Wagoneer Dana 44 front question/advice needed - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
CJOO7
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Wagoneer Dana 44 front question/advice needed

Hi,

I have been looking for a Dana 44 for swapping into my 84 CJ7. I found someone who has a few and I need some advice.

There is one from a 1973 and here are the photos


So most info I have found is for 1974 and later. Are the Dana 44s from 1973 a good candidate? So it also doesnít have manual hubs. Thoughts on drive flange vs hubs? Can they be converted to manual hubs?

He also has a 1978 Dana 44....but I didnít get pictures of that one. I thought I read the earlier axles were a bit stronger.

Anyhow.....thoughts?

Eric


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post #2 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 12:33 PM
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I have been doing research myself to build a d44 outer because the Currie 9 that I am looking at has reinforced C's. A lot of people from what I've been reading use 76ish bronco hubs/rotors to get the 5x5.5 bolt pattern and gm small bearing spindles and then pick a flavor of manual lockout hub. A good quality 19 spline lock out say from warn or Yukon (I choose Yukon) and some chromo shafts would be a good addition for larger tires. GM flat top knuckles are also common and can be converted to high steer and have a lot of aftermarket support. Again this is my limited research but hope it helps. There are guys on here with gobs more knowledge that will chime in and be willing to help with this topic also. The Dana 44 has loads of aftermarket support with some putting stronger ring and pinions from jks in their applications from what I read. Hope my limited knowledge assists in your application.


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post #3 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 05:41 PM
BrutusBlue
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Your not going to need or want anything from the knuckle out. You will want to replace the spindle, the hub, disc, cailpers and switch to lockouts.

I’m not sure about the 73 but the 78 should have flat top knuckles on both sides. If you want a higher steer setup then your better off going with your stock pitman arm and running a machined passenger side higher steer on the knuckle for the drag link and a single tie rod to the driver side. The stock Waggy/Cherokee/J10 steering rod setup joins the two into one.

I have cut a few of these and it is not that hard...just a lot of parts to accumulate.

You can keep the passenger side axle but you will need a new one cut for the driver side, assuming your going to shorten it to CJ width.

What are your over all plans?
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post #4 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 06:53 PM
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TMI, I know, but I'll leave this here anyhow. This info is for folks using up to a 35" tire, but no bigger. Mid 90's Isuzu Rodeo/Honda Passport D44 rear axle pairs well with waggy d44 front, both at stock width. I would never shorten a waggy d44. They are getting so rare now. It's such the perfect width for a CJ. Anyhow, both those axles have matching 6 lug wheel hubs. The rodeo/passport rear axle is disc brake and has integrated parking brakes inside rotors, which is a very nice option to have, mandatory in alot of states, if driven on the street. It uses normal D44 gears/carriers just like all the other old school D44's. You'll find all the fasteners on the outside of the axle are metric, but that's the only weird thing about that axle. We put one in my Dad's CJ 5 yrs ago behind 300 ft lbs of torque and it has not broken an axle yet with 33" tires.

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post #5 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 07:43 PM
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This is a 77 J10 front Dana 44 cut down to about stock CJ widetrack width. I used the knuckles that came with it, and they have the tie rod mounted on top of the knuckle arms- so they are already more up and out of the way than the CJ D30 setup, which attaches from below. The passenger side knuckle was drilled and tapped for a high steer arm (and I have the arm), but it wouldn't fit since I retained the factory spring under axle suspension setup. The drag link would have contacted the frame during axle articulation. I use a stock CJ pitman arm and a heavy duty drag link and tie rod. The tie rod is further out in front of the axle than a D30, so the tie rod interfered with the drag link. I had to use an aftermarket steering box mount from M.O.R.E. that moves the box forward about 1.25". That gave enough room for the drag link. I also ended up removing the factory sway bar and sway bar frame mounts because they also interfered with the tie rod.

I used the small Chevy spindles, and mid to late 70s Chevy caliper mounts, which are heavy duty 3/16 steel all the way around. No tin shield welded to the caliper mount, it's full steel and can support the weight of the vehicle by itself. Chevy front caliper, Ford 1/2 ton hub and rotor. I ran stainless Mile Marker hubs in this picture, later switched to Warn Premiums.

