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Upgrade u-joints?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Thumper, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. Thumper

    Thumper 1/2 ton status

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    Ok, I have to get an axle in this thing. Its still broken and I have had zero luck finding a used axle shaft. So, I priced out some chromolys... wow... 1100.00 CDN to do the front including CTMs. Freakin crazy. I gotta find a cheaper hobby.
    Anyways, new stock replacement axles are very cheap, so I was wondering...

    How many front D44 axle failures are actually axle breakages and not u-joint breakages which destroy the axle ends when they go? I have busted three times, and all three were u-joint failures.

    Would a guy be ahead at all if he went with CTMs in a stock axle setup? I am thinking that it would greatly increase the strength of the setup, maybe not to the max extent, but it has to be way better than stock right? Id still have to drive it like a 1/2T axle, especially with the Lockrite in it, but Id think it would help a lot.
    What do you think?
    Thanks
    Mike
     
  2. stallion85

    stallion85 1/2 ton status

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    I am sure the concensus will be Dana 60 or DIE!!!:grin:


    I have chromolys and ctms on my D44, but I only have 35's........

    I see you have 38's, CTM's are not recommended to be used with stock axle shafts since you are gauranteed to thrash the axle. I don't know if you have read this or not but I will put a link in for ya. Someone did a write up on here about installing chromos and ctm's........http://coloradok5.com/ctm-d44.shtml

    Hope this helps out a bit:)
     
  3. xtrmjoe

    xtrmjoe 1/2 ton status

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  4. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    For that much $$$ if you don't already have a bunch of money invested in the D44 (locker, gears, crossover, etc) then I would honestly look for a D60 especially cause you have 38's.

    As far as running CTM's in stock axles you do gain a little strength but you also insure that you break the stock axles at the inner neck down near the carrier inside the axle. This is not a huge deal but can be a PITA to get out sometimes. It would also be possible to stretch and possibly make the ears of the axleshafts fail. I have already killed 1 stub shaft because the ears stretched out with a Neapco ujoint.

    I say run stock axles with Spicer 760x ujoints if you are going to keep stock axles. The other problem with running 38" tires on a D44 is it will be rough on the ball joints, and if you go chromo you move your point of breakage to ring and pinion gears, locker, or locking hubs. The hubs can fail but don't bet on it, and if the R&P or locker goes out they will probably take the other with them which will be $$$ to fix.

    Like I mentioned, if you don't have alot of money already invested in your D44 get out of it and get a D60 if you are going to pay the $$$ for chromo.

    Harley
     
  5. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    I can't recommend spending all that money on CTM's since that would still be a good chunk to put towards a 60. I definitely don't think everybody needs a 60 to go wheelin', but your combination of several broken u-joints, 38" tires, and a 454 are telling me that a 60 is probably the true solution to your problem.
     
  6. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I agree with the others. Your rig is too big and heavy to run 38s on a D44. It's really hard to tell someone that when they've already paid to regear the axle that is going bye-bye and then even harder when they get the bill for the D60 and the regearing for that, but unfortunately, anything is better than continuing to bandaid your D44 with more expensive parts, because eventually, they're going to fail too.

    Chromos and CTMs are for pro rock crawlers in lightweight rigs that need to reduce weight a few more pounds and gain a 1/2" of ground clearance to run their tires, and accept the fact that they will possibly break it anyway. Fullsize owners with tires in D60 land need not apply here...you'll be even more likely to break those expensive chromos and then you're back to square one.
     
  7. Thumper

    Thumper 1/2 ton status

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    Hehe, ya, I had to know that was coming... :smirk:

    Heres the thing. I cant find a D44 pass side axle shaft in this area, let alone a D60. I dont have much done to my D44, I just bought a lockrite for it, and have a TruTrac in it now but thats it. It has 4:10s and a homebuilt crossover. A D60 up here is going to soak me around 2000.00. Not gonna happen.

