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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-12-2000, 07:05 PM
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Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

Ok, I brought this subject up before and it looked like a reasonable idea. Since that time I did a little diging. Here's what I found.

Find a front dana 44, pull the front spindle and hubs. As for brakes, doesn't matter if you use drums or disk, just grab whatever the donor front brakes were.

1. Pull the wheel bearing cup from the semi-floating dana 44.

2.Here the tricky part. You need to do some machining on the spindle. You will need access to a lathe to do this.
A. The boss on back side of the spindle need to be turned down to fit where the bearing cup went. This used to go into the knuckle.
B. The inside of the spindle needs to be opened up (bored out) slightly to accept the larger axle shaft.
C. Two holes need to be drilled into spindle mounting flange to match the two ones out of the pattern in the rear flange. These were offset to clear the drum slave cylinder/parking stuff.
D. Now the spindle should bolt right up to the dana 44 rear flange.
3. Next hard part, custom axles.
I was thinking use a widetrack 44 axle shafts from a FSJ. These have plenty of material to machine new splines into. The axle shaft now does not support any weight, but it needs to ride on the roller bearing inside the spindle. Two options here. One, have the axle fit the existing bearing, slightly larger than the spline diameter. Now the axle will be a little fatter near one end, then taper down to the ends with splines. Option two. have the axle the same diameter all the way down. This is like the Warn kit. Now you'd have to find a new bearing with the same outer diameter as the old one but a smaller inner diameter. six one way, half dozen the other. Also a groove needs to be cut around the splines on the wheel end. This makes it look like the front axle. The snap-ring snaps into the groove. That way the lock out will have something to hook up to and the axle shaft stays in place.
4.Brakes, Just put whatever the front had back on. You can correct for wheel bolt patterns by splicing chevy/ford/jeep parts. They all used dana 44 stuff. I'd stay away from scout dana 44's because they had external bolt-on lockouts. see # 5..
5.lockouts, use the one that came from the donor, or get the warn premium. I've heard that Warn doesn't give you a warranty if you use them on the rear. If they break, just say they were on the front. Maybe you could use the front lockout from a quadra-track wagoneer if you didn't want to be able to unlock your hub. They might be stronger too, just guessing here.

I welcome feedback here...Ozarkjeep what do you think of my plan?

As for price, I can do all my own machine work (mods to spindles) but axles you need to goto Moser (~$100). All parts could come from the junk yard. New rotors would be nice ($150), maybe even new bearings($50) and lockouts($100) too. Still cheaper than Warn, especially if you do the swap from a disk brake front. Full floating and disk brakes for less than the disk convertion alone.

My name is Ted, and I'm a Jeep-a-holic. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-12-2000, 07:31 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

Good Idea. We used to build them all the time. Works very good. The reason the warn kit is more is
because of lifetime guarantee on the axle shafts and the hubs. Plus all NEW parts instead of used. Plus
zinc plating etc. I have a floater kit on the rear of my Jeep that was built before Warn built them. I would
recommend you step up and have stronger shafts built. I have seen too many of them twist. Also, You
don't need the bearings in the spindles. You will need to machine the back of the spindle and the inside
of the spindle as you have noted. Also ask Moser if they will give you a lifetime guarantee on the shafts
with the spline count you have. Unless it's 35 probably not. I know Dutchman won't warranty anything
under 35 splines. Good luck. Nickmil.

post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-12-2000, 07:44 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

You're right about the needle bearing inside the spindle. I was thinking that the lock out could support the axle shaft, but it can now that I look at it.
You're also right about having the new axles made. For not much more than a re-spline you could step up to a stronger alloy axle shaft.

Do you think opening up the spindle to accept the larger axle shaft makes it much weaker?

My name is Ted, and I'm a Jeep-a-holic. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-12-2000, 09:21 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

looks like a good idea!

although it seems like alot of machine work

I was wondering about that inner spindle bearing, if it was really neccessary in a rear application, and according to the guy posting just now it might not be, that would make the axle shafts a little less work.

how do you plan to spline the axles? I was asking some machinest buddies at work how to do it, and they suggested a Bridgport Mill with a "broach" Ive never heard of a broach., they described it as a fixture to get the clokcing from what i understood.

the front brakes to the rear..brackets

I found a speedway motors catalog ( stock car stuff)

$15 for weld on GM caliper brackets fits 3" dia rear axle tubes for use with 11.75 inch rotors, easy cheap rear disks!

im probably gonna try that on my rear FSJ amc 20.

good luck!

77 CJ5, in a bunch of sanded and primered pieces
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-15-2000, 01:30 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

I was just going to send the axles to Moser and have them respine them. I thought broaching was used for making square holes (really). But you could respline them if you had a rotary fixture and a cutter with the right profile. I poked around our machine shop a bit, it could be done here, but I'd leave it to the pros.

I just found a new problem, how do you seal the axle housing now? Will the gear oil just spew out the sides?
Also the stub axle on a front 44 uses 19 spliles, while the rear uses 30.

If some one out there has installed the warn kit, your input would be great. Does warn have a lockout that uses 30 spline vs the normal 19?

I'll give Warn a call, maybe I can steal some trade secrets on how they do it.

