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have a 98 4.0 manual trans and thinking about a rear axle swap. I have currently have a dana 35. what should I get a dana 44 or ford 8.8 and I heard it's really easy to swap. anyone have an experience with this
 

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If you're looking to just bolt an axle up then the d44 is your only option...

ford 8.8 requires welding
 

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I'm doing the Ford 8.8 right now. I could only find one Dana 44 in my area. They wanted $1,000 and I would have to regear it so I went with a Ford 8.8 from a '98 Explorer. It cost $200. Add $500 plus labor to rebuild it and get new spring and shock mounts welded to it and you have something stronger than a Dana 44. After doing it, it is not an "easy" swap but there is plenty of info on this site and plenty of parts to do the swap. I got mine from East Coast Gear Supply. They can also provide you a ready to install 8.8 for your TJ at a very reasonable price.
 

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If you are going to pay money out, I'd go for the 8.8 like mentioned. It is stronger then the d44 and would work out to be around the same to have it set up unless you luck into a d44 with the right gears for a few hundred dollars. You should also check locally to see if theres any axles set up you can buy. I bought two axles d30/d35 with 4.88s for less then 300$.. sometimes it pays to let others spend out the money then buy it for cheap ;)
 

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It really depends on your build...

I am trying to stay fairly low and you lose a bit of ground clearance with the 8.8 vs. D44 and that's why I looked for almost 2 years and drove from Denver to Wichita to get a D44 with the same gearing as my front... Next year I am planning on doing f/r Eaton/ARB and will re-gear but wanted to get a D44 that would would with what I have now and I most likely won't be going past 35's for a while or on these axles.
 
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