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Old 01-27-2014, 10:35 PM   #1
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Rear Axle Swap

This summer I'm going to switch over from a dana 35 to a stronger axle. I've considered both the ford 8.8 and the dana 44 and I believe I'm leaning towards the 44 right now.
Here's my reasoning behind it,
The 44 has more clearance.
The 44 is a straight swap. With an 8.8 I'll have to get adjustable rear upper control arms and a SYE/CV shaft. However, these are all benefits of course. Then of course there are a couple other odds and ends that will be needed to be tweaked to fit in the 8.8.
I don't have a welder and I can't weld so I will either need to buy the ECGS 8.8 or have a local shop weld everything up for me.
The 44 doesn't have C clips. All though I can't fathom being able to break a 8.8 shaft with 33s and the 4.0.
The 8.8 is slightly narrower.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head concerning advantages and disadvantages.
So what's your opinions on my reasoning for the dana 44? I'm still open for using both axles. I'm just leaning towards the dana 44 at the moment.

Ok on to the next question.
At the time of the axle swap I will also be regearing and putting in a rear locker. Right now I can't decide between a Detroit auto locker or an ARB air locker.
I'm in Florida so I don't have to worry about snow but we do get a lot of rain during the summer. Will this be enough for me to not want a Detroit? It's a $500 difference so it's a lot but I don't want to skimp out if I would hate my jeep with the auto locker in the rear. How loud is the Detroit in the rear? I have Aussie up front that I barely notice but obviously that's an entirely different story.

Disc or drum brakes? Disks are more expensive but from what I've read having disks in the back really doesn't make a noticeable difference. For reference, I have drums in the rear right now and do not really have any problems braking. All though I will upgrade to some black magic brake pads for the front in the future.

If I do purchase a dana 44 should I look for a used one or go the G2 route? The G2 route is a little more pricey but then I wouldn't have to worry about the axle having any issues and I'll also have Chromolys with the locker and gears all ready installed for the rear.

For those that say the 8.8 is a cheaper route.
After pricing everything out the 8.8 is about as expensive as a 44 after all the things are done that I want done to it.
After the regear, ARB, CV/SYE, and the adj rear uppers the 8.8 from ECGS is right around $2800 not including shipping on anything. So realistically, maybe $3000.
I can get a G2 dana 44 with the gears and ARB for $2800 shipped.


Just to sum up my questions.
Dana 44 or ford 8.8?
Detroit or ARB?
Disk or drum brakes?
Used or G2 axle?
If you're knowledgeable on the subjects I'd love to hear your opinions!

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Old 01-27-2014, 10:39 PM   #2
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There are going to be others that are a lot more knowledgeable than myself but i figured i'd post and let you know what i ended up doing because i was in the same boat as you about 6 months ago.

I ended up going with the 8.8 for a few reasons...

The 8.8 is more widely available and is a lot cheaper than a d44
The 8.8 is stronger than the d44
8.8 has discs
My 8.8 was easily found with LSD

The clearance 8 lost with my 8.8 was made up with my 35" tires i ended up switching to...zero regrets with the 8.8 over the d44.

I'm not very knowledgeable on this subject, though...others will chime in with a lot more useful info.

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Old 01-27-2014, 10:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Owen_TJ View Post
There are going to be others that are a lot more knowledgeable than myself but i figured i'd post and let you know what i ended up doing because i was in the same boat as you about 6 months ago.

I ended up going with the 8.8 for a few reasons...

The 8.8 is more widely available and is a lot cheaper than a d44
The 8.8 is stronger than the d44
8.8 has discs
My 8.8 was easily found with LSD

The clearance 8 lost with my 8.8 was made up with my 35" tires i ended up switching to...zero regrets with the 8.8 over the d44.

