Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
This isn't a dumb question at all.
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.
13 GC Overland - (Wife's DD) 5.7, stock
Past Jeeps: 99TJ, 78CJ7, 91YJ, 01WJ, 03TJ, 05KJ