Of course driving habits and terrain count, but the D60 is stronger than the D44... hard to break. But I think you have as much clearance with a D44 and 35's as D60 and 37's, maybe more. Someone will roger up that info in a moment, I think. Will you be maybe
going larger than 37's later?
As for brakes, what will you be doing for rear lug pattern? A mismatched set would be unfortunate, as you'd need multiple spares. If your rear is stock (5x4.5), maybe you can have fronts re-drilled to match? If you wanted to keep the lug pattern for the Ford stuff (and some older Jeeps) of 5x5.5 you can build it to use high steer, FSJ/Chevy brakes, ford hubs/rotors. I can point you in that direction, if you go that route, as can plenty of other guys here, but there is a "formula" to do it on the cheap (junkyard parts), as conversion "kits" can get costly fast.
Please note that a Ford 8.8 is only a slight upgrade (if any) from your D44 rear, and a Ford 9" is only a slight upgrade from there, depending on donor vehicle. You'd be great with D6/D60s, but it will cost you a arm, leg, and an organ or two, especially after all the brackets, etc. Depends on your budget.
My D44 project (and the reason I had
to learn so much) is getting a HP D44 (all of them are driver's side drop) into a CJ7 with D300 (passenger side drop). I had to remove tubes and flip driver's/passenger's sides. No picnic. I actually used pieces of two HP D44s, one from a F250 and one from a Bronco like you have. Lots of carnage and one whole axle's worth as scrap metal. I got it cheap, though, and was a housing like that one that was destroyed.