Mr.N's Dana Article Main Page

Dana 44 Solid Front Axle: Part 2 More info

Copyright © 2002 All International Rights Reserved. This document may not be copied or published without prior written permission. Updated: April 07, 2003 - Mr.N

Part 2 includes:
Pictures of Dana 44 axles Ford ran for the 60's and 70's 
Recommendations from the author:
General Misconceptions:
Links for Must Read tech articles

Pictures of Dana 44 axles Ford ran for the 60's and 70's 

 

Picture 14 Yep, one more time. The 78-79 is not a good candidate for an axle swap, unless you keep the Ford coils. The area between the red arrows does not have a tube in it. 

Picture 15 is a low pinion Dana 44 solid front axle from a 1963 Ford F100 4x4. This axle is the same for the years 1961 to 1965 on the F100 4x4 trucks.  This design was running a front leaf spring setup and a drag link connected to the steering knuckle, as seen above.

Picture 16 A 1963 Ford F100 4x4. . This axle was also under the F250 for 1961-1965.  Notice the closed kingpin knuckles with 260 u-joints, drum brakes and leaf springs.

Picture 17 is a low pinion Dana 44 solid front axle from an early 1976 Ford F250 4x4. This axle is the same for the years 1969 to 1975 on the F250 4x4 trucks. How is this you ask? Either it's an early 76 truck with left over 75 parts (see note about Ford plants) or someone swapped axle for a better gear ratio. Notice the closed  knuckles with kingpin, 5-297x u-joints and drum brakes. The F250 Dana 44 had several different u-joints; 1975-73.5 ran a 5-309x u-joint and 1973.5-67 ran a 5-74x u-joint.


Picture 18 is a low pinion Heavy Duty Dana 44 solid front axle from a 1971 Ford F250 4x4. This axle is the same for the years 1969 to 1975 on the F250 4x4 trucks.  They all ran a 5-86x u-joint and drum brakes. Notice the low fill plug in the diff cover for the low pinion axle, compared to a 44RS in picture #  2.  Notice the massive closed knuckle king pins, compared to a regular closed knuckle Dana 44 in Picture 17.  Picture provided by Grant Barclay.

Picture 19 is a low pinion Heavy Duty Dana 44 solid front axle from a 1971 Ford F250 4x4. The only down side to this axle, other than it being a low pinion, is the bottom king pin joints may brake if jumping is involved.  Notice how the drivers side is being converted to disk brakes, you'll need custom caliper mounts to clear the knuckle.  Picture provided by Grant Barclay.

Picture 20 is a low pinion Heavy Duty Dana 44 solid front axle from a Ford F250 4x4. Notice the ribs on the pumpkin, this is how you tell a Heavy Duty Dana 44 solid front axle besides the softball size closed knuckles. All F250 High-Boys have a Heavy Duty axle.

Picture 21 This is a 1974 Ford 1/2 ton Dana 44RS housing, notice the smooth housing, no ribs other than a very large center one.  The diff cover is an 1/8" thick.

Picture 22 a regular 1/2 ton hub from a 1974 Ford Dana, this is the same a size for all 1/2 ton hubs for the 44RS.  Tape is measureing just under 3 1/2 inches..

Picture 23 is a low pinion Heavy Duty Dana 44 solid front axle from a 1976 Ford F250 4x4. This axle is the same for the years 1976 to 1977.5 on the F250 4x4 trucks. The major change is to open knuckle ball joints with disk brakes and 5-297x u-joint. This design was running a front leaf spring setup with 3" tubes and 1/2" walls.

Picture 24 is a low pinion Heavy Duty Dana 44 hub and lock-out from a 1976 Ford F250 4x4.  It also has a much larger knuckle and brakes. Compare this picture to the above one to show the different hubs the Dana 44 axle had. This hub and lock-out ran only in HD Dana 44's from 1969- early 1977. Tape shows over 4 1/2 inches.

Picture 25 is of a 197? Ford extended cab Dana 44.  The extended cap reverse sprial axle ran from early 1977 to 1979.  However these axle very greatly in width, some use F250 axle shafts and others use F150 axle shafts.  So do your research before you buy one and find it has rare axle shafts.

