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Solid Dana 44 swap done

Well, after two weekends, a couple of nights, and a lot of head scratching, my 44 solid axle swap is done. Kind of.

It's not as high tech as Ricks because I used factory radius arms, but there were nearly no fabrication costs involved either since all the work was done by me at home in the garage. The only thing sent out was the long side axle to Moser to be resplined.

I still have some things I'd like to improve on, the radius arm crossmember and bracket is first but that will all come in time.

Initial impressions are very good, I'm happy I did it. I have some bump steer I have to work out, I know whats wrong, I just have to figure out how I want to fix it.

Here's a short list of what I have and what I did, and remember, it was all done at home in the garage. *Note* I have access to a machine shop to fab what I need to and get cut offs and new scrap metal from a shop I deal with for my job. They build rock crushing equipment.

-Dana 44 form a 79 F150. Sectioned and sleeved, narrowed 8 inches. 58 inch track width.
-Rebuilt the axle with all new components, ball joints, ujoints, bearings, 4.88 gears and a Lock right.
-Fabbed a radius arm crossmember, used 3/4"x 6" plate (thats what was available) spaced it down from the frame with 2 1/4" square tube for converter clearance. Cut the old radius arm crossmember for the actual mounting tabs, welded and braced them to the crossmember. This is plenty strong enough but I'd like to make something that looks a little better.
-Got a steering setup from performance unlimited www.performanceunlimited.com and set it up over the steering knuckles. It's a rod end type of linkage.
-Cut the stock ford trackbar, buttwelded and sleeved it.
-Used a 6x6x3/4" plate to mount the trackbar to the frame. Drilled it to the steering gearbox pattern and bolted it through the frame to the gearbox. The frame is boxed in this area.
-Used the 4" trailmaster coils I've always had on the ranger and fabbed a set of adapters to mount them to the radius arms. The adapters gave me 2" of additional lift. Also made a set of these for Riffman for when he swaps his out.
-regeared the rear end to 4.88 as well, already had a locker in the rear.
-At the present time I'm running the smaller bolt pattern on the rear cause I ran out of funding to buy new axles, but that will be the first thing addressed as funds become available.

The truck now sits about two inches higher in the front than the rear so I'm working on a buggy spring set up to even it up and help my flex. You need all the help you can get with a 126" WB.

I welcome any and all questions, I'll do everything I can to answer them.

Heres a couple pics and the link in my sig goes to more.

View


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jim love

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solid axel

The axel looks great I'm just about to put in my own solid axel set up. I'm also using a bronco axel.44 up front and 60 out back.Moser does do a great job on axel shafts,I sent mine out on monday and got it back on thursday.By the way where do you guys live? I live in Laporte up by lake Michagan.I've been down to Attica a couple of times and I haven't seen any Explorers,last time are club"Hard Core Off-roaders" went down there I rolled my 92 Explorer it was pretty wild.
 


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jim love

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custom axle

The axle width that I am running is 61 inches. The rear is 66 inches.The reason I left the rear full size is because in order to fit a 15 inch rim on 3/4 ton axels the rim will need to be back spaced so it will not hit the brakes. That will bring the front back out to 63 inches and then the rear rims are off set a 1 1/2 each to match the front at 63inches.
 




jim love

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custom axle

If you want to save money, instead of getting new axles made just by two rims for the front. The only problem is you won't be able to rotate the tires without breaking down and changing the rims. But if you are going to do all the work you might as well go all the way and change the rear. I have a Dana 60 with a power lock in mine.
 








jim love

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five lug

I don't think so because the hub is so big.You really wouldn't even be getting new axles, the hub is where the lug pattern is. And the hole reason for getting rid of the old setup is to get away from the small weak parts.
 




Kampy

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Randall, yes, you can get a 44 with that bolt pattern BUT, you really don't want to. They were available in 77-79 dodges 1/2 tons and ramchargers, but they were a piss poor design, very similar to todays front wheel drive bearing design. They had drive flanges instead of hubs, hubs were not/are not available. You would need everything from the knuckles out. The bearings were very expensive for them, like $300 for a set and they have to pressed on. 33 inch tires eat the bearings regularly every 5000 miles. Now that thats over, (I hope you're not still considering it), a couple of $40. wheels look pretty cheap.

I cut my axle for a 58 inch flange to flange track width, and Riffman had his cut to 59 inches. We are putting his in right now.

