Before this I had been running 35s on a pretty well build D30 in my 2000 TJ for 2 years now. 4:10s, Aussie, chromo everything, armored, 1 ton steering, etc... But still the trails I run found the weak point. The unit bearings on a D30 will not hold up to what I put it though. After every wheeling trip Ive been replacing one if not both hubs... At $120 a pop, somethings gotta change. So to eliminate the weak D30 unit bearings there are 2 options. 1: Further beef up the D30 with a manual locking hub kit and reid racing knuckles OR 2: upgrade to a beefier axle.
I decided to go with swapping a bigger axle since I will have a larger housing and be able to run deeper gears without blowing a pinion gear which will be the new weak point on a D30. Since I already have a build ford 8.8 rear end, trussed, 4 linked, etc... I will also needed to find an axle with the correct wheel mounting surface measurement or WMS to match the 8.8 with is ~1.5" shorter than the stock D30. SO a Dana 60 is out. Too wide. My options were down to a FS D44 out of an old ford or chevy. But it would still be slightly too wide and would have to be re tubes, or have the inner Cs cut off the long tube and welded back shorter. Too much work for me. My other option was to track down a Jeep grand Wagoneer D44. So After a few months of searching, I finally found one...
This axle has manual locking hubs which when unlocked will allow the axle shafts, gears, and front drive shaft to be independent from the outer axle and not spin taking a lot of stress off the drive train. It has a 6 lug bolt pattern which does not match the 5 x 4.5 of stock TJs. There is no conversion from 6 lug to 5 x 4.5 SO in order to make this work I will have to convert my outer axles to 5 x 5.5 BP used by 1/2 ton pick up trucks from the mid 70s - present day.
The combination of parts I am using are:
76' Chevy knuckles (flat tops- allowing for high steer set up)
90' waggy calipers and caliper brackets
76' Chevy small bearing spindles
87' Ford F150 rotors, hub assemblies
Warn Premium locking hubs
90' Waggy inner and outer axle shafts
To match the 8.8 to the 5 x 5.5 BP up front I will be running .75" adapters at first but will be doing the Superior axle 8.8 C clip eliminator kit which comes with the axle flanges drilled for both 5 x 4.5 and 5 x 5.5
I found the knuckles here on Jeepforum, and the rest that didn t come with the axle I picked up in a kit from Horsepower sales:
As far as other parts:
-TnT waggy 44 truss: All high clearance brackets, cross over steering track bar bracket, adj coil mounts for 2" stretch
-Ballistics Fab high steer kit and arms:
-Panhard with .25 DOM, 3"JJ and 5/8 heim
-Ballistics 3/8 diff cover
-Yukon 4:88 -
-Carrier- 3:92 and up
-Master install kit
-Yukon Grizzly locker
-Alloy USA chromo X joints
-Spicer ball joints
-Timken bearings and seals for all outer axle components
All cleaned up with the TnT Truss system. Has to notch the casting for the truss to fit. I thought about cutting the truss but the coil bucket was in the way and I just stuck with the TnT instructions.
Artec knuckle bolt kit and ballistics high steer arm. In these pics there only one for the Pass side. And the tie rod and drag link mounting points were not to my liking. They have since been stacked with on 6" grade 8 bolt and a second knuckle bolt kit was added to the Driver side to double sheer the tie rod at both ends.
Burning in the truss and high clearance CA mounts.
Ill say this now. I am not a welder! I sell seafood for a living! But I believe in a true DIY mentality and and learning as fast as I can. So deal with it! ahaha
Steering and trackbar mock up
The diffs were set up at a buddies shop. Goonies garage. His gear guy did a great job for a pretty good price.
The finished (at the time) axle. As I said some changes have been made to the steering over time. But now I am very happy with it.
WARNING: The following is graphic in nature and may disturb some ahahah
Had a little OOPs while doing the axle install. While cutting off the stock frame side track bar mount I blew a blade on the grinder and accidentally laid into my knee. A quick hospital trip, minor surgery, and a few weeks to heal up and the axle when in with out further issues.
They had to go in an separate the bones to get all the blade and metal shavings out. Its ok I didnt have much a knee left after a helo insertion back in the Corps.
Axle finally under the Jeep. With a set of cheap 37" MTRs I picked up for rollers before I could order the pitbulls.
And thats pretty much it for the axle build. I have a lot more pics and did a more in depth write up on another forum. So any questions feel free to fire away.