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  #1  
Old 09-15-2006, 03:16 PM
Fox Fox is offline
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Exclamation Changing a Dana 44 bolt pattern

I’m totally baffled in what I should due for a front axle. I need a Dana 44 passenger side drop axle with a 5x5.5 bolt pattern. The problem is that I’m using a Dana 60-2 with 35 point splines and a 5x5.5 bolt pattern in the rear of my rig. The width of a Dana 60-2 is 65.5inches from wheel mounting surface to surface.

My current rig is a 1968 Wagoneer with a 350 Buick, TH 400 and a Dana 20 transfer case. Currently she’s haft way through the SOA process.

The original plans were to swap in a 390 engine c-6 tranny and a np 205 transfer case out of a Ford. That way I could run a Ford front Dana 44 with 5x5.5 bolt pattern. Well then I realized that I couldn’t afford to due that yet. So know I’m stuck trying to figure out the best possible way is to convert ether a J-10/ J-20 or Dodge front Dana 44 to a 5x5.5 bolt pattern.

My first idea was to simply buy a J-10 front axle from a 77-79 and have the rotor predrilled to a 5x5.5 bolt pattern. I got the idea for BJ’s off-road’s Wagoneer build up project. Then again that sounds kind a haft ***, but on the up side it could be cheap and easy.

The next idea was that I could buy a J-20 or Dodge front Dana 44 and swap out all the hubs and such for Ford stuff. This would probably be the best way to go since these axel should be a bit stronger than J-10 Dana 44. The only problem is that I would need a complete write of on this process and a little hope and luck I wouldn’t mess it up. Or have to pay some other guy to due it for me.

So what would be the best, cheapest, and easiest way to get a front passenger side drop Dana 44 with a 5x5.5 bolt pattern.

Anyways any input would be great.
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2006, 04:13 PM
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best way to do 5 lugs and stay with your current knuckle,IMO, is early jeep/chevy "small bearing" disc spindles,with ford solid axle hub,rotor and stub.

the ford stub is a bit sshorter.you can use a chevy stub if you are planning to run a drive flange,or if you dont mind hacking off the end of it and not using the stubshaft snapring in your lockout.

an alternative to the small bearing spindle may be to use the spindle from older bronco low pinion 44s,or later TTB f150 spindles. these may have the same 6 bolt spindle pattern as your current knuckle. HP ford 44s use a 5 bolt spindle that will not interchange with the chevy knuckle.

of course,if youre ok with swapping knuckles, you can use parts from IH scouts,CJs,and any year ford-skys the limit

further 5 on 5.5 questions?
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:24 PM
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Yeah, sorry for all the newbie questions but I'm really not all that knowledgeable when it comes to front axles.

So should I use a chevy, J-10, or j-20 axle for this conversion?
Also what years did small bearing spindles come in chevy's and Jeeps.

Oh and would it be really dumb just to have the rotor and stub drilled out to a 5 bolt.. Just sounds so easy..

Thanks Scotty and everybody else.
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Old 09-19-2006, 05:31 AM
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small bearing disc spindles are from 73 to 76,IIRC.

if you have access to macnines and/or persons that can drill the pattern to the 6 lug hub for you and get it 100% accurate,then thats a fine idea,you can use your current spindle,backing plate,caliper,etc.

no need to drill out the rotor as well,however,the 5 on 5.5 cj or scout rotor is the same height,diameter,thickness,etc. as your 6 bolt rotor,so it will directly interchage when you drill the hub for 5 lugs.

its all about what you have access to and are willing to do. personally,theres no way id try to drill out hubs without at least a good drill press,end even then its possible to get the measurements slightly off so the rotor and wheel dont slide on right.

if you or a friend works in a machine shop that can chuck it into a machine,program the pattern and walk off then its definately worth doing that way.

most people do not have the ambition to try and drill the pattern themselves,nor do they have that kind of machine shop access,so its easier for them to scrounge new hubs/knuckles/spindles.

youre asking the wrong guy about 44s,i personally would use a 10 bolt. i like the extra width,spare shafts are a dime a dozen,and IMO the diff is alittle stronger.

as a 44 goes,like above,i like the extra width of the chevy axle,but its getting harder to find spare shafts for chevy 44s,so id take that into consideration in using one over a FSJ 44. at least you have an extra 2 years with a FSJ axle,as chevy quit using the 44 in 77,but FSJs were made with em till 79.

a chevy 44 is also set up SOA from the factory,that can be a bonus or a prollem. as with any wider axle,so steering and shock mods will be needed as well.

j10 or j20 is 6 of 1,half dozen of another when talking FSJ axles. youre going to change the pattern anyway,so that doesnt matter,and its been my experience that the housings are comparable. alot of people will try and tell you that the "HD" 8 lug 44s are thicker tubes,but ive never experienced that. all the FSJ 44s ive messed with(pre and post 80,WT,NT,6 lug and 8 lug) have been the same as far as the tubes and housing went.

