D44A: Worth keeping? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-13-2020, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
RobGADV
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Question D44A: Worth keeping?

Something I'm not clear on and despite searching couldn't come up with a good answer... is the D44A in my WJ Overland worth keeping? I don't really want to do a D60 in back due to weight; I was wondering if a D44 (or D44A) with bracing would do the job? I want to do 4.56 gears though, and of course will need a D44 up front as well.

I'll be eliminating the Vari-lock and 247 TC and going with real lockers and a 242 or similar.

I'm a long ways off from this but wanted to start researching it now.

Thanks.

Rob


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post #2 of 13 Old 09-13-2020, 01:38 PM
Oktavius
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Worth will have to be determined by what you plan to do with the WJ and how much you are willing to spend. Rock crawling, mall crawling, beach riding, mild overlanding? Biggest issue I see with the D44A is the limited differential options. Though it seems pretty pricey to swap in a regular D44 or D60 as there are limited drop-in options. If you are able to cut and weld brackets, it would save a lot of money.

I swapped my 247 for a 242HD and I am VERY happy with the new transfer case. I don't have any plans of swapping out to different axles any time soon. The WJ is my daily driver and the 242HD with the Vari-Lock axles and 32" tires has been a good combination for my use. My offroading is mainly sand/dirt trails with no real rock crawling. I will probably add a bash guard to the D44A to protect the aluminum and possibly regear in the future if I go larger tires but I don't plan on running large 35+" tires.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-13-2020, 03:17 PM
Bigrigr
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Yes, I agree with Oktavius. It appears the D44A is a quite capable axle assembly. I believe it may have a bad reputation, but only from what appears to be alot of online wheelers that deem it made out of swiss cheese or something similar. It has an oversized carrier and gearset(almost the exact same size as the D60), and under mild to medium wheeling conditions, it seems to hold up well. I have never seen even a picture of a broken D44A. Never met anyone that can even say they saw a picture of a broken D44A. Im not saying its as beefy as the D60, or the 14bolt, but in these machines I dont think its all that necessary to have 1 ton axles. I have done the one tons before and 37'/38's. And , I have done loads of wheeling in an XJ with a dana 30 front and a D44 factory rear on 33's that never broke. Both of these machines went to the same places, did the same trails, and both got me home ok. But in my experience, the D60, and the 14 bolt, were both way expensive to maintain and repair, and they came with alot of baggage that made the Blazer undriveable at times on the street. (there is alot of info on unsprung weight, and death wobble that i wont go into here). I fear that one ton's would overwhelm these little WJ's and make them useless as a daily driver, or even a ride to the trails. If you plan on using your Jeep in a reasonable manner, I think the D44A will suit you just fine. The only real drawback I have seen is the lack of lockers, and gear change options, that can be a limiting factor to some Wheelers that want bigger tires. But to me, the bigger tires put you into the same realm that one ton axles will. The bigger tires are not for me in the WJ. If i want to go 37's and above i would pick a fullsize machine to build again. This WJ is perfect for 33's and under and picking up the kids from school too....FWIW
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-13-2020, 07:17 PM
wranglertec
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I recommend replacing the 44A with an iron 44 or a Ford 8.8. There is very little aftermarket support for a 44A. The center section is aluminum and if you place a floor jack or worse yet get the housing stuck on a rock the center section can spread and cause a loss of preload on the carrier bearings. There is a well built WJ on 35ís running around my town. He put a
8.8 in it. He stated the varalock it great for loose dirt. The Varalock is useless trying to
Do any type rock crawling. You canít spin the axle, axles fast enough to get the Varalock to lock. Iíve had a similar experience with the Varalock working decent as long as there is wheel speed.


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post #5 of 13 Old 09-14-2020, 11:34 PM
Bigrigr
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Here is some of the stories I hear all the time. I regularly jack my jeeps(notice i said plural) up by the aluminum center section, and I have yet to have a problem with my D44A assemblies. I get it if you bash it on a rock , but most wheelers dont do that. Even at that i STILL havent ever seen one, or even a picture of one....


and Vari-loks were never meant to spin tires bigger than 31-32's. Its not the axles fault it wont lock up with 35's....