Picture 26 is of a 197? Ford extended cab 44RS.  Notice the F100/150 5 on 5.5" style hubs with the F250 steering arm.  Some of the hub parts are the same as 1/2 ton for this year, to include lockouts.

Picture coming soon

Picture is of a 77.5-79 F250 axle.  Dana does not list this axle as a Heavy Duty axle as  it seems to have lost most parts that make it a HD Dana 44 to include the hub and out.  It does retain the HD housing, thick axle tubes and HD knuckles.

Picture coming soon

Picture is of a 77.5-79 F250 axle.  Dana does not list this axle as a Heavy Duty axle as  it seems to have lost most parts that make it a HD Dana 44 to include the hub and out.  It does retain the HD housing, thick axle tubes and HD knuckles.

Picture 27 This axle is out of a U100, or commonly called an Early Bronco.  It ran from mid 1971-1977.  All years of this axle had the 5-260x u-joint.  According to Spicer it never came with a 297 u-joint.  This axle is low pinion and had drums until 75, then like all Ford 4x4 front axles went to disk.

Picture 28 This axle is out of a U100, or commonly typed 'EB'.    This picture shows the smooth low pinion housing found on these axles.    

Picture 29 On the left are two different axle shaft external snap rings.  Notice the one on the right from the mid 70's is much thicker than the more common snap ring to the far left.  Next are three different internal hub snap rings.  The bottom left one is very common and found on most Dana 44.  The right and middle is a early to mid 1970 ring, it is much more ridged and harder to remove.  Top center with the tabs sticking out is a inner hub snap ring from 1980's auto hub, much easier to remove.

Picture 30 Shows 3 different full time drive flanges that were available.  These drive flanges are used in place of lock-out's to offer full time drive from your axle.  Left is from a 76 Jeep Wagoneer, middle is the most common from an 84 Jeep Wag, and right was found in a 87 Jeep Wag.  The thicker pucks offers more engagement with the hub and shaft.

 

Picture 31  Here is the down side to running a Dana 44, heavy foot or big tires can cause this.  Solution is to run Alloy axle shafts and CTM u-joints, about $800 for a complete set.  Picture from POR member ZAG.

Picture 32 This is a uncommon break for a stock Spicer u-joint and axle shaft.  The full welds are only possible because if a bushing that is replacing the needle bearing.  If this is done to a stock Spicer u-joint the needles would melt and cause the joint to fail.  Picture from POR. 

Like axle shaft carnage: www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread=220451 

Top shaft is a 5-86x u-joint style axle shaft, bottom is a 5-297x style shaft.  

If only this heavy duty 5-86x u-joint axle shaft would fit in a Ball Joint Dana 44.

Picture 33 Show the difference between the 5-86X and 5-297X style axle shafts.  The common 297 shaft used a 3/4 inch internal 'C' clip to hold the u-joint on.  A sub-standard and cost effect way to hold a U-joint on.   The 5-85x u-joint has the same cap size but uses an full external retaining ring.  This is the same method most drive shafts use.  Picture provided by Grant Barclay

Picture 34 This picture shows a 1979 F-250 Dana 44RS axle shaft at the top, a 1985 F250 Dana RS50 IFS axle shaft in the middle and a 1979 F-150 Dana 44RS axle shaft at the bottom.  Both 1979 shafts run a 5-297x u-joint, the 1985 Dana 50 runs a large 5-282x u-joint that uses external snap rings like the 5-86x.  The Dana 50 shaft will not fit between a straight axle Dana 44 ball joints with out a lot of custom work.

Picture 35 Shows a close up of the external snap ring found on some Dana 44/50 axles.  Too bad someone's not producing custom axle shafts with this set up for a Dana 44.  I'll take a set for the idea ;~)

Picture 38 is of a 5-86x u-joint.  It runs an external snap ring as seen in the top left of the picture.  Also it larger than a 297, almost 3 3/4"
Picture 37 is of a 5-332x u-joint.  It runs an internal C clip as seen to left of the picture. 

