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-   -   How to truss a Dana HD 44 or "44A" (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/how-truss-dana-hd-44-44a-746328/)

Opihi59 04-04-2009 08:16 PM

How to truss a Dana HD 44 or "44A"
 
There will be many disclaimers here, first off I want everyone to realize I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the square mileage of my particular island is likely smaller than the size of the COUNTY you live in. The things I can get for my Jeep are limited then to what I can find in my backyard, it is very limited, and shipping anything out here larger than a maxi pad is cost-prohibitive. The Dana HD44, AKA the 44A--A for aluminum--has an aluminum center section. I don't know why Chrysler decided to do this to us, but they came this way on Grand Cherokees. The axle shafts themselves are stout, they have disc brakes. I wanted to change from my 3.07 to 3.73 for my own mild purposes, an axle swap was the route I took. Grand cherokees have coils, YJ's have leaf springs. Lotta things to change. While the ZJ clan wheel well enough on these, there are reports of damaging the alum housing by jacking up the rear of the jeep with a floor jack under the diff, and carrier bearing issues from flexion in the housing. A 3.73 Dana 44A came available before an 8.8 so I went with it. In order to strengthen this, I decided it would be fun to make a truss. This is simply how I did it, yeah, it can be a shovel to hang up on rocks (I am a mild wheeler) It would be more outta the way on top of the axle than underneath, but remember steel is designed to take stress best in tension rather than compression. AND, I can always swap to another axle if one comes available--I am patient.
First off--this is what I started with, only I remember it was in better focus...

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3530.jpg

Spend a little time cutting everything off with a cutoff wheel and you get something like this:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3561.jpg
http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3574.jpg

Carefully make a cardboard template:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3597.jpg

Draw it out on 1/4 plate steel, and cut out with your angle grinder/thin cutting wheel, and some patience:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3595.jpg

And you get this, cut another for the other side

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3599.jpg

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3598.jpg

Then tack them in place with a few spotwelds

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3613.jpg

MORE TO FOLLOW

shaggyjim 04-04-2009 08:25 PM

I have never been into a 44A bro but I have been told that the internals are not the same as other 44's. Have you looked into this? What did you find out?

Opihi59 04-04-2009 08:25 PM

Next you need to bend up a hoop from some 2" 1/4 strap steel. With the help from the static weight of my handy 86 Yota, I got it made into the proper curvature

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3615.jpg

Then weld the strap in place

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3618.jpg

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3619.jpg

Then of course fashion/cut out a skidplate for the diff

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3625.jpg

Then struggle mightily to make a hoop, this is to go between the skid plate and encircle the pinion, it prevents the front of the skidplate getting torn off.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3626.jpg

And you end up with something like this

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3629.jpg

Of course I had wire wheeled all the grime off the axle, and painted it to prevent rusting up while I was fabricating, looks better as well under the Heep.

MORE TO FOLLOW

Opihi59 04-04-2009 08:37 PM

I read up a lot of information on the 44A from the Arctic offroad webpage, this axle came stock on V8 Grand Cherokees. I claim no special expertise on this particular axle, it's just what I managed to find on my island. I'll likely edit in a few more pictures. Next step after trussing was to put in my SYE, set pinion angle, weld perches and shock tabs, install, bend up brake lines, make adaptors for flex brake lines, fab up ebrake cables, etc--material for someone else's writeup.
At any rate, I have a few hundred miles on this now, everything seems to be doing quite well, and I'm happy enough with it. Since Rusty was looking for some "how to" threads, I decided to put this one in just in case it may be helpful to someone.

shaggyjim 04-04-2009 09:37 PM

Looks sick bro! I cant wait to see it on the Jeep. As long as its working I say its a good swap!

Alvy 04-04-2009 09:44 PM

Nice clean job, looks great. At a quick glance it almost looks like an 8.8. Looks like tubes and center are plugged to hold them together as well. Question, being that the tubes and center section are dissimilar metals, can they not be welded like most do to their 8.8's?

shaggyjim 04-04-2009 10:23 PM

Ok after looking at your photos again I just gotta know....... Whats with the bar code on the pinion bearing support?

Opihi59 04-04-2009 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alvy (Post 6948951)
Nice clean job, looks great. At a quick glance it almost looks like an 8.8. Looks like tubes and center are plugged to hold them together as well. Question, being that the tubes and center section are dissimilar metals, can they not be welded like most do to their 8.8's?

No, you can't weld the tubes into the alum housing like it is popular to do on 8.8's....I'm not quite sure/certain of the technique they use to hold the tubes in. It looks like a hole is drilled/cast into the alum in several places where the steel tubes are stuffed in, then a weld is built up from the steel into the alum. Doesn't weld them together, it just fills the hole. Either that or superglue.

Opihi59 04-04-2009 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shaggyjim (Post 6949149)
Ok after looking at your photos again I just gotta know....... Whats with the bar code on the pinion bearing support?

The bar code was on it when I got it, I just cleaned the road salsa off it, prepped around it and put masking over it when I painted the axle. I figured it may mean something to someone at some point, maybe even me, so I "preserved" it.

shaggyjim 04-04-2009 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Opihi59 (Post 6949209)
The bar code was on it when I got it, I just cleaned the road salsa off it, prepped around it and put masking over it when I painted the axle. I figured it may mean something to someone at some point, maybe even me, so I "preserved" it.

:rofl::rofl:OCD man I love it!:rofl::rofl:

Opihi59 04-04-2009 10:44 PM

I didn't take any photos of it in, but this one you can see the skid, and skid hoop. Seems it showcases the CV shaft more though. Suppose I'll have to take some more photos before too long.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...t/DSCN3742.jpg

Fixin' to roll it in here, it's upsidedown in the photo of course.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c3...s/DSCN3728.jpg

lclark2074 04-04-2009 10:48 PM

is that a pulse or a short arc welder you got

Opihi59 04-04-2009 10:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lclark2074 (Post 6949278)
is that a pulse or a short arc welder you got

Millermatic 180 Mig Argon, etc. Wife said, sure...you can buy a welder.....

Opihi59 04-04-2009 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shaggyjim (Post 6949220)
:rofl::rofl:OCD man I love it!:rofl::rofl:

Yeah, and no matter what they say, the meds don't help :rolleyes:

93jeepyj 04-04-2009 10:52 PM

Nice work, looks good. I must say this is a first Im interested to see how it hold up.


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