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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My rig currently sits atop a stock Dana 44 and 9 1/4" with the "small" wheel bolt pattern. My intention is to lift her 4" (lift spring up front, shackle flip in the rear) and run a 35" tire.
Now the question.......is it "worth it" to buy wheels and a lift kit to fit my current axles or should I upgrade to somthing a bit more stout? How "happy" will a Dana 44 & 9 1/4" live with 35" tires? (keep in mind that I doubt I'll do any "serious" rock crawling or mudding....mostly trail running and light mud/snow).

Thanks gang......
 

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Well, you've hit the general cut-off I see recommend most frequently. 35" or less is okay for the stock drivetrain, but be prepared for an occasional casualty (u-joints, axleshafts and the like). As you've hit upon, your driving style will have the most effect on how long the drivetrain will survive. One big no-no to avoid is staying on the throttle while the wheels have been bounced in the air and come back down to earth...shock loading = broken parts. If yer just itching for more beef then:
As far as the wheels/tires, you could sell em and recoup some of the cost, and the lift would fit either 1/2 ton or 1 ton axles under the truck, so no new costs there.
Happy wheelin'
Mike
 

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35s are alot of tire for the small 5 lug bolt pattern and unit hubs. With those unit hubs, it's very important that you have the proper rim offset for the width of tire you plan to run.

So long as you're not running in extreme terrain and your engine isn't pumping out axle snapping torque, the axles should survive moderate off roading.

Fortunately seeing that the front axle is a Dana 44. It's easy to upgrade with commonly available parts.

Ed
 

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I ran 33" tires and aluminum wheels on stock stuff, kept the hubs greased, didn't do any hard core wheeling, and could have been killed when my front wheel hub gave up the ghost (caused driver's side caliper to slip free from wheel). Luckily I only destroyed my garage door when my brakes failed but it could have been much worse!

Do yourself a favor and get what you need now, before you waste a lot of green on wheels and tires.
With 35" tires you'd need to get lower gears anyway ----which means more $$$$$$$. If you locate some 3/4 ton axles and swap them in at the time you install your lift you'll get stronger parts and 4.10 gears. 2 birds with one Dodge :)
 

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if u plan on staying at 35s and not wheeling super hard, build what uve got. if ur going any bigger, the go bigger. i personally am not going to waste a penny on a 44 and 9.25, because i know im going bigger than 35s.

Duane
 

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Yeah, I'd probably want to go with a 3/4 ton setup in your position (D60 rear, D44HD front). In my case it was no question, because my truck came with the wimpy 8 3/8 in the rear and the D44 with the unit hubs. But, I plan to go bigger and I plan to drive like an idiot and run it hard, so I'm overbuilding with a D70 rear and a D60 front. haha
 

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What is required for an upgrade to a Dana 60 rear end? For a stock suspension and with a 4 inch lift?
 

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The new axle and a few hours of your time. You will also have to have custom driveshafts made. You will be going from a 1310 to a 1450 or 1480 ujoint.
 

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I would just stick with what you have if you're only going with 35's.
 

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Dodge 85 RC said:
I would just stick with what you have if you're only going with 35's.
35's on the street.... If you are wheeling with 35's, a D44 is going to break something.
 

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dodge8564 said:
Dodge 85 RC said:
I would just stick with what you have if you're only going with 35's.
35's on the street.... If you are wheeling with 35's, a D44 is going to break something.
not true. it depends on what u wheel, and how much skinny pedal u use. i know of 3 rigs in my chapter that ran 36s and one that runs 39s and none of them have had problems. and these guys arent exacty easy on their junk either.

Duane
 

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dodge8564 said:
Dodge 85 RC said:
I would just stick with what you have if you're only going with 35's.
35's on the street.... If you are wheeling with 35's, a D44 is going to break something.
Sure you might break an occasional axle joint, but for what those things cost, I'd rather replace those every once in a while than spending $$$ on a dana 60. It all depends on how you drive it.
 

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Keep what you've got,we wheeled the crap out of Mo with 3.23s in 1/2 ton axles(but Mo is part time) and nothing ever broke. I was thinking it would break for sure but it never did...don't know how but it didn't. I'm gonna go ahead and go to 1 ton axles and 4.56s neways :)

Jimmy
 

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Everyone that's saying to keep the axles seems to have 81-up style 1/2 ton setups. Your older and weaker hub set up is totally different and incredibly weaker than the newer...
 

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RockWannabe77 said:
Everyone that's saying to keep the axles seems to have 81-up style 1/2 ton setups. Your older and weaker hub set up is totally different and incredibly weaker than the newer...
2 of the trucks i mentioned are 79 or older. i will agree that the older d44 hub designs are weaker though. here is my theory, wheel it till it breaks, then upgrade.

Duane
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replies so far, gang. The combo of the 1/2 ton axles, older (and weaker d44 hub), smaller lug bolt pattern and larger meats really have me wondering how long it'll all live together. I might end up going with a 33" tire instead (I ran 33's on my old K-5 for years), but like the idea of a slightly taller tire...hence trying to plan for 35's.
Assuming I decide to "run it 'till it breaks", what upgrades do y'all reccomend to keep the d44 & 9 1/4 happy for the interim?
 

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I had 44's on a a d44 and 9.25, the rc did trails and mud, it was only good for fields with mud it was to tall for any trails here, anyway trails and mud the 44's on the d44 and 9.25 never had a problem, but if i was you i would get a newer d44 for the front and toss that bearing problem like RockWannabe77 kinda said, get a newer large bolt pattern d44 and get the axles to from the rear so you can keep 1 wheel spare rather than 2, atleast then you will have the better bearings and you won't need 2 new driveshafts if you went with the bigger rears, then get your alum wheels and tires
 

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I've destroyed two sets of gears in my '77d-44 powered by a 400 & 727. The first time ruined the housing and the second just the internals. Strange the gears went befor the axles or u-joints. The first repair I replaced the whole axle for $100 which was cheaper than just a ring and pinion. These axles not sought after much so when they're found they can be cheap. The bolts holding the ring gear to the carrier are what let go both times. The second time the housing managed to survive so I replaced the R&P with a used set of gears and carrier from Randy's Ring and Pinion for about $135 including new bearings and install kit. (This was when I lived in the same town as Randy's). The point I suppose if any is that sometimes its faster and cheaper to replace junk with junk but you have to worry about where your going to be when the junk lets go. If I could have afforded the cost I would have gone to d-60's the first time and been done with it. Just all depends on your resources at the time of repair I guess.
 
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