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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:15 PM   #1
MyZJ98
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D44a in a D35c Jeep?

Hey guys, so I'm in process of searching for a used axle to replace my current D35c with. It has some ruined bearings in it, and I've chosen the replacement route over rebuild for cost purposes. However, I was wondering, would a used D44a be an upgrade over another D35c, and if so, given I could find one with the same 3.73 ratio, would it be a direct bolt-in swap? I know the 8.8 would be most ideal and advantageous, but that would cost me more to source on top of the fact I don't have the means (or time) to fabricate it to work right now, so it's gotta be factory equipment unfortunately. Thanks for any insight here,

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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
David97
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96-98 v8 ZJs came with the D44a.
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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:22 PM   #3
MyZJ98
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Thanks, I know that they came in it, that's why I'm asking if one could be swapped into my '97 4.0l that currently has a spent d35c. The d44a seems to be plentiful and cheap if I can use it. I just want to make sure it would be a simple bolt in swap from the d35. Thanks
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'98 ZJ Laredo, 4.0L, 140K, NP242, stock. (Sold @205k)
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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:25 PM   #4
David97
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I don't see why it wouldn't be simple bolt on. Same mounting and everything.
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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:31 PM   #5
MyZJ98
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That's what I was assuming too, just want to confirm it and see if its worth it.
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'98 ZJ Laredo, 4.0L, 140K, NP242, stock. (Sold @205k)
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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
AmishFury
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IIRC the D44a is a bolt in swap...
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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:45 PM   #7
dnuccio
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you may need to do mods to your driveshaft (shorten), or get one from the donor vehicle due to different transmission lengths and the pinion on the 44a is an inch longer. i dont remember which ZJs need driveshaft mods though. other than that, its a bolt in swap
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Unread 08-21-2013, 10:56 PM   #8
riot1987
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it will bolt in. I had to rock a D35 for awhile until I got my 8.8 in. Its all the same mounts
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Unread 08-22-2013, 09:25 AM   #9
ejschultz
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Gearing might be an issue. I believe all 44As in ZJs had 3.73s while 35Cs in ZJs could have 3.55s or 3.73s. You want to match the gearing to the front diff.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 09:34 AM   #10
MurdaJs
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Match the gearing and measure for driveshafts for length. There are a few different combos of driveshaft length out there so itd be worth it to crawl underneath a few jeeps to find a match.

Seemingly identical jeeps can have different driveshaft lengths, somehow lol.

Otherwise its straight bolt in
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Unread 08-22-2013, 12:24 PM   #11
CatSplat
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As mentioned, it's pretty much a bolt-in minus the drive shaft and potential gear mismatch. In the unlikely event you swap in a D44A from a '98 5.9, it will have a larger U-joint yoke, requiring a 1310-1330 hybrid joint to be installed on the end of your existing drive shaft if you plan to re-use it.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 12:39 PM   #12
djlarroc
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also, take note. the d44a is notorious for the axle bearings going out after about 120k. every zj ive driven over 120k with a d44a made a grinding noise.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 01:54 PM   #13
ejschultz
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If you have it off a vehicle, it'd be pretty easy to pull it apart and change the bearings. I'd imagine anyone swapping in an axle would want to go through it before throwing it on.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 02:13 PM   #14
Timo_90xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djlarroc View Post
also, take note. the d44a is notorious for the axle bearings going out after about 120k. every zj ive driven over 120k with a d44a made a grinding noise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejschultz View Post
If you have it off a vehicle, it'd be pretty easy to pull it apart and change the bearings. I'd imagine anyone swapping in an axle would want to go through it before throwing it on.
It's not wheel bearings going bad, it's the carrier and/ or pinion bearings that fail. No matter if the axle is under the Jeep or sitting on a garage table, it's not a beginners job to do carrier/ pinion bearings. I test drove four different 5.9 ZJs when I was looking for one couple years ago; all had between 90-110k miles and every single one had bearing issues.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 05:09 PM   #15
MyZJ98
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Ugh this is such a predicament. I REALLY don't want to put all that time and money into sourcing, buying, swapping, rebuilding and reinstalling a used axle when it seems nearly every Junk Yard one is likely to already be shot or soon doomed to be. Seems nearly every craigslist axle near me, be it a d35c or d44a, has SOME issue already, be it bearings, noise, damage, rust, etc. This is beginning to just not be worth it. I guess I'm just going to have to suck it up, save up, and get this damn thing rebuilt, excuse my french. I'll get it inspected so I know the extent of the damage (hopefully none of the housing is damaged so it can be salvaged), and then just get the pinion, carrier and wheel bearings all professional rebuilt at one time. At least that way, I just gotta save up the money once, and find a good shop locally, hell of a lot easier than the work involved sourcing a junkyard POS.

Does anyone know if the rear axle shaft halves can be bought with the wheel bearings/seals ALREADY pressed on? If so, I could skip that part of the rebuild, and just buy complete axle shafts and stick those in myself and maybe save a couple bucks. Really wish I had the tools and a damn good guide to replace the pinion & carrier bearings myself, because I would take a stab at it, but I don't really have either, so a shop it is. Anybody know of a good shop (with fair prices) in the CT/MA area?

Thanks as always guys, appreciate the help.
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'98 ZJ Laredo, 4.0L, 140K, NP242, stock. (Sold @205k)
'99 WJ Laredo, 4.7L, 175K, NP249, stock. (Sold @240k)
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