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3/4 ton Dana 44 Hubs, spindles and lockout hubs

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Subur78, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. Subur78

    Subur78 Registered Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    OK first, I have a 78 Suburban 1/2 ton / T350-NP203 / 3:73 / 35BFG's / 4inch lift / Works great. I have already put the 14 Bolt FF in rear (easy swap). Now for the front Dana 44. 6 lug, want to convert to 8.. Found it easier to purchase a Dana44 3/4 ton front with 4:10 gearing so i can lower the G-ratio. Not realizing there is many differences in Dana 44's, I purchased what I thought was a '79 dana44 w/4:10 lockout to lockout (1 lockout is broke).. All was well till.. I tried to line up a new set of Warn locking hubs I had for my Sub,the new axle hubs were much larger, Upon further inspection the Locking hub mechanism unbolts completely from the main hub like a 2 piece hub (not like the standard "inside" locking hubs) which would place it in the years 69 - 76?? "Old style" hubs (has open knuckles)..
    One bonus is it has the flat top passenger side knuckle..
    I have heard some hubs referred to as HD and Light Duty: What are the differences??..any?

    Does my new "76" 3/4 ton d44 have the beefier spindles like my 78 Half tons do?? Or are they the small version?

    Are these hubs (once installed w/ warn lockouts) better or worse than the single piece units w/inside lockout hubs (inside style circa 78-91)?

    I can 1) buy a set of used newer 78 n'up hubs and rotors or 2)buy new Warn lockouts and use these hubs.. For about the same cost.. What would you do?

    Thanks,Hope this all made sense.. Cause I just a litl cornfused.. '78 GMC/Sub - Next will be installing my '88 454FI & t400.. ps: need t400 input shaft for np203...
  2. GMCLegacy

    GMCLegacy 1/2 ton status

    Jan 24, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Grand Haven, MI
    what you are seeing is the difference between the External and Internal locking hubs. Warn makes a replacement hub for the external setup. your old hubs are not worth a dime to you now unless you convert to the newer style. i think there may be a slight difference in spindle design, but i am unsure. there is a lot of info about this on the site, i would search around a bit. the hub that you have that is broken is probably a large yellow spicer. the internal components are decent, although the caps are known to break. i personlly would look to find the newer syle wheel hub assembly that has the internal hub style. this is more common and in the long run IMO would be cheaper and more reliable.
  3. Beast388

    Beast388 1/2 ton status

    Nov 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Clinton, IA USA
    Here is some good info provided 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.

    I hope this helps. Frankly, if you already have the pre-76 axle, I would build it and run it. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
  4. BigOrange90Jimmy

    BigOrange90Jimmy 1/2 ton status Premium Member

    May 24, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Wilmington, NC
    Wow, a newbie we can't really pick on. /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif I'm just kidding ya bud.

    You seem to know a lot as it is already.

    [ QUOTE ]
    I have heard some hubs referred to as HD and Light Duty: What are the differences??

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Are you referring to new or old hubs? If new, then yes, I would say that there are different versions. Warn is a company that offers both. The best is their "gold center" Premium hubs. They are an all metal design and I think a 3/4 turn engagement. Warn also offers a cheaper version. They have a plastic dial, but I think are also 3/4 turn engagement.

    The old external hubs you have/had are generally considered weaker than the internal design.

    Me personally, I would go with the internal hub design. It's easier in the long run and you can find a spare for it easier on the trail than for the external hub.
  5. Subur78

    Subur78 Registered Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    Likes Received:
    You got the yellow hub correct.. I had a feeling it was original Spicer ...

    So if I get most of this: It would go a little like this..

    1."73-76 are one type only. They are "first design" small bearings. 1/2 and 3/4 ton spindles are interchangable." 1a: Although this is fine.. you should use the newer style To have the larger spindles 77-91..?? I had been under the impression the "first design" 3/4 ton were the large spindles but according to that K30guy this is not the case.. I'm bummed...anyway, I learn good the hard way...

    2. The 73-76 3/4T bearing hubs i have will not work with my larger 78 spindles? Figures...

    3. Since there were both Internal and external locking hubs 73-76 how can you tell Internal locking "small bearing" axles apert from the 77up Internal locking "large bearing" without taking apart and measuring spindle diameters??

    ..Thanks for the input guys this helps tremendously!!

    I guess my project will move this way:
    1.Build up my current '78 1/2T D44
    2.Gather up some Bearing hubs and rotors from a "second design" donor.. I have found some local for $65ea if I pull..
    3.Use my new in box Warn Premium locking hubs.. And get myself on 8 lugs all round.. (6 and 8 is kinda embarassing)
    4.Eventually rob the 76 axle of the 4:10 carrier, gears and flat top knuckle (mill it and tap for x-over steer). Save the rotors for disk brake conversion for rear axle.. Save rest for parts..
    I think this will be the best approach to have the best parts all around.. any comments??


    '78 GMC/Suburban /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif see here My Website
    Quotes: mine: "What do you mean this is a jeep only trail..I fit..(SCREEEECH)"
    And best one heard: (jeep guys) "We've never seen a full size truck, let alone a Suburban, up this far before".

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