Jim, run your brake/wheel setup by me again, this time a little slower. To put 15" wheels on a 8 lug hub, disc or drum, you need alot of offset to the outside and very little backspacing. Sounds to me like the rear tires are going to stick WAY out.
 




Randall

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Since you put it that way....

After weighing my options, I have decided to go with the 5 on 5-1/2" bolt configuration. So when you guys are done with Riffman's install you are going to swing down here to Houston, TX to help with mine, right? ;)
 




Kampy

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Yea, be right down. j/k

The guy that's helping me said he'll do more of them if anyone wants it done, but I need some time off, this is 4 straight weeks, 2 on mine and 2 on riffs. I'm starting to have nightmares.

The best route to go is the bigger bolt pattern, no doubt.
 




tiessen

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I cut mine down 6 3/8" (I think) so that it measures exactly the same as an EB axle. This way, the inner axle shaft you have to cut can be replaced with an EB inner shaft if you ever break it. I thought that was better than having a custom length shaft.

ps. MuddWhore, I still haven't done a write up. Sorry.

Cheers

Dale
 




RFR2212

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Lol!! Poor Todd! Well, the only condolances I can offer are, it's in the name of off roading! Don't worry Todd, I will cut ya a good chunk of time till we do that dana 20 rebuild;) I shouldnt get it till may, and I'm not expecting to do it till late june early july.....Should that be enough rest for ya?
Pete
 




HIX

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Can you guys email me all the info on how you set up the radius arm brackets, the trackbar and well basically all the info you have on the swap? I am thinking that if I can do it for cheaper than gears + setup I'm in.
 




Kampy

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Hix, I'll try to get something off to you tomorrow night.
 




NIGHTRANGER5.0

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Kampy: it looks in the top pic like you have some sort of spacer under the coils. Why did you use that? Or do my eyes deceive me?

About your steering, how do you like it? As far as fit and finish and ease of installation, and ofcourse how it performs?

All in all i'm jealous! Bad thing is right now i've got all this artillery (so to speak) under the hood and no front axle worthy to put it to the ground. Thanks
 








Kampy

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Randall, the only thing I would feel safe in making for you would be the coil adapters and maybe the plate that the trackbar bracket mounts to. They are both very easy to make. Everything else kind of needs to be fitted to the vehicle.

Nightranger, I'll combine a couple of comments from your post to Scott (Riffman) and this one, I did his swap and his R/A brackets are better than mine, I just cobbled mine up cause thats all I had at the time. The best brackets to use are the factory ones for a 79 bronco, they give you the most clearance and are stronger than the dropped ones like Scotts. Combine those with 7 degree C bushings and you should be ready to go.

The steering works great, it's powder coated and it was easy to install. Just have to drill the knuckles and pitman to 3/4 inch straight holes.

Your eyes are fine, I did make coil adapters to make the ranger coils fit the radius arms, the f150 coils are bigger and mount differently on the bottom. For me it was easier than making new upper perches. And I got to use my old coils so it kept the cost down. The reason I made them 2" thick was for lift, you get about 1/2" from the axle itself, I had 4" coils but I needed some more so now I have 6 1/2" over stock. Enough for the 35's with a little trim job. Thats whats on the truck now.

I emailed Hix back and forth about the EB axle and I'll tell you the same thing I told him, I haven't used one so I don't know for sure but you might have driveline problems with the low pinion and alot of lift, if you end up with around 4" it might be ok but if you use 5" or 6" coils or space it that high like I did, it's like adding 4 more inches to the driveline angle cause the pinion is that much lower than the high pinion. Then you'd have to cut and turn the knuckles to get the pinion higher to relieve the driveline angle. It would be alot of jacking around when you could have just used a reverse cut diff in the first place. On the other hand if you got nothing in the axle and can cut and turn it yourself that would be fine. We all have to decide whats best for us. (wallet)

That's just one persons opinion, it's what worked best for me and my budget.
 




offroader_69_me

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Hix

hey hix if you would be so kind as to forward that email with the info to me I would be very very grateful, and might bring you a steak to the BBQ if you come!!!
 




BislamJoe

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Just a slightly off-topic question... What's the bolt pattern on my stock '93 axles? Is it 5 lugs at 4.5 inches? Or what? I'm looking to replace my rims with 15x10 wheels for bigger tires. (only 33's, no worries about strength)
 


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