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Front axle difference from 1/2 ton to 3/4 ton

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BozoWise, Apr 15, 2002.

  1. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    I have been shopping for an axel swap on my 1979 k5 blazer with fulltime 4wheel drive. I am going to convert my transfer case and hubs to part time during the swap/

    From what I have found at the local wrecking yards the front 3/4 ton truck axle has the same shaft, housing, and gears. My question is can I convert my 1/2 ton axel to a 3/4 ton part time with a 8 lug pattern to match the bolt patern on the 14bolt 3/4 ton rear. I already have 373 gears in the blazer and I found a 373 14 bolt rear for a heck of a deal so I would like to keep my front setup and convert it over to a 8 lug pattern. Later on I will change both sets of gears at the same time. Is this possible or will I need to buy the entire front axel. The only one I have found has bad rotors and calipers so I would have to replace those. I figure it would cost less to buy all new parts for my front conversion if I could convert mine. I plan on running 38.5" tires so I am trying to get the axels setup to handle the weight and added torque of a tuned 400SBC and 4.56. Please help me out. I know you guys will have the correct info. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    You can convert your front axle assembly to 8 lug. I am about to do just that. If you need new rotors, then all you need to do the swap is 8 lug hubs off a 77 and later 3/4 ton, and brake backing plates from the same axle. Those parts alone with new bearings and you should be set to swap. You can reuse your stock calipers, and stock spindles for the swap.

    Also, if you plan on running 38's, a 400, and a doubler, then when you gear swap next, I would find myself a D60 front axle. The D44 will be just holding on for dear life with that setup. If you do run that set up make sure you carry lots of extra parts. (axles, ujoints, ball joints, hubs)
     
  3. Quack_Addict

    Quack_Addict 1/2 ton status

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    Do you have a GM 10 bolt or a Dana 44 front in that `79?
     
  4. Calclips

    Calclips 1/2 ton status

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    There is a technical writeup on that in the technical section of the site
     
  5. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    OK I already know I am going to get it for this but I'll ask anyways before I do a search.....

    What D60 axel will bolt up to the front without changing over to crossover steering and what vehicle would it come out of?
     
  6. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    Done some research and it has a d44 front axle.
     
  7. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    Would the Dana 44 upgraded to 3/4 ton hubs and such be strong enough for a set of 38.5 with 4.56 gears? Or should I just trash my front axle and go to a Dana 60. I am not going to do much rock crawling, but I do get into mud and sand often.
     
  8. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    BW,

    It is pretty universally accepted that once your tire size goes over 36".....you are committed to the D60 upgrade path. You can spend a LOT of money beefing up a D44 with Chromoly axle shafts and 8-Lug parts, but it's never going to be as beefy as the D60.

    Start adding up the costs for ALL the D44 parts you'll need and even $1000 for a used D60 starts to look like a good way to come out "money ahead".....

    Easy for me to say.....I found a D60 locally for $800!!! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif so the decision was really simple.
     
  9. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    It is right on the border line. A properly prepaired D44 can handle up to 38's maybe. A D60 is the better choice if you can have the money.

    If your D44 was setup right it might handle the 38's for awhile. But you must be prepared to break things on it. Like axles, axle u-joints, hubs, etc.

    If you stepped the front axle up to 8 lug (no real strength difference there) and you put in a set of Chrome Moly front axle shafts and a set of the new spicer u-joints, or the CTM joints, good premium hubs, and a good ring & pinion you could get away with it for awhile. But you will always have to carry spare axles, hubs, u-joints, etc, and you have to be able to change them. Someday the tires will overpower something in the front end. Could be two days after install, or 20 years. It depends on the amount of traction available, horsepower applied, driving style, gears, etc.

    If you are a heavy footed driver, with a strong motor, and tires that big on a D44 it is going to break. So the D60 is the better choice.

    If you are light on the pedal and have a good driving style you might get away with the D44. But if you ever think you might go to a taller tire then just get a D60 and be done with it.

    Most will say get a D60 and be done with it, but they usually run around $1200 for a D60 + locker. I say if you got the cash get a D60 and not worry about breaking parts.
     
