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D44A vs 8.8 rear

Poriggity

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I will preface this by saying I have absolutely no necessary fab tools to build a junkyard 8.8 to swap into my 98 zj. I am contemplating my next mod, which will be getting rid of the d35. The rig in question is a 98 ZJ with a 5.5" suspension and 34" milestar Patagonia Mts. I need something a little stronger in the rear and am debating between the D44A that came as an option in ZJs, and a custom build Ford 8.8. As of now I am leaning toward the D44A, as I can get a locker and gears for it, and it can be had cheap. It's a plus that it's a direct bolt in under my ZJ that I could have done in a day. The 8.8 is probably stronger and has more gear and locker options, but would likely be a lot more $$ as I would need to basically buy it from an axle company, ready to bolt in. Thoughts?

I know, it's a bit of a newb question.. :flipoff2::flipoff2:
 

Byro

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I don’t like the D44As, aluminum chunk, still a C-clip axle, everything is different between them and the regular D44’s.

Is it an upgrade over the D35? Yes, but in my opinion not by much.
 

Poriggity

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I don’t like the D44As, aluminum chunk, still a C-clip axle, everything is different between them and the regular D44’s.

Is it an upgrade over the D35? Yes, but in my opinion not by much.

This is why I'm asking. The 8.8 is also a c clip axle, but everything else is steel. Thanks for the input. If I'm going to go to the work or swapping in another axle, it might as well be stronger. If I am going to pay an axle builder to build an 8.8, why not have them build a 60? :flipoff2:
 

Byro

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Yes both in question are c-clip shafts, I do belive they make a semi-float conversion for the 8.8.

I wouldn’t pay someone to build it, you have all the needed brackets.

You’d be amazed what you can do with a cut off wheel and a 110 flux core welder.
 

Poriggity

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Yes both in question are c-clip shafts, I do belive they make a semi-float conversion for the 8.8.

I wouldn’t pay someone to build it, you have all the needed brackets.

You’d be amazed what you can do with a cut off wheel and a 110 flux core welder.

I do have an angle grinder, an air compressor and a cutoff wheel.. and it would be an excuse to buy a welder... :laughing:
 

YotaAtieToo

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I read on the D44a a bit when I had a beater zj with one in it.

The consensus was that they aren't really weaker than a regular D44. As in there aren't really a ton of cases of broken center sections, or broken r&p's.

The problem is that they don't hold the wear pattern well. The heat cycles effect the aluminum differently and cause the pattern to get fucked up.

Personally, I wouldn't waste time looking for one, much less installing and throwing money into it for gears and locker.
 

Gravy

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Building a 8.8 can add up quick.
Depending on what your running look into building a dana 60. Ebay set 20 bearing ends and some axle shafts. Never mind I read 34s
 
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Poriggity

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Building a 8.8 can add up quick.
Depending on what your running look into building a dana 60. Ebay set 20 bearing ends and some axle shafts. Never mind I read 34s

This is the vehicle in question. 295/70/17 tires.
IMG_20200425_015304_446.jpg
 

EndlessMtnFab

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I really don't like the 8.8 in any flavor. But I would take/suggest one over the 44a.

They're not weaker in terms of breaking strength --- their weakness comes from the noodley housing strength. If you recall .. there was a TSP issued by Mopar. They advised not lifting the vehicle up by the center (with a floor jack). The center would flex and take a "set" (frowning/bent axle).

And you can't brace the ZJ one quite as easily as the WJ one (no flat pad at the top).
 

Poriggity

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I'm definetly open to other options besides an 8.8.. I cant go too wide, as my trailer has rails on it, so 82" wide is about my max, outside to outside tires. I need something better than a D35, will probably only be running 35s on this rig... suggestions appreciated. Are there any semi float D60s out there that came under something?
 

Poriggity

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I did find these on fb market place.. hp d44 front and a drum brake dana 60 rear, which I would convert to disc. 4.10 gears, which I would probably leave in it.. I havent been in the axle buying market for a while.. is $850 a reasonable price for a set?
Screenshot_20200531-172449_Facebook.jpg
Screenshot_20200531-172632_Facebook.jpg
 

YotaAtieToo

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I did find these on fb market place.. hp d44 front and a drum brake dana 60 rear, which I would convert to disc. 4.10 gears, which I would probably leave in it.. I havent been in the axle buying market for a while.. is $850 a reasonable price for a set?

That's a whole new can of worms, all the brackets, brake lines, driveshafts, steering, ect. Then new wheels.

You have to remember those axles are over 40 years old now too. Probably need to be completely gone through.