I've wheeled this axle all over the country since 2007, with a Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears, and 32, then 33, then 35" tires. The last two years I've broke an axle joint on both sides, which took out the outer axle shaft. I replaced the outer shaft with used Spicers and the u-joints with Spicer 760x. Oddly enough, they didn't completely fail on the trail. I made it to the end both times and didn't see the damage until I got home.

A few years ago I switched from using modified CJ spring plates and stock size CJ 1/2" u-bolts to much heavier spring plates from Barnes that use 5/8" u-bolts. Occasionally the stock size u-bolts would loosen up, especially on the driver side for some reason, and I would hear clicks and pops while steering, which was the leaf spring shifting on the axle pad. The heavier plates and u-bolts (and higher torque specs) solved that completely.

Right now I am in the process of installing an air operated OX locker and putting in custom high strength alloy axle shafts from Dutchman Axles. These shafts allow the use of full circle snap rings. Between the full circle snap rings, which better retain the u-joints, and being able to unlock the front axle from time to time off road, I think this should prevent future shaft failures for a while.

I ran a fuel injected 91 4.0HO motor from 1998 until 2017, when I swapped in a 5.3 LS. Don't know how much the extra 100+ hp added to the axle problems. I really think it was just wear and tear from 13 years of running hard trails while constantly locked while off road.
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post #6 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJOO7 View Post
So most info I have found is for 1974 and later. Are the Dana 44s from 1973 a good candidate?
The seller must have years confused because the Waggy didn't have a 44 in 1973 and the gearing of a 73 would not be 3.07, as painted on the center section of that one. In 73 they had a closed knuckle Dana 30 with 3.31 gears standard and 3.73 as an option. Doesn't matter much as it's a narrow track, fullsize Jeep D44. The specific year makes zero difference that I can think of.

Quote:
So it also doesn’t have manual hubs. Thoughts on drive flange vs hubs? Can they be converted to manual hubs?
Yes, remove the drive slugs and replace with manual lockouts. Keep the drive slugs as they make great trail repair pieces.

Quote:
He also has a 1978 Dana 44....but I didn’t get pictures of that one. I thought I read the earlier axles were a bit stronger.
Should be pretty much identical to the one in your photos.
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post #7 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Wagoneer Dana 44 front question/advice needed

Thanks all. I want to run 35s and stay SUA lift. I also want to swap in a 5.3 LM7. That is the plan as of now. Iím collecting parts and figured I could match the bolt pattern with the Waggy and Isuzu 12 bolt. I was thinking of cutting the waggy axle but might consider out boarding the springs but havenít looked at the pros and cons of that setup. The Isuzu rear has 4.56 gears which I think would work well with 35s. So would just need to re-gear the front. I havenít thought too much about steering set ups yet.


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post #8 of 42 Old 02-16-2020, 11:22 PM
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For the money, those waggy Dana 44s are a great deal. I ran them with the 6 lug with 5.89s and I think I only broke one short side with 35s. I broke a lot more shafts with 38s, but I was doing crazy stuff. I'll probably put them in my current project once I get some time and money.

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post #9 of 42 Old 02-17-2020, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJOO7 View Post
Thanks all. I want to run 35s and stay SUA lift. I also want to swap in a 5.3 LM7. That is the plan as of now. Iím collecting parts and figured I could match the bolt pattern with the Waggy and Isuzu 12 bolt. I was thinking of cutting the waggy axle but might consider out boarding the springs but havenít looked at the pros and cons of that setup. The Isuzu rear has 4.56 gears which I think would work well with 35s. So would just need to re-gear the front. I havenít thought too much about steering set ups yet.


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I run a NV3550 Jeep 5 speed transmission and with 4.56 gears and 35s it's a great combination. With 4.11s I think the overdrive would be less usable. My Jeep is dual duty, daily driver capable and hard off roading. If mainly an off road vehicle, I'd consider 4.88s.

I also run 4:1 gears in the D300, so have an overall low range of 73:1.

What transmission are you thinking of using? I've read of front driveshaft clearance issues with the 4L60e oil pan.

