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d44 rear axle swap


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hello everyone,

i have a 88 comanche 4.0 5 speed long bed with 3.54 gears that i've had for a little while and the rear is starting to make some noise. the pinion bearing is bad and pinion seal is leaking badly. i would rather swap in a 44 rather than put money into the 35 i have now. i just needed to know are the u-bolts and spring plates different for the 44. i was thinking the tube diamerer would be bigger but wasn't sure. will my drive shaft and brakes and hardware swap over. i found a 44 with 80,000 miles on it but it's located in hew hampshire and i was quoted at $500 including shipping and 30 day warranty. does this sould like a bad deal, i really don't know what the going rate is for one of these. if anyone has one in good condition and is within about 2 hrs of me i may be interested if the price is right. thanks

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If you can find one in a local yard (many you-pull-its do not computerize their inventory so you need to go look yourself) it should run you 100-200 and you get it then and there.

 

Not sure on the U-bolts, perches, and spring plates. Driveshaft length may change a bit, also remember if the 44 is out of an XJ or anything other than an MJ you probably will need to swap new perches on.

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yea, i'm looking to buy a mj rear axle not an xj. that way i can just bolt it in. i've called all the junk yards i could find and most of them don't even have any comanche's. theirs 1 more place about 2 hrs away that i gotta check yet.

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i looked at my shaft and it doesn't look like it moves in all that much. it can go in probably at least 2 inches so as long as the pinion isn't any more than 1 inch longer i should be ok.

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U bolts should never be reused anyway. They are designed to stretch only once.

 

i was gonna get new ones. theirs a place about 30 minutes from me that makes u-bolts any size i need. if the u-bolts are the same for both axles i could just take one of my old ones down for them to go off of.

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where in NH?

 

not really sure. i contacted a junkyard about 2 hrs away and they said they deal with some place in NH that has one and they can ship it down to PA for me to pick it up but i'd have to pay for shipping. they didn't really go into detail about the exact location.

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok i picked up a d44 today and just by looking at the axle the tubes look to be bigger in diameter. does anyone have the specs on the 35 vs the 44 as far as tube diameter. can anyone thats swapped one tell me if the u-bolts and spring plates are for sure different or the same.

i also looked at my slip yoke and i have about 1 inch of travel. and from what i found the pinion is about 1" longer on the 44 so does anyone know how much lift will be needed to move the drive shaft back out about 1" so i won't have length issues.

i'm trying to do all the research and make sure i have everything needed before i tear it apart.

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if theirs not that much difference couldn't i just open up the holes in the spring plates somehow to make the bigger bolts fit or would that be dangerous.

The holes in the spring plates are already oblong, so they could use the same plates with either axle. All you need is the correct u-bolts.

 

Keep in mind that XJ and MJ u-bolts are metric. The XJs used 12mm, the MJ used 14mm. Your local spring shop probably doesn't stock metric materials, so you'll need to use an SAE alternative. Technically, 9/16" would be the closest equivalent. I tinker with both XJ and MJs, so I've settled on using 1/2" u-bolts for everything. (Larger than 12mm, smaller than 14mm.)

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didn't read through all of this, but...

 

 

as long as your rear axle is a non c-clip rear axle, alot of brake parts are interchangeable.

 

there were, however, two different width brake drums...and thus pads, too. you can only reuse your brakes if they are the same.

 

 

if you're not lifting it approx. 3.5", you will need a new rear driveshaft, or to have yours shortened 1". the pinion is 1" longer on the dana 44 than on the dana 35.

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i was looking at the hellcreek 4.5" lift with the rear aal and shackle and i think i might wait to do the swap until i can afford the kit. with a 4.5" lift the only thing i have to change in the front is the sway bar shocks and LCA's correct? i was also told if i need longer brake hoses i could use yj front hoses, what should i use for the rear. or would it be ok just to make a spacer to put in between the hose and axle.

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There is too much tube diameter difference between the 35 and 44 to reuse your 35 U-bolts... Just go through someone like Rusty's, Rough Country, or your local spring shop and get U-bolts for the 44 and get it over with. They will not stretch as far as you need them too. And you will have to have your driveline shortened to work with the 44 as well.

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I am currently going through the same process on my '88 Eliminator 2WD. I got my D44 at a Upick in Clearwater (150 miles away) for $82.79. It was out of an '88 Pioneer with the heavy duty towing package that had 178K showing. The u-bolts are different, which doesn't matter to me, as I'm adding 2" lowering blocks and have to get longer ones from Speedway. The spring plates are the same. Make sure the backing plates are good (it'll have the 10"x2 1/2" brakes) because it's a real b___h finding replacements (at least here in south Florida). The driveshaft used on the D44 trucks is 1" shorter than those using the D44. I'm going to try using my 1" longer driveshaft anyway, if the Pukegoat will swallow the extra inch. The worst (best) thing that will happen is that it will destroy the Pukegoat (oh, bummer! Then I'll have to get a real transmission!).

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With lowering the rear end, and the added 1" of the input of the D44, your BA10 should be just fine :D

 

What you need to worry about is with the drive shaft being too long, and shoving the engine/transmission on the 20 year old engine/tranny mounts forward and sticking your fan blades into the radiator :eek:

 

So, yes, the BA10 should survive :yes:

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spence,

when you find out about your rear shaft let me know how you make out. i really only want to use a 2-3" lift so it doesn't get to expensive. and if i can get by with using my stock shaft that would be great. jamminz.gif

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Install the axle and measure for the driveshaft. My guess is that you will need to get your factory shaft cut down about 7/8" with the lift. I would not suggest simply sticking your stock DS back in, first big bump you hit with a load in the back and you might be kissing your T-case or radiator/water pump/motor mounts good bye.

 

It should not cost too much for your local driveline shop to cut and balance the DS.

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Lowering will mean you need to shorten the shaft - I would guess you'll end up around 1.5" to 2" too long between the 2" drop and the d44 pinion being longer. But it's just that, a guess, you should install everything except the shaft, bring it to ride height, and measure.

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By "lowering" the axle I assume that you mean in the physical sense, i.e. you are lifting the vehicle, thereby causing the axle to be lower in relationship to the tranny/t-case. I found that on one of my XJ's, when I installed a 3" lift, it lost, in effect, 1" of driveshaft length. However, when you compress the suspension to the the point that the driveshaft is on the same plane as the transmission shaft, you've gained that inch back and, as stated by 87warrior, you're now an inch too long. In my case, I'll welcome the crunch.

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  • 2 months later...

i got the axle in :D . i had to take my shaft to the 4x4 shop. it cost me $150 to get it done.

i also put in a set of hellcreek mj long aal's. i got no lift but it did stiffen up the springs.

 

 

 

i also painted it black, i don't think it turned out bad, i used krylon spray paint.

before

 

after

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