Mr.N's Dana Article Main Page

Mr.N's Front Dana 44 Build Up

Draft -> on going as I have time to post the info.

See a error or something I missed?  See where to find me below.

Copyright 2002 All International Rights Reserved. This document may not be copied or published without prior written permission. Updated: June 1, 2004 - Mr.N

    With all this information I've gathered on the Dana 44 axle surely I've had to build one...  With all the knowledge I've gained here is what I decided on for the Best Dana 44 for My needs.  Hopefully this and my other articles will help assist you build a great axle.  In fact if you do build one with my help, find me and let me know!  I'll post a link to your pictures / web page at the bottom.

Outline:

Hardware List:

Axle Housing:  1974 Ford Reverse Spiral axle out of a F150.  $100 used
   
    Pros: 1974 has the larger 5-x297 type u-joints, common Dana 44 ball joints and half inch thick axle tubes. Easier to find 4.10 gears from the factory in the pre gas crunch mid-70's.
        Cons: comes with Drum brakes (really a pro as you can find this housing cheaper because no one wants drums)
        Part: This housing is the same as 1974-75 for the 4x4 F100 & F150.  Earlier years 1971-72 are similar but with a smaller U-joint.  In 1976-77 Ford changed to Disk brakes (read more $$) and the panhard bar changed position.  Note the Early Bronco has a smaller axle and small u-joints.  The 78-79 Bronco housing in not good for swapping, see Dana 44 Part I article.

Axle Shafts: 1974 Ford inners, 1975 Chevy outers.  $12 a set used
            Pros: Cheap and easy to find in a junk yard.  Have a collection of spare shafts, see wheel size.
            Cons: Not Alloy axles, I will not run CTM U-joints with them.
            Parts: Most Ford 1/2 tons run the same axle shaft, see Axel shaft Charts to compare.

U-joints: Spicer 760's.  Will be trying Custom brass bushings instead of roll bearings to increase strength. $16 New
            Pros: Cold Forged, Cheaper and Stronger than the 5-x297 joint they replaced.
            Cons: Not in the same league as CTM u-joints.
            Parts: Only buy Spicer U-joints, the 5-x297 has been replaced by the stronger 760 in 2001.

Knuckles: 1975 Chevy flat tops. Also using this type spindle. $50 used pair
   
     Pros: most common and strongest Dana 44 flat top knuckle
        Cons: Not as strong as a Dana 60 knuckle (I had to think of something)
        Parts: See flat top knuckle article for correct years and knuckles, too much to list here.

Brakes: 1976 Chevy truck calipers and soft hose.  $75 New
        Pros: Good and proven set up and Cheap!  Hard line on CJ & Chevy hose is 3/8" x 20 nut.
        Cons: More parts to buy, buy this is good for brakes.
        Parts: There are several different Chevy calipers, so make sure and match the caliper to rotor, 1 1/8" thick.
   
     Make sure you buy Quality parts, spend the money you save here.

Hubs & Rotor: 1979 Ford for 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern    $12 used
        Pros: Cheap & very common 5 on 5.5" bolt pattern, Jeep CJ & FSJ, Ford 1/2 ton and many more.
        Cons: Weaker hub than the 3/4 ton 8 on 6.5" bolt pattern.
        Parts: Ford 1976 to 1983 then again 1986-1993.  If you go used make sure to check bearings when you pull them.

High Steer Arms: Shaker Arms. $110 new.
        Pros: Cheapest arms by far.
        Cons: I should have saved my money and bought some Parts Mike Super Arms.  High steer arms are not for a Daily Driver mall cruiser type!
        Parts: Custom part try Parts Mike, AAR, OTT, ...

TRE's and Linkage: Tie Rod Ends are from a 1985 Blazer. $100-200 new for a set.
        Pros: These TRE's are used in 1 ton applications, and Cheap & easy to find.
        Cons: More new parts.
        Parts: Need to find the years this spans, I've seen some 91 sub's with this set up. Steel tube is the same

Ball Joints:  Buy New, some Auto parts stores rent the removal / install tool for free. $140 complete set.
        Parts: Buy Spicer or Moog.  The larger your tires the more you should spend.

Rims & Wheels: Standard Chrome with 5 on 5.5 wheel bolt pattern found on Ford 1/2 tons, pre 97.
                            38.5" Monster Mudders, future maybe 39" IROK SS on ...
        Hummer Rims coming soon with custom Centers by www.Stazworks.com 

        Look for a how to install custom centers in Hummer rims and cut down of Mag insert.

