Why not a sterling? Has the 35 spline if memory serves me and clearance of a 60, disks, all the bells and whistles. Let me say that two weeks ago a samurai on d44's had a bad day on 36 iroks on a trail. Broken shaft which wobbling wiped a ball joint. I know it was a front, but smaller tire, lighter rig, etc. Jason has saved me from wasting astronomical amount of money on something (more than once) that would have worked, but could have been a lot better. As much preaching as one of us could do may or may not sway your build. But if it helps its for the greater good.
I still will eventually build 609's, 35 splined, with 10" gears, but that's still more effective than d44 tenfold. You You could do a Jana 54, but then you shifts back to the skinny shaft idea, or a pinion. Best of luck to you!
84 xj 350tbi, sm465, 203/205, 60/70. links and other junk.
what size sawzall blades does it take to fit 40's?