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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got an e-mail from Summit Racing. I spotted some heat treated Maganese alloy U-joints in their latest catalog and wanted to know if they carried them for my Dana 44 front end.

Here's my question to them:
"I saw the heat treated maganese steel alloy U-joints in your catalog, and I am
wondering if you carry these for 4x4 front ends. I am looking for the equivalent
of a Spicer 297-X joint to fit a Dana 44 front end. This is the U-joint in the
axle shaft itself, not in the front drive shaft. Use a '78 Wagoneer or Chevy 4x4
if you need a vehicle specific refernce to find the part number. Pick any drive
train combo, they all used the same U-joints in the front axle shafts.

Thanks
John Nutter"

Their reply was:
"Hello, Here is the part number and price for your application. Thanks
ALL-41761 17.95"

I'd like to see Warn's break test on these! The only maganese alloy U-joint they had to test was a 260 series for a Dana 30, and it tested out 30% higher than all other 260 series U-joints. Just a wild guess, but I'd have to think that this should break test at something like 85,000 to 90,000 in lbs - that's over 7,000 ft lb of torque.

I'm calling to order a pair right now.

Someone with a D-30 should check to see if they carry them in the equivalent of 260 series.


 

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I guess the reservations I would have is that if these joints are that strong, where have you now moved your "Weak link" to? Will you now blow a hub, or a driveshaft U joint? Tough call, where can breakage do the most damage? Sure a driveshaft is easier to fix, but what else will it take out when it goes? Replacing hubs can get expensive when they grenage. Any thoughts on this?

David
Davids 4x4 Page
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Why not make that link stronger?A stronger U-joint is going to decrease breakage, not increase it. Heck, if I had the money I'd buy 4340 chrome molly shafts too, but that wouldn't make worry about my ring and pinion any more than I do now becuase it would still take the same force to break it as it always had.

To answer your specfic question, most of us with Dana 44s run 1/2 ton outers with the internal style hubs. Strength is not a problem with these. Really serious guys skip the hubs altogether and run drive flanges from a Dana 44 that was full time 4wd. These drive flanges are not only super strong, but decrease the stickout in the center of the wheel.

Cost? U-joints are cheap. I answered the hub question, one set of drive flanges should last a lifetime and would cost about $5 at a junkyard.


A friend of mine put it well once, he said "I want to build my truck so tough that even a tire in a bind will spin before anything breaks."


 

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First of all, what tire size are you considering? I have seen plenty of 44 hubs - even the well thought of internal type - die with 35's and larger tires.

I have also - in my short time 4 wheeling - found out that you can build everything up all you want, something WILL break.

It is not a wise move to think that by upgrading everything you can escape breakage. I am just questioning where you want to place this weak link. Sure, you can build everything up - but nature dictates that ONE component is still the weak link.
I like the line of thinking, and with the increased options in upgrade parts a wise person would chose where the faliures are both easier on the entire vehicle and the wallet.
Personally, I would rather have an axle shaft U joint go than a drivestaft joint. I have seen both go, and driveshafts tend to take too many parts out with them - gas tanks, shocks, floorboards, etc.

Maybe you are assuming an overbuilt vehicle paired with smallish tires (33's or less) and a driver who doesn't push the limits. Then the only weak link left in the vehicle is the driver/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

David
Davids 4x4 Page
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your argument makes no sense. Do you enjoy trail repairs?

Let's switch this over to a Toyota analogy.

Whent you get some Marfields are you going to sit and worry about what part of your Toy is now weak? -- Wait a second, nothing got any weaker when you installed the marfields :)

So, what part of your Toy is it that you are going to weaken when you upgrade your birfields to marfields??? Going to grind away part of the axle shaft? Run only half the bolts in your hubs? Silly isn't it?

Upgrade what you can and drive on the rest. Fix it when you have to. Simple, huh?

See you on the trail.

Once again, I've made my point and I'm done. Go ahead and make your point again. It won't change my mind, becuase I've already seen it.

 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nutter,
I'm sure you probably won't respond to this either/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif. I don't think you are seeing the argument DRM is making. While I don't necessarily agree with him on this point, what he's saying is indeed valid.

Let's use your Marfield example and a real life experience that I recently witnessed. A friend with Marfields managed to blow the front axle and as a result of the axle breaking (splines twisted off) the heat caused the Marfield to expand and put hairline cracks in the Marfield outer housing. Now, with a stock birfield, he'd have just grenaded the birf before the axle ever blew.

This is an increase in damage due to the upgraded part. However, how many other obstacles did my friend get through due to the increased birfield strength by going to Marfields? My point is that, generally the upgrades are very much worth it. On that point you and I (and I suspect DRM) agree. DRM is just pointing out that it may be easier to fix a part like an axle ujoint than to have to replace a shaft when the axle lets go before the ujoint (the equivalent between the 44 scenario and the Marfield example). I agree that nothing got any weaker and I read no where that DRM was arguing that point with you.