Locker: So far it's open, going to try a Lincoln Locker, lots of pre and post heat.
        Pros: Cheap
        Cons: Cheap, when it blows up it may take the axle housing with it.
        Parts: Lincoln Welder & lots of nickel rod.

 

Look for a picture by picture build up soon!  Small picture, until I find a Site with more space.

The Tear Down of a 1974 Ford axle.  Old style hubs and drum brakes.
Note Parts numbers will be in build up.


All the tools shown are the minimum to remove an axle shaft. Big hammer, two med size screw drivers, 9/16 wrench and socket with ratchet. Two small screw drivers, one bent the other bent and custom ground to a point.  See special tool section on how to make this.
Tip: Use better tools, this is done to show the minimum of what is needed, incase your on the trail.

Whole axle, before tear down. Tires are on it to move the axle.  Never run a tire this large with drum brakes.

A close up of the Drum brakes and knuckle.  This is what I'm replacing.

First step, remove the six allen head screws. And then pull of the hub. 
Note: Older style hubs have shorter, course thread allen bolts.  Genniss is only in the picture for depth of size.

Next remove the axle shaft snap ring.  
Note the cap is at the bottom of the picture.
Tip: You can remove the axle shaft snap ring with the custom tool, shown below, but I recommend buying a snap ring pliers to do this job.

Next is the large snap ring that goes around the hub.  Tip: If the ring moves, use a second screw driver to hold it in place at the void in the ring, then pry under the ring with the custom tool below from the back side forward.

Old style hub you need to grab one edge and pull.
Tip: Use both hands and walk it out back an forth as you pull out.

Hub is being pushed out by the large spring in the back.  Take out the Spring and spring cup.

Axle nut shown, Need a better pic here (and camera)

A screw driver is placed in the reses of the nut, and a hammer hits it.  This is done several times to losen the nut untill removed.
Tip: Buy a Axle Nut socket if your doing this more and a couple times.

My custom tool is shoved into a hole of the axle nut washer, then pulled out.  A second screwdriver is use to hold the opposite side to the washer in place as I walk the washer out.  
I've ran into a washer that was held in place by three small Phillips screws, that could only be seen after removing the grease.  So look carefully.
Tip: The washer will not spin, it has an inner tap that slip in a slot of the spindle.  This can be a bear to remove.

Washer removed, Med screw driver ready for hammer.
Tip: Us a solid punch or chisel as it will give less.  

Second, and last, spindle nut removed.  The hub is now loose.

Using a 3 Lbs hand sledge and your two medium screw drivers, hit the drum and work it back and forth with the screw drivers at 3 and 9 O'clock.  
Yes, you can back off the drum brakes, but at this old and rusted I tried the Big hammer first.

At this point it's time to drain the gear fluid.  Why?
If you don't it will poor out the axle tube as soon as you remove the axle shaft. 

All nuts off, time to pry.

Don't forget to recycle that gear oil!

With the Hub and drum off your at the spindle and backing plate.  See picture below for brakes installed.

Tip: A long extension works well here.

Picture of backing plate with drum brakes on, to show it can be taken off with out removing the brakes.

Don't forget the brake hard line bracket!

First, re-install the spindle nut. DO NOT hit directly to the spindle, this will destroy it and not allow you to resell it.  Ever been to CarsinBarns web page, same idea.

At the same time, use your screw drivers to pry the spindle out.
Tip: If you removing Disk Brakes spindles see Assemble section on note how to remove them.

Finally Spindle removed.

At this point simply slide the axle shaft out.  Want to know what length the shaft is, or what other vehicles you can pull out the same length shaft for a spare?  See my Dana Articles and look for the Axle shaft charts with the OEM lenghts.

Axle shaft on top of housing.

Top is a 1 15/16" wrench, bottom is a 1 1/8" wrench.  These are the most common for a Dana 44, however there are different sizes out there for a Ball Joint 44's. Always use the box end to break the nut loose.
Tip: If you must remove the TRE do not hit it through the hole with a hammer, it will crown the head and not fit through the small hole in the knuckle.  Use a punch and hammer, or pickle fork to remove the TRE.

Move the knuckle back and forth so the wrench sits in the bottom of the knuckle and engages the nut as much as possible.

I don't like to hit the housing if I'm not keeping the knuckles.  A couple good wacks and it's off.

Down to the housing with gears left alone.  Sure it'll take you a whole night if it's your first time, but the experience will be irreplaceable in the field if you have to swap an axle shaft.
   

