I have a hp dana 44 from a 76 ford. The housing sports a 1/2 inch tube and has been shortened to waggy width.. The initial plan was to used waggy outer basically use all waggy parts inside a ford axle HP housing..
The axle is stripped down and i have been contemplating a different route.. As much as i like the waggy outer idea, im not really to hot on all the little pieces involved with spindles and old school setup.I really want the strength of the older housing combined with new age technology.ie unit bearings.
Yes the old schoolers can cry here. I don't want lockout hubs either. I have the drive flanges for the waggy spindles. I have seen many many hubs blow up on the trail.. I have never seen a unit bearing blow up.. Yes ... if you blow a shaft you cant just turn out the hub and drive.. But my rebuttal to this is who cares! unit bearings are way easier to disassemble and pull a shaft vs a spindle. ( i can hear bloody murder already!!) lol..
So what am i asking?? Well i want to build the ultimate 44 using old and new age stuff.. The other thing i want if possible is to keep the axle stock enough to buy parts for it anywhere(ie i do not want use custom shafts if possible.)
I basically want to combine a ford hp44 with wj knuckles. Kinda sucks cause i have the high steer arms for the waggy knuckles already..
There are pros and cons to any axle choice. this is what I am after. What i need is knowledge between these axles i want to merge.. Im not really an expert on anything other then a dana 30, rubi dana 44.
Im contemplating using wj knuckles on the 44 with basically dana 30 outer strength. Which is OK.... the weak link would be the stub shaft. i am fine with this.
As i am early into this research. Comments/options, combination problems would be appreciated.. Please dont waste my time trying to convince me on another route, or why i should use hubs anyways..i don't care. I have heard it all a thousand times over and i have plenty of trail experience. I also have countless hours fabricating and building rigs, im not a rookie. This will however be my first hybrid axle buildup.
This axle is sitting in my shed I have a eaton elocker for it and 456 gears .. I just need to spend some time with it and decide witch direction to go.
Your week points are going to be your u-joints and your ball joints with that HP44.
Fish Bone Fab makes a king pin conversion kit. I have yet to see any reviews, but the kit looks to be strong. Its spendy at $400, but could be worth it. Poly also has new ball joints out that look beefy as hell.
U-joints are D30 sized, so why not eliminate them altogether. Just go with RCV's and get your new age hardware fix. They're super strong and solve the u-joint issue thats been the cause of much D30 vs D44 debate. Not to mention you can get them in 30 spline outers with drive flanges. Win Win until you see the price tag, but with a life time you break it they replace it warranty whats not to like. I'm sure you could call them up and get shafts made for your hybrid axle deal too if you're dead set on it.
Add a locker with those two things and you've got yourself a stout axle.
I'm actually in a similar boat as you. I've got a 79' HP44 out of an F250. My plans are to leave it full width, RCV shafts, drive flanges, king pin conversion, Jana 54 kit, locker, and gusset the knuckles. I might cryo treat stuff like the locker, R&P, and other small parts. It all depends. Either way its a lot of money into an axle and then the question becomes, why not just get a D60.
Clearance. is the only word that comes to mind. soon as you go 60 u losse alot of clearance , even shaved.Your also adding alot more weight to the rig. That, and i don't plan on going any larger then 38 15.50's under my rokee. That is its max point. I am trying to get max clearance and keep weight down. A 44 with cromos should be more then sufficient to spin 38s.. but yeah the rcvs are a definite option. as they build them to your specs.. which might be perfect and my only option. Price doesn't matter as long as it doesn't break all the friggen time..
Ive had really good luck with my moderatly built dana 30 and 35's. Detroit locked with the 297 ujoints. Your right ball joints would also be another area of failure. Are WJ knuckle BJ larger or same size as a regular 30 knuckle? I think they are similar to the JK BJ. i might not need the strength there.. I dont do alot of bouncing off rock..or high speed wheeling.
The outters would be dana 44 297 ujoints. The weak point is the 27 spline in the stub.I have seen stubs twisted off inside the wheel bearing under extreme circumstances..I think these are the same in the WJ... but unsure.. the wj knuckle adds dual piston calipers and crossover steering.
I dont mind spending the money. but i only want to do it once.
a video of typical weekend wheeling.
(i shot the vid so no footage of mine!)