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Is a Dana 44HD from a '77 as good/strong as one from a '78-79? Found one cheap.

MidnightRebel07

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I'm slowly gathering parts for my SAS and found a Dana 44HD from a '77 Ford, it has disc brakes and comes with tons of extras. My question is are the Dana 44's from '77 as strong and or easy to get parts for as the 44's from '78-79? Anyone have a link to check the I.D. Numbers from the axle tube to see what it came from parts compatibility, etc...? Thanks in advance.
 


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jperry7783

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I think that one is actually more desirable. It should have the wedges that are welded on instead of the wedges that are cast into the knuckles. Other than that most other parts are the same as the 78-79.
 




bigcrunch

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77 is stronger than 78-79, it uses DOM tubing from knuckle to center chunk. less pieces welded together.

Are you planning on jumping with it? if so you still need to reinforce with trusses.
 




jjaganashi

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I think that one is actually more desirable. It should have the wedges that are welded on instead of the wedges that are cast into the knuckles. Other than that most other parts are the same as the 78-79.

Exactly!!!!

Im still trying to get rid of the matching 79 F150 axles i have that i was going to originaly swap in before i went Dana 60/Sterling 10.5..

If your gonna do a link setup or anything like that... The cast wedges SUCK!!!!!
Basically to run links on a 78-79 model, you have to replace the tubes...
77 model, you can just shear the welds and cut the wedges off..
 




YoungMounty

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Like others have said, the 77s (welded on wedges) are stronger than the 78-79 (cast wedges).
 




MidnightRebel07

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Ok, thanks guys. I plan to actually run leafspring setup so I'll just have to cut the wedges off and weld perches on. Anything I should look for as far as damage, bad wear when I go tho check it out?
 




jjaganashi

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most definatly check that neither of the tubes are bent or damaged..
make sure they are square to the housing or you'll be dealing with "premature wear of the parts"( and noone likes anything premature)... other than that, its pretty cut and dry..
 




MidnightRebel07

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Ok, thanks. I may look into doing radius arms and coil springs if I get this axle, always had leafsprings on my old rigs. How would I figure out what degree bushings I'd need?
 




jjaganashi

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how much lift are you going for?

If your going with rad arms and a decent lift.. you will definatly want to go with an extended rad arm or you will have to put some tall @$$ drop brackets for them..
Your degree is gonna depend on how high your going and how long of arm and drop bracket your going to run...
 




colintrax

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Isn't the 77 LP and 78+ HP?
 




gmanpaint

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I have a '77 HP D44.

I deliberately searched out this axle because of the strength and welded wedges. These are harder to come by, and are sought after.

With extended arms of approx 36", & about 8" or so of lift a set of 7* wedge bushing works well.
 




MidnightRebel07

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Gman, I knew I saw someone on here that has a '77 Dana 44, couldn't remember who though. I'm not going for too much lift, I'm going to do a SOA in the rear and run 35's and pretty much wanted the same amount of lift as Chad's Sport Trac. I had planned on doing leafsprings because I didn't want to have the radius arm drop bracket getting caught up on anything on the trail, the ST already has a long wheelbase that hinders it on the trail. I never messed with anything other then leafsprings before.
 




colintrax

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4 link!
 




gmanpaint

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Chads rig is pretty tall even with the leafs. His rig does very well on the trails. The longer wheelbase actually helps with the leaf setup. Decent amount of droop, nothing crazy, but helps on climbs and departures, that shorter wheelbase rigs struggle on.

Leafs worked well for Chad, and he has a decent registry on his SAS if you followed it for your build.

Personally, I prefer the long arms for more droop, less bind on the front drive shaft, longer coils and shocks, etc...

Select-able locker/new LS is a very desirable addition to your axle and will help a ton.
 








gmanpaint

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Xeek

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thats my bible. haha
the problem im seeing. he said d44 HD. if its hd, it really wont matter one bit about 78-79, except you get high pinion. either way is bigger brakes and 8 lug.

hurry up and get it or take pics lol
 




CodePoet

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I have a full width 79 d44 under mine. Not that hard to space out the top coil buckets. They CAN be narrowed...just a pain. If you want to run leafs though...pre 78 is your best bet. I'd go with what you found.
 




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On my HP Dana44 I just changed over to 1 3/4 ton 8 lug spindles to match my Dana70 8 lug rear. Both have large Chevy K20 rotors and brakes. But the thing I like about my new 8 lug front is that I now have increased the longevity/strength by now having the larger inner 2" bearing. Another plus, is it has the larger 1/2" tubes which resist flexing better and great for all the welding such as in C-Bracket trussing, re-welding the knuckle after shortening axle, and all the associated brackets needed for the 4 Link. I know some of the charts list which ones come with the 1/2" tubes, if that's a concern in your pick. I even read on one site that there are sleeves just to add thickness to a smaller tube. Now this is for some hard core crawling also...but still.
I can't recall if one year is better for High Steer or not? I know on mine one side was already drilled and tapped for a high steer bracket since it came with that side mounted high anyway. The other side I had to modify to bring the link to the top.
 


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jperry7783

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I agree it may be leaf spring, I missed the HD in the original post. Either way its still a good starting point. If it is leaf spring, I think it will have the stronger 1/2" thick tubes.
 




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