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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-29-1999, 10:30 AM
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D44 Axle swap - what to look for?

I was looking for some info on swapping a Wagoneer (or similar width) D44 into the front of my Cruiser. The main reason I am doing this is because they are wider (TLC = 55", Wag = 61"). I believe there are no strength differences in the axle shafts or the gears (TLC maybe stronger, but who really brakes them?), but I think the U-joints are stonger, easier to change,and cheaper than Birfields.

Which vehicles should I look into for doner axles? Do you guys have any problems running D44s in the rear as well? I was thinking on running a D60 rear and changing the knuckles to Chevy or Dodge flat tops and 8 lug to match. Is this possible? I think it will be cheaper to run the Wagoneer D44 rear since I don't have to mix and match parts.

I will have more questions later. Thanks.

--Eric Stegall
TLC Editor @ Off-Road.com

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-30-1999, 10:44 AM
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Re: D44 Axle swap - what to look for?

'74 was the first year the Waggie had D44 front. '74 was also the first year of the Cherokee. In '76 the Cherokee Chief debuted with a front/rear tread width of 65.4"/62.3" vs the Waggie's and standard Chero's 59.4"/57.8". Rear D44's hold up good if you aren't running a high output small block or big block and aren't totally insane with your wheeling. I had a '76 Waggie with AMC 401 V-8 and had no problems. My present '70 will also keep a 44 in rear, but needs a newer 30 spline flanged 44 to replace the 19 spline tapered 44 in there now. The flanged 44's showed up in late '70. Unfortunately mine's an early model. In '74, automatic equipped Waggies and Cheros had Q-trac xfers which made for offset rear pumpkins. Dana 20 equipped models had centered rear pumkins. Dana 60 rear would be ultimate, but they are very expensive and they stick down another 3/4" on the pumpkin. If you do a lot of rock crawling this might be of concern to you.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-01-1999, 05:40 PM
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Re: D44 Axle swap - what to look for?

Thanks for the response Tim.

I think I am going with a D44 in the front of my Cruiser and a D60 in the rear. Now I just have to keep my eye out for a D44 that fits my application. I just saw a '76 Cherokee Chief with the 64"-ish front end. And by adding a D60 to the rear of my Cruiser, I will not loose any ground clearance under the diff, but I will gain some under the front with a D44.


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