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-15-2020, 07:02 AM
coldspit47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigrigr View Post
Here is some of the stories I hear all the time. I regularly jack my jeeps(notice i said plural) up by the aluminum center section, and I have yet to have a problem with my D44A assemblies. I get it if you bash it on a rock , but most wheelers dont do that. Even at that i STILL havent ever seen one, or even a picture of one....


and Vari-loks were never meant to spin tires bigger than 31-32's. Its not the axles fault it wont lock up with 35's....
I'll admit, with as die hard as you seem to be for the 44a, you're starting to sway my opinion haha

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-15-2020, 09:38 AM
Oktavius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldspit47 View Post
I'll admit, with as die hard as you seem to be for the 44a, you're starting to sway my opinion haha
Gotta pick the right tool for the job. Without knowing what the job is, don't know which tool is more appropriate. There are a lot of reasons to use the D44A as Bigrigr has pointed out but some people think bigger is better for everyone and everything which really isn't the case.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-15-2020, 10:12 AM
CJREX
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Just my personal thoughts, but if I'm planning on running tires that are 35's or bigger, I'm probably going to want to do it with something that has a frame instead of a unibody.

I know many have done it with a WJ, but it seems that beyond 33's there are diminishing returns for the $$$ you spend.

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post #9 of 13 Old 09-15-2020, 10:28 AM
Oktavius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJREX View Post
Just my personal thoughts, but if I'm planning on running tires that are 35's or bigger, I'm probably going to want to do it with something that has a frame instead of a unibody.

I know many have done it with a WJ, but it seems that beyond 33's there are diminishing returns for the $$$ you spend.
I can see an argument for using a WJ as a foundation as there are so many out there and most can be bought for dirt cheap. Probably easier to find a cheap WJ than a cheap truck plus a WJ is pretty compact compared to most trucks which can be a plus. As a dedicated rock crawling rig, could treat the body as disposable. Money spent into the drivetrain and suspension which can be swapped over to new bodies as the bodies get destroyed. If you are running 35's or bigger will need to cut up the body anyways.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-15-2020, 11:48 AM
smokeyyank
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D44a is fine unless you're going to be running 35s+ and mashing on the skinny pedal. Tons really need to push to 37s to make it worth while due to clearance. A WJ on tons and 37s just isnt the best use set IMHO as stated be better to have a rig with a frame vs unibody. If you wanted to swap axles I'd go HP44 and 9 for 35s. Otherwise keep what you have run some 33s and be done.

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post #11 of 13 Old 09-16-2020, 11:53 PM
Bigrigr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldspit47 View Post
I'll admit, with as die hard as you seem to be for the 44a, you're starting to sway my opinion haha

I dont mean to be so die hard for the 44A per say, but i came here from the fullsize world with one tons, and big tires, and after 5 years of bashing my head against the wall trying to make it drive reasonable, I finally figured out, I didnt NEED all that heavy hardware.



I fell victim to the hype that bigger is ALWAYS better(like Oktavious mentioned), and i payed the price. Both financially, and mentally. I realized that i only need to upgrade the parts that break, AFTER they break on MY rig. I will run this 44A till something bad happens, because right now,Im enjoying the padded wallet it comes with.

'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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post #12 of 13 Old 09-17-2020, 02:07 AM
Timo_90xj
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The only lack of aftermarket support for D44a is limited number of lockers, but you can get an ARB if you need a selectable and there are a few lunchbox locker options out there (Aussie locker, Sprartan) for the D44a.
I've used both the F8.8 and a D44a on my Jeeps, and not really one single issue with a D44a. I've dragged it on rocks since day #1 I bought my Jeep, wheeled heavily and all kinds of other abuse.
I did fab a truss which I recommend doing, but I would install one to an iron D44 or F8.8 as well. D44a R&P is strong especially if you use JK Rubi gears, axle shafts are just as strong as on an iron D44 or F8.8

If building a custom axle, I'd buy whatever you can find that fullfills the needs the best. D44a is a much better axle than people generally think it is. I have nothing against an iron D44 or a F8.8 - I currently have one 8.8 in my garage waiting to be built - but saying a D44a is not worth keeping or building IMHO is 100% BS.

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post #13 of 13 Old 09-17-2020, 12:57 PM
RobinsonFam1
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i had a ZJ with 44A....rebuilt it several times (i think 5+ times?).
It is a solid pumpkin. jack it, wheel it, rock it etc....its stout until its worn out.
My conclusion: Once the aluminum takes much wear from the steel parts its toast. You can rebuild it over and over, shim, shim, tweek to no end. At the point the rear starts to go...throw in a 8.8 in from an Exploder and be done forever. Dont use the mustang 8.8. You want the 28 spline shafts.
We now have a WJ with 44a. When it craps out I will do same again.
44A is also in vetts and vipers and many others. Its not crap but does have its limits like everything else I guess
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