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Definitely locked Dana 44's in stock form will sufice your described wheelin style.

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If I the poster already had a 44, I'd say stay with it. But if you're going to buy an axle, I'd probably just reach for a junkyard 60 if one could be had at a reasonable price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Sounds like you didn’t need to make a thread discussing axles.
You're not wrong. Choosing an axle is a personal decision with an answer specific to each person's needs. I guess I wanted to run it by some people who are more experienced than I am, and just talk about in general because I find some enjoyment in weighing my options and determining what will suit me best. Thanks for your input and not turning this into a Dana 60 circle jerk, even though it is a strong contender.

I was/am hoping this could be more of an open discussion, not necessarily about my axle or situation, but just choosing a setup in general. It feels like the 44 is the answer for me, but I also don't want to be someone who regrets putting a dollar into a 44 instead of holding out for a 60.

Hope the lunchbox locker holds up in the front.
I'm not sold on the lunchbox locker idea. I'm confident I would have success with the locker, its the u-joints I'm worried about. I think a selectable will be the most appropriate choice because I can keep it open until I need it, hopefully saving some stress from the overtaxed joints. I don't really want to put an ARB and chromos, or even RCV's, in a 44 because that's a lot of money that could be allocated elsewhere, but I'll be damned if that doesn't sound like a solid setup.

edit: LOL FFS then I read shit like this thread, which is basically asking this same exact question, and convince myself I'm retarded if I build anything other than a 60.
 

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You're not wrong. Choosing an axle is a personal decision with an answer specific to each person's needs. I guess I wanted to run it by some people who are more experienced than I am, and just talk about in general because I find some enjoyment in weighing my options and determining what will suit me best. Thanks for your input and not turning this into a Dana 60 circle jerk, even though it is a strong contender.

I was/am hoping this could be more of an open discussion, not necessarily about my axle or situation, but just choosing a setup in general. It feels like the 44 is the answer for me, but I also don't want to be someone who regrets putting a dollar into a 44 instead of holding out for a 60.



I'm not sold on the lunchbox locker idea. I'm confident I would have success with the locker, its the u-joints I'm worried about. I think a selectable will be the most appropriate choice because I can keep it open until I need it, hopefully saving some stress from the overtaxed joints. I don't really want to put an ARB and chromos, or even RCV's, in a 44 because that's a lot of money that could be allocated elsewhere, but I'll be damned if that doesn't sound like a solid setup.

edit: LOL FFS then I read shit like this thread, which is basically asking this same exact question, and convince myself I'm retarded if I build anything other than a 60.
The only good "lunch box" locker is the Detroit locker for an open carrier 14 bolt full floater.... But that one's not really a lunch box locker... That's a full-on Detroit locker inside of a carrier every bit as beefy as the one they make for the regular Detroit.

And by the way, as I mentioned above... If you already have a set of 44s and don't plan on running anything bigger than 35s to 37s... I'd keep the 44s. But if you're going to have to buy an axle, I think it's a waste of money to buy 44s unless you can get them at a steal of a deal. It wasn't mentioned in this thread, but a Dana 60/14 bolt full floater combo is the way I'd go. The 14-bolt full floater, with the dropout pinion bearing housing and threaded carrier bearing preloaders, it's almost as easy to set up as a Ford 9-in with a dropout third member. You should pay less for a 14-volt full floater than you would for a Dana 44 in a lot of cases. The only thing you have to contend with is swapping out the hubs (or the wheels) to get the lug pattern you want. Of course the 14-volt FF with its 10 and 1/2-in ring gear has a massive pumpkin with a huge lip that loves to get hung up on stuff. But you can shave the lip... And if you really want to go crazy you can gain more clearance with a full-on shave kit that even includes clearancing the ring gear. However, I cannot vouch for these shaved kits as I've never run them.


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Every time I’ve ever seen somebody install a front 44, they have come to regret it. I have barely even driven my new build and think I bought the wrong front axle.
 

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The 44 has a place. If your on 35s it can be a fine axle. Going 60s or tons involves waaaay more to build correctly. At least in my experience. Doing 44 correctly is not cheap. Going 60s adds a significant weight and cost.

Just do the math, the choice will be clear depending on budget.
 

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I agree with H8DWINGS. 9" rear and D44 front. That should be plenty for what you are doing.
I am close to getting mine running with the same axles. Mustang 5.0, NP435, NWF doubler and NP205. Rear is 4-link and front is 3-link. Hope the lunchbox locker holds up in the front.
My wheeling goals are similar to yours also. Drive to and from the trails. Mild crawling and rocks on 35's. Going to enjoy it and see what happens.

Good luck with your choice!
We might the same setup for the incoming CJ project. A weekend toy for my younger brother coming from ATV trail riding. The new sets of tires from 4Wheelonline will be installed tomorrow and he's going to deliver it to the new owner. We'll consider your setup here.
 