I'd do JK axles over those personally, I think the only thing weaker would be the housings really. Pretty sure there is a bunch of aftermarket fixes for that.
​​​​
 

Poriggity

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That's a whole new can of worms, all the brackets, brake lines, driveshafts, steering, ect. Then new wheels.

You have to remember those axles are over 40 years old now too. Probably need to be completely gone through.

I'd do JK axles over those personally, I think the only thing weaker would be the housings really. Pretty sure there is a bunch of aftermarket fixes for that.
​​​​

I thought about jk axles.. I'd still have to get different wheels, and weld brackets on those as well I think... if I found a set for a decent price, I would consider those too.
 

YotaAtieToo

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I thought about jk axles.. I'd still have to get different wheels, and weld brackets on those as well I think... if I found a set for a decent price, I would consider those too.

Ya, I'm not sure how similar the links and coils are between the 2. My point is ~10 year old shit vs 40. That 60 as a unit is weaker than the 8.8 imo. The stock 30 spline shafts are super weak. But yukon 30 spline chromo isn't a huge cost, and FF is obviously way better than C clip.

I absolutely hate old style D44s where you can only fit 767 sized joints though. Even rcv's are pretty weak in an old D44. Much smaller than toyota birfs.

I'd look for a set of JK axles that someone put money into, then went to bigger shit.
 

Rockwood

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If 35s is truly all you'll do, Ford 8.8 or a Dana 44 from a myriad of choices is plenty, with the 8.8 being the correct bolt pattern already, easy as shit to find, and stronger (ring gear, stock shafts, and axle tubes in most cases). Yes, tons would be awesome, but overkill for 35s, will probably end up too wide, and the weight will decrease ride quality between obstacles that actually needed them. You're also bolting them to a unibody, so some beefing will be necessary.

A stock 8.8 with a lunchbox (or full case locker of your choice) is more than sufficient for 35s, and minor upgrades will support 37s. If you do a lunchbox, keep in mind that trail fixes are much more involved with a C-clip axle.
 

'84 Bronco II

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Between the Dana 44a or an 8.8, I'd go Ford 8.8" all day. They are a dime a dozen for under $150 here, the only expensive part would be the brackets since you are coil instead of leaf sprung. As others have pointed out, the 8.8" has slightly stronger gears, slightly stronger axles, and a stronger housing. The only downside is the C-clips, but you can upgrade that later if you want. An 8.8" is perfect with 35" tires and can do 36"-37" tires with 4340 shafts and a C-clip eliminator conversion.

I did find these on fb market place.. hp d44 front and a drum brake dana 60 rear, which I would convert to disc. 4.10 gears, which I would probably leave in it.. I havent been in the axle buying market for a while.. is $850 a reasonable price for a set? filedata/fetch?id=22202&d=1590964012 filedata/fetch?id=22203&d=1590964013

That is pretty much the best legacy Dana 44 axle you can buy (high pinion, 1/2" wall tubes, big brakes, ~69" WMS width), but that is more than what a set of '05+ Superduty axles go for around here. I'd say $300-$350 would be a fair price for the Dana 44, $400 would be my top dollar. The rear Dana 60 isn't a bad axle per se, but it has 30 spline full-floating axles and small bore spindles that you may or may not be able to bore out to go 35 spline. You'd be way ahead to start with a Dana 60U from an '08 or older E-series van. They have disc brakes, a smooth bottom center section with more clearance, 32 spline full-floating axles, large bore spindles that will accept 35 spline shafts w/o modification, and still have the older 8 on 6.5" bolt pattern. I would try to snag that 44 and get a Dana 60U out of the pick and pull if you think you will want to run bigger than 35" tires.

I have the axles that are in that listing in my beater Bronco II. I have a 5.0L V8 and 38" XMLs, and so far they are holding up pretty well, but I don't drive like I am sponsored. The only "upgrades" I made were tack welding the caps on some 5-760X Spicer U-joints in the stock front axle shafts and installing a factory slug from a full-time 4WD application. They are a good combo for 37-38" tires in my opinion since those sizes are a little small for full blown one tons, but too big for most lighter duty axles.

In my opinion, a Dana 60 rear is overkill for just 35" tires unless you are a throttle jockey or it is a competition vehicle.
 
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GC Budz

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I went with an XJ D44, same width and bolt pattern... swap your ZJ discs over to it.

Think i had a grand in it for a total rebuild, Joe EndlessMtnFab hooked me up on the labor.
 

Weasel

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I stuffed an Isuzu/Passport 44 under the rear of the XJ. works pretty well but was slightly narrow. I winged a 5/8" spacer on each side and the tires are a bit close tot he leaf springs, but with coils that won't be an issue.
 
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