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Unread 03-05-2014, 02:52 PM   #1
blitz134
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Repair D30 Inner Knuckle or Upgrade

Just trying to get opinions here...

I purchased a 4.10 geared D30 for my YJ some time back to match my 33s and 8.8 that I swapped in. I swapped TJ shafts in while I was at it. After some time, I noticed that my driver-side inner knuckle was bent a bit. The outside edge of my driver side tire doesn't contact the ground, even though it has the same air pressure as the passenger side which makes full contact across the tire width.

My Jeep has been in a state of repair for about 2 years now since I bought it as a complete beater...and I haven't wheeled it much for a variety of reasons. I'm finally past the point of doing major repairs and I think I have a nice setup and I'm ready to hit the trails. A lot of the trails my local Jeep Club runs "require" a locker, so I picked up an Aussie to run for the time being.

Future plans for the YJ are to run 35s, with ARB lockers in both axles, and go to 4.56s while the lockers are being installed. I dont want to go bigger than 35s...I'd build a different rig if I were to go bigger...so please dont' suggest to go to a D60! I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to tackle the front axle given the bent inner C.

There are several ways I see going forward:

1. A crate D44 axle setup with an ARB, new gears, chromoly shafts, etc runs about $3k (plus $500??? for brakes, hubs, shorten dshaft, etc). This could get me hubs, bigger brakes (which would be nice with 35s), and other options for potential future build paths (hi-steer, etc). This would also maintain my track width...I don't want to run spacers in the rear.

2. Build a high pinion D44 with all of the above. But track width would be increased, which I don't want. Likely cheaper, but hard to say how much cheaper than option 1. Especially if I had the axle narrowed.

3. Get a "new" HP D30 housing and build it up, potentially out of an XJ to eliminate the axle disconnect housing. Then add chro-mo axles, ARB, new gears, etc. To some folks this is as strong as a D44. This could also be done without taking my Jeep out of commission again while I wheel it in its current state for a while.

4. Keep my current housing and get the inner knuckle replaced. I have no idea how much this would cost. If I add up all of the part and install costs, I quickly get to 2500 bucks (assuming $300 to fix the inner C). Which isn't that far from a crate axle to begin with.

Open to opinions on this one...

After spending time to type all of this out I have a few thoughts: I think options 3 and 4 are a wash money wise, but Option 3 is probably favorable...and if I went with a D44 I'd get a crate to eliminate some hassle. Crate D44 is likely $800 more expensive than Option 3 but an unknown amount of benefit...

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Unread 03-05-2014, 03:03 PM   #2
dtperk
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'Bout that Knuckle........

Hey,

I think your thinking is sound. If $$$ is no object, go option 1!

I would also lean toward opt 3, but I think having a shop cut off the bad knuckle and weld on a new/used knuckle would prolly be the least expensive route. YMMV.

Just my .02! Get 'er Done! Good luck! DTP
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Unread 03-05-2014, 03:05 PM   #3
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If it were me I would probably find another YJ 30 with 4.10s and install your TJ shafts and locker. That may be the cheapest route. But I like cheap and I don't have $2500 for a crate 44.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 05:04 PM   #4
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Now a days it doesnt make much sense to build a dana44 out of a junkyard. If all you are going to do is use the housing, and buying everything else, then just have it built for you.

And no a 30 is not as strong as a real 44. That is internet rubbish. If you plan on 35s then go 44 if its a possibility.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 05:09 PM   #5
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Id go cut down f250 hp44 or waggy lp 44 and adapt rear to match 6 or big 5 lug pattern. Ive got a little less than 3gs in my waggy 44 w/arb and cromos w/nitro joints and 6 lug 8.8 shafts to give you a ballpark. If you just want to get ot goin cheap you could retube the one side with a different innner C from a donor 30 or swap gears.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 06:14 PM   #6
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My opinion is to build up an axle from scratch. Reason being is that you can adjust pinion angle and then caster to compensate for you lift.

HP would make sense for strength and driveline angles.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsawduste View Post
My opinion is to build up an axle from scratch. Reason being is that you can adjust pinion angle and then caster to compensate for you lift.