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A bit late... But ..
No offense. Fuck the 30. Dirty P.O.S.....
Dont waste your $$ on a 44.... If you have it..and can run it has is . And install it for almost FREE........Okay.The moment your talking about buying gears, lockers..."specialty" balljoints....etc etc insert bling crappy Shit etc etc....Youve moved on to a 60.! Save $ for a 60 locker. Gears ... With 35 to 37 tires. The 60 will live on forever..and has room to grow ...we all grow... You will too...or the ruts in your
Favorite wheeling spot will ......
i built a bunch of 30s for Jeep guys.. around here they all blow up on 35s if you wheel moderately.. built some 44s too ( for myself included) We all regreted it. My sploder runs 35s. The 44 is its week link. I have no HP. No doubler no huge torque multiplier...i run a 3 link front and bald ass bfg mts ......and the 44 is a weak link...everytime i wheel it.1st test run..boom..and so on.
Laugh all you want. I run a 60 on 35s.....when my diff hangs up.... I mash the gas an never worry about my axle..EVER. Tcase and transmission......driveshafts.... Leafs in the rear.....lets not go there.....
Build a low buck 60...cheaper in the long run.
Youll hardly ever look at it.
Or go 609 if you want bling 😃🤣..
Just my thoughts after hours building mounts and a truss and blah blah spending huge $$$ to build a 44. And blow it up in less than an hour.
An yes my research...and every one and their dog affirmed that on 35s the dana 44 would be reliable and stout"..
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Dont waste your $$ on a 44...

Save $ for a 60 locker. Gears ... With 35 to 37 tires. The 60 will live on forever..and has room to grow ..

...built some 44s too ( for myself included) We all regreted it...

...Build a low buck 60...cheaper in the long run.
Youll hardly ever look at it....

Just my thoughts after hours building mounts and a truss and blah blah spending huge $$$ to build a 44. And blow it up in less than an hour.
An yes my research...and every one and their dog affirmed that on 35s the dana 44 would be reliable and stout"..
Fuck off, stop making me continually doubt and second guess myself lol

I keep telling myself my rig isn't built enough to warrant a 60, but currently my shit is hacked apart and getting some tube thrown at it. Maybe I am reaching that point...

I'm pretty set on minimizing unsprung weight. If I went 60 I'd want to pair it with a 9 inch rear, and would prefer to keep the 60 small rather than make the 9 inch big; i.e, look further at doing a 5x5.5 conversion on the 60 rather than a FF 8 lug swap on the 9 inch, along with narrowing the 60 to match the rear, convert to smaller brakes, and shave the housing.

The idea of putting a ton of time into a 44 just to have 760 u joints, 19 spline outers/lockouts, and 44 BJ's doesn't sit great with me, FWIW. A 609 is the obvious answer to the question, but the price tag puts it a bit out of reach for me.
 

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Without trying to make you doubt anything...... Dont waste time or $ on the 44. Youll regret it. Seriously...im giving you the advice i DIDNT listen to.....: Build a 60. Any 60. Even stock is a LOT tougher than a 44.... And yup. 760 u joints...weak....CTMs or RCVs fix that...but .. then, the gear set shits the bed. Or something else ...
Build a 60. Youll thank yourself,....and me. 😉

I mean ..i can send you a pic of the countless dana 44 parts i broke ....beside the stack of spare 60 parts ive not used yet....lol ...
Build a 60. Spent the cash on that. Sell the 44.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
So I ended up picking up an axle recently. Something that hasn't been discussed in this thread yet, but likely should have been.

I bought a JK Rubicon Dana 44. It has 5.13's, Artec truss/gussets, Dynatrac ball joints, and RCV's. Factory e-locker, which isn't great, but it should be okay.

I had never really considered this axle because of the price they command, but I feel they are a great option for someone like myself who drives a fair amount of road miles and isn't pushing the limit with big tires. This build matched my goals well, I couldn't say no.

I'm excited to be putting one of these under my XJ. I know, I know, its not a 60, but its 2022 and Pirate has gone soft now. I reflected honestly about how I use my rig and decided I have no intensions of getting hardcore with this build and this fits my use case better than a narrowed/shaved 60.

Some info for those that don't know:

The JK Rubicon 44's are a unique axle that have no common parts to the Ford high pinion 44's.

WMS-WMS Width: 65.375"
Tube: 2.5" dia x 0.25" (biggest downfall, definitely needs a truss/sleeves).
Ring Gear Diameter: 8.5"
Inner Spline Count: 30
Outer Spline Count: 32
U-Joint: 1350 Series

These housings have metric bearings which differentiate them from most other housings. Unfortunate because it makes lockers/carriers specific to this axle. Fortunately there is no shortage of aftermarket for these, and they're not going anywhere.

These use a unit bearing wheel hub like many newer axles. I know people love their spindles and hubs, but there is something to be said about not needing to mess with the grease, bearings, and seals. These unit bearings are a bit unique in that they can be run without a stub axle in them. I will miss lock-outs, but mostly for the ability of having an easy to change fuse.

Many people say these are nothing but Dana 30's with Dana 44 guts in them. That's true to an extent, but they check many of the boxes that need to be addressed. Mainly the fact that on a Dana 30 its easy to upgrade shafts/joints to the point of putting the ring and pinion in jeopardy, and with a Ford 44 there is no option for bigger u-joints without going to RCV's. I'm also looking forward to putting some high backspaced wheels on this to keep my tires under my fenders and also keep a low scrub radius without having the hub hang out, and the OEM knuckle geometry will have Ackermann to match the wheelbase of my rig better than an old full-sized truck axle.

IMO a great axle to put under a multi-use XJ that isn't a trailer queen. Sure, a ProRock would be a much stronger housing, but money. If you're curious, search "Mopar p5160036" to see an upgraded housing that you can buy direct from the dealer for about $1000. These are the same JK-R center section, with the thicker J8 tubes. Would be a great base for a build.
 

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FWIW All JK Rubicon 44’s use a high-speed 44 carrier. The same as a high pinon 44 with deep gears. You cannot put a low speed carrier into a Rubicon 44.

By the way it has the same crap u-joints as your XJ front axle.

I just bought one for my LJ, and should’ve just built a 60.

luckily the front locker is better than the rear.
 
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