coolwind57 Posted April 11, 2020 Share Posted April 11, 2020 Some pics for you. Over the past 2-3 weeks, I've been slowly prepping my newly acquired Dana 44 to install in my 89 MJ. All new seals, a good scrubbing and freshly coated with Chassis Saver. Yesterday, I got her mounted under the truck but not completely installed. I still have to secure the leaf plates/brackets, run brake line, etc. It was an exercise in patience and persistance doing this alone with no help. So a few Months ago I knew I had an issue. I was getting some noticable whine from the diff. A short time later, I happened to had been under the truck and looked at the inside surface of the driver's side rear tire and noticed oil had been seeping and shooting out along the tire's sidewall. Putting two and two together, I check the diff fluid level and confirmed that it was significantly low. I refilled it to limp along till I found a new axle, but the axle noise did not go away. I knew I was on borrowed time and I had no intention of putting time and money into the D35. Now that I got a chance to remove the D35, here's confirmation that it was in fact a bad axle seal: I did get the leaf spring plates along with my MJ Dana 44 purchase. There were some questions from the forum on whether the plates from this early design were the same on D44s as D35s. At least from my 1989 D35 and my new D44 axle from a 1990 MJ, they appear to be the same, with same diameter holes. I had coated the ones from the D44 with Chassis Saver and replaced the shock stud with a kit I bought at Quatratec. Since the brackets were ambidextrous, I just cut off my old mounting studs and used the existing hole on the opposite sides to install the new stud kit. I did have to drill the hole out a bit, however. I bought my axle U-bolts from Barnes 4X4--and why not spread a little remaining Chassis Saver onto the new U-bolts. The pic doesn't show it very well, but these 5/8" x 2-3/4" bolts are significantly beefier than the ones that were installed on my D35. Of course, once installed I will cut to length. This brings up another item discussed in the forum. Are D35s and D44s the same axle tube diameter? Mine were not: D44= 2-3/4" D35= 2-1/2" I didn't get any pics, but another difference between the two axles were the leaf spring pin holes in the axle perches. I think I recall the D35 holes were 1/2" diameter and the D44 holes were 5/8" and were a bit deeper too. Installing the old pin into the larger hole of the D44 would likely create too much opportunity for movement, I solved this by heading to ACE Hardware and buying two Galvinized carriage bolts (I think they were 1/4" shaft), two nuts, and 2 nylon locking nuts. I ran the galvanized nuts up to the head of the bolt. I then ground a bit of the head to fit into the 5/8" axle perch hole. It didn't take much. I then clamped the leafs together, removed the old pins and installed my new ones, securing with the nylon locking nuts. Seemed to have worked great. I am still running Spring Under Axle (SUA) with the D44. It was interesting to figure out a way to lift it all up to reinstall the rear leaf bolt but I finally nailed it. I got a bit creative. ...but finally got her lifted in position and rebolted in the springs. I do have to drill out my final brackets of the 2-piece leaf plates/bracket assembly. Those 5/8" U-bolts are too snug of a fit. Plus, these final brakets (on both the D35 and D44) are very slightly warped from the previous torquing. The U-bolts did fit fine through the Upper brackets however. So that's how she's sitting this morning. I'm hoping to have her up and running today. I hope this helps answer some questions concerns for those contemplating doing this swap. I'll update as I progress. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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