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Submitted By: Greg Muilenburg
Date: February 10, 2009, 09:36:35 AM
Views: 12183

Dodge Dana 44 Crossover Steering - Greg Muilenburg (gmule)

Parts that you will need:

  • Drilled and tapped flat top passenger side knuckle (Factory studs are 9/16x18 )
  • 3 Studs with lock nuts
  • Passenger side steering arm
  • 1" Steering arm block (depending on you application)
  • 4" Dropped pitman arm (Skyjacker Part number #DA40)
  • Longer draglink
  • Heim joints or tie rod ends depending on how you are going to proceed
  • 1 lower ball joint
  • 2wd steering shaft or a Borgeson/Flaming River etc.

Other info and Links: The axle that I converted to a crossover steering was a Dana 44. Converting a Dana 60 would be similar You will need a different steering arm. For my particular application I used a heim joint set up instead of tierod ends for both my draglink and my tie rod. If all you are going do is perform the cross over set up you can use your existing tierod. I purchased my steering arm, draglink, heim joints, 5/8" studs and tierod from Avalanche Engineering they also calculated the correct length of my draglink for me as well. I would also like to thank Mopar_Mudder for showing me the pictures of his cross over steering set up and answering all of the questions that I had. While researching my project I found a few companies that make the parts you need for this conversion. Listed below are a couple that I came across.

Tools that you will need:
  • Drive Socket set
  • Various opened end and boxed end wrenches
  • Hub socket
  • Big hammer
  • Pickle fork (Ball joint separator tool)
  • Drift punch
  • Jack stands
  • Pitman arm puller
  • Ball Joint pre-load spanner socket
  • Lots of WD40 or other favorite rust buster solution.

Step 1:
If your knuckle looks like the one the right in Photo 1, then you already have a flat top knuckle and you will need to remove the passenger side knuckle from your vehicle to get it drilled and tapped. I recommend going to a salvage yard and picking up another knuckle and have that one sent out to be drilled and tapped so that you can still drive your vehicle because it could take a few days for the machine shop to get it done. Once you have the knuckle drilled and tapped install new ball joints and install the knuckle on the axle housing. (Most of the Dodge axles that I have seen already have the flat top knuckle)

Photo 1​

Step 2:
Once you have the knuckle installed on the housing install the new steering arm onto the drilled knuckle. Factory studs are a 9/16" X 18-thread pitch. On my particular application I had them drilled for a 5/8" x 18-thread pitch. I also needed a 1" block to clear my leaf springs. At this time I would reassemble the spindle, bearings, rotor, and brakes.

Photo 2​

Step 3:
It is time to move over to the driver's side of the vehicle. Remove the wheel, drag link, steering arm, and studs, anti sway bar, steering shaft and pitman arm. You will have to have a pitman arm puller to remove the pitman arm and even then it will probably a stubborn piece to remove.

Step 4:
Now we are ready to reposition the steering gear box to the 2-wheel drive position. There are 4 bolt holes already drilled in the frame that the gearbox bolts up to. On my vehicle I had an extra support on the backside of the frame your vehicle may or may not have this support. The bolt heads that are circled with the yellow outline are where the gearbox is going to be relocated. The first bolts on the gearbox will line up there. The other two bolt holes will become apparent when you line up the first 2. I also think the frame should be reinforced around the bolt holes so that cracks don't develop.

Photo 3​

Step 5
Once you have the gearbox repositioned you are ready to put everything back together. Use the new dropped pitman arm and position it so that it swings right to left instead of front to back. When re-installing the steering shaft you will probably notice that it is now too long. I already had a Borgeson shaft so all I needed to do was shorten it to fit. You could also use a steering shaft out of 2wd vehicle and rebuild the joint as well.

Photo 4​

Step 6
Once you have the pitman arm in the correct position you will need to take 3 measurements. You will need all 3 numbers so that the draglink can be built to the correct length. Center the gear box. What I mean by that is to turn the steering wheel all the way to full lock left and count the turns it takes to go full right it should be 4 or so turns from lock to lock. Turn the wheel 2 turns back to center that should have you close for the 1st measurement. Measure the distance from the center of the Pitman arm to the center of the new steering arm. For the 2nd measurement turn the steering wheel full left and manually turn the wheels of your vehicle full left and take that measurement. For the 3rd measurement turn the steering wheel full right and manually turn the wheels full right and take that measurement.

Step 7
Install new drag link. It is important to cycle the suspension to make sure that the draglink does not contact the cross member.

My RC has a 4" lift and upon full droop it comes very close to hitting the cross member so I will be adding some new bump stops to prevent any contact. I don't think trucks with a 5" or 6" lift will have much of a problem.

I would also like to point out that you would no longer be able to use the anti sway bar once this conversion is complete. I have been driving my RC for a few days now and I do not notice any difference with or without the anti sway bar. I recommend removing yours and driving around with out it for a few days before you commit to performing the crossover conversion.

Driving Impressions:
Now that I have been driving my RC for a few days I would like to let you all know how well the crossover conversion works. The first thing that I noticed was my turning radius was back to normal meaning that I can once again turn from curb to curb. Bump steer is gone, no more of that 70MPH unexpected lane change. This is probably the one modification that actually improved on-road as well as off-road performance.
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