I'm not very knowledgeable on this subject, though...others will chime in with a lot more useful info.
Nope I appreciate the input man. That's why I posted it on here.
After pricing everything out the 8.8 is about as expensive as a 44 after all the things are done that I want done to it.
After the regear, ARB, CV/SYE, and the adj rear uppers the 8.8 from ECGS is right around $2800 not including shipping on anything. So realistically, maybe $3000.
I can get a G2 dana 44 with the gears and ARB for $2800 shipped.
I'll probably go ahead and add this to my original post.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:29 AM   #4
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I just recently swapped my Dana 35 for a used Dana 44 I found with disc brakes and LSD. The 44 only cost me $350 and I bought all new rotors and pads, as well as new emergency brake cables. In the end I spent about $500 for the swap. It took me and a friend about 5 hours to pull out the 35 and put the 44 in. I have to say it's extremely nice that it was all just bolt in! This may not help at all but just throwing It out there! After painting the 44, it looks like a brand new axle!
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:35 AM   #5
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I may have misunderstood...my bad

I figured you were looking at an 8.8 from an explorer or something like that. I got mine from a 2000 explorer at the junkyard. I got my 8.8, front and rear regear, front chromoly shafts, and install for 2k otd.
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:37 AM   #6
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I just recently swapped my Dana 35 for a used Dana 44 I found with disc brakes and LSD. The 44 only cost me $350 and I bought all new rotors and pads, as well as new emergency brake cables. In the end I spent about $500 for the swap. It took me and a friend about 5 hours to pull out the 35 and put the 44 in. I have to say it's extremely nice that it was all just bolt in! This may not help at all but just throwing It out there! After painting the 44, it looks like a brand new axle!
I'm not opposed to buying a used dana 44. They just seem to be difficult to find here in Florida. When I do find them they're over priced or have multiple issues. If I found a good condition dana 44 for $500 I'd definitely jump on it like you did.
For example, recently there was a dana 44 near me for sale that had both axle tubes bent, was leaking at the pinion seal, and was causing abnormal wear on the tires for $500. That was probably maybe 1 of the 2 I've seen in my area the past few months.


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I may have misunderstood...my bad

I figured you were looking at an 8.8 from an explorer or something like that. I got mine from a 2000 explorer at the junkyard. I got my 8.8, front and rear regear, front chromoly shafts, and install for 2k otd.
I haven't priced any of my local shops yet to see how much they would charge to weld on brackets for me if I pull the axle. I can only imagine that it would save me maybe $100-$200.
That $2000 isn't including the SYE/CV shaft and the rear uppers, correct? Then there's another $800 tacked on to my price because of the ARB. Then we still end up in the same ball park after all that
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:27 PM   #7
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If you have no lift you shouldn't need a SYE or adjustable rear upper CA's and your stock DS may work for either axle. If you have more than 2.5 or 3 inches you will need the SYE/CV and the rear uppers whether you have the 44 or 8.8 to adjust your pinion angle and deal with vibes or drop the transfer case.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:32 PM   #8
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If you have no lift you shouldn't need a SYE or adjustable rear upper CA's and your stock DS may work for either axle. If you have more than 2.5 or 3 inches you will need the SYE/CV and the rear uppers whether you have the 44 or 8.8 to adjust your pinion angle and deal with vibes or drop the transfer case.
I have 3" of lift with a MML and no vibes. That means when I put in the 8.8 I'll need adj rear uppers and the SYE/CV shaft. With a dana 44 I wouldn't get any additional lift like I would with an 8.8 so I wouldn't need those.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:37 PM   #9
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With that in mind go with the 44.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:09 PM   #10
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If you go with ECGS Chase will set your pinion by the amount of lift you have. So you won't need the adj. arms. (I didn't but I wanted a tummy tuck some months later so I put them)

I went with ECGS and was able to put in the 8.8, regear the rear and front axle, install a brand new limited slip in the rear, bought and installed a 3 inch BDS lift, SYE and drive shaft and all the labor for less than a G2 rear end alone. I do not notice the slight decrease in ground clearance, and am happy knowing the rear is slightly stronger than a 44. Like OwenTJ I couldn't be happier.

Oh yea and as a bonus I got a "free" rear disc brake upgrade...

(don't forget to factor in lead time and shipping for the G2)
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:11 PM   #11
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I just recently swapped my Dana 35 for a used Dana 44 I found with disc brakes and LSD. The 44 only cost me $350 and I bought all new rotors and pads, as well as new emergency brake cables. In the end I spent about $500 for the swap. It took me and a friend about 5 hours to pull out the 35 and put the 44 in. I have to say it's extremely nice that it was all just bolt in! This may not help at all but just throwing It out there! After painting the 44, it looks like a brand new axle!

