JP magazine (yeah shutup
) is doing a DJ project, looks like a D44 front, a ford 9" rear, the frame is totally modified and the body is about 3 inches off it.
I have no problem with aged daily drivers - but seriously, are you going to depend solely on a 76 DJ in the process of converting to 4x4?
If it were me, my daily driver setup would run a 5.0 HO/NP435/Dana 300... 44 front, 9" rear locked, and atleast 35's.
with that setup, and driving smart, you should be able to have fun out there, and not worry about breaking. Daily drivers have to be BIGGER and meaner than most rigs b/c they have to get you back out in a timely fashion, and be ready for highway the next day.
I need that on the road to work everyday... but if you even think about climbing rocks, save yourself years of trouble and do it right the first time.
the 5.0 is readily available, its parts are readily available, its design is simple, performance should never be an issue, cost surely will never be an issue, its EFI system is easy to set up and work on, and its the most reliable motor i can think of.
The NP435 is also very common, cheap, simple, easy... and it bolts to the 5.0
the Dana300 will require an adapter, but i dont need to sing its praises here.
in any axle, remember you can unlock the front hubs and your front locker "dissapears" onroad. Get whatever rear locker you feel comfortable with. The reason i suggest a locker on a daily driver (with proper sized axles) is that they will help you not push your rig too hard. You can go slower, and crawl around... rather than continually nailing an obstacle, getting stuck in mud, and stressing your vehicle out more trying to recover from the "stuck"