In conclusion, go with the stronger ujoints, but be prepared for something else more expensive and potentially harder to change to give when you do. I believe DRM was asking for thoughts on the subject to get a discussion going. I doubt he was looking for you to jump down his throat with both boots.

Sean
PS. You're kinda being a dick. At least that's how it's coming across.
 

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What is your problem? I bet you are the simple type who is still hung up on the dane 44/Toyota axle discussion - sad you take it so personal.

I will restate my point, since you can't seem to understand it.

No matter what you upgrade, something will still be the weak link. It is just a matter of what you decide is cheapest/easiest to fix. I was simply posing it to the board as to talking over what is the best way to work around this. Obviously you know all the answers, and a discussion is below you.

I guess you had a hard time in physics - since this is pretty simple. If you want to keep talking down to me because I own a Toyota feel free. I guess it makes you feel better about yourself.

BTW, this was not an arguement about the specifics of the U joint in question - it was simply an intelligent discussion on thinking through how you build a vehicle. Oh, and I like how you assume it was directed at just you - like no one else can think and talk about this...

So you can go on in your little imaginary world where you updrage eveything and nothing breaks. Like I said - if that is the case, the weak link is behind the steering wheel, and you aren't driving your vehicle very hard.

Sorry you can't appreciate a discussion in anything that is contrary to your beliefs - or better yet beyond your understanding.

David
Davids 4x4 Page
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Fellas,
First of all, I have to agree with John (Nutter). By eliminating the weak link, it is possible that the next weak link could be so strong that the chances of failure decrease dramatically. He does have a great deal of real world trail experience and he knows what parts are at risk for breakage and the damage that these parts can impart on other parts, so give him a little credit. Personally I would rather risk breaking a ring and pinion (very low risk) or an internal hub (again, very low risk) than be absolutely, positively sure that I am eventually going to have to replace a axle u-joint. And as Murphy's law dictates, that axle u-joint is going to break in the most inconvenient spot there is. It's a matter of determining what the value gained from upgrading is versus the risks associated with that value. Would you argue this point if he were considering putting in a Dana 60 in the front? I doubt it. If we were all content with how things are, this BBS wouldn't be here! John has his ideas of these things and someone else might not have the same ideas. I will say that "putting it in Toyota terms" should have been left out. There is no need to have a pissing match where there should be constructive criticism. Let these arguments about strength go guys!! If you feel the need to vent, go out in the garage and hit something with a BFH or turn a wrench or two. Nobody wants to see anyone argue something which is of personal preference or see other four-wheelers argue amongst each other. Wouldn't the greenies love to see that happen on the trail?

 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
yes we are now moving the weak link, however the new alloy shafts moved that weak link to the u-joints in the first place, we then upgrade the u-joints and the weak link moves again, lets say to the ring and pinion, with todays extra low t-case gears we can go to a higher ring and pinion to eliminate that weak link, then it maybe becomes the hub and we upgrade that, the point is it is now almost possible to make a dana44 the same strength as a dana60 and allow less breakage overall.

 

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Actually, my thoughts on this subject started a few years back with a friend and his Suburban. hopped up 350, front 60, rear 14 bolt, you get the idea.

At that point we started really thinking about where you place the weak link in any system. On his truck, he had basically built up every part you can - As John Nutter & yourself have said.
Consider his steering for example. He was wanting to find the largest tie rod ends for everything, as well as the largest ans strongest drag link and tie rod tube too. Once we thought about it some, we decided that this was not as smart as we first though. Say we were to build the steering to take everything we could dish out. With 44" swampers, the next thing up the line was ripping the steering box apart, or the frame in half - or both. A call to Dynatrac confirmed this - would you rather replace a steering box/frame repair or a relatively inexpensive tie rod end? If we hadn't looked through this, he would have slapped on the largest steering components possible and not thought through this process. This make sense?

I could go on and on, with a vehicle this well built - we have found several instances where you really have to think about where things will break. I was just stating that upgrading parts - though a good thing - mst be looked at as a total packag,and the effects that they will have on the rest of the system.

BTW, in your analogy about breaking a R&P compared to a U joint, you are missing the point. You say that the chance of breaking the R&P is low, but you are forgetting that the probablilty that you break the R&P goes up as you strengthen the formerly weaker components (U joints, hubs, etc.). If you make the U joints, hubs, and axle shafts stronger than the R&P - that is not a wise move. Ever tried to get off the trail with a trashed R&P? You carry spare R&P (& setup tools) on the trail? I say carry a spare axle shaft/Ujoints for your axle and replace those - way too fast & easy to do/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

David
Davids 4x4 Page
 
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