Must be nice to find a 44 for that much! You can't even get a housing alone for that much around here.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:27 PM   #12
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If you go with ECGS Chase will set your pinion by the amount of lift you have. So you won't need the adj. arms. (I didn't but I wanted a tummy tuck some months later so I put them)

I went with ECGS and was able to put in the 8.8, regear the rear and front axle, install a brand new limited slip in the rear, bought and installed a 3 inch BDS lift, SYE and drive shaft and all the labor for less than a G2 rear end alone. I do not notice the slight decrease in ground clearance, and am happy knowing the rear is slightly stronger than a 44. Like OwenTJ I couldn't be happier.

(don't forget to factor in lead time and shipping for the G2)
I know a guy who works at a shop that can get free shipping on the G2 axles so the $2800 is including shipping, new gears, ARB, chromoly shafts, and new disk brakes.
If I wait to purchase the SYE/ CV shaft and rear uppers it saves some initial cost but then that $200 handling fee is just killer and pretty much kills off any money I may save.
Do they ever do promos for free handling, discounts , etc? I think I may have seen ECGS offer a discount at one time but it didn't include axle assemblies .
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:42 PM   #13
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^
not sure about discounts just call em up and chat a bit. I know when I was looking the quote I got on the phone was substantially less than what I was getting off the website by clicking boxes. Chase will go through all the options with you.

IIRC, I was at 1.8K with all new components and brakes for the axle, when I added in the front regear it went to 2.4K and the SYE and drive shaft 2.8K (this was also with labor included) I then had them install a BDS 3 inch lift they had and I went up to 3.1 or 3.2K out the door.

I should also add that I am also about 20 minutes from the shop, and told them to take their time with the install and it took them about a week and a half as they built my axle and were pretty busy at the time.
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Old 01-28-2014, 03:12 PM   #14
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Cheapest D44 I can find today(I am also looking to do same thing) is $900 delivered.

Am I correct that if you do the 8.8 you can weld the brackets on at any pinion angle according to what lift you are looking for and avoid the adjustable control arms
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:35 PM   #15
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Cheapest D44 I can find today(I am also looking to do same thing) is $900 delivered.

Am I correct that if you do the 8.8 you can weld the brackets on at any pinion angle according to what lift you are looking for and avoid the adjustable control arms

yes. That is what ECGS did for me. I only went adj. to do the tummy tuck about 9 months later.
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Old 01-28-2014, 04:49 PM   #16
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yes. That is what ECGS did for me. I only went adj. to do the tummy tuck about 9 months later.
But if you all ready have a lift and don't have a SYE+CV shaft then you will probably need one after putting an 8.8 in. Right now I'm at 3 inches of lift and the 8.8 gives around an extra inch of lift.
Regardless, I'll probably call ECGS soon and see what can be done and whether its worth it over a dana 44.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:56 PM   #17
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But if you all ready have a lift and don't have a SYE+CV shaft then you will probably need one after putting an 8.8 in. Right now I'm at 3 inches of lift and the 8.8 gives around an extra inch of lift.
Regardless, I'll probably call ECGS soon and see what can be done and whether its worth it over a dana 44.
This is very true...

