D44A aftermarket traction/LSD options - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-07-2020, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
DoctorTim
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D44A aftermarket traction/LSD options

Yeah, I've searched. A ton. All threads I could find are out of date and since then there have been plenty of changes to options for our D44A. (The ARB is now available which is fairly recent).

My 2002 V8 with 242WJH (HD) and D44A has a factory vari-lok (verified by build sheet). It doesn't seem to work very well off road (acted like an open diff last time I wheeled with it) and on tight bends it moans and binds.
I'm getting my diffs rebuilt/geared at my local jeep shop so I had them order an LSD for my D44a but turns out they dont carry it anymore. So I placed an order on my own for a trac-lok rear diff from justdifferentials.com but got an email back saying its discontinued and the only option they carry is the ARB locker. The problem? I dont want the ARB air locker.

My problem with the ARB locker:
A) I welded a truss on it already so getting access to the air-line-port-whateveritscalled requires heavy cutting/grinding on the truss.
B) Ill get a lot more benefit out of an LSD since the offroading I do is usually doesn't require a locker. I dont want to spend 1k on something I'll barely use. My build is an overland build that sees mostly dirt and snow where an LSD is preferred. Lockers might actually hurt with understeer and slipping on snow/ice.

Do any of you know of any LSD options out there that isn't the non-rebuildable over-priced cant-handle-34s OEM vari-lok?

Thanks.

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post #2 of 10 Old 07-07-2020, 12:36 PM
speednjay
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I’m in the same boat. Last time I checkEd and almost pulled the trigger was on front and rear arbs. Came out to almost $5k for everything. As far as I know the best and only option is to swap the axle out with an open carrier then put the lsd in. I’d prefer the lsd to a locker because the lsd is good for street traction. I’m running a pretty stock setup and my variloks still seem functional for the most part so I haven’t messed with it. So I don’t have an answer but ill definitely be following this post
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-07-2020, 01:57 PM
smokeyyank
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The D44A doesn't have any options other than ARB or a lunchbox BUT not if you have the vari might be fine with a 242 though, can't remember. I have a lunchbox in mine, truthfully for driving on the road it sucks. Loud AF and binds and pops in turns waaayy worse than the lunchbox in my old XJ. From what I've heard part of it is the aluminum housing that makes everything louder. Offroad it does great though...

I personally would look at swapping in a 9. Hindsight I should of passed on doing anything to the D44a but live and learn.

04 WJ, 4.7HO
3" IRO lift, fastman TB, 32s, lunchbox rear 242HD, 3" exhaust
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-07-2020, 02:25 PM
HarryH3
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Also, since you have the Vari-lok, I'm pretty sure that you have the change both axle shafts to use the ARB or other traction aid. The axle lengths for the Vari-lok are different than the ones for an open diff or the factory limited slip. The front axle lengths are also different between the Vari-lok and other diffs.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-07-2020, 03:42 PM
CJREX
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Wouldn't the cheapest/easiest fix be to get a junk yard Vari-lok axle from a V8?

The way they work, there will be hardly any wear on the friction surfaces unless the owner was running mismatched tire sizes.

2004 Grand Cherokee Overland
2" BDS springs 265/70/17 Milestar Patagonia MT
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-07-2020, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
DoctorTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speednjay View Post
...Iím running a pretty stock setup and my variloks still seem functional for the most part so I havenít messed with it. So I donít have an answer but ill definitely be following this post
I've called all the experts, spoken to other WJers, and called all of the axle companies I could think of. At stock tire sizes you're fine but 32 and larger is where vari-lok starts to slip. Read below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeyyank View Post
The D44A doesn't have any options other than ARB or a lunchbox BUT not if you have the vari...
I personally would look at swapping in a 9. Hindsight I should of passed on doing anything to the D44a but live and learn.
Yeah I kind of wish I grabbed something else and bought a swap kit. I already welded on my truss kit. But I'm not unhappy at all. With an ARB and 4.56 gears this is going to be a solid axle build.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryH3 View Post
Also, since you have the Vari-lok, I'm pretty sure that you have the change both axle shafts to use the ARB...
Yup. Lucky for me the Dana right side shafts are all sold out and only options are $300+ shafts . Guess I'm off to the junkyard to find a non-vari D44A shafts. I'll be ordering new shaft bearings and seals to go with it too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJREX View Post
Wouldn't the cheapest/easiest fix be to get a junk yard Vari-lok axle from a V8?
If I wanted the vari-lok, yes. But I've been told by everyone that vari-lok doesn't handle larger than 32" tires very well and end up acting like open diffs. I've already had this happen to me so it a no-go.

