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Old 07-27-2012, 08:04 AM
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Dana 44 or Build Dana 30

So title is pretty clear. I have a Dana30 in right now. I have a 4cyl so that is all I need for the time being, but next year a V8 is going to be dropped in. How strong or weak is the Dana 30 compared to the Dana 35? Should I invest in a locker and solid axle conversion, or just get a Dana 44? It is my understanding the Dana 44 will also have a drag link spot on the knuckle above the spring which is perfect for SOA. This right? I have seen 44's going for $250, but that is stock with an open diff. Then of course I would be installing a locker eventually. I always hear of the 35 crapping out, and even mine did, but I never hear of the 30 up front having many problems so I really am curious what it can handle.
Complete rebuild axle/engine/everything swap in progress: Building stock width 44's with 302 from 01 Explorer. Motor has GT40p heads, Cobra Intake, and truck cam. Running A9L EEC IV stand alone engine from late 80's-90's Mustang GT. Big Bearing NP435 married to NP205.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:45 AM   #2

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the dana 30 is good for up to 35's with a locker and upgrading the shafts (in stock spline count) helps. You can upgrade to the 1pc inner shaft and ditch the diso system. If you think you will run tires bigger than 35's or will be pounding the crap out of the jeep go 1 tons .

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Old 07-27-2012, 11:12 AM   #3
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There are many D44s out there. Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Scout and Jeeps came with them. The one that is somewhat a direct bolt in is from a 78-79 Ford F250. Ones to avoid are the cast wedge D44s from Ford F150 trucks (76-77 were welded wedges and are usable). Ford D44 are desirable for the Jeep crowd that wants to keep the driver's side drop and they're stronger than passenger side drops due to them being high pinion vs low pinion.

Whether a built Dana 30 like 4Jeepn mentioned will hold up to a V8 conversion depends on your driving style, whether it is locked or not and what size tires you plan to run. A low geared D30 will shred the R&P with big tires and extra power behind. Additionally, that AX-5 transmission will not likely hold up very long to the extra power of the V8. If you're running 33" to possibly 37" with a V8, then the D44 is usually a good choice. Of course, if the bigger the tire, the more you need to baby it. Running tons (D60/14b etc) on anything less than 37" tread and you're losing major ground clearance.
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:53 AM   #4
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IMO if your going to swap axles do it once and do it right go right to tons. its the same ammount of work to put a 44 under your rig as a 60 and the 60 is a much better axle. Most 44s are really not any stronger then a dana 30. They both use the same U joints and that's the most common failure point on both axles. If your only planning on 35s, go 1 piece shafts and you'll be all right for the most part.
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