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Dana 44 front axle

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
#1
So I have a '73 K5 Blazer with a Dana 44 front axle. I rebuilt it with all new parts, 3.73 gears and installed a spartan locker. Now that I've done a couple of trips out in the sand dunes, I dont like it. Last trip out I broke a axle shaft doing donuts. It just doesn't allow enough slip in the sand.
So I'm looking at changing it out. I dont want to go open diff. But some type of limited slip.
I've run Auburn gear LSDs for years in rear axles and like them, but not sure it will do what I want in the front. I have one in the rear 12 bolt.
So any suggestions or carriers I should look at?
Thanks.
 
#2
Can't help much since I'm still open front and rear. Plan is to do e-lockers or airlockers front and rear.

I'm curious as to what others think of the limited slip route though.
 

Kyle D

Well-Known Member
#3
You will be constantly exercising a limited slip by running it in the front because a limited slip looks for a difference in wheel speed in order to engage and there is always a major difference in speed in the front unless you’re driving in a straight line. There’s a reason so many rock guys run ARB lockers. I haven’t done enough with E lockers to know how tough they are but I know an ARB is tough.
 
#4
You will be constantly exercising a limited slip by running it in the front because a limited slip looks for a difference in wheel speed in order to engage and there is always a major difference in speed in the front unless you’re driving in a straight line. There’s a reason so many rock guys run ARB lockers. I haven’t done enough with E lockers to know how tough they are but I know an ARB is tough.
With the arb lockers, does the inline valve open the line and then close it to maintain the pressure in the line to engage the locker? Or does it just open the line to the pressure and if you lost the air compressor, you'd be out of luck?
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
#5
I'm thinking the locker is my issue. It won't allow the diff to slip as the inside tire turns less than the outside tire. So it pushes and in this last case, broke the ears off my outer stub axle. A limited slip should allow the tires to turn at different speeds when turning.
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
#7
So with a selectable locker, I'd lock the hubs and drop in 4WD. Lock the front to get me moving in the sand, then unlock to a open diff to play. If I get stuck it have traction issues. Lock it back up.
Does that sound about right? Can I lock/unlock on the move?
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
#8
Pretty much, AFAIK. Also handy in high traction situations like slickrock, where an uncontrolled hard locker can cause binding as well as steering issues at full lock, for instance.

Maybe best to unlock off the gas? I think there are mechanical, electrical, and vacuum operated controls available.
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
#9
I guess I should have said this before,
My main off road adventures are fast dirt roads/race course in Baja and Pismo sand dunes. Haven't been rock crawling, yet.
Not sure how much of a difference that makes in the choice.
 

jeff

Moderator
#10
The ARB locks both axles when air pressure is applied and is an "open" differential when the air pressure is relieved. The amount of air required to activate an ARB is very small and the recommended operating pressure is 80 - 95 psi. If you apply more than 100 psi it can cause problems. I've seen a bicycle pump (road bike) used in a pinch when a compressor failed. You can activate an ARB while moving but it's hard on parts when one tire is spinning and the other is not.

Aloha
 

DeRaRa

Well-Known Member
#11
I have a 78 Bronco with a Dana 44 in it with open diff. I keep it in 4H off road and never have broke an axle, or been stuck. I would go back to an open diff if I were you. Those donuts your doing place allot of stress on those axles.
 
#13
Lower air pressure , experience and common sense go a long way driving in the sand. All 4 wheels locked in means all 4 wheels are getting buried in the soft stuff. Purchase a good shovel and snatch strap before buying lockers.
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
#14
Got a strap, had to use it to pull out a bronco. :)

Driving in the sand has not been an issue, drove all over the dunes with no issues. Broke my axle doing donuts at the end of the run. My issue is breaking the outer axle shafts at the U joints in the Dana 44 when turning with a locked front axle. That and with the locked front end, it tends to push a lot when trying to turn. So trying to find a reasonable solution, other than $1700 RCV axles.
 

partybarge_pilot

Well-Known Member
#19
I had a tru-trac in the front of My Bronco, loved it. Spool was hard on parts, open did not climb as well and the factory trac-locks just burnt up the clutch's.

Since My new build will be AWD, I am going OX lockers on both ends.
 

Crusty Shellback

Well-Known Member
#20
Pulled this out of the front axle today.
Had to pry some to get the outer shaft out.
But it's all repaired for now.
20180707_102859.jpeg
20180707_102907.jpeg
20180707_102916.jpeg
20180707_102922.jpeg


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