Re: AMC20 vs Dana 44
JP Magazine (Jan 01) did a comparison on the two axles. The AMC 20 has some parts in it that are bigger than the D 44. However, we all know the stock axles in the AMC 20 are junk and that the tubes are the next weak link.
The axles can of course be fixed and the tubes can be stitch welded to help keep them from turning in the housing. (Although they still can bend.) The article went on to say that unless you are a hard core rock crawler, running 35s, or just generally abusive to your equipment, you should be fine with an upgraded the AMC 20.
I know that there are a bunch of jeepers on this BBS that have the AMC 20 with after market axles. I have one in my 78 CJ5 and it works fine with Moser 1 piece axles. (Installed in 93)
When I was 18 I thought that "4x4" meant "prepare for take off" and managed to destroy my first jeep in about 6 months. As long as you don't want to make your jeep fly or fall into one of the above exceptions, fix up the AMC 20.
If you would just feel better about having a D44, then go for the upgrade.