Picture will be replaced by Spicer u-joint in future.

Picture 36 is of a 5-297x u-joint.  It runs an internal C clip as seen in the bottom left of the picture.

 

 

Enough said.

Picture 36 Left is a Dana 44 inner knuckle.  Center is a Dana 30 inner knuckle found 1987 and YJ, XJ and ZJ's.  Notice the difference, you can not run a Dana 44 outer knuckle with the newer style Dana 30 knuckle.  However you could swap a inner knuckles on your Dana 30 for a CJ style and then run Dana 44 outers.  See Bills page for info.  (Also far right is a 44RS showing the "ball" in ball joint, its upside-down ;~).

Picture 37 is of a Chevy Dana 44.  This axle has the flat top and desirable spindles.  This is a low pinion axle, 2.75" tubes.  The Dana 44  ended in Chevy's 1/2 ton in 1979 and 3/4 ton in 1980, do note the later ones do not have the flat top passenger side flat top knuckle and good spindles.

Picture 38 is of a Chevy 10 bolt axle.  This axle never came with flat top knuckles or the desirable spindles for swapping bolt patterns.  It also has a lesser spline count for the axle shafts. Notice the round cover, production started in 78. My advice is stay away from this axle unless it's free.

This is a 1974 Jeep Wagoneer, a Full Size Jeep (FSJ) axle.  Notice the pumpkin on the passengers side which was ran 74-79.  It is much narrow than a full size pick up axle, thus using this axle or just the axle shaft is a popular option.  See axle shaft chart for lengths of axle shaft.  Coming later this year my article on FSJ axles.

This is a 1989 Jeep Wagoneer, a Full Size Jeep (FSJ) axle.  Notice the pumpkin on the driver side which was ran 80-91.  It is much narrow than a full size pick up axle, thus using this axle or just the axle shaft is a popular option.  See axle shaft chart for lengths of axle shaft.  Vacuum disconnect ran 83-85, avoid these years.

Picture 39 out of focus for now, but show a 79 F250 axle at 2 3/4" thick tubes.  Yeah, yeah a pic with a larger tape measure is coming.

Picture 40 out of focus for now, but show a 79 F150 axle at 2 3/4" thick tubes.  It's a 78-79 style by the 360* weld on the coil mount.

Picture 41 show a 1974 F150 axle with 2 3/4" wide tubes. 

Picture 42  is of a 1977 Chevy 3/4 ton Dana 44 axle.  It also has the 2 3/4" wide axle tubes.

Picture 43  is of a 1975 f250 Heavy Duty Dana 44 axle.  It also has the 2 3/4" wide axle tube. 

 


Picture of a Reverse Spiral, late 70's Ford F250 housing.  Tape measure shows Center to outer knuckle 36.5 inches.  Thus minus the 5" to the ecnter of the spring pad and you have 31.5".  It's 1/2" off a Jeep YJ front, thus some creative drilling and it's almost bolts up.  Steering is a whole nother issue, see flat top article.  Note the SuperCab has the same housing.  Picture from POR Member (Lost name, PM me if this is yours.  Need pic of spring pad to pad)

Picture 43 for those new to axle swapping, the above is a Ford TTB ran from 1980-1996 in F150's and F250's.  Avoid this axle unless you run high speeds.  The stub shaft would work for shorting a regular 44RS.

Picture 44 This is from an early Chevy Dana 44 front. It is running a 5-260 u-joint and has the typical neck down axle shaft for this style.  Do note the 1/2" thick axle tube!  Good tubes for re-tubing a 78-79 44RS.

 

Recommendations from the author:

Suggested Axles: If you think you'll need it, get a Dana 60, but keep it a reverse spiral 77.5-79 for the 35 spline inner axle shafts.  Expect to pay twice to four times as much as a 44RS

Suggested Axles for a 44RS swap while keeping stock Ford disk brakes: F100 & F150 1976 and 77.   If you are looking for a 44RS to swap into your 4x4 I suggest a 1976-77 model with disk brakes.   This is a strong axle and can be shortened if needed because of the easily removable cast coil mounts.   To shorten an axle simply grind off the cast coil mounts and see the links below.  If your keeping the coil mounts the Panhard bracket can get in the way.  The price on this front axle is average. 

