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Help for a Jeep guy to swap IN Dodge 4.5" D44 ends??

3773 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  wilber
I've searched, and found alot of good info on the 75-80 unit bearing 4.5"bc ft ends here.

I'm trying to figure out what parts I would need to put this setup on a Ford, or Waggy ft D44.

I've got a Dodge B-body D60 in my Jeep Comanche, and I'm trying to see what's involved with adapting a ft D44 to the same 5 on 4.5" wheel patturn (my aftermarket rear shafts, aren't big enough for a 5.5" patturn)

From reading other threads, I guess I'd need:
"full time" knuckles
stub axles
unit bearings
rotors


Anything else?
Any other advice?
Also, any inexpensive sources for new unit bearing sets?
THX!
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i dont like the 4.5" bolt pattern for off road use and the fact that the unit bearing stuff has no hubs would also be a reason to stay away. i would sell those custom rear shafts and buy some 5 on 5.5 shafts and drill the drums. then use the 5 on 5.5 front ford stuff. do you have some expensive wheels that are 5 on 4.5 or something?
Yeah, I know 4.5" has it's limitations, but my MJ's uni-body does too.
Either way, I'll be sticking to 36/37's (Q's up front/37x13's out back).

The unit-bearings themselves don't freak me out, as much as them being 1970's technology unitbearings (before they were really widely used).

The lack of locking hubs doesn't bother me at all, I'm locked ft/bk now, without them.

I like running the same patturn on all my vehicles (a stack of 4.5" wheels, and a tire machine may be the reason :) ), but I really don't want to replace my rear shafts.

I figure if these unitbearing fts can survive under a 5500lb + FS Dodge, they should hold up fine to a little MJ rolling on Q's.

You guys are the experts on these axles, so any info/data/advice at all would be a big help (even if it's just more advice to not bother with it).
So far, I'm looking for a 74.5-80 D100 ft axle, and a good source for new wheelbearings.
Jimmy
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no hubs and locked in the front?:eek: sounds fun....................not.


its just my .02 that you'll be running into a deadend goin with the dodge fulltime outers. your right about the strength but everything just wears out that much faster.
The older Dodge unit bearing front end isn't that bad. It's very similar in design to the unit bearings currently used on '94+ Rams, Wranglers, and Cherokees. But it has one huge advantage, the '70 Dodge unit bearing is greasable via a grease zerk.

I think the unit bearing developed a bad wrap mostly due to abuse and lack of maintanance. Don't get me wrong, I prefer a standard spindle/hub design, but the unit hub has it's credit.

I don't like the 4.5" pattern on a full-size, but it seems to work just fine on the lighter Wranglers and Cherokees. If the '70s Dodge unit bearing Dana 44 was an easy swap into YJs, TJs, or XJ's, those owners would be scrambling to bolt them in. It's a huge upgrade over their marginal D30 front ends, and look at how hard those D30's are wheeled.

There is a guy (dodgeman) on RCC running the stock, 1/2 ton unit bearing, D44 front axle under his tubed out Ramcharger on 36" TSL's. He wheels it pretty hard in the New Mexico desert. I believe his only front end failures so far have been stub shafts.
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tv_larsen said:
If the '70s Dodge unit bearing Dana 44 was an easy swap into YJs, TJs, or XJ's, those owners would be scrambling to bolt them in.
I think it's a mater of few of them knowing D44 ft's ever even came with 5 on 4.5" wheel patturns.

Just like how few people realise there was a 5 on 4.5" D60 in Hemi cars from the 60's/70's.


It's good to know that there's atleast one guy who wheels hard on this ft end.

I've been resisting going to a D44 ft so far, since the D30 is a Hi-pinion, w/ 297's.
I've run 33"Bias TSL's, and 35" radial MT's on it, but I'd like the thicker tubes, bigger knuckles, and stronger carrier of a 44 with Q/78's (and maybe 37" Boggers, though I don't like Boggers up front).

FULLSIZE said:
no hubs and locked in the front?:eek: sounds fun....................not.
The ft locker in my D30 is a lockright, which doesn't give as much feedback as a Detroit (I run a Detroit outback), it's completely invisible in 2wd, and not that bad in the snow/ice (except when there's not enough traction to unlock it in a turn :eek: ).
I'm debating on running a stronger Detroit in the front D44, or the slightly friendlier LR.




FULLSIZE said:
its just my .02 that you'll be running into a deadend goin with the dodge fulltime outers. your right about the strength but everything just wears out that much faster.