HP would make sense for strength and driveline angles.
Do I not have those options with a crate axle?

When I look at a lot of the standard offerings out there now...most companies cater to the TJ and JK...I'm sure I could just get a TJ axle without all of the brackets and take care of spring perches and shock tabs myself (but maybe that isn't a good idea since it would be a little more difficult to set the caster accurately). Personally the stock setup of pinion/caster angle handles really well on my Jeep, so I don't think I would change it.

Any recommendations on who to look at? I'll probably have to call them since no one seems to have bolt in YJ axles on their websites.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 07:49 PM   #8
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Depends whom you are buying from as far as options on a crate axle. The fact that the TJ is a LP automatically starts you off on the wrong foot.

If it was me........I`d call Currie and have them build me a 44 RockJock then perhaps compare that to a 60 RJ. Then do the same with Dynatrac.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #9
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Torch, portapower or hydraulic jack and a couple minutes is all it takes to bend those wussy inner Cs. Hell I bet some heat and a sledge would do it.

Throw some gussets on the top knuckle and run it.

Do the 1pc shaft if you haven't, grind the shafts for full circle snap rings on the u joints. Run spicer joints and have no issue with 35s.
I don't think chromoly axles are worth it for the d30. I ran on 35s without any issue. My friend is pretty hard on his d30 in his xj and has only broken u joints.

The "upgraded" dana 44 is still going to have the same size u joints , what always breaks, so why waste the money?
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Unread 03-05-2014, 10:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcal_chris View Post
My friend is pretty hard on his d30 in his xj and has only broken u joints.

The "upgraded" dana 44 is still going to have the same size u joints , what always breaks, so why waste the money?
Ive popped a few non chromo shafts and never a ujoint so I never have believed that the ujoint is always the "fuse." Typically when a ujoint goes it mangles the shaft ears anyways. In fact on 35s everything else fell apart around the ujoints and I had the smaller "weaker" ones.

With a 44 you can freespin the hubs for daily use and use CTM, longfield, 300m ujoints that wont break before a 27 spline shaft does.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 10:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
The "upgraded" dana 44 is still going to have the same size u joints , what always breaks, so why waste the money?
Not exactly I've been on 35's for years with a 30 and 44. The most common FAILS for me had todo with the outers. Anyway I'm not looking to turn this into a 30 vs 44 debate.

If your going to get a "crate" axle make sure they aren't just using the junk 30 outers. If you aren't changing wheel lug patterns your not gaining a lot of the 44's benefits. On 35's a cromo shaft 44 with ctm style joints will be very reliable. I'm relentless on mine even doing a few front digs when in a jam.

Like said above best would be to start with a HP housing crate or not. Before you buy lockers/gears look into the jantz kits to cram even larger gears into a standard 44 housings. Google jana44 and you'll see what I'm talking about.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 10:21 PM   #12
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And any decent axle builder can set the pinion/knuckle relationship however needed.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 10:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssyj94 View Post
Not exactly I've been on 35's for years with a 30 and 44. The most common FAILS for me had todo with the outers. Anyway I'm not looking to turn this into a 30 vs 44 debate.

If your going to get a "crate" axle make sure they aren't just using the junk 30 outers. If you aren't changing wheel lug patterns your not gaining a lot of the 44's benefits. On 35's a cromo shaft 44 with ctm style joints will be very reliable. I'm relentless on mine even doing a few front digs when in a jam.

Like said above best would be to start with a HP housing crate or not. Before you buy lockers/gears look into the jantz kits to cram even larger gears into a standard 44 housings. Google jana44 and you'll see what I'm talking about.

No debate needed.

In my limited run ins with dana 30s, of the 9 breaks I have seen all 9 were u joint breaks. No broken shafts. Of The 3 dana 44 breaks I've seen two were u joints, one was long side inner. Was just speaking from what I've seen.


