Scout 2 Dana 44 in the front of my CJ I think it's much stronger.
You forgot about the stronger housing, servicable wheel bearings, and lockouts.
Personally though if the only thing wrong with your Dana 30 is axle shafts go with Chromos and the bigger U joint.
Even if you do decide to put the 44 in you are still going to need Chromo shafts.
93 YJ SOA 2" springs front, XJ springs rear w/main leaf added, High pinon 9 inch rear detroit locker front Dana 44 ARB 4.56 Gears, 36 inch Irok tires too much to list. www.mijc.org