I honestly posted this question to get the bad, with the good (figured there'd be more bad, than good), and then still see if it's worth it to me.
The deadend part is OK, since I only plan to go so big with this MJ, using most of the parts from the old one.
I know the limitations of an MJ (the last one was too far gone after 5 years), and plan to build within them.
The wearing out part would depend on how long they last.
It's not my DD, so as long as i got more than a few wheeling seasons out of them, I wouldn't mind replacing them.
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any more info on these outters, today is the first i have heard of them, and this seems to be a great option for us ranger guys, the 8.8 is plenty of axle for the rear, and this would make the swap to soild alot eaiser and cheaper realy, this way we would only need one spare tire, and not have to change the rear axle. thanks for all the info i can get
wilber said:
any more info on these outters, today is the first i have heard of them, and this seems to be a great option for us ranger guys, the 8.8 is plenty of axle for the rear, and this would make the swap to soild alot eaiser and cheaper realy, this way we would only need one spare tire, and not have to change the rear axle. thanks for all the info i can get
See, I told you,
once the word got out, everyone will want them ;)

Here's a little more info:
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=148688
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=121200
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=146384
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=91781
does it matter what engine was in the truck? and know where you can get the bearings and stub shafts?:D
Ok...

How about the hub conversion kit? any more info on it?

If this is correct, you can run the Dodge setup, convert to the Milemarker hubs and have a D44 5 on 4.5, correct???

Wilber is right, that is a good option for all the Explorer and Ranger guys who keep their 8.8 rears!
B body dana 60?

I sold a b body dana 60(has snubber boss) for 1200.00 two years ago in hemmings motor news. Sell it and build one w/ 5.5" bolt pattern. Then use ford outers on any 44.
Re: B body dana 60?

dogbender said:
I sold a b body dana 60(has snubber boss) for 1200.00 two years ago in hemmings motor news. Sell it and build one w/ 5.5" bolt pattern. Then use ford outers on any 44.

Yeah, they're worth a ton of cash now. I've seen even crazier prices on Ebay.
I paid $495 for it (with 4.56's, power-loc & snubber boss) back in 98', but I sunk another $1200+ into it since then (Strange spool & 35sp Mosers for a season, then a Detroit).

It's worth more to collectors in original shape, so I've thought about putting the original stuff back in (1.5" 23sp shafts & matching Powerlock), and build a new D60 out of a cutdown FF housing, with Mopar semi- ends, and my old shafts/Detroit w/ maybe a new gear set (current set has 26 hard years on em), which would still leave me 4.5" (unless I wanted to pony up $450 more for shafts & whl bearings).

Someday I'll do exactly that (so I can trim the D60 at the same time), but for now, I'd rather use the time I'd spend F'n around with the rear axle (again), building either a cut down Hi-pinion D44 front or finally setting up the waggy 44 that's been on my bench for the last 3 years.

So whose taken the 4.5" ends off their axle, and wants to sell it cheap :p
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Re: Ok...

wilber said:
does it matter what engine was in the truck? and know where you can get the bearings and stub shafts?:D
Almost any 4wd '74-'79 1/2 ton truck, Ramcharger, or Trailduster will have the ft4wd front Dana 44 with the 5-4.5" hubs (all of them have flat top knuckles too I believe). The junk yards are full of them, and are a dime a dozen. The wheel bearings are about $50/side at Autozone.



Chubster said:
How about the hub conversion kit? any more info on it?

If this is correct, you can run the Dodge setup, convert to the Milemarker hubs and have a D44 5 on 4.5, correct???

Wilber is right, that is a good option for all the Explorer and Ranger guys who keep their 8.8 rears!
The hub conversion is made by Mile Marker, and uses the tiny, manual hubs that are commonly found on Ford Explorers (and Rangers I assume). Some spare parts may be hard to get. I've been told that MM won't sell individual parts.
http://milemarker.com/4x2conversion.html


Remember that that all pre-'93 Dodge axles are passenger side drop, so if you want driver's side, you'll need to use a Ford housing.


Yes, the B-body (and E-body) Dana 60 rear ends are valuable. But if you have the skills, you can buy all outer parts you'd need to cut down a cheap 3/4 ton D60 rear and convert it into a semi floating 5-4.5" axle just like the muscle car rears (minus the pinion snubber bosses) from Mopar Performance.
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Re: Re: Ok...

tv_larsen said:

Almost any 4wd '74-'79 1/2 ton truck, Ramcharger, or Trailduster will have the ft4wd front Dana 44 with the 5-4.5" hubs (all of them have flat top knuckles too I believe). The junk yards are full of them, and are a dime a dozen. The wheel bearings are about $50/side at Autozone.




The hub conversion is made by Mile Marker, and uses the tiny, manual hubs that are commonly found on Ford Explorers (and Rangers I assume). Some spare parts may be hard to get. I've been told that MM won't sell individual parts.
http://milemarker.com/4x2conversion.html


Thanks!
I didn't realise the MM kit used the junk Ford top-hat style hubs.
I wasn't going to bother with it anyway, but others have said the MM kit adds strength....
guess not (atleast on the 1/2 ton 4.5" version).

I also didn't realise the replacement bearings were only $50 a pop. :eek:

:cool:
thanks for the input guys, i have a 44 with the 5.5 bolt pattern now, just using this info for other ranger guys who dont want to swap the rears to
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