Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

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Nikkormat
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Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby Nikkormat » Fri May 25, 2018 12:42 pm

I need to convert from drivers drop to passenger drop on my 74 J10. I currently have a low pinion 44 from an 81 Cherokee (widetrack) sitting in the yard I was going to use. BUT an opportunity has come up to buy a 1975 F150 high pinion 44 and 31 spline nodular center section 9 inch for $400. Which leaves me wondering, is it worth picking up the Ford axles as an upgrade?

Lets go over the pros of the ford axles...

High pinion (Major cool kid points) so it should be a bit stronger but maybe a moot point nowadays... More on that later.
1/2" thick axle tubes
Steering arms on knuckles about an inch higher, with enough meat to retaper upside down for inverted one ton TRE steering in the future. (Way cheaper than high steer especially when you've got the reamer already)
Rear axle gets upgraded in the process, more cool kid points for having a 9 inch.

Cons...
Being a 75 it's a drum brake front end. I have all the parts to make it disk brake except rotors and hubs. FSJ caliper brackets and spindles will bolt on as will my drive slugs from the 74's 44. I don't need no stinking lockouts! And no, it's not closed knuckles.
It has Ford radius arm mounts welded on. Which I would either have to cut off or use as an excuse to coil spring my front end. Which wouldn't necessarily be bad thing but would certainly make this a longer project and more expensive. I would need to buy three johnny joints, coil buckets, DOM to extend the radius arms, frame side brackets, probably softer coils...
Would need to buy new wheels, again not a terrible thing as beadlocks come cheap in 5x5.5 and then I could have a set of slot mags for the Cherokee that aren't bent.

The FSJ axles have the benefit of being bolt in, free, and familiar to work with. They don't however leave me with a stronger front (maybe) or rear end.

Can anyone tell me what the axle tube thickness of a 1981 Dana 44 front would be? IIRC it would have 3/8" thick tubes. And the low pinion center section is a bit weaker than the high pinion on with its extra ribbing.

Big pinion gear sets are readily available for the low pinion 44, but I don't know if that would make the low pinion 44's strength equivalent to the HP 44. Do any of you have an opinion on that? Here's more info on the big pinion kit: http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/axles-ti ... 4-kit.html
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Nikkormat
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby Nikkormat » Fri May 25, 2018 12:54 pm

Some more information... The Jeep will be on 35 inch tires for the foreseeable future and the goal is to put a locker in the back when I re-gear. The front will be open for now but in the future a locker will be added. Eventually, it may get slightly taller and run 37 inch tires but for now that's more tire than I want to buy.
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will e
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby will e » Fri May 25, 2018 1:45 pm

Seems like a lot of work for something that isn't really that much stronger. And you end up with a bit of a Frankenstein, not that it is bad but again, you don't get much strength.

Cool kid points are cool but most won't even notice and most of the rest won't understand the difference.
81 Wagoneer - 'WILL E' Retired

82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/high steer/Alcan springs/agr box/Borgeson steering shaft/AMC 401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS (2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave, Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37X12.5/Corbeau Moab Seats/RCI 6point Harness/Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 sliders/custom bumpers and roll bar/WARN 8000/steering brace/CB/dual batts/custom TC skid plate

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Stuka
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby Stuka » Fri May 25, 2018 4:13 pm

Edited as this was all wrong :P
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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Nikkormat
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby Nikkormat » Fri May 25, 2018 4:20 pm

Stuka wrote:Er... '75 isn't high pinion. '78 was the first year of the high pinion D44 in Ford trucks. Thats why 78-79 axles are in such high demand ('80 went to TTB).

If it has radius arm mounts, its not a '75, as coils were first used in '78 as well.

Sounds like this is a hodge podge axle with various year parts put on it.


F150's and F100's had coils from 68?-79. This was news to me!
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Stuka
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby Stuka » Fri May 25, 2018 7:22 pm

Nikkormat wrote:
Stuka wrote:Er... '75 isn't high pinion. '78 was the first year of the high pinion D44 in Ford trucks. Thats why 78-79 axles are in such high demand ('80 went to TTB).

If it has radius arm mounts, its not a '75, as coils were first used in '78 as well.

Sounds like this is a hodge podge axle with various year parts put on it.


F150's and F100's had coils from 68?-79. This was news to me!


ARG, was getting my F250 and F150 mixed up (good friend had a '75 F250, with leaves).

So consulting the Ford bible, high pinion was started in '73. So my memory was wrong :) But drums were available until '75. However, if the Ford axles are like Jeep axles, the stub shafts are different lengths between disc and drum brakes. Or at least they were on my '75 when i guy I sold it to when to convert it to discs.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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Nikkormat
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby Nikkormat » Sat May 26, 2018 11:46 pm

Well dang it anyway, I just blew up the transmission in the 86 in the drive thru line at Taco Bell. That messes up selling it and leaves me with too many Jeeps. I'm selling the truck to Wyatt to fund fixing the needy a-hole of a Jeep (the 86). :banghead:
Now this ol' Jeep needs a coat a' paint
But she makes up for what I ain't

rocklaurence
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Re: Low pinion stock Dana 44 to Ford High Pinion Dana 44... Worth the trouble to upgrade?

Postby rocklaurence » Mon May 28, 2018 6:26 am

Those axles were also, Driver-side and wouldnt put the diff on the passenger side. I have done this conversion but used the Jeep knuckles, spindles, hubs, stub shafts on the Ford axle.


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