I agree that the outers are junk and it's not worth dumping money into, but I would say you would be way ahead $$ wise to pick up a used d44 that is already built for 1k-1500 and run that over spending a crazy amount on a "new" one


Get a set of 8.8 shafts with the 5x5.5 pattern and convert whatever d44 front to 5x5.5 and go have fun
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Unread 03-06-2014, 12:08 AM   #14
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Thanks for all of the input so far...

I'd definitely go with a HP D44 should I go that route...no question there. I'd also swap out the rear shafts to be able to run 5x5.5.

Also, as I have done research I am finding that some of the "budget" crate D44s are based on the Rubicon axle...which still uses the D30 inner Cs and outer knuckles. So I dont' want that.

I understand the "equal" u-joint size argument...but it seems 50/50 to me. People that run D30s and D44s both break u-joints and shafts. Based upon that, neither axle offers a huge advantage there. At least with the D44 if you go to high strength u-joints you are less likely to move the damage back to the ring and pinion gear (hubs the next weakest?)

I also consider the ability to have hubs and larger brake options that come with the D44 a plus for a Jeep that needs to be driven several hours to the trail. Also, the elimination of unit bearings that don't seem to stand up to 35s that well. Of course there are options to modify the D30 to get to these features, but by that point it probably is a wash money wise.

I'd love to find a prebuilt D44, but I just don't see workable options come up often on craigslist. Also, I'd like to keep my trackwidth the same too, which eliminates most D44s out of stock vehicles.
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Unread 03-26-2014, 04:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz134 View Post
Thanks for all of the input so far...

I'd definitely go with a HP D44 should I go that route...no question there. I'd also swap out the rear shafts to be able to run 5x5.5.

Also, as I have done research I am finding that some of the "budget" crate D44s are based on the Rubicon axle...which still uses the D30 inner Cs and outer knuckles. So I dont' want that.
- Think you're right on all points you noted here! : )
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz134 View Post
I understand the "equal" u-joint size argument...but it seems 50/50 to me. People that run D30s and D44s both break u-joints and shafts. Based upon that, neither axle offers a huge advantage there. At least with the D44 if you go to high strength u-joints you are less likely to move the damage back to the ring and pinion gear (hubs the next weakest?)
- It is 'Equal' IMO... I've seen about the same 50/50 breakage. Believe it or not, I would go out on a bit of a limb and say you'll spin a shaft/spiders/splines before the hubs/spindles!

Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz134 View Post
I also consider the ability to have hubs and larger brake options that come with the D44 a plus for a Jeep that needs to be driven several hours to the trail. Also, the elimination of unit bearings that don't seem to stand up to 35s that well. Of course there are options to modify the D30 to get to these features, but by that point it probably is a wash money wise.

I'd love to find a prebuilt D44, but I just don't see workable options come up often on craigslist. Also, I'd like to keep my trackwidth the same too, which eliminates most D44s out of stock vehicles.
- Front 44s don't come up as often as rears... although, with some diligence (daily craigslist/ebay/JF searches), you WILL come across something that will fit your bill. Like mentioned several times above (and I have to concur), you could call Currie, Dynotrac or TriCountyGear (I've talked to TCG guys about rears recently) and drop $$$ to get a 'perfect' fit for your needs. Understand that the angles/camber etc. seem fine, but if I was dropping $$$ on a 'crate' setup, why not have them set it up IDEAL for your rig/lift/tires?

Currie is going to be the most $$$, Dynotrac next and TCG might come in the lowest - - - just speculating here... have to do your homework.

Also have the option of going with the elusive Waggy D44 front. 10 yrs ago, my brother was SO lucky as to find one locally in a U-Pick yard.... think he stole it for $200. Made me sick! Good luck! Fun stuff indeed! Oh, you mention 33's now - and there's been a lot of chatter about 35s.... IMO, if you have even the slightest thought that 35's might be somewhere down the road, get those gears NOW. 4.56/4.88s are a good solid street/off-road setup for 33's, 4.88s are the lowest I would consider for 35's for a street/off-road combo. If you're mostly crawling, with 35's, I would want to have 5.13's(?? Been a while guys) or steeper. YMMV - you know how it goes::::::
Opinions are like a****les, everyone's got one and........


interested to hear which way you go with this! -dtp
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