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Homebuilt High Pinion Dana 44 - Wrecking Yard YJ Part II

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on August 29, 2006
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This axle would have been an awesome addition if we had 4 inches of lift on our YJ. Unfortunately, with only 1 1/2 inches, we ran into problems aplenty - most of them centered around the steering.

The idea was pretty simple; we wanted a low-buck front axle to match our low-buck rear axle. So the plan was to grab a junkyard Dana 44 front axle (which are plentiful), cut it down at home, re-gear it ourselves, and throw it in.

We went scrounging and found a high-pinion 44 out of a '78 Ford pickup. The axle was eight-lug when we got it and way too wide, so we were going to have to convert it to five-lug in addition to cutting it down. Yeah, yeah ... the high-pinion axle we lucked into isn't a common axle, but since we did find it and the price was the same as a low-pinion version, why not use it?

Again, in the same day of junkyard scrounging, we went looking for a 5-on-5 1/2-bolt pattern setup for the outers. We knew we wanted flat-top knuckles (just in case), discs, and locking hubs (not drive flanges). Finding yet more odd parts, we ended up pirating an '85 Dodge Ramcharger for everything from the knuckle out.Like the 9-inch in the first part, we went to Currie Enterprises to shorten the axle shaft of the side we cut down as well as for the U-bolts, U-bolt skidplates, weld-on spring perches, and shock mounts.

Here's how our conglomeration of odd parts went together.

PhotosView Slideshow
FINAL COSTS:
Soup to nuts, here’s the final tally on the
parts (not time) that we have in our front axle,
plus shipping, of course.
Classic Tube:
Braided stainless lines $109.10
Currie Enterprises:
Shock mounts (2) $14.95 each
Spring pad (2) $19.95 each
Spring plates (U-bolt skids) $89.95
U-bolts and nuts (4) $5.95 each
Shorten axleshaft $69.95
e-taps.com:
7/8-18" LH tap $45
7/8-18" RH tap $26.50
J.E. Reel Drive Line Specialists:
Driveshaft $325
Junkyard:
Dana 44 high-pinion front axle $189.99
{{{Dodge}}} outer knuckle assembly $69.99
National Tube Supply Company:
10 feet of 1.125 x 5/32-wall DOM tube $120
Parts Mike Parts:
Tie rod kit #PM-TRE $109
Parts Store:
Inner axle seals (2) $13.85 each
Calipers (2) $21.49 each
Outer spindle seals (2) $4.97 each
Axleshaft U-joints (2) $26.49 each
Upper ball joints (2) $39.{{{80}}} each
Randy's Ring & Pinion:
Detroit Truetrac $404.05
{{{Yukon}}} 5.14 ring & pinion $144
Yukon set-up kit $81.09
Rockstomper.com:
Dana 44 single-end high steer arms ${{{200}}}
Dana 44 5/8-inch stud kit (2) $35 each
Total Cost: $2,294.13

Sources

Currie Enterprises
Corona, CA 92880
714-528-6957
http://www.currieenterprises.com
Classic Tube
Lancaster, NY
800-882-3711
http://www.classictube.com
Randy's Ring & Pinion
Everett, WA 98204
866-631-0196
RingPinion.com
J.E. Reel Drive Line Specialists
www.reeldriveline.com
Parts Mike Parts
www.partsmikeparts.com

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