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Talk me into/out of building a Ford 9" steering axle

IowaOffRoad

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Been busy at work so no real building, but bench-building in my head. Before you tell me 'sirch newb' I have searched IBB and nothing has come up. I'm sure PBB has something, but it's such a dumpster fire for finding shit (or reading it) and perhaps there's new arguments pro/con for this.

So, if any of you know my 'build' style, it's arse/486 level cheap. I've got decent mechanical/fab skills but I'm not spending $$$ for anything not necessary to do so. I also like light rigs and common parts-store parts if I can help it. So, here's my thought:

-Ford 9" center section
-'79-91 10 bolt GM front axle or '94-01 dodge D44

Intended rig would be a CJ7 size/weight vehicle (possibly Scout 80, possibly second gen 4Runner. Tire size limited to 37"

Cut center out of 10b, weld in 9" center. Get custom Moser inner axles with 31sp, use off the shelf outers.

Why? I like the drop-out center, centers with gears are super easy to get here in dirt track country in 5.00-6.50 ranges, run common front/rear, stronger than 8" toy, all the parts stores have Dana 44/10 bolt outer ball joints, outer shafts, u-joints. The only custom parts would be the inner axle shafts and they are $270 each. I could make the axle whatever width I want.

The only thing I haven't decided is whether or not to run the GM or Dodge front. I like lockouts, but for a 95% off road rig I'm also not sure I care and the Dodge stuff is actually slightly more available at parts stores now, along with the unit bearing being super-simple to swap. The Dodge outers would also be easier to match up with off-the-shelf 1/2t Ford axle bolt pattern, though custom rear shafts for 9" are cheap enough I'm sure I could get 6-5.5 bolt pattern easy enough.

The other issue in my mind is how to seal the shafts. My thought is to machine a bushing with the pocket for a seal to be installed and weld it in when mating this frankenstein together and install in the 9" banjo housing roughly where the D44/10B seal would be. Or maybe just use THIS?

I'm certain there is many things I haven't thought of that others have, and I'm certain that IBB will point out all the ways in which I'm stupid:laughing: I still like the idea as I have access to plenty of stock or stock-style 9" housings with 3" tubes, and either donor 10b/dodge CAD D44 front axle are still common enough to be cheap. I'm also not looking to build axles strong enough to never break, just make it cheap/easy to repair when they do.

Discuss:grinpimp:
 
Using 10b knuckles is pointless being limited to those tiny ujoints.

The dodge D44 can fit the same 1350 sized joint as the later jeep D30s and Rubicon d44s. So at least when you get sick of breaking micro u joints, you can upgrade.

Also stock is 33sp stubs vs 19 spline.


But really, Like ^ he ^ said, just use D50/60 knuckles. Same Era dodge c's will accept 94-97 live spindle ford knuckles, or 99-04 unit bearing knuckles. Plus there is a way to convert to live spindle with ttb50 parts.
 
Using 10b knuckles is pointless being limited to those tiny ujoints.

The dodge D44 can fit the same 1350 sized joint as the later jeep D30s and Rubicon d44s. So at least when you get sick of breaking micro u joints, you can upgrade.
10 bolt should be the same as all big joint 44s? I only know of EB D44 running the little joints, maybe scout
 
10 bolt should be the same as all big joint 44s? I only know of EB D44 running the little joints, maybe scout

I'm talking 1350s in the 90s and later stuff.

No old style D44 can fit them. Even if you go rvc, the bell is smaller than a toyota birf.
 
I'm talking 1350s in the 90s and later stuff.

No old style D44 can fit them. Even if you go rvc, the bell is smaller than a toyota birf.
No shit? I just looked and I guess I never realized there was bigger than the 5-760x. I never saw much use of the 1310/1350 nomenclature outside of driveshafts. The 'big" 5-760x is 1310 sized. Neat.
 
Biggest issue, I see, with going SD parts vs d44/10b, could be weight, and the ability to run 15" wheels. Not sure if there is a "parts house" brake setup that will work on SD axles and 15" wheels?
 
If running the Dodge stuff I was considering the D60 version. I really don't want the older lockout D60 stuff as I found out on a wheeling trip a few years ago when a buddy fucked a spindle on his Chevy 60 that parts are tough to get on the road in any kind of timely fashion. My want of D44 dodge was ease of getting bolt pattern to match a 9" rear without adapters/custom rear shafts. I'd also like to be able to run 15" tires as I'm a knuckle-dragger that way, though as I'm also cheap it's way easier to get cheap 17" 8-6.5 wheels and cheap used 17s than 15s now, though I've had decent luck picking up mismatched 15s up until recently.
 
Fwiw, 15s will fit with some grinding, just like the old 60s.

Screenshot_20230623_065352_Chrome.jpg
 
You should do it. If it’s a lightweight rig it doesn’t need 60 parts. 31 spline is really close to 44/10 bolt diameter and the axle tubes won’t be that far off depending on what donor axles you find.

