Originally Posted by BESRK
Just seems like an awful lot of work to go thru for a front D44... even a HP D44. The HP44 might be stronger in a front axle application (and allow for better driveshaft angle) but if you're breaking (or worried about breaking) any D44's ring/pinion, it's time to step up to a 60. Front Dana 60s have gotten a bit cheaper in the past couple years. Pretty easy to find them in the $600-$800 range around here. While that's still a good chunk of change, it's comparable to a D44 with alloy shafts and super joints... which still won't hold a candle to a 60.
I've seen a few front Dana 44 "failures" on the trail. In order of frequency, I'd say it goes hub, ujoint, axle shafts and then ring/pinion. So, unless you've upgraded to drive pucks, alloy shafts and some sort of super joint, the HP strength benefit doesn't even come into play in most cases.
Having said all that, I am running a low pinion D44 in my CJ5 with Warn hubs, Moser 4340 shafts (inner/outer) and Spicer ujoints and it's held up pretty well with 33s and 35s. However, if I were going any larger in tire size, I'd toss a D60 under the frontend.. and it just so happens I have a couple of GM 60s with 4.56 gears laying around the shop..
I agree. the dana 44 is a nice upgrade if you are moving on to steeper gears and want a stronger housing. The stock cj axles get weak because you only have a few teeth holding together when you move up to 4.56 or 4.88(and a bunch of other reason too). The dana 30 and dana 44 have a lot of things in common so you are really not upgrading(for the money atleast). unless you make a hybrid dana 44 using dana 60 outers! but why spend all that money building a dana 44 front axle to be more like a dana 60 when you can just make or buy a d60 for the same kind of money! I don't now if I would worry about breaking the ring/pinion on the dana 44 with 4.56 or 4.88 gears. I would be more worried about the ball joints, u-joints, bearings, spindles, tie rod ends...And I can't say(because I don't have the actual weights) but an 8lug ford dana 44 can't be that much lighter then a 8 lug dana 60? rockwells on the other hand are heavy!
I did a lot of research on the subject matter before I swap in my dana 60's(in my cj7)! Most people use dana 44's as a stepping stone to waste money before they swap in the dana 60's! I skipped that step. I can say that I am building a cj8 right now and I am planning on running a hp 44 in the front. but that's only because I had to go driverside drop for clearance around the 4l60e tranny! otherwise I would have stuck with the stock dana 30 front and passenger side drop(which would have saved me a money)!