Suggested 44RS Axle for swapping using 8 lug bolt pattern:   The F250 44RS 1977.5 to 79 44RS axle.   These years come with the larger 8 wheel bolt pattern and brakes.   They also have a leaf spring mount and 3" diameter axle tubes with ĹĒ thick tube walls.   You can swap knuckles out if your looking for a different bolt pattern, see below note on this.  These axle usually cost at least double of a 1/2 ton..

Suggested 44RS Axle for swapping using Chevy/Jeep style brakes:   The F100 & F150 1973 to 75 44RS axles are great to start your build up.   These years come with 2.75" diameter axle tubes with ĹĒ thick walls and removable coil mounting cast Cís, standard issue Dana 44 ball joints and a separate bracket for the pan-hand bar.   The only real down side is most come with drum brakes, however if you're swapping an axle, odds are you can swap the knuckles out for a Chevy for Full Size Jeep Dana 44 knuckle that has disk brakes, see below note on this.  One advantage this axle has over the 76-77 is the Panhard bar,  it's attached with a separate bracket and thus further out of the way.  This is usually an easy axle to find and has the lowest price. 

Best 44RS Axle for swapping:   F150 Super Cabs from 1977-79 came with the same axle as the F100 & F150 style (5 on 5.5" wheel bolt circle) except it's set up for leaf springs like the F250.  It came with the 1/2" thick tubes and the F250 steering set up.  The only real down side is how rare these axles are, and the tall gears they come with.  Price can range from average to top dollar depending on how knowledgeable the yard is.

Axles to avoid:  44RS 1978-79 F100, F150 and full size Bronco 44RS.   This is a good axle only if left with the factory coil mounting brackets.  Be sure to a void the 1/4 inch thick inner tube version. Price is average because high amount of these available.

Low pinion axle:   The F100 & F150ís of 1966 to 1979 never came with a low pinion axle, at least not from the factory.   Iíve standing bet on the Pirate 4x4 Ford forum board for someone to produce a 66-79 Dana 44 low pinion axle from a F100 or F150 4x4.   Many have said they have a cousinís- friend - sisterís -boyfriend -brother that has one.   Some have stated they even own one and are going to take pictures this minute and post them.   End result: I havenít lost the bet yet, thread is linked here.   The F250 axle was a low pinion Dana 44 until 1977.5, it also had closed knuckles until 75 and leaf spring mounts for all years.

Early Bronco Dana 44 axle:   The came with a Dana 44 starting in 1971, but the Dana 30 can also be found in that year.  All EB's had 5-260 style u-joint axles from Ford, they never had the 297 style.. Thus it is a popular option to swap axle shafts for the large size.  Most common is to swap the short or stub side, as it is so easy to do.  Check main page for axle shaft chart, as it lists the different shafts you can swap in..
, It's a common swap to use an F150 short side shaft to replace the EB shaft. This is to increase the u-joint from a 260 to a 297. The EB shaft is 18 5/16" and the F150 shaft is 18 5/8 to 29/32". Thus it's common for the F150 shaft to be trimmed to fit on the pumpkin side. However the Chevy Dana 44 shaft is 18 1/2" so it would work better as an inner shaft than the F150. Also a Dodge W100 from 1972.5 - 74 with B.O.M. 603413 has the exact same length axle shaft at18 5/16" but with a 297 u-joint!

Do note that because of the different Ford plants some parts do overlap production year(s).   Iíve been informed that usually the Dearborn plant received parts first in the 60ís, while San Jose and Atlanta were at the end of the line.

Swapping the knuckles out for a Chevy or Full Size Jeep Dana 44 Flat top knuckle & Chevy style disk brakes:   This is possible because of the same type ball joints and knuckles these Dana 44 straight axles share.   See my Dana flat top knuckle article for more info on this. 

