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Since we were on the subject of Dana 44 beef........

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Beast388, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    I am in the process of rebuilding my '77 8-lug D44 to match the 14BFF that will going under my Suburban soon. I am swapping out the flat top knuckles on my '71 D44 to put on the 8-lug D44 in preparation for a future crossover steering set up. In the process of doing this, I noticed quite a few differences between my two D44's that I thought I would share.

    First was axle shaft diameter. Of course the shafts are only as strong as the weakest point, which is right behind the splines, but I was amazed at the difference in diameter. The '71 D44 shaft is above and the '77 shaft is below.
    [​IMG]

    It was interesting to note the differences in the seal where the stub shaft goes into the spindle.
    [​IMG]
    The '77 spindle is on the right
    [​IMG]

    This pic shows the substantial differences in the pre-77, small bearing spindle (left) and the '77-up large bearing spindle (right).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It is obvious that the '77 8-lug D44 is beefier than my old '71 6-lug D44. Before the vast knowlege base known as CK5.com, I would have been in the dark about such differences!

    I hope this helps those who have questions about doing 8-lug outer swaps. There are differences in these old D44's. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  2. earl87gta

    earl87gta 1/2 ton status

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    My D44 is a from my 72 and the parts I have to do the swap are from a 77 doge . Did both axles use the same size Ujoint for the stub axle if they do I can change the stub axles out I would swap the hole axle but the doge axles are longer. and the diff is uder my spring hangers so I cant use it.
    Earl
     
  3. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    The '72 and older GM D44's used the smaller 260x u-joint in the axle shafts. My '77 8-lug D44 uses the bigger 297x u-joints. I would bet that the Dodge axle uses the bigger u-joints as well so you will not be able to use the '72 outer axles with the Dodge inners or vice versa. You might be able to get away with using the whole outer/inner assembly from the '72 with the Dodge outers.

    It sounds like you need to do some measuring and figuring to see if your 8-lug Dodge swap parts will work with your Chevy axle. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  4. atlantak-5er

    atlantak-5er 1/2 ton status

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    Would a stock 75 six lug D44 have the beefier components? What year is the cut off between them or is it the diffrence between a 1/2 ton d44 and a 3/4 ton d44?
     
  5. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    The axle tube and u-joint differences are based on the year of the axle, not whether or not it is 6-lug or 8-lug. I know the '73-up axles have the larger u-joints and I think that goes for the axle tube diameter as well. But, the '73-'76 axles used the same small spindle and bearings that the '72-older axles did. It wasn't until '77 that the D44's got the big bearings. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  6. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    Here is the often posted definative D44 bible by Wes thatK30guy

    GM has two different types of axles: the "first design" and the "second design". For those who dont know the difference, the "first" goes from 73-76. The "second" goes from 77 to 91. Some differences are:

    1. Backing plates are ALL diffferent. Both 1/2 and 3/4 ton for both designs are NOT the same thing. 3/4 tons are larger diameter than the 1/2 tons. There are currently 6 different types of backing plates. The 1/2 ton has the 73-76, 77-80, and 81-91. 3/4 ton is the same years, but only bigger around.

    2. Bearing hub and rotors are different. There are 4 types. 73-76 use a smaller wheel bearing on both the 1/2 and 3/4 ton. The 1/2 ton bearing hub is an internal drive. 3/4 tons were available in both the internal and external drives. 77 and newer bearing hubs are the same size wheel bearing. 1/2 and 3/4 tons are all internal drives. The differences in the rotor diameter is the fact that the 3/4 tons are larger around than the 1/2 tons. This is why the backing plates are larger around than the 1/2 tons. If you use a 1/2 ton backing plate on a 3/4 ton rotor, the caliper will NOT even align up with the bolts. If the 1/2 ton rotor is used with the 3/4 ton backing plates, the caliper will NOT have enough pad contact with the rotor.

    3. Spindles. 73-76 are one type only. They are "first design" small bearings. 1/2 and 3/4 ton spindles are interchangable. 77-91 spindles are "second design" and all interchangable between 1/2 and 3/4 tons. You cannot use a first design spindle with a second design bearing hub & rotor. The hub will wobble in place. If the second design spindle is used with a first design bearing hub, the hub will not even go on at all.

    4. D44 and 10B axle shafts are not interchangable. The D44 shafts measure: right - 36.13"
    left - 18.31"
    10B shafts measure: right - 35.46"
    left - 19.15"

    5. Steering knuckles. D44's have the infamous "flat top" knuckles on the passenger side. These are good for the crossover steering for where the steering arm is mounted on top of the knuckle after machine work and drilling has been done. The 10B knuckles have NO flat surface whatsoever. Machine work would be excessive to make the crossover work and therefore would be easier and cheaper to locate the correct knuckle off a D44.