  10. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    Ok I think you guys have me sold on the d60. What vehicle can I find a front d60 to swap into my k5? I have done a search here and heard dodge swap with no mods and I have heard they don't. I am going back to the yard to see if I can find a d60 front in something. Thanks guys.
     
  11. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Make sure it is not out of a dually truck. I would require machining on the hubs to fit your truck properly. You want a D60 out of a single rear wheel 1 ton Chevy or Dodge.
     
  12. Sandman

    Sandman 3/4 ton status Author

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    You might even try to find a complete truck that some farmer or hole in the car lot is trying to get ride of. I bought an '84 1-ton Flatebed that was beat to hell for $1000 and it even ran! My buddy went to an auto-auction and bought one for $500. We got the front and rear axles and Transfer cases and sold the rest and got some of the money back. Another guy I know bought a 1-ton for $2500 and swapped the axes around and sold it as a half ton for the same price. So there might be some options. the yards around here want about $1200 for a front D60.
     
  13. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    I went to the yards and only found one Dodge truck that had anything under the front that was 8 lug. I found many with what appeared to be a D44 5 or 6 lug. The eight lug was a 1979 dodge 3/4 ton but the steering is different then my d44. I have pictures of the axel after we pulled it out and I was wondering if someone could identify and confirm that it is a D60 and that it is the one I would need for a swap. The wrecking yard guy here has no clue that it is of any value. I think I could get it for under 100.00 He also has a 14 bolt FF rear that I could have complete with lines and everything for about 150.00

    If you can identify the d60 dodge axel that I need please let me know and I will email the pics. I would post them on the net but I do not know of a free place to post pics. If someone could tell me where I could post them for free I would also do that.

    On a side not there is a local driveline shop that does my custom spring work and the have a custom mud rig built on a 1980 blazer frame. The motor is a turbo charged 350 and it runs on 42-15 swampers. He is running a factory 12 bolt (welded spiders) and a factory Dana 44 front. The only problems he ever has had was the rear axxel spit out the spider gears when he was taking a sharp turn on the pavement at their shop. They trailer the rig to the mud races twice a week and they are one of the top competitors. I was just amazed to crawl under that today and have him say that he has had NO problems even when pounding the axels at the races. I never thought from the comments here that the Dana 44 could hold up to 42's
     
  14. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    They can survive big tires and motors in low traction situation. The first time that guy put the pedal into it on anything with traction he is done. He probably also has the Chrome Moly axles front and rear.

    you can post pics for free at webshots.com, that is where mine are.
     
  15. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    He has standard stock shafts and u joints.

    I am posting the pics on that site as we speak. I will then post the link. Thanks
     
  16. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    He is lucky. If he ran anything with traction they would be toast.
     
  17. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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  18. barbastard

    barbastard 1/2 ton status

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    I'm currently running a D44 and 14BFF with 4.56's, Detroit in the rear and an EZ locker (or was it a powertrax??) up front and 36'' super swamper SX's with no problems. The D44 is a stout axle and will pull you through.... to a limit. I'm right at that limit now and must be careful with the skinny peddle on the right and when I've got the wheels turned drastically in one direction and I apply a significant amount of throttle. However....I have faith in the D44 and believe it all really comes down to your driving style and amount of HP's available (as well as how many beers you've had on the trail that day!!!). I would tend to agree with the statement that once you step up to @38'' (+ or - a little bit based on driving style and HP's) you really need to consider a D60, especially if you're throwing in lockers and/or a doubler or atlas II. I hope some of this helped you and if nothing else shined a little light on some different points...

    Barbastard
     
  19. BozoWise

    BozoWise 1/2 ton status

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    Does anyone know what axel this is in the pictures? I think it is a D44. Does anyone have pictures of a Dodge Dana 60 so I know what to be looking for? What years did Dodge have the 60 that I should be looking for to swap into my 1979 K5 blazer?

    I don't mean to be stupid, but what does a kingpin style knuckles look like compared to the ball joints?
     
  20. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    The small ujoint leads me to believe that it is a D44.
     

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