i had a 3" lift originally with a mml and 1.25" body lift...minimal vibes...added my 8.8 and was forced to put my tcase drop on for a bit while i ordered my sye, driveshaft, and control arms.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:34 PM   #18
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I had an 8.8 that I was going to swap into my TJ. After a lot of research and thinking about how I want my suspension setup I decided to keep looking. I didn't like the 8.8 for the same reasons the OP listed. My plan in the rear is to 4 link, correct the coil spring mounts, outboard the shocks, and run 35s at near stock wheelbase. I was really concerned about having enough room to outboard with the narrower 8.8. I am not a fan of wheel spacers. Knowing that I am removing all the stock mounts and gearing to 4.88 any way opened up my options. I bought a D44 from a '98 XJ for $250. It has the same wms, diff offset, and ground clearance as a TJ D44. It also has slightly stronger axle tubes. The leaf spring perches will be replaced with coil mounts and a truss. With a full case locker and alloy shafts it will be plenty strong enough for 35s.
I'm not saying this is the way for everyone, this axle just suits my requirements best.
I sold the 8.8 to a Jeeper who was happy to have it.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:37 AM   #19
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So after hearing some opinions and making some more decisions I think I've decided on the dana 44. If I can find a good condition dana 44 then I'll go for that but if not ill probably have to go with a G2.
Any opinions on a Detroit or ARB?
Disks or drum?
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:26 AM   #20
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To bad you weren't closer to me. There is an XJ D44 on Great Lakes 4X4 forum for $300. I would've offered to help you set it up too. Not much else to do up here in the great white north 'cept feed the wood burner and work in the shop. Try not to get sunburnt searching for that axle.
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:03 PM   #21
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To bad you weren't closer to me. There is an XJ D44 on Great Lakes 4X4 forum for $300. I would've offered to help you set it up too. Not much else to do up here in the great white north 'cept feed the wood burner and work in the shop. Try not to get sunburnt searching for that axle.
Hehe it's actually cold for florida right now!
We got some snow last night in some parts. Well not really snow... Just a few flurries.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:04 AM   #22
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ECGS just posted in here and I was reading it. Did the mods delete it?
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:05 PM   #23
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So after hearing some opinions and making some more decisions I think I've decided on the dana 44. If I can find a good condition dana 44 then I'll go for that but if not ill probably have to go with a G2.
Any opinions on a Detroit or ARB?
Disks or drum?
I would Prefer The Detroit Reasons No air compressor needed or the associated wiring & hoses + Detroits are highly reliable I am sure the ARB is also relable too,I would likely stay with the Drum Brake setup mainly for it would just be a direct bolt in & no hassle of swapping the Parking brake cables.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:52 PM   #24
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I would Prefer The Detroit Reasons No air compressor needed or the associated wiring & hoses + Detroits are highly reliable I am sure the ARB is also relable too,I would likely stay with the Drum Brake setup mainly for it would just be a direct bolt in & no hassle of swapping the Parking brake cables.
I was considering the reliability of the ARB. I've just heard of some people having issues with the air lines.
At one point I was looking at the Ox cable locker but they seem to have mixed reviews so I'm not so sure on my route yet.
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:37 AM   #25
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On your Detroit / ARB / OX ?

Detroit: Clunky, transfers torque on and off the gas which makes jeep want to shift lanes, particularly bad on short wheel base, short arm jeeps. Sketchy in the ice and snow on road. If a shaft breaks the Detroit breaks, will not be covered under warranty by Detroit. Durable about unbreakable besides shaft failure causing recoil to break clutch gear. Excellent traction offroad but will still unlock automatically to aid in steering on tight trails. I would not install one in my personal jeep if I was going to daily drive it.

ARB: Super durable strong, Properly routed lines and proper install of locker, plus care for your gear oil and ARB will give no issues. Best of both worlds Completely open or completely locked with the touch of a button. Cons: Price

OX: Super strong, I have never seen one break or fail. 100% US made, easier install then ARB locker wise, Best of both worlds 100% open or 100% locked. Cable can be problematic, must be routed away from heat source and reasonably straight. Cable needs to stay oiled. I recommend the OX air shift set up and just running an ARB compressor, or C02 tank. Cons: Price
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:42 AM   #26
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I was considering the reliability of the ARB. I've just heard of some people having issues with the air lines. At one point I was looking at the Ox cable locker but they seem to have mixed reviews so I'm not so sure on my route yet.
I just swapped in a dana 44 in my 05 Tj it was very simple , while it was out had 4.88 and a Detroit tru trac installed great purchase for me , it's my daily driver so it's perfect and I've tested it offroad
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:21 PM   #27
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I'm not really interested in a limited slip. I'd rather save up the extra money and put a locker in.

I don't have to worry about snow here in Florida but I am slightly concerned for road trips up north.
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:29 PM   #28
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I recently purchased a Dana 44 out of a rubicon so it already has the locker in it. It has 57k on it and came with all the brake lines and disk brakes. I'm regearing to 4.88 and I'm installing it and regearing it myself. Looking at just under 2 grand for everything
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:01 PM   #29
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I recently purchased a Dana 44 out of a rubicon so it already has the locker in it. It has 57k on it and came with all the brake lines and disk brakes. I'm regearing to 4.88 and I'm installing it and regearing it myself. Looking at just under 2 grand for everything
How much did you get it for?
I haven't seen any rubicon axles for less than $2k here.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:37 PM   #30
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How much did you get it for? I haven't seen any rubicon axles for less than $2k here.
I paid 1500 for it and then about 400 bucks for gears for front and rear. Still waiting for parts to arrive but I should have everything done within the next few weeks. I'm excited

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