    All in all, when doing a swap like this, try to round up the parts off one truck to use on the other. Such parts to swap over would be: backing plates, spindles, bearing hub & rotors, and if desired for crossover steering, the knuckles.

    The knuckles do NOT need to be changed if you do not plan on the crossover steering.

    It all boils down to this: D44 and 10B parts ARE interchangable from the knuckles out. Anything else from the knuckles in is NOT interchangable.
     
  7. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    5. Steering knuckles. D44's have the infamous "flat top" knuckles on the passenger side. These are good for the crossover steering for where the steering arm is mounted on top of the knuckle after machine work and drilling has been done. The 10B knuckles have NO flat surface whatsoever. Machine work would be excessive to make the crossover work and therefore would be easier and cheaper to locate the correct knuckle off a D44.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Hmm here I thought my stock '79 front axle was a D44. It looks just like the pics of the D44 in my shop manual and the axle ID guide on the main website here. But it does not have the flat top on the passenger side /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

    Guess it doesn't matter anyway as I'll be getting 3/4 ton axles rather than regear these 2.73 turds.
     
  8. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Some of the last D44s used the 10B style knuckles.
     
  9. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    My '77 8-lug D44 did not have flat top knuckles, but my '71 D44 did. I think the flat-tops disappeared at the same time as the external hubs. That would mean the '76-older D44's should have them. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  10. earl87gta

    earl87gta 1/2 ton status

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    I was talking to a local 4x4 shop to day I had to have a transfer case rebuilt and I was tellling him that I was looking for a D60 and he said not to waist the money and just build up the D44 that with good axles in it it should be able to handel 44in tires maybe I wont have a problem here no rocks to clime just a lot of mud and sand. I was all ready thinking abought buying a set of the hardened alloy steel axles for it so I will have to make sure I get the ones that willl work with the dodge parts I Have. I thought abought going with the chevy 3/4 T parts but the dodge brakes are alot bigger.
    Earl
     
  11. Muddytazz

    Muddytazz 1 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    My '77 8-lug D44 did not have flat top knuckles, but my '71 D44 did. I think the flat-tops disappeared at the same time as the external hubs. That would mean the '76-older D44's should have them. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I know my dads '77 3/4ton burb has a stock D44 with flat tops, so maybe the '77's had both /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  12. Shaggy

    Shaggy 3/4 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    I was talking to a local 4x4 shop to day I had to have a transfer case rebuilt and I was tellling him that I was looking for a D60 and he said not to waist the money and just build up the D44 that with good axles in it it should be able to handel 44in tires maybe I wont have a problem here no rocks to clime just a lot of mud and sand. I was all ready thinking abought buying a set of the hardened alloy steel axles for it so I will have to make sure I get the ones that willl work with the dodge parts I Have. I thought abought going with the chevy 3/4 T parts but the dodge brakes are alot bigger.
    Earl

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Did the sales guy have his hand in your pocket as he told you this? /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif 37s are about the limit for reliability on a D44 or 10b, regardless of the beef parts you throw at it. But if you try to beef one of them, you'll be giving alot of money to your local off road shop. I'll tell you a story that I've told many many times her on CK5.

    Short version - I had a D44 and was breaking it fairly often right about the time the Warn shafts first came out. I bought them, along with a full case limited slip and Warn premium hubs, trying to make it live with my 38s. I broke u-joints, no biggie, that's expected. I broke a couple of Warn shafts. I destroyed Warn shafts when breaking u-joints. I broke a ring gear. I broke another ring gear. I finally gave in and got a 60. This was all done with a driving style that is not "hammer down", and a mild small block. I didn't even run CTM joints, since they weren't even out yet. I was basically shearing teeth off of the ring gear because the tires were just too big. I also wore out a set of Moog balljoints in under 8000 miles.

    You be the judge, you really think that a 44 will live with 44s? From experience I can say - not a chance in the world.
     
  13. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    My '77 8-lug D44 did not have flat top knuckles, but my '71 D44 did. I think the flat-tops disappeared at the same time as the external hubs. That would mean the '76-older D44's should have them. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]
    I know my dads '77 3/4ton burb has a stock D44 with flat tops, so maybe the '77's had both /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I would bet it is possible. /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Was his D44 equipped with internal or external hubs? /forums/images/graemlins/thinking.gif
     
  14. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    For mud and sand I would think the 44 and 10b could live running 44's. Alot of mud guys aroudn here run them.. The biggest concerns would be on hill climbs and if the front end starts bouncing get out of the gas..... With alloy shafts and some CTM joints you would make it stronger and last through more abuse.
     

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