XJ Dana 44 Axle Preparation
This writeup will cover the preparation of a Dana 44
out of an 87 XJ. The second and third parts will describe the modifications
the subsequent installation
of that axle into a 97 XJ
. The axle
received new alloy shafts and a disc brake conversion. It was not
regeared nor locked (both will come at later dates). There's a lot that
has been "glossed over" in this writeup. If you have any specific
questions you can either post them
or just PM me.
***DISCLAIMER - Please note that this writeup reflects my experiences
only and anyone
using it for reference or as a guide, etc. does so at their own risk.
You may link to this writeup, but you must obtain my permission to
re-post it elsewhere.***
wheeling trip, the XJ was brought in for an alignment.
When it could not be dialed in correctly, the owner of the shop did
some checking with a tape measure and level bar and discovered that the
drivers side tube on my 8.25 axle was bent. Total deflection was
approximately 1 inch. Rather than just replace it with another 8.25, I
began looking into upgrade options. A Ford 8.8 was briefly considered
prior to settling on a D44 out of an 87-89 XJ.
Since this was an unexpected expense, after juggling some finances the
decision was made to install alloy axle shafts, do a rear disc brake
conversion and install a truss as well.
of the photos during the assembly were the first taken with a new (to
me) camera. The light meter on it reads incorrectly and the pics came
out a little underexposed.
axle acquired is a D44 out of an '87 Cherokee with 3.54 gearing. It is
completely open, which in the longer term is not an issue as it will
receive a locker (and re-gearing) when the Jeep gets it's next lift.
The axle shafts were obtained from Superior
Axle and Gear
New shaft bearings and seals were also installed as well as a new
pinion seal. For the disc brake conversion, I went with caliper
brackets from The
calipers (with e-brakes on the calipers) from an EL-Dorado (among other
GM vehicles), and rotors also from a variety of GM vehicles. Steel
braided lines from Rubicon Express
used for the calipers as well as an extended line to replace the stock
line from the body to the axle. A Warn diff skid was also installed and
new 9/16"x8" U-bolts (thicker and longer than stock) were used to
secure the axle to the springs.
soon for the
axle will be a custom truss assembly from DozerDan that will bolt on to
the diff and weld onto the tubes.
following tools were used for this project:
- Factory Service Manual
- Floor jack and 4 Jack Stands
- 1/2" drive Torque Wrench (ft/lbs)
- 3/8" drive Torque wrench (in/lbs & ft/lbs)
- 3/8" and 1/2" drive ratchets, breakbars and sockets in metric and
imperial sizes (including 22MM)
- Open end and box wrenches (metric and imperial sizes)
- Bendix Drum Brake Spring Tool
- BFH - 3lb
- Rubber Mallet
- Welding equipment (Flux Core welder was used)
- Angle grinder with wire brush wheel
- Bench Grinder
- Vacuum Pump
- Safety Goggles
- Work Gloves
- PB Blaster
- Anti-Seize Compound
Removal of axle
brake drums, it was time to remove the old brakes,
axle shafts and and backing plates. Before any of that though the axle
was placed on saw horses to help make it easier to work on.
the bendix tool was
used to remove the main
springs. Then the
shoe retaining springs were removed, allowing the shoes themselves to
be taken off. This was followed by removing the remaining hardware as
well as the e-brake cable, and the brake cylinder.
was time to go after
the axle shafts themselves. After applying
copious amounts of PB Blaster, the retaining bolts were removed.
the highly specialized and hard to find "beater bar" was used to
actually remove the shaft (this could also be done with a slaphammer
but mine is currently and mysteriously MIA, so I had to improvise). The
bar was slipped through the hole where the brake cylinder once was.
After 2 or 3 firm taps with a hammer, the shaft popped right out.