Teenycar did it a decade ago and machined a piece of DOM to fit inside the factory 9” tube and accept a Dana 44 seal. Depending on your tools and budget you could also press the d44 axle tubes out of the chunk and weld them into your 9” center keeping the machine seal surface.
 
Intended rig would be a CJ7 size/weight vehicle (possibly Scout 80, possibly second gen 4Runner. Tire size limited to 37"
Don't build it.

The frame and spring width of a cj causes your drive shaft to almost be under the engine. If I'm remembering correctly.

Low pinion, especially on a 9inch is a plow. Bent front driveshafts.

The drop out member has no benefit unless you're changing gears every weekend. Dana axles, atleast allow you to inspect the inside before dismantling everything.

Would suggest finding a ford high pinion dana 44. It will be stronger stock for stock than a 9 inch.
 
Don't build it.

The frame and spring width of a cj causes your drive shaft to almost be under the engine. If I'm remembering correctly.

Low pinion, especially on a 9inch is a plow. Bent front driveshafts.

The drop out member has no benefit unless you're changing gears every weekend. Dana axles, atleast allow you to inspect the inside before dismantling everything.

Would suggest finding a ford high pinion dana 44. It will be stronger stock for stock than a 9 inch.
The easy availability of deeper than 5.89 gears is what took me down this road. I’d like a 6.5 or so gear so no stacking of t-cases (short driveline) or deep low range gears (expense and durability issues) That and a D60 hangs at least as low if not lower than a 9” pinion.
If going HP D44 or D60 I might as well buy a new axle by the time you build a used one and fix it for what they bring. I also like the fabricating flexibility of the sheet steel housing.
 
Anyone had any luck with axle seals like this?
711s1FRLo8L.jpg
Yes…

Much success! I’m not saying this to talk shit on them. We have had far better sealing service out of the seals-it brand seals from summit racing than the spidertrax ones. I’ve got a junk bucket with a couple sets of spidertrax ones that leaked and the fix was seals-it ones for 1/3 of the price. If I was building spidertrax axles from scratch, and I would. I would buy absolutely every part from ST except their seal carriers.
 
Ehh, Disagree on the pinion side, and the cost will be a complete wash or higher for the 9inch. I'll follow the build.
 
Yes…

Much success! I’m not saying this to talk shit on them. We have had far better sealing service out of the seals-it brand seals from summit racing than the spidertrax ones. I’ve got a junk bucket with a couple sets of spidertrax ones that leaked and the fix was seals-it ones for 1/3 of the price. If I was building spidertrax axles from scratch, and I would. I would buy absolutely every part from ST except their seal carriers.
Same style as I posted?

I ask for myself, I've got a Ford HP44 with a leaking axle seal again, and dont want to tear it down completely :laughing: I just did the seal less than 1000 miles ago (5 years +)
 
I think a JK D30 is worth considering as a donor as well if locking hubs aren't a necessity for you, and you're not going 1 ton. 32 spline stubs, dual piston oops, single piston brakes, crossover steering, decent ujoints, and parts found in every autoparts store (and will be for decades to come).
 
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Same style as I posted?

I ask for myself, I've got a Ford HP44 with a leaking axle seal again, and dont want to tear it down completely :laughing: I just did the seal less than 1000 miles ago (5 years +)
That’s the only style I’m aware of. You posted a generic pic right, you didn’t post a link to anything specific. If you want to put it inside the tube from the knuckle end you’ll have to make sure the entire thing goes inside the tube. There’s isn’t room between the axle shaft yoke and the inner C for a stepped housing like that red one. They come in different colors, the different colors denote different OD’s. My little brother used some out at the ends of the inside of his Toyota axles to keep gear oil out of the knuckle balls.

On our race axles we’re using the Gold housing ones inside near the diff like the factory would have done.
 
buy toyota axles, cut out center sections, weld in a 9", toss some rcvs in there ... peel out
 
I'm talking 1350s in the 90s and later stuff.

No old style D44 can fit them. Even if you go rvc, the bell is smaller than a toyota birf.

Could the D44 bell really be much smaller? The D44 and Yota cage/race/balls are the same PN from RCV. I had to email them to confirm last year when I rebuilt mine
 
I think a JK D30 is worth considering as a donor as well if locking hubs aren't a necessity for you, and you're not going 1 ton. 32 spline stubs, dual piston oops, single piston brakes, crossover steering, decent ujoints, and parts found in every autoparts store (and will be for decades to come).

I agree, With the availability of 32 and 35 spline inners, 1350 sized ujoints and the aftermarket support with high steer knuckles, ect.

Either a stock housing or a lighter aftermarket one would make a great axle for a lighter rig.

Even the xj/tj/ect otters wouldn't be a bad option either and basically free these days.
 
Could the D44 bell really be much smaller? The D44 and Yota cage/race/balls are the same PN from RCV. I had to email them to confirm last year when I rebuilt mine

I think that is the issue, same internals, but a thinner bell. Even a 1/4" diameter could make a pretty big difference there.
 

In short, yes, but not 1/2 ton outers
 
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