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Thanks for the replies! I'm planning on running 4.10s so shouldn't be too hard to find whatever axle I end up with. I thought about the 8.8 and while it would be stronger, the D44 I already have seems cheaper and easier and will probably hold up to 35s just fine. Additionally I'm a little skeptical of the overall strength of shortening the 8.8 like that as I've read cutting and welding the axle tubes together can be a a little sketchy, although I'm certainly open to being convinced otherwise.
Couldn't you sleeve the axle tubes internally to reinforce the weld?
 
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