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #10 of 42 Old 02-17-2020, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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I picked up a Ford T19 a few weeks ago for a good price so planning on using that. Was debating between that and a SM465 but I like having full synchros.

The Jeep is dual purpose as well as it needs to get me to the train everyday.

It sounds like that axle will work, he must have the wrong year on it. Worth going to check out.


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post #11 of 42 Old 02-17-2020, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJOO7 View Post
I picked up a Ford T19 a few weeks ago for a good price so planning on using that. Was debating between that and a SM465 but I like having full synchros.

The Jeep is dual purpose as well as it needs to get me to the train everyday.

It sounds like that axle will work, he must have the wrong year on it. Worth going to check out.


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If you are going with a four speed (no overdrive), I probably wouldn't go as deep as 4.56. Maybe 4.11, or even 3.73 if you plan on highway driving.
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post #12 of 42 Old 02-17-2020, 08:51 AM
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Trooper 12 bolt commonly came with 4.56 gears. Most rodeo/passport axles were 4.30 gears, but a lot got 4.10. 4 cyl models got 4.56. 4.10 would be ok enough for what you are trying to achieve. With 4.10's and 35's at 65 mph in 4th gear on the freeway you'll be between 2500 and 2600 rpm's. You might consider re-gearing to 3.73 as previously suggested, but that's doubles the re-gear work and cost. Most rodeo/passport rear d44 came with trac lock limited slip as well. Very easy to rebuild and cheap and works pretty good for light abuse. Works awesome on the street.

You do not want the later rodeo/passport d44. Too wide and the pumpkin changed and won't accept normal d44 gear set. The best years to match a waggy d44 front are from late 95' to 97'. Earlier versions too narrow, 98' and later too wide, plus weird gear set with weird bearings.
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post #13 of 42 Old 02-17-2020, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all. Maybe the answer is to go with a 5 speed NV3550 instead of the T19. The adapter is quite a bit cheaper as well so that might be the better road to go down. Iíll start keeping my eyes open for any in my area.


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post #14 of 42 Old 02-17-2020, 08:58 PM
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The single most important part of this entire equation is the transmission. Your going to get totally different performance comparisons between an over drive close ratio vs wide ratio trans in the NV3550’s or in the four speed close vs wide ratio in the T19’s.

Two Jeeps side by side...same everything except the trans gear ratio is different, one with wide ratio and one with close ratio...both will perform differently at low speed and on the trail.
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post #15 of 42 Old 02-18-2020, 02:38 PM
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The article link below has some good info for you, or anyone that wants to convert a Wagoneer Dana-44 for a CJ-7, and it seems to be accurate. There is other info on the web that’s not accurate, so be careful. I picked up a $50 Dana 44 from a Wagoneer that has been outside for years, and looks like the one you pictured. The dimensions of the one I have are identical to the dimensions in this article. Before you buy it, or any other Dana 44, figure out the math first, then go look at it and take your tape measure, and a couple of straight edges.

A stock width Dana 30 should be about 56” WMS to WMS, with 27.5 between the spring perches. (Wide-track used in the later CJ-7)

You want a passenger drop Dana-44 to replace the passenger drop Dana-30.

A passenger drop Dana-44 for this conversion has three important dimensions, and they are WMS to WMS, spring perch to spring perch, and spring perch to WMS on the short side of the assembly.

My Wagoneer Dana 44 measures about 61” WMS to WMS, and The spring perch on the short side (passenger) to the WMS is about 14.5”. The perch to perch dimension is 32”. I’m going to remove the long side inner C, and perch. Then I’m going to cut about 4” off, and reinstall the inner C and perch. The long side perch will be installed about 14.5” from the long side WMS. This will reduce the perch to perch dimension to 27.5”, for my CJ-7.

Original dimensions = 14.5 + 32 + 14.5 = 61”

After cutting the long side = 14.5 + 27.5 + 14.5 = 56.5”

With these numbers in mind go look at the Wagoneer Dana-44 with a tape measure and see if the math jives.

http://www.4x4wire.com/jeep/tech/axl...dana44/fsj-cj/
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