Shortening an axle:   I suggest if your going to shorten an Ford 44RS axle you do so by swapping in 1980ís Full Size Jeep (FSJ) axle shafts.   This will shorten your axle about 6Ē.   The passenger's side inner axle shaft difference between the two is about 1Ē, the driver's side (stub) inner axle shaft difference is about 5Ē.   If you are having trouble find these axle shafts, I recommend replacing the stub side with a 1980ís Ford IFS stub side.   It is almost identical to the 1980ís FSJ, except for a different grove in the 19 splines.   (See John Nutter's article, linked found on Links page.)

Dana 60 Reverse Spiral:   Little info on the Dana 60 Reverse Spiral Gear set (60RS).   Dana release the gears for production December 1976 for production, thus the first D60RS was seen in mid 1977 F350 and some F250 super cabs and snow-fighters.   This axle stayed the same until  it was replaced by the Dana 50 IFS in 1980.   The Dana 60 reappeared in the front during 1985 under the F250 / F350.

Dana changed parts almost every year.  Review pictures with the internal and external hub snap rings.  All the parts came from a Dana 44 front axle and they will all work with most Dana 44 front axles.  However not all Dana 44 parts interchange.  Ford alone ran 16 different axle shafts fron 66-79 model years, some are with in 3/32 in length.

The Spicer 5-760x u-joint is a stronger replacement for the most common 5-297x for a Dana 44.  5-178 can substitute 5-282x with lube fitting.

Some Ford Dana 44 axles have snap ring grove located 7.4" or 7.1" from bearing surface.

General Misconceptions:

  • 1: "Dana didnít produce the High Pinion axle until 1978"  or  "1977.5." 
        Wrong, this is bunk info that is listed as fact on some web pages.  I have positive confirmation from Dana on the dates used in this article.  Resources listed in part I.  The confusion may come from the first year for the F250 to get a reverse spiral axle, it was 1977.5.
        

  • 2: "If I would take a Chevy (passenger-side drop) flip it to a drivers-side drop and rotate the knuckles 180 degrees, That would make it Hi-pinion and reverse cut correct?"
       
    Wrong, the Dana 44 Reverse Spiral has a special designed housing to keep the pinion bearings lubed.  You can not flip an axle to make it a Reverse Spiral, not mention the fact the flipped axle would run backwards.      

  • 3: "Can I use reverse cut gears in a regular housing?"
            NO!  You can not interchange gears between a regular and reverse spiral housing.  You can however interchange the carrier.

  • 4: "Didn't dodge and Chevy use HP axles too, or am I just confused?"
            Nope, not in the 1960-70's, it was only Ford.

  • 5: "For a YJ (87-95 Jeep Wrangler) a Dana 44 from a Ford F 250 would be best."
            This is a good axle, but it has 8 wheel lugs (3/4 ton pattern). You'll need to swap from the knuckles out if you want another wheel bolt pattern.  It's a good swap because the axle almost bolts up.

  • 6: "Reverse Rotation "
               This term is just wrong.
      Neither the axle nor the axle shafts travel in a reverse motion, or travel 'backwards' compared to a regular housing.  This term only shows the ignorance of the person or (worse yet) company using it.


  • See my Mr.N's Dana 44 Build Up page for how to remove and axle shaft.  Running a Dana 44 and large tires, you need all the spares you can find.  

    Then you can store them all, my solution. 

    So you want to know about Axle shafts, other then the measurements. Check out BillaVista's great article, it covers: Material and heat treating; Size and shape (profile) - neckdown, equal loading unequal lengths; Spline technology; Profile, pitch, and pressure angle Size and strength tables; Methods of forming; How axles break - failure analysis ; Formulae and calculations
    http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/PR-BV60/index1b.html 

    See Links page for Must Read tech articles on the Dana 44 and some Dana 60's:

     

    Thanks guys:

    C_J_Ford http://cjford.stormloader.com
    Alpo23 from Pirate4x4
    John Nutter
    The many people I've contacted threw different web page forums.
    The nameless person who told me to buy a 78-79 housing and drove me to learn about this axle.

     

    Resources:  See Main Page and Part I

     

    Check out a great vacation spot I often say at, My Sister-In-Law runs it! 
    www.curryhousekeywest.com

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