Dana 44 front axle - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
VikesTJman
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Dana 44 front axle

Looking to swap the stock dana 30 with a dana 44. Prefer a new one, found a place online. Jeepsareus.com....(good site or company?) Should i keep the front 3.73 like the back? or should i upgrade the rear with a higher one that i get for the front? Does anyone have anything i should know? I am open to any criticizm/support you have. I'm still learning alot, and am taking it one thing at a time. Learning everything i can before i do it. Leave some feedback!

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post #2 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:24 PM
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Seems like most people want 35’s for street or trail. I wrote this as a reference guide on what you’ll need to do it right. Yes, you can do it half way, or many other variations to these suggestions.

The preferred method
5-6” of lift.
This can be all suspension or a combination of suspension and body. If your going SL/BL most will say 4” SL and 1” BL. It could be done with a 2” budget boost and a 3” BL(but why).
Short or long arms are a personal choice. Stock arm’s aren’t an option above 3” of lift. You’ll need something with adjustment to recenter the axle.

Slip yoke eliminator and double Cardan drive shaft. Unless you have a Rubicon then just a CV shaft.

Decrease the up travel to keep the tires out of the fenders.
This can be done by lowering the stock bump stops or raising them from the bottom with hockey pucks. Ideally closing the gap on both the top and bottom is more effective.

Wheels,
Due to the most common width of 12.50 on 35” tires. Stock Jeep wheels won’t work well. You’ll want an 8” wide wheel with 4” of back spacing of less.

Axles
A stock Dana 35c won't last very long with the 35's. A Super kit. A Dana 44 replacement or 8.8 replacement.
A stock Dana 30 low pinion can be made to last with chrome molly shafts If your not over the edge hard core. A better option would be a High pinion Dana 30 from Cherokee with chrome molly shafts or the Super30 kit.
Rubicon 44's
Bring a different set of issues than the 30/35. The rear 44 will hold up fine stock. But it's always a good idea to upgrade the shafts to chromemoly.
The front 44 being a hybrid 44/30 presents some other issues. It has 30 spline inner shafts. But the U-joints, outer shafts and unit bearings are all D30. So that makes the outer shaft a 27 spline. At one time Alloy USA was selling a 30 spline unit bearing and outer shaft for the 30 and R44. Hopefully this will return to the market. As always chromemoly shafts will help.
The R44 Front is still a low pinion design and under severe strain can have similar failures to the LP30.
The 4.10 gears will have to go for anyone that doesn't live where it's flat.


Gears
4.88 for for manual transmissions in 4 or 6 cyl TJ's and 4 spd autos
4.56 for 3spd automatics
Some of the Rubicon owners have reported good results with 5.13 gears and 6spd man or 4spd auto.

Steering,
Stock steering components are weak. Upgrade the steering to a heavy duty drag link and tie rod at least. You might find the front tires rubbing the lower control arms or sway bar. This can be fixed by spacing out the steering stop bolt with washers.

Brakes
I’m going to split this further into Automatic Vs Stick
Automatic, Upgrade them to Vanco.
Stick, They can work. But having upgraded brakes only makes sense.
Many people have reported good results from changing rotors and using better pads like EBC yellows.
Adding rear disk helps a little, but not significantly enough to justify the expense.

Tire coverage
Please check with you local state regs. You might need bigger flares and mud flaps.

Spare storage
A 35 is too big to ride on a stock carrier even with an extension. It will cause damage to the tailgate.
Get a frame or bumper mounted carrier. Or some other way to carry a spare.

LCG method

2.5” of lift or less
tube fenders or highline kit
trim the tub
steering as above
brakes as above
wheels and tires as above
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post #3 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:28 PM
Jerry Bransford
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The Dana 44 front axle like the Rubicon uses is really not usably stronger than the Dana 30 is. How can that be? Because the Rubicon's front Dana 44 uses the identical axle tubes, inner/outer-Cs, knuckles, ball joints, outer stub axle shafts, u-joints, etc. as a Dana 30 use. Everything outside of the D44's pumpkin except for the inner axle shaft is the same as what the Dana 30 uses.

Having the same Dana 30 components like the u-joint, knuckles, axle tubes, etc. on a Dana 44 pumpkin is like placing a 30 amp fuse in a 44 amp circuit. You may have a 44 amp circuit but the 30 amp fuse is gonna blow before you get to use any of the 44 amp circuit's capability. Besides, a Dana 30 is fully up to running 35" tires and a locker with the only usual upgrade that is a good idea for tougher trails is to replace the axle shafts with hardened chromolly axle shafts like from Superior Axle.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #4 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:28 PM
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The thread should be locked after Mondays post, haha. Thats all you need to know, IMO.

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post #5 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:29 PM
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Oops Jerry snuck in there.... Listen to him too, haha that was worded great!

