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Old 06-22-2014, 03:25 PM
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Need some advice on a dana 44

I need to get some advice from some of the more seasoned veterans of off roading. I would like to start taking my '74 highboy down to tuttle creek once in a while, but I'm not so sure that my front d44 will hold up. It is the stock low pinion dana 44 closed knuckle axle with 4.10 gears turning 37" military hummer tires. I was tossing around the idea of putting a lunchbox locker in the front, but I am worried that the front axle won't hold up. The rear is the stock dana 60, and I would like to upgrade it to either a sterling or a 14b. Do you guys think I would get away with what I have, driving sensibly that is? I hope to start making the trip down there one weekend a year, maybe two. Advice welcomed and appreciated.

Here's a picture of the truck as it sits.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:37 PM
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With an open diff and some common sense I'd think you could get away with it, but a locker makes it a whole 'nother story. You can get too much traction on one front tire to put all of your torque through one axle shaft / U-joint. I'd upgrade the axle if you're set on a front locker.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:45 PM
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In all honesty, I would rather lock the rear first. I just don't feel as if the stock dana 60 is worth throwing money away on, I haven't heard good things about them. Plus, lockers are much more expensive for the 60 than the 44, from what I've found.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:24 PM
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if no hardcore wheeling is involved, i would run what you have and see how it does.
the D44 front and D-60 rear is a good combo as long as you do not get stupid with them.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:29 AM
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If you just gotta have more front traction, a posi is about as far as I'd go with anything bigger than 33's on a d-44 in a full size. Nice thing about the 44 though is there were lots of vehicles that got a 44 rear so junkyard scores are possible for that.

For the rear, it really depends. The 60 came in so many variations. First off, if you have anything but 35 spline axles, that's a bummer. 14 bolts and sterlings have roughly 1.5" axle shafts. 60's were far from it. BUT you might be able to score some 35 spline shafts out of a van or something. I *think* there is interchangeability among shafts- IE I think it's possible to use d70 or d80 shafts if they are the right length. Some (most?) d70's are 32 spline though. Don't get tricked by the spline count comparing a 30 spline 60 to a 30 spline 14 bolt- the 14 bolt axle shaft is comparable to a 35 spline visteon.

But if you can address the axleshaft issue to 35 spline the rear should hold up well with a locker in your 60. I can't remember for sure but I think some rear 60's with smaller shafts also had smaller ID on the bearing spindles so they might need to be bored or get the spindles from the donor.

The sterlings are strong and have good clearance for what they are and are CHEAP most of the time. Can be had for a couple hundred bucks where I live. The newer 10.5" version has a longer yoke spline length on the pinion gear which addresses a known issue and some have disc. The spline length isn't too big of a deal, just watch out for the pinion nut getting loose. That and the larger ring gear diameter are the only meaningful differences though.

14 bolt has sort of a ridiculous housing for the gear size so a lot of people butcher the bottom off the housing and weld a plate on. One really nice thing about the 14 bolt is that it uses a two piece carrier which means you can get a detroit in it without buying a whole carrier. About $200 cheaper for the 14 bolt. Beware of the gov-lok though. If it's got one it'll have a 3 pinion carrier and a Detroit won't go in it without getting an open carrier. Oh and one other MAJOR benefit with the 14 bolt: IIRC it has carrier nuts instead of shims which means setting carrier bearing preload and backlash is STOOPID simple and a case spreader won't be needed. I have gotten away for a long time without a spreader, but it's one less thing to worry about with the 14 bolt.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:31 AM
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I wouldn't put any money in either of those axles. At the least a '77.5-'79 open knuckle, high pinion, disc brake Dana 44 would be an upgrade & will have a much better drive shaft angle but I still would not put any type of a locker in a 44, it will end up breaking axles & U joints. There isn't anything you can do with a 60 rear other than tossing it in the junk. It isn't worth converting one to 35 spline.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:40 PM
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There isn't anything you can do with a 60 rear other than tossing it in the junk.
Maybe not in a 3/4 ton. But it's a pretty popular upgrade for Jeeps and sometimes Broncos. If you want to go to the effort to sell it you can probably get more than junk value for it.

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if no hardcore wheeling is involved, i would run what you have and see how it does.
the D44 front and D-60 rear is a good combo as long as you do not get stupid with them.
What he said. Play with what you have without putting more money into them. As you want to upgrade, I'd look at a new rear axle with a locker first, then upgrade the front and add a locker later if you want to spend more money.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:06 AM
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I disagree that the rear 60 isn't worth some effort as long as you aren't afraid of hitting the junkyard, and turning a few wrenches. Once you get 35 splines in it, it will be pretty durable with a locker, and this route keeps things pretty simple. 37's aren't so huge that the ring gear diameter will be an issue. At my local pick a part less than $200 gets the axles upgraded to 35 spline, and a lunchbox locker runs about $400.

A 60 with a ring gear diameter of 9.75" is obviously not as stout at a sterling 10.25 or 10.5", or 14 bolt's 10.5, but a locker is a lot harder on axle shafts than the ring gear.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:06 AM
 
 
 
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