 

So what did I do with the Drum brake parts?  I still have them, contact me if you want them.  Everything $20 plus shipping 

Removing Junk Yard parts

Lock out, hub and rotor can taken from a 198? Ford IFS


Allen head socket works best to remove the bolts from the lock out.

Most junk yard hubs will need to be cleaned out for the Allen head wrench to work.

Tip: If having trouble, press hard into bolt.  It is easy to strip these small heads.
 
Will all the bolts removed, work the cap back and forth to loosen from hub.  Pliers not needed.

Tip: Once the cap is removed place two allen head screws back into the body of the manual lock-out.

Snap ring pliers are used to remove the axle shaft snap ring.  

Axle shaft retaining ring is removed.
 

On to the hub retaining ring.  
Tip: If you start from the back and push forward with the custom tool (see below) it is much easier.

Once the ring is moved out of the retaining grove, use your second screw driver to push it out.  Run is along the diameter

Ring removed!

To remove the manual lock-out body insert two bolts and rock lock-out back and forth while pulling out.

Picture of large Spring here. (missing)
Picture of Spring Cup here, to prevent the spring from hitting the outer wheel bearing.. (missing)
Lock-out removed, pic or First axle nut.

First axle nut and socket to remove.

Removing axle nut.

First nut removed, washer is next.

Notice this washer has tabs on it, much easier to remove the the style with out the tabs.  Us custom tool to poke into hole and pull back.  Use second screwdriver to hold position and move to opposite side.

Washer removed, axle nut socket placed in to remove second axle nut.

Second axle nut removed.  Hub bearing shown in side hub is next.

With both nuts removed, and washer, the First bearing will almost fall out after you remove the hub from the spindel.

If your bearings are good, leave the race in the hub.  Second, or inside, wheel bearing is still in place.

To remove the second bearing you first have to remove the back seal.  
Tip: Replace this seal even if your reusing the bearings.

Pry all the way around the seal, for an even pull off.

One good last hit and the seal and inside bearing pop right out.  

Tip: Clean the inside of the hub, but leave the bearing races in place (if your bearings are good).
Also clean the bearing.
How to repack the bearing with grease.  
Tip: Buy a $7 bearing greaser, it's much easier than trying to do this by hand.  Make sure grease come out of all pours.
Place the bearing back into the hub as the came out.
Tip: Keep track of which bearing are for which hub.  You must keep the bearing with the same races.
   

 

Housing Prep & Painting

First step is to clean the housing, make sure you stick wash cloths up the tube ends if your not changing gears.  
If you can not sand blast the housing use a 4" grinder with a wire wheel to strip all the old paint and rust.  Then wash with a metal wash, not safety instructions on metal wash.  
With bare housing spray it with self etching primer.  This is a must if you want the paint to last, clean bare metal, metal prep wash and self etching primer.
Tip: Buy the Self etching primer with Zinc, this is the best you can get in a rattle can.  Note: in Minnesota and other states is illegal to sell.  WI, sells it.
 
Housing has been painted with Farm Implement (Oil Base) paint.  Give it a week to dry, at a minimum.  Flat top knuckle tested fitted.

I used a 2" foam brush to paint the insides of the tubes.  

Assembly of  my axle.

  Starting with a good & straight housing.
  All the parts needed to make this axle
  Knuckles attached to housing
   

Modifications on my axle.

  Increasing clearance but grinding the bottom of the axle.
  Reinforcing custom cover using a second cover.
  Spring perches, welding on custom for a CJ.
  Increasing vent tube.

All Part Numbers Listed are Spicer and taken from this Spicer Picture.

 

Other information on parts, Mods.

Axle Housing:  1974 Ford Reverse Spiral axle out of a F150.  $100 used
   
    Pros: 1974 has the larger 5-x297 type u-joints, common Dana 44 ball joints and half inch thick axle tubes. Easier to find 4.10 gears from the factory in the pre gas crunch mid-70's.
        Cons: comes with Drum brakes (really a pro as you can find this housing cheaper because no one wants drums)
        Part: This housing is the same as 1974-75 for the 4x4 F100 & F150.  Earlier years 1971-72 are similar but with a smaller U-joint.  In 1976-77 Ford changed to Disk brakes (read more $$) and the panhard bar changed position.  Note the Early Bronco has a smaller axle and small u-joints.  The 78-79 Bronco housing in not good for swapping, see Dana 44 Part I article.