My name is Ted, and I'm a Jeep-a-holic. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-16-2000, 12:01 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

We always went with 27 spline outer splines and external Warn premium hubs for the very reason you
mention about the spline count. Of course we also used studs to mount them with and were using
them in CJ-5's.You could also go with drive flanges from the front and that would be a lot stronger than
the locking hubs. You could also go with the 19 spline internal splined hubs or go with the full time
drive flanges like found on the front of Wagoneers and Chev pu's. For 4 wheel discs I used Chevy 1/2 ton
front caliper mounts and Scout hubs and rotors. Unfortunately you won't be able to have a wheel parking
brake with this setup. You could go with the Warn brackets and use late CJ rotors and 1980 Cadillac
Calipers and that would give you a rear wheel parking brake. We never had any problems with the rear
spindles bending, but if you go with rear discs I would recommend using disc brake spindles or you will
need a witches brew of bearing races and seals to get the spacing right. I didn't use an axle seal. Just
seal the hubs good. It doesn't leak. It will collect some dirt around the dial though. This is the way many
Full float full size axles work. I found My bearings run cooler this way. You will still need to pack the
bearings initially until the axles can transmit the fluid to the hubs. Only down side is the mess any time
you have to take the hubs off. One other thing is I had to relocate my vent. Mine had the vent in the axle
tube and the axle shaft would sling oil out. I solved this by drilling and tapping the cover and putting
a 1/8" pipe barb type fitting in the cover. Then I tack welded a cover over the vent to make sure it couldn't
sling oil out. You may not have to do this. It depends on where your vent is located. Mine is an early CJ
offset 44. I started doing this with all my front and rears and have been happy with the results. Mine has
been running this way about 5 years of hard wheeling with no problems.
Good luck. If you have any more questions feel free to email me. Nickmil.

post #7 of (permalink) Old 05-16-2000, 12:14 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

wouldn't it be simpler to just install the front axle as-is on the rear, use a t-case mounted e-brake and hook the tie rods to a bracket bolted to the frame. This would give you identical axle hardware front and rear and fewer parts to carry along. I know there may be strength issues about the axle shafts, but it seems much easier and there is the potential for 4 wheel steering later.


post #8 of (permalink) Old 05-18-2000, 04:41 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

I called Warn, they use a special locking hub with a 30 spline internal drive gear and a locking feature to prevent them from unlocking. Part number 37730. I called a local Warn dealer, the guy said "about $65 to $75 each, special order, a week to get them."

Figured out the sealing problem too. Just RTV the heck out of the spindle/housing interface, (thanks Nickmil). Warn uses a seal around the axle shaft near were the internal roller bearing used to go. I bet you could just buy them form Warn too, they list a Rockwell part number: 473210

So here's my plan: Buy the warn 30 spline lock outs and axle seals (Warn $150), respline (Moser $85) the outers of some junk yard dana 44 axles (Junk yard $50) and use the spindles, hubs rotors from a front dana 44, chevy 1/2 ton or jeep wagoneer/cherokee (junk yard$75). Machine the spindles (free, I'll do it) to fit the rear dana 44 flanges. Callipers from a 1979 caddie (got them all ready, $14 from the junk yard). Brake lines and other stuff I forgot (AutoZone $25). I'm not going to bother changing the bolt pattern because I figure I'll swap the front end with a dana 44 anyway, just cut the long end 4", more on that later. I'll have to get some 6 bolt wheels, no bigge. So lets see, 150 85 50 75 0 14 25 =$ 399 call it $450 to be safe. If I went with custom axles instead of the reslpile, 450 - 85 300= $665 That looks like a lot but remember that I'd be getting a full float kit AND a rear disk brake conversion. Compare that with the warn kits,total $1200 from 4WPW (FF ->$600 RD->$600). HALF PRICE FOR SOME ELBOW GREASE.

Oh, the problem with using a front axle in the real is the weak link of the u-joints. Also I'm thinking you might get some unwanted steering with a frame mounted tie-rod bracket, better to weld it to the axle tube.

My name is Ted, and I'm a Jeep-a-holic. [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 05-18-2000, 05:39 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

Lee, I've often wondered what issues would come up with a front axle installed in the back end. It would seem to simplify some things .......but has anyone done this for a daily driver? I would imagine with a lift and what not you'ld run into some dynamic alignment issues. I mean you can't just tilt the pinion towards the t-case for a better driveshaft angle without causing other problems. Steering would be easy enough with a hydraulic joy stick. There's probably a setup out there somewhere to allow input from the steering shaft and a thingie to switch it from "in-phase" steering to "out of phase" steering.

Has this been done?


Figures don't lie ....... but liars sure do figure.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 05-18-2000, 06:41 PM
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Re: Full Floating Dana 44 (homebrew version) New and improved...

One of my customers is doing this with dual high pinion 60's right now. It's coming out real nice but he hasn't
driven it yet. However, he has hundreds of hours of research into it and if any one can make it work safely
he can. Regarding the axle seal that Warn uses on the ff kits. The spindle is machined to accept the seal
and the seal is designed to work with their 30 spline shafts but I don't see any reason as long as the diameter
is correct that it wouldn't work. The Warn ff instructions also say that the seal is an option and you can
put it in or not as you see fit.
Regarding just putting a front axle in the rear their are many issues to deal with such as: pinion angle,
caster, differential offset, steering linkage, strength, etc. The last thing you want is the steering linkage
hooked to your frame. This would give you bump steer in the rear every time the suspension cycled. Good
luck to all. Nickmil.

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