To summarize it all.

D44A with vari-lok leaves you with below aftermarket options for people running large tires:
Lunchbox locker that requires you find a junkyard open diff carrier and axle shafts.
ARB locker that requires open diff or trac-lok axle shafts (Lengths ~ 31.34 and 30.34).

I hope this helps someone in the future. I've been trying to figure this out for weeks.

I will update if anything changes during my axle build.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-08-2020, 08:18 AM
smokeyyank
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Cool, good luck and hope it turns it out well.

04 WJ, 4.7HO
3" IRO lift, fastman TB, 32s, lunchbox rear 242HD, 3" exhaust
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-08-2020, 10:29 AM
CJREX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorTim View Post
If I wanted the vari-lok, yes. But I've been told by everyone that vari-lok doesn't handle larger than 32" tires very well and end up acting like open diffs. I've already had this happen to me so it a no-go.
...
I may be mistaken, but I thought I read that the 32" tire problem was mitigated if you re-gear your diff.

I'm running what is technically a 32" tire at 265/70/17 (though my speedometer is dead on when I set my programmer to 30.5" tire size) and my vari-loks work great.

Curious what you end up with as I'm sure that one day I'll need to go to a bigger tire. Good Luck!

2004 Grand Cherokee Overland
2" BDS springs 265/70/17 Milestar Patagonia MT
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-08-2020, 11:50 AM
wjpaul
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I went thru the same research and decided to get the ARB air locker. I'm very happy with it. Got it from Kolak. I also found a new, old inventory of the D30 front Vari-Lok and installed that in the front. I did double reed the pressure relief port and it locks up sooner and stays locked longer. However, a friend just got a Powertrax Grip pro mechanical locker for his D30, we installed it and took it out to some dunes near us. Works great and is good on the road. If I were to do it again I would do the Powertrax in the front. Maybe you could start with that and see how it goes. If you want other choices for the 44a you will have to swap out the axle for one out of a junked JK. It will be the D44HD and there's lots of options for it.

02 GCL 4.7-QD-4" IRO CP LA lift-D44/ARB Locker-Bilsteins-Moog stabilizer-JCR slider-Falken 32x10.5
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-08-2020, 10:43 PM
Bigrigr
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Back when i was researching lockers for my Jeep, i ran across direct fit factory replacement carriers for the Vari-lok. You have to buy the entire Carrier and internals together. Seems it was about 700.00 per axle for the carrier replacement, plus whatever bearings and seals that are needed to do the swap correctly. Then it requires a complete carrier setup to get the backlash and pinion depth correct, for longevity . It CAN be replaced, but it isnt a cheap situation. But as was mentioned ealrier, neither are the ARB's. And you can't put lunchbox lockers into a varilok axle, so thats out as an option.



How about just servicing the rear diff and making sure to get the friction modifier amount right. It seems to make a huge difference to a transfer case/axle assembly that hasnt been serviced in a while. I have heard that it should be done to both every 30K miles or so.



Also, you cant do anything with an old worn out Vari-lok carrier except replace it, but you could swap in an open carrier from a JY axle, and then toss in a lunchbox locker to be on the cheap. My aussie locker works awesome for me, though it is a little clackety around corners. Some people dont like it, but i barely care about that. And the street manners are excellent as well.

'00LMTD-4.7l,242hd,D30,D44A,3.73's,True-trac front,Spartan rear,4" short arm lift,JK'sW/32's
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