Hey there, it has been some time since I was last on this site, probably 4-5 years when I was in college building my Cherokee while getting my teachers degree.
Well now I am a shop teacher and teach automotive and I am in need of help.
I have a student with a 96 jeep grand with the infamous Dana 44a axle. Well the kid bought the jeep with a tweaked axle and bought a junkyard housing to replace. Had he known anything about his jeep when I asked him questions prior to him bringing it in I would have advised him to swap in a 8.8 since he's running 33s on the vehicle but long before I saw it he called it a Cherokee (my jeep of choice), and assured me it was an iron axle, well that went out the tube when I showed him the magnetic base would not stick to the housing but by then it was tool late, anyways before he brought it in I assumed dana 44 was swapped in by previous owner, an iron one a good one so I didn't recommend the swap, even thou I chose the 8.8 for my swap years ago.
So now we are at the point of reassembly but in my underfunded shop with no specialty tools I do not have a pinion depth tool so I need to know a couple of things if someone can help:
This 44a uses a crush sleeve, for shim settings can I simply place the new pinion races in the housing assemble the pinion with the old crush sleeve, put on the yoke, and tighten the pinion nut (old one at this point) to the correct torques and preload settings throughout out trial and error mesh pattern and backlash settings then when found the correct, remove the setup bearing on the pinion, press on the new bearing with shims and then assemble with the new sleeve and pinion nut? or do I need to use a new sleeve every time (expensive). I would assume that as long as I set the pinion preload correctly with the old sleeve I should be okay, it works in my mind though I could be missing something, I am not the greatest axle guy.
This is how I did my personal 8.8 and the jeep still runs perfect 6 years later so I know I did it right before but I believe the manual told me to do this, my AllData program says to use the pinion height tool. We can't afford this and I know that trial and error using the old shims works. Any suggestions to making this setup quick and painless.
1990 Jeep Cherokee Laredo
NP242 Transfer case
Dana 30 front, 35 custom rear differentials
RE 4.5" Lift
32x11.50 BFGoodRich M/T KM's
American Eagle 058 Polished Aluminum Wheels, 3.63" BS.
Grand Cherokee Rear Disc Brake setup
Custom Downpipe W/ Cat Removed.
Dynomax Super Turbo Muffler.
Surco Roof Rack