Axle Shafts: 1974 Ford inners, 1975 Chevy outers.  $12 a set used
            Pros: Cheap and easy to find in a junk yard.  Have a collection of spare shafts, see wheel size.
            Cons: Not Alloy axles, I will not run CTM U-joints with them.
            Parts: Most Ford 1/2 tons run the same axle shaft, see Axel shaft Charts to compare.

        Snap Ring Part number: 

U-joints: Spicer 5-760X 's.  Will be trying Custom brass bushings instead of roll bearings to increase strength. $16 New
            Pros: Cold Forged, Cheaper and Stronger than the 5-x297 joint they replaced.
            Cons: Not in the same league as CTM u-joints.
            Parts: Only buy Spicer U-joints, the 5-x297 has been replaced by the stronger 760 in 2001.

        Lets talk: Full-circle clips, tack welds, full-perimeter welds... oil-tite bearings, greasable, non-greasable... heat-treat, foundry process, unobtainium alloys, or trunion inserts

Full Circle Clips:
Perfect fit full circle snap ring is a HD 1-3/16" (.056 thick) for the 760 u-joints.  Home Depot part is close.
Driveline Services in West Sacramento 916-371-3332 $2 a piece.
every shop that sells bearing stuff should have them, yea, HD = $0.37ea 
Dutchman is now selling the full circle clips separately. D44 $4 for 4 or D60 $6 for www.dutchmanms.com

Welding the Caps:
Another option is to tack welds on the u-joint caps.  "You can see my patern for welding on the lower pic, 2 hard tacks on the outside with a 1/2 inch weld on the inside of the ear. Seems to work very well for me"  rcurrier44 from POR

Bushings:
"5-297's and 5-760's often fail because they spit the clips out and lose a cap. So you can weld them in, but putting a good enough weld to hold them in sometimes messes up the needles and burns the grease out of them. Replacing the needles with a bushing prevents this from happening." RawkRash
Picture of Longfield joint.
"the stock berrings crush real easy and cause small dents in the joint further causing them to wear quickly. also by fully welding the caps in it helps prevent the ears from stretching."  T1H5_TA3
 
Captain American AKA Tom LeBlanc

"I would NEVER weld the cap in a shaft that was going to see street use. Welding will cause the cap to shrink, causing reduced clearance for the needle bearings, and will also burn up some of the grease. Not as much of a problem with greasable u-joints, but I always run non greasable joints for that last little bit of strength. Some, if not all Spicer u-joints have a plastic thrust washer/bushing in the top of the cap to prevent the needles from galling on the cap. Welding WILL melt this washer. No, I'm not talking about the seals." bgreen@akfabshop.com

"The bushings are Sintered Oilite. (oil impregnated bronze) The fit between the bushing and cap is a slight interference fit, and pressed in with some loctite 271 high strength thread retaining compound"  bgreen@akfabshop.com http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=160261&highlight=ujoint+snap+ring  
Sintering Process info. -I found the prototype stock in McMaster-Carr. They have some standard sized tube that we got and turned to work with our setup.  -oilite can be found at any decent metal supply house. 

"For anyone wondering, yes you can clearance Dana axle yokes, at home, with simple and common hand tools. Its a somewhat tedious task, as it is very easy to remove too much material, thus weakening the yoke, and creating a surface that wont provide a proper seat for the c-clip." bgreen@akfabshop.com 

Composite Thrust Washer
Spicer Life series u joints feature a thermoplastic thrust washer in the bearing cup. This Eliminates metal-to-metal contact between the trunnion end and bearing cup. Prevents wear and end galling, and lowers the overall operating temperature of the universal joint.

 

Knuckles: 1975 Chevy flat tops. Also using this type spindle. $50 used pair
   
     Pros: most common and strongest Dana 44 flat top knuckle
        Cons: Not as strong as a Dana 60 knuckle (I had to think of something)
        Parts: See flat top knuckle article for correct years and knuckles, too much to list here.

Brakes: 1976 Chevy truck calipers and soft hose.  $75 New
        Pros: Good and proven set up and Cheap!  Hard line on CJ & Chevy hose is 3/8" x 20 nut.
        Cons: More parts to buy, buy this is good for brakes.
        Parts: There are several different Chevy calipers, so make sure and match the caliper to rotor, 1 1/8" thick.
   
     Make sure you buy Quality parts, spend the money you save here.

        Front Chevy Brake caliper Banjo bolt; If your calipers pre 79, they will be 7/16-20. Post 79 they are metric, they will be 10mm x 1.5 with a pitch of 1.50
        CJ Guys - 1980 and  newer Wagoner calipers have the CJ size banjo bolts!