    As far as the truck itself, it doesnt weigh as much as it used to, with the S-10 swap done. But it is still heavy i suppose. Yes it has 38s and a 454. But I have to say, only the last break was with this setup. The others were with 35" Radial Kumhos, and my 300 hp 327, and only one was after I had the Trutrac in it. One was open 4:56 gears with the 35s! Like I said, the u-joints were crap. Thats my weak link. Maybe the CTMs would be too strong, and basically guarantee the axle breaking eventually.
    What would be a good next step in between crap u-joints and CTMs? The Spicers? Do they hold up well? Are they strong?
    Im not rock crawling, and not full mud bogging, but we do some technical trail riding with occasional logs, muskeg bog, clay mud, and some small rocky stuff, but nothing like in Arizona or Moab. The 454 is stock, and I have 4:10s with the Lockrite going in the front soon.
    Thanks for the replies, keep em coming!
    Mike
     
  8. Thumper

    Thumper 1/2 ton status

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    Oops, almost forgot... ask Robzilla how much he likes his chromolys and CTMs! :)
    Mike
     
  9. shanemcg45

    shanemcg45 Registered Member

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    I may start to sound like a broken record, but "I'm new to all of this". What axles came stock front and rear on an '85 K5? And will the stock axles be ok with 33x12.50's as a daily driver? I know the majority of y'all are very knowledgable about your trucks, but I'm still in the learning phase so bear with me.


    Thanks,
    Shane
     
  10. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Your '85 will come with 10 bolts. The gearing is insufficient for 33s, but other than that, they'll hold up fine.

    Thumper,

    Yes the Spicer 5-760x joints are good. Those would be a good start to increasing strength. I'd suggest tack welding them in as well. Are you running the 38x12.50 TSLs? You may get away with them for quite some time...the 38x12.50 TSLs really are shorter and skinnier than many of the other tires this big.
     
  11. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    10 bolts, front and rear.. and yes, they'll be fine with 33's...
     
  12. shanemcg45

    shanemcg45 Registered Member

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    Thanks y'all. Sorry about that, I'm trying to read and learn everything I can. Tim, what gearing would you suggest for the 33's on a daily driver?
     
  13. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Not knowing what transmission you have, and assuming the popular 700R4 overdrive automatic, 4.56 would be desirable for that.
     
  14. shanemcg45

    shanemcg45 Registered Member

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    Good deal. Thanks again Tim. The stock gearing in the front should be fine right?
     
  15. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    4.56 for 33s?? That seems a bit steep! Maybe for 35s but not for 33s.

    I would say no higher than a 4.10 would be necessary, especially for a daily driver. Maybe even a 3.73 if you want to retain some gas mileage.

    I drove around on 33s with 3.42 gears, SM465 and a 400sb. Never had any problems with sky-high rpms and still was able to occasionally pull a loaded car trailer.
     
  16. shanemcg45

    shanemcg45 Registered Member

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    It is an automatic, if that helps. Here's another stupid question, is a 10 bolt the same as a D44? Also, I live in west Texas. About as flat as you can get.
     
  17. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    Exactly the same? No.

    But pretty damn close for all intents and purposes.
     
  18. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Not trying to be too much of an A-hole..........but how about posting a NEW thread instead of completely hijacking this one :confused:

    Now back to the original post.............

    If you just want to "get by" with the Dana 44 than slap some Spicer u-joints in there and either tack weld the caps or grind the ears to accomodate full-circle snap rings (would lean towards tack welding since you will most likely grenade a shaft or u-joint before the u-joint ever wears out......).

    The only other "modification" you can do is the driving style. Keeping the wheel as straight as possible when on an obstacle will help the u-joint survive longer, and you will just have to be careful to not get the front tires off the ground or bound up.
     
  19. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    The whole idea of keeping the wheel straight works alright...but I've still destroyed u joints even with the wheels facing straight forward when I had a 10 bolt front.

    Honestly, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think you're really going to need a D60.
     
  20. marv_springer

    marv_springer 1/2 ton status

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    Well.... unlike everybody else on the site I'm gonna say go chro-mo and Randy's Super Joints or CTM's.

    Then when you finally buy a 60, you can sell me your chro-mo 44!:D

    Marv
     

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