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post #6 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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I have still been reading up on the dana 44 front, and to agree with you jerry, and you put it very well with that analogy, i more than likely will stick with the dana 30, just put a locker in. I have read nothing but good and strong suggestions about chromolly axle shafts, so that is next! Much cheaper than a full on swap too.
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post #7 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:42 PM
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don't discount the high pinion 30 from the Cherokees. It's stronger than the TJ low pinion 30.
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post #8 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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just for time and effort purposes on my part, being i am limited to internet time(overseas at the moment) what would that run me moneywise and swapwise? sorry to put u on the spot never monday.

P.s. thanks for the list you made, it will be of use as i build my jeep!
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post #9 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 07:52 PM
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only the gear and bearing set is different from your TJ 30. Any other upgrade part you buy will transfer over. You can find HP housings for $100 or less.
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post #10 of 37 Old 08-21-2009, 10:31 PM
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imho- Side by side, the Rubi axle makes a better candidate for building than the D30. Many of the weak points of the D44 can be enhanced to a handle a full "44 amp circuit". Some of the D30's obviously cannot including the limitation of 4.88 being the lowest gear available.

That being said, both the D30 and D44 can be made to reliably handle 35's. The D44 has the advantage of being geared as low as desired while having a stronger housing/case, inners, and R&P.

I certainly wouldn't pay retail for a Rubi D44 as you can find better suited axles in the aftermarket but for the right price I certainly wouldn't pass on the swap based soley on it sharing outershaftswith the 30. Hardened shafts, stronger u-joints and knuckles are available.

Last edited by Xlr8n; 08-21-2009 at 10:51 PM.
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post #11 of 37 Old 08-22-2009, 12:24 AM
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I agree a D44 out of a Rubi is an upgrade, but a D30 will handle 35s fine, as long as you are not extremely hard on it.

Max

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post #12 of 37 Old 08-22-2009, 10:03 AM
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Many people are complaining that the Rubicon did not come with a real Dana 44. Put your mind at ease, it is a real Dana 44.

The Dana 44 refers to the housing, differential case and axle. What many people are complaining about is they feel that the outer axles, steering, u-joints and bearings are not Dana 44. Well they are, since 1996 Jeep upgraded the Dana 30 outers to the equivilent to Dana 44's. So at this point both the D30 and D44 front axles used by Jeep are the same design as far as the outer portions go........until they changed them to the JK D30/D44 which are entirely different from TJ's yet carry the same name. (Dana REALLY wanted to give them new numbers but DC said NO.)

You do have a stronger differential with the D44.

No the Dana 44 is not the same as what Ford may use or the same as what Jeep may have used on the old Wagoneers, but it is still a Dana 44.

Not all D30's are the same as well...go try running a CJ D30 on 35's compared to a JK D30.

The housing defines the axle, everything else will vary according to what the manufacturer needs for suspension,steering and width.


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post #13 of 37 Old 08-22-2009, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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I am catching on, that would not be that bad of a deal i guess. Lower gear ratio and upgradable parts for the axle itself is reasonable to switch. But with the lower gear ratio's, wouldnt it give more of a risk of breaking anything with the outter shafts? And good candidate for building is where i changed my mind to go ahead and swap. Leaving room to build, is making dreams more than a reality with limitless possibilities.
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post #14 of 37 Old 08-22-2009, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikes0722 View Post
I am catching on, that would not be that bad of a deal i guess. Lower gear ratio and upgradable parts for the axle itself is reasonable to switch. But with the lower gear ratio's, wouldnt it give more of a risk of breaking anything with the outter shafts? And good candidate for building is where i changed my mind to go ahead and swap. Leaving room to build, is making dreams more than a reality with limitless possibilities.
Lower gear ratio does not really equate to breaking the outer shafts directly..using the throttle to compensate for poor ratio can result in more broken outers though.

So since you have a TJ D30 and you want to make it stronger you could get chromo shafts and say locking hubs. The hubs will almost always break before the shafts or joints or ring and pinion. They are easy to fix and inexpensive to repair.

If you don't get locking hubs then your U-joints are probably your next weakest link followed by your ring and pinion. Ring and pinion strength declines as your gear ratio increases. Using a high pinion D30 can compensate for this as the gears are reverse cut, otherwise your gear ratio is limited to 4.88 I believe. A 5.13 ratio (which you might not even need) is not even made for the D30 as the R&P is just to small to have any material left for strength. You can get a 5.13 in a D44.

Of course all of this depends on what you plan to do..35's are really the max for the TJ's D30 or D44. People do run 37's on them, but they are pushing it's limits overall.

It's all about how you wheel, where you wheel, your mechanical ability, and the depth of your pocketbook.

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post #15 of 37 Old 08-22-2009, 12:25 PM
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I agree with everyone. I've been running 35" on my front dana30 for a year with no problems. Unless you're planning on heavy rock stuff than just do some mild modifications to the dana30. I would also keep the stock 3.73 gears as they are great for highway rpms. I have 4.11 in my axles and they didn't make much difference from the 3.73 off-road going through mud, etc. just stick with what you have if you use it as a daily driver too. You go too low(numerically higher) in gears and you won't like the highway manners with the engine.

I'm no pig... but I'm definately an ANIMAL!!!
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