Hubs & Rotor: 1979 Ford for 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern    $12 used
        Pros: Cheap & very common 5 on 5.5" bolt pattern, Jeep CJ & FSJ, Ford 1/2 ton and many more.
        Cons: Weaker hub than the 3/4 ton 8 on 6.5" bolt pattern.
        Parts: Ford 1976 to 1983 then again 1986-1993.  If you go used make sure to check bearings when you pull them.

High Steer Arms: Shaker Arms. $110 new.
        Pros: Cheapest arms by far.
        Cons: I should have saved my money and bought some Parts Mike Super Arms.  High steer arms are not for a Daily Driver mall cruiser type!
        Parts: Custom part try Parts Mike, AAR, OTT, ...

TRE's and Linkage: Tie Rod Ends are from a 1985 Blazer. $100-200 new for a set.
        Pros: These TRE's are used in 1 ton applications, and Cheap & easy to find.
        Cons: More new parts.
        Parts: Need to find the years this spans, I've seen some 91 sub's with this set up. Steel tube is the same
   
Why a TRE over a Hemi?
When a heim fails they tend to fail spectacularly and irreparably. Contrast that with a tie rod end, when it goes bad it gets sloppy. it doesn't bust in two peices; you'll be able to get home and/or get a replacement at any local parts store. Have you ever tried to find a Hemi on a sunday?  Heck even some local Fleet & Fram stores cary TRE's!

Ball Joints:  
How to remove and install them:

Rims & Wheels: Standard Chrome with 5 on 5.5 wheel bolt pattern found on Ford 1/2 tons, pre 97.
                            38.5" Monster Mudders, future maybe 39" IROK SS on ...
        Hummer Rims coming soon with custom Centers by www.Stazworks.com 

        Look for a how to install custom centers in Hummer rims and cut down of Mag insert.

Locker: So far it's open, going to try a Lincoln Locker, lots of pre and post heat.
        Pros: Cheap
        Cons: Cheap, when it blows up it may take the axle housing with it.
        Parts: Lincoln Welder & lots of nickel rod.

Special Tool Section 



My custom simple tool I can not do with out for working on an axle.  It's better than a typical dental pick.

It's a simple small orange screw driver I got for free.  To make one: bend the last 1" at a 45 degree angle and then grind the end to a point.  If you can make the point flat to the outside of the shaft.  With this tool I do not NEED a snap ring pliers.  Now I do have several snap ring pliers but I've shown you do not need one to take out and axle shaft.

Second screwdriver is use to pull out the spindle washer with the custom ground orange screwdriver.

 Ball Joint Spanner Wrench.
Or AKA:
Sleeve socket 
Most ball joint press kits do not come with this, you will need it.

NAPA auto parts # 278-2030
http://buy1.snapon.com/...12144=catalog
http://www.completeoffroad.com/prod...et-dana_44.html
http://www.discount-car-parts.net/c...rts5/177503.htm
http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/shop/OTC-7080.html
http://www.drivewerks.com/catalog/s...CAT500_pg13.htm
http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/otc7080.html
http://www.etoolcart.com/browseprod.-Wrench.HTML
Be careful on shipping and handling charges!

 

Napa: 

Links to Web pages with Built Dana 44's:

  • http:\\www.YourPageHere.com Check out this build up!

  • http:\\www.YourPageHere.com Check out this build up!

  • http:\\www.YourPageHere.com Check out this build up!

  •  

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

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    Mr.N's Dana Article Main Page

    Viability is now down to 18 weeks! www.mccl.org  

    If you do nothing else, preserve life.  This is a Pro-Life web page.
    Funny how pro choice is really only one choice.  That "choice" is murder.

    Where can you find me?  Sometime at this link.

    Have a question and didn't find me at the link above? Find me at www.Pirate4x4.com Ford forum or http://www.jeepaholics.com , user name on all forums is  Mr.N  

    Proud to be a Practicing Catholic!

    Click on Picture to follow. 
    Don't believe in God?  Don't worry, He believes in you.

     

      Warning! These pages are for information only.   If you want to modify your vehicle or steering take you vehicle to a qualified shop and let them do the work.  If done improperly you could not only loose your life you many take others with you!  This page is Pro-Life, including saving others and your own life, not to mention the un-born children.

    Copyright 2002 All International Rights Reserved.  This document may not be copied or published in anyway without prior written permission.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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