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XJ Dana 44 Axle Buildup

Author: ThePhantum

In the first part of this write-up, I explained how to prepare the axle for new brakes and installation on a Jeep Cherokee. Follow along as I continue my work.

Assembly and disc brake conversion

The first step was to have the new bearings, seals and lugs pressed onto/into the new axles. Rather then mess with this myself, I coughed up $30 to have a local machine shop do it.
The new axle shafts
Now here's where the first problem occurred. While test fitting all of the parts acquired for the upgrades, I found out that the hubs on the new axle shafts were 0.625" wider than the hubs on the stock shafts, 6.75" vs. 6.125. This would not be an issue with drum brakes. However, the inside diameter of the rotors is only 6.25", so they would not fit over the new axle shafts. I solved this problem by having the machine shop lathe 5/16" off the edge of each hub (another $30). This reduced the O.D. of each hub to 6.125 (same as stock).
axle shaftsaxle shaft
Next it was time to break out the wire wheel attachment for the angle grinder to clean up the mating surface of the axle end.
axle mating surfaceaxle mating surface
Then the new retaining studs were installed as well as the spacer plate. The spacer takes the place of the backing plate to keep the proper preload on the seal.
New retaining studs
The axle shafts were then slid into the tube and the splines engaged.
Insert the new axle shafts
Then a wood block and hammer was used to gently tap the bearing and seal home.
tap the bearing and seal into placetap the bearing and seal into place
Next, it was time to install the brackets. The bracket system consists of a base bracket, which bolts to the axle tube at the retaining plate and a caliper bracket, which bolts to the base bracket with spacers in between. The caliper bracket is spaced to the inside of the Jeep away from the rotor.
caliper bracket
This took a lot of trial and error as they can install to orient the calipers in a number of different positions and it took some time to figure out exactly what position would be ideal for brake line and e-brake cable routing. In addition, finding the correct spacing to use so that the caliper would fit over the rotor correctly took additional time and patience.
brake caliper orientation
After everything was correctly fitted, it was time for final assembly of the rotors and calipers. Pretty straightforward at this point, since it had all been pre-fitted in the last step...slip the rotors over the hub, then install the calipers onto the brackets and bolt them into place.

re-assemble the axleRe-assemble the axleReassembled axle
The axle with the completed upgrades.
 Finished axle
After the brakelines retainers were welded on, the brakelines were run and the diff cover skid it was time to bolt this thing into the Jeep!

Continue to the install

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***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.***

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