further questions?
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85 grand wagoneer
258/t18/d20/10 bolt/14 bolt
38" TSL SXs
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Last edited by scotty : 09-19-2006 at 05:35 AM.
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2006, 08:05 AM
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Fox,

There are a few fairly easy ways of doing this. Here's one.
If you are still planning the front SOA, try to find a 73-76 GM 1/2 ton front axle. These should have the "flat top" knuckles and should have the small inner bearing spindles. Find any F@rd 1/2 front hubs with disc brakes (75-96) get the hub and rotors. (There are a few years of F@rd hubs to avoid I think the late 80's) The F@rd hubs will bolt right back onto the early GM spindles, but the rotor does not line up perfectly with the caliper, so you will need to run a slightly used brake pad on one side of the rotor, I don't remember which one though.

This combo will get you; A wide Dana 44 front with passenger side drop, bolt in SOA, 5 on 5-1/2 bolt pattern and front disc brakes.

If you cannot find a 73-76 1/2 ton GM front end the 77-79 GM Dana 44's will work also, but you will need to modify the spindle to match what the F@rd hubs need. Basically take the GM spindle and the F@rd spindle to a machine shop that has a lathe, and have them machine down the GM spindle to match the F@rd spindle from the outside threaded end. The GM and F@rd spindles use the same outer bearings, but the GM uses a bigger inner bearing and the F@rd spindle has more spacing between the bearings, so you will be only removing material from the GM spindle. By doing this, you will be re-creating the 70-76 GM spindles. Also the 74-76 1/2 ton Cherokee/Waggoneer FSJ spindles are the same as the 70-76 GM 1/2 ton spindles.

Good Luck,
baja
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2006, 12:28 PM
Fox Fox is offline
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What is the spline count on a 1973-1976 GM front Dana 44?? Inners and outers??

Thanks
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  #7  
Old 09-21-2006, 05:30 AM
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19 outer,30 inner
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85 grand wagoneer
258/t18/d20/10 bolt/14 bolt
38" TSL SXs
chopped,bobbed and caged

http://nightcrawlers4wd.20megsfree.com/index.html\

http://mytrailrigs4x4.20megsfree.com/photo.html\
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  #8  
Old 09-21-2006, 10:22 PM
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I'll go against the grain here and recommend a '80-'93 Dodge D44. It's 67" WMS, drivers drop and is already 5X5.5. The knuckles are flat top also if you needed to convert to high or crossover steering. They use a smaller TRE, but you can re-taper them and WT FSJ tie rod/drag link goes right on. I swapped one of these into my '71.
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2006, 05:33 AM
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isnt a dodge front external mount lockouts?

i dont know much about dodge 44s,but i do know for awhile in the 70s you had a goofy "unit bearing" hub that was full time and you really need to avoid.

after that,i thot(but could be wrong) that dodge was external lockouts,wich is why my original recomendation for ford hub,or re-drill factory 6 lug hub,as the internal mount style is stronger and less prollematic(no bolts to loosen )

its funny,around here you seldom run across dodge parts trucks. people part out gm and fords all the time,but they must drive their dodges untill all 4 wheels fall off and the seat falls thru the floor
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85 grand wagoneer
258/t18/d20/10 bolt/14 bolt
38" TSL SXs
chopped,bobbed and caged

http://nightcrawlers4wd.20megsfree.com/index.html\

http://mytrailrigs4x4.20megsfree.com/photo.html\
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2006, 06:51 AM
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Just say "No" to D@dges.....

They could be an O.K. alternative, but they've got some wierdness to them and parts are not as plentiful as GM/F@rd parts. The early 70"s D@dge stuff had the 5 on 5-1/2 bolt pattern, but drum brakes. The ealy 80's and up to 92? stuff went back to the 5 on 5-1/2 bolt pattern and standard internal hubs. The wierdness is the spring mounting width, Our FSJ's and GM's have approx. 32" center to center front spring mounting width, D@dge has 32-1/2" spring mounting width. Then you've got the parts compatability issues, the gear sets and outer shafts will be standard Dana 44 stuff, but a lot of these D@dge trucks had an axle disconnect system instead of lock-outs and their brakes are unique to D@dge.
But if it's a cheap front end, what the hey...
I don't think the D@dge trucks lasted any longer than GM's or F@rd's, they just sold fewer and most of the retired ones got "Recycled" right away because not many people wanted many parts off of them etc.

baja
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JEEPS-N-Stuff:
1998, Grand Cherokee, dd.
1987, Grand Wagoneer, Pimped, totalled by hail storm...
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  #11  
Old 09-22-2006, 09:42 AM
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Well I hate to break the news to you guys but your wrong about the '80-'93 Dodge axle. They have internal spline lockouts that accept the same lockout hubs as FSJ and GM. The calliper brackets bolt on the back of the knuckle like the late CJ's do. The CAD didn't come until '94. 1/2" center to center shouldn't be a big deal to deal with. It's already set up for SOA. I don't remember if the stub shafts are the same as the FSJ or GM D44. Here's a couple pics of an '85 Dodge D44 installed with side hung springs and using J10 steering gear:

Attachment 1932

Attachment 1933

Attachment 1934

Attachment 1935

Attachment 1936
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2006, 03:24 PM
Fox Fox is offline
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So a Dana 44 out of a dodge from 1980 to 1993 is a direct bolt in or a SOA in a Jeep Wagoneer in 1968. I thought that the spring mounts would be off. I could be way off on this one, but doesn't the dodge 5x5.5 bolt pattern require a 16in rim. Then again it could just require a special 5x5.5 rim made by dodge. Preventing ford and CJ 5x5.5 pattern rims from working.

Also are 4.10 gear ratio common in dodges?

Thanks for all the good stuff guys. I'll tell you what I decide to go with when I make up my mind.

Last edited by Fox : 09-22-2006 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 09-22-2006, 03:42 PM
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The Dodge front like Josh used comes SOA.
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Old 09-22-2006, 03:48 PM
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He did move the spring perches on the Dodge axle. Not a bolt in. You can run 15" rims on a Dodge 44 just fine.
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Old 09-23-2006, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh D
Well I hate to break the news to you guys but your wrong about the '80-'93 Dodge axle. They have internal spline lockouts that accept the same lockout hubs as FSJ and GM. The calliper brackets bolt on the back of the knuckle like the late CJ's do.

good info and good pics josh

if fox wants his rig to be SOA then a dodge axle sounds like a good way to go-just buy a whole axle,no tracking down other parts and mix and matching.

what is the bolt pattern of the spindle? just for my own info, any way you can use the gm/jeep caliper mount and caliper? i personally have never been a fan of that style caliper. noting wrong with em and they work just fine,i just like the GM caliper because of its cheapness and ease of retrofitting onto other things
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85 grand wagoneer
258/t18/d20/10 bolt/14 bolt
38" TSL SXs
chopped,bobbed and caged

http://nightcrawlers4wd.20megsfree.com/index.html\

http://mytrailrigs4x4.20megsfree.com/photo.html\

Last edited by scotty : 09-23-2006 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox
So a Dana 44 out of a dodge from 1980 to 1993 is a direct bolt in or a SOA in a Jeep Wagoneer in 1968. I thought that the spring mounts would be off. I could be way off on this one, but doesn't the dodge 5x5.5 bolt pattern require a 16in rim. Then again it could just require a special 5x5.5 rim made by dodge. Preventing ford and CJ 5x5.5 pattern rims from working.

Also are 4.10 gear ratio common in dodges?

Thanks for all the good stuff guys. I'll tell you what I decide to go with when I make up my mind.

My springs are outboard of the frame, so I had to add/move spring pads. I'm pretty sure the cast in mount on the punkin lines up with the frame though. It's in NM and I'm in AZ at the moment, so I can't just go out and look. I run 15X10 chrome steelies for wheels, nothing special. I used the 4.10's from the closed knuckle D44 that came with my truck and had them installed in the Dodge axe. I believe it cam with 3.23. A rather odd ratio if you ask me. I don't believe you'll find a factory 4.10 ratio in a half ton Dodge (W150 or Ramcharger) with the 5X5.5 BC. This is a real simple axle swap for the early J-trucks that want open knuckle, disc brakes, and keep the 5X5.5 BC. I think it would be a good match in your case to go with your 60-2. I'm not sure how hard they are to find though. I basically stumbled into mine and it just worked out well.
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  #17  
Old 09-23-2006, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserMan
He did move the spring perches on the Dodge axle. Not a bolt in. You can run 15" rims on a Dodge 44 just fine.

i'd check carefully on that one... I had an 86 Ramcharger, a set of 5x5.5 ford early bronco wheels fit ok, but the wheels off my brother's 46 cj rubbed on the calipers... backspacing will make a difference, i haven't measured them though...

And just for the record, that 86 Ramcherger, and my buddy's 93 W150 were both CAD front axles
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Goose
And just for the record, that 86 Ramcherger, and my buddy's 93 W150 were both CAD front axles

Interesting. Must have something to do with the 4wd system offered? Part time SOF or fulltime?
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  #19  
Old 09-27-2006, 05:54 AM
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I have owned alot of dodge half ton trucks w/ the 5 on 5.5, (always liked the mopars) never had a wheel switching problem, and always used 15" rims, i switch wheels from my cj to my current '86 w150 all the time. dodge 8 lugs on the other hand do require the 16" rim.

of all the trucks i never had one that didnt have regular lockouts w/ 5 on 5.5 pattern. never seen cad in 93 and older dodges, but i havent seen all '80 to '93 trucks either.

3:23 is a common '80s half ton gear ratio for the dodge w/ v8, dont know about ratios behind the dodge leaning tower of power 6, but i can check the '81 if someone will lose sleep tonight over it.
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