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Dana 44 Knuckles on Dana 35 TTB

Discussion in 'Modified 1991-1994 Explorers' started by fordpickupman, December 21, 2018.

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    1. fordpickupman

      fordpickupman Elite Explorer

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      Alright, I've been researching this for about a year off and on. It appears that there are several ways to get the longer spindles and bigger brakes of the Dana 44.

      I read one on Ranger Station where the guy had used the Dana 35 knuckles with Chevy Dana 44 spindles out including the Chevy brakes. Has anyone used the late '70s Ford Dana 44 spindles out including the Ford brakes? The Chevy option requires removing the caliper ears from the Dana 35 knuckles. I assume the Ford option would require the same process.

      However I like the idea of the Dana 44 TTB knuckles because of the bigger ball joints. Is this even an issue with 35" tires? I have read where special camber adjusters are needed to run the Dana 44 upper ball joints in the Dana 35 beam. But I've read where some guys install the Dana 35 upper ball joint into the Dana 44 knuckle, or just use the Dana 44 camber adjuster (I assume they are using the pinch bolt to close up the gap). It seems like most of the write ups gloss over the upper ball joint detail of the knuckle swap.
       
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    3. bats

      bats Active Member

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      I planned on doing the whole knuckle swap but the balljoint work put me off of it. Might try with my spare TTB. The basic idea is you ream out the balljoints to accept the D44 balljoints. Don't think there was anything particularly special about it but it's somewhat delicate.

      What I ended up doing was using just the brake backing plates and spindles. This requires cutting the ears off the D35 knuckles and also longer outer stub shafts. I think I also used GM bolts to attache the spindle/backing plate assembly as well. So still have the D35 balljoints but I gained D44 bearings and some beefy brakes. Kept the stock first gen Explorer master cylinder and it all works amazingly.
       
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    4. bats

      bats Active Member

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      Was just going over my notes. Never ended up doing a write up but here's a few more notes:

      Use the top stud on the TTB knuckles as an index (the one to the right of the ABS sensor.) Punch out all studs except that one and then attach the Chevy backing plates. You'll need to drill two holes. You can either drill and tap them or use a GM spindle nut kit like I did.

      You will lose ABS if you had it before. I just disconnected the ABS computer so the dash light wouldn't come on.
       
    5. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      do you have any pictures of this? I am really interested.
       
    6. Rockwood

      Rockwood Member

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      X2, would like to see this also
       
    7. 93XploderMS

      93XploderMS New Member

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      I went with 1993-1996 Dana 44 Knuckles. The bottom hole I reamed until the 44 ball joint thread would go through. The top I just used Dana 44 pieces and tighten the pinch bolt.
       
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    8. fordpickupman

      fordpickupman Elite Explorer

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      93XploderMS that is exactly the information I was looking for. Thank you.
       
    9. Rockwood

      Rockwood Member

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    10. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      The swap is totally worth it in my case! I was going thru wheel bearings like nobody's business with the spacing of the factory 35 spindles with 35 inch tires. I used Knuckles, Spindles, Calipers, and Hubs from a 1985 fullsize Bronco. For me it was an easy swap, you just have to be careful when reaming out the beams to not go to far. I just checked it often with the new balljoint. It doesnt take much to ream it out with a sharp reamer. any questions you guys have let me know. it seemed intimidating at first for me, buts its pretty simple!
       
    11. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      so its just reaming out the bottom to fit the ball joint, then using the caster adjusters from a dana 44TTB and thats it?
       
    12. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      yes and also you need to clearance the end of the beams where the knuckle attaches to achieve full steer. Then figure out what you are going to do for steering. Dana 44 knuckles are reamed from the opposite side as the Dana 35 knuckles. I did a Straight hole thru the ream. If i recall right it was 7/8" bit, then bought some inserts with the right taper for the tierod ends
       
    13. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      And the vehicle aligned fine? I keep reading that the dana 44 camber alignment shims are too small to properly be retained in the dana 35 holes.
       
    14. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      No my camber/caster alignment cams were the same diameter as the Dana 35. Yah it aligned out perfectly
       
    15. BKennedy

      BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    16. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      alright, did you use factory style cams or the fully adjustable ones for the dana 44
       
    17. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      you can use factory style cams or correction specific or the infinitely adjustable style, the alignment cams stay the same as you had before as it is the same upper ball joint.
       
    18. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      so you use a dana 35 upper ball joint and a dana 44 lower?
       
    19. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      No you can’t, Dana 35 upper gets held in by the pinch bolt and snap ring on the beam as a Dana 44 gets held in by a castle nut like a regular ball joint
       
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    20. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      I used the fully adjustable ones for a Dana 44. Still had a bunch more adjustment left after it was aligned
       
    21. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      perfect! i've got this all understood now.
       
    22. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      My bad! I thought I saw one of these where they re installed the D35 style UBJ and kept the pinch bolt
       
    23. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      No problems, haven’t tried that but would be cool to see if that worked
       
    24. buford1972

      buford1972 New Member

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      It is my understanding and has been verified by measuring the adjustment cams for a d-44 and a d-35 that the d-44 cam is not as large in diameter than an adjustment cam for a d-35. How are all these people able to get a d-44 ball joint and d-44 adjustment cam to tighten properly in a d-35 beam? Does anyone have a list of parts used that they would share?

      I have also looked into the swap using a 96 d-35 ranger knuckle (with sliding and bolt on caliper) and bolting on a 96 d-44 bronco 5-bolt spindle (which does in fact bolt up) and sliding on a d-44 rotor. The problem with this swap is that the rotor hits the caliper bracket. Any ideas on either????
       
    25. stephen93Eddie

      stephen93Eddie Member

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      that was my question, I have seen two articles in 4wor saying its too small, but several guys on the ranger station have done it. I'm assuming the bolt keeps in tucked in and you just tighten the crap out of pinch bolt.
       
    26. VAUGHN4wd

      VAUGHN4wd New Member

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      I just tightened the pinch bolt after torquing the upper ball joint to factory 85 bronco spec. will update with pictures sometime tomorrow!!!
       

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