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Topic: Ford 8.8 vs. Dana 44

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Ford 8.8 vs. Dana 44

Since this seems to be the hot topic lately across the forums I figured we'd discuss it.

Looking for thoughts/opinions on what one is better. Why 1 is a better option than the other. Cost to make one better than the other, etc.

Discuss...

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why put a Ford axle in a Jeep? Dana 44 all the way!

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I've already taken some heat on a few of the other forums as the "8.8 hater", but I simply want to discuss it as everyone seems to be jumping on the 8.8 bandwagon and stating that it's the better axle. I just want to discuss facts, not so and so said this or that...

So that being said, here is my take on it...

First off I'm going to start with the facts on each axle. I'll compaire them STOCK vs. STOCK as it's the only fair way to do it.

  Ford 8.8 Dana 44
     
Shaft Size 1.31" 1.31"
Shaft Spline 31 30
Shaft Type C-Clip Non C-Clip
Axle Tube 3.25" * 2.75"
Ring Gear 8.8" 8.5"
Brakes Disc Drum
Width 59.25" 60.25"
     
* Does neck down to 2.75" at brakes

Ford 8.8"

The Ford 8.8" has 1.31" 31 spline axle shafts. It however is a C-Clip shaft. which means that the axle shaft is held in place by c-clips at the differential, not by an outer axle flange. If your axle shaft breaks, your wheel will come off.

It does have a larger 3.25" tube, however it does neck down to 2.75" just before they enter the brake housings. Rather than welding the tubes on the 8.8 into the diff housing, the tubes are just held in with pressed-in plugs. These plugs tend to stop doing their job under severe stress.

The ring gear is larger in the 8.8", however the carrier is known to be a piece of crap and fail.

The biggest advantage the 8.8" has is that it has disc brakes from the factory.

The width of the 8.8" is 1" shorter, so to be the correct WMS you'll need to run 1/2" spacers on each side in the rear.

Also, the 8.8" is NOT a bolt in application for the XJ/MJ, so you will need to purchase a 8.8" install kit that consist of new spring perches that need to be welded onto the tubes.

Dana 44

The Dana 44 (D44) has a very similar axle shaft. It's 1.31", 30 spline (1 spline less than the 8.8") non C-Clip. The biggest advantage with the shafts on the D44 is that they are not a C-Clip, so you're not completely stuck by a broken axle shaft. A semi-floating axle, like the D44, can be driven a little way if broken, but not far (enough to get you off the trail and back to camp).

The D44 does have smaller axle tubes, but as stated above the 8.8" does neck down to the same diamater as the D44. The tubes on the D44 are welded, and not pressed with plugs. So with a D44 your much less likely to spin a tube like on the 8.8".

The D44 ring gear is just a tad smaller at 8.5", however the carrier is known to be well built and not fail.

The biggest drawback of the D44 is the drum brakes compaired to the 8.8" disc brakes. Kits are available to convert them, and several DIY setups are available.

The biggest advantage over the 8.8" that the D44 has is that it is a direct bolt in for any model XJ. They also made a specific MJ D44 that is bolt in for those. You can put a XJ D44 into a MJ (and vise-versa) but you will need to relocated the spring perches as the XJ is spring over and the MJ is spring under. Also the spring width is different among the XJ and MJ.

So in my opinion compairing a STOCK 8.8" and a STOCK D44 the Dana 44 is a better option.

UPGRADES

All of the "downfalls" of each axle above can be fixed.

8.8"

A c-clip eliminator kit can be purchased. It's call the Super 88 kit. It's quite expensive at around $525. It includes 2 new chromoly axle shafts, housings and adaptors, and all the needed hardware.

The tube problem can be fixed by welding the tubes to the housing. A lot of people also truss the axle to help eliminate the problem. A 8.8" truss can be purchased from T&T for around $150.

Even though that 8.8" has the disc brakes, expect to have to refurb them prior to installing it in your Jeep. The majority of the 8.8" axles found/purchased are from a salvage yard so it's always recomended to refurb them. Expect around $200 in doing this.

Also we need to get the axle under the Jeep. MORE sells an 8.8" install kit for $180. If you want to use your e-brakes expect to pay another $120 for that kit.

The 8.8" diff cover is about as thick as aluminum foil. So a good (and in my opinion needed) upgrade is a new heavy duty diff cover. Expect to pay around $100 for a quality one.

Wheel spacers? I'll let you decide if they are needed. I won't factory that into the cost of "upgrades".

So now we're looking at a total of around $1275 not including shipping to have a quality axle WITHOUT a locker in it. And that's not including what you originally paid for the axle itself...

I can build a pritty sick D44 WITH a locker, WITH chromo shafts, and WITH disc brakes for that kind of money.

Ok so yeah a lot of people do not go with the Super 88 kit, but I am still going to say that the cost to make the 8.8 superior to a D44 and the work involved to get it into the back of a XJ/MJ is not worth the price if you can find a stock XJ/MJ D44.

Anyway I see it, the Dana 44 is a better option. However as stated from the begining, this is just my opinion and take it for what it's worth...


-- Edited by LEAD_NOT_FOLLOW at 11:36, 2007-11-27

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Well stated Adam, and i see your point. The only reason i support the 8.8" (and dont fully, because i dont have much "real-life" support on the subject is because they were more commonly found in the Junkyards around me and could be had for much cheaper. But based on the research you did, it seems to me atleast, that both axles are strong enough to do the job, but the 8.8" takes slightly more work to be a "all-around" solid/strong axle.

Well done Adam

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GLXJ PRESIDENT
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I just want to make it clear that I by no means am "bashing" the 8.8" or anyone who swaps one into thier rig.

I know that the Dana 44 is becoming a hard axle to come by, and sometimes they are nearly imposiable to find (I spent 2 years looking for my 1st one). In that case I understand why several people opt for the 8.8".

I just wanted to discuss the D44 vs 8.8" debate that seems to be going on lately. Either axle is a good upgrade from a D35 of a Chrysler 8.25", just wanted to share my thoughts on them. weirdface

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its not exactly on topic per se, but how big of a deal is it if i run the c-clips on 35s locked?

do they c-clips make that big of a difference in the performance of the axle?

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GLXJ PRESIDENT
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Some argue that since the 8.8" is a semi-floating axle that the c-clips make a big difference. Some argue that they don't.

A semi-floating rear axle is one in which the axle shaft does bear some of the vehicle's weight. So in addition to tortional loads, it is required to stand up to shear loads as well.

My opinion is that C-clips do make a difference in axle strength. If the axle isn't a full floater, then the stress is spread out across the axle shaft. The axle shaft rides on the outter bearings at the axle tube end and the side gears. The axle shafts neck down at the c-clip and those can break.

The other side of the argument is that the c-clips are located inboard of the splines the c-clip portion of the shaft is not exposed to much (if any) torsional or shear loads.

Who's right? I don't know, but I like to think I know what I'm talking about... yawn

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the more demand there is for the 8.8, the less demand (and thus a better possibility of finding a good one for a decent price) for the D44. :)

Personally, I've always wanted a D44.  They always have generally made excellent products, and if I may say the stock spicer ujoints hold up really well also.smile

-- Edited by ChevelleSSLS6 at 18:52, 2007-11-28

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what about factory LSD on most 8.8's? I think that would be one advantage.
I believe most v8 tow-package explorers were 3.73 limited slip.

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mysticfirexj wrote:

what about factory LSD on most 8.8's? I think that would be one advantage.
I believe most v8 tow-package explorers were 3.73 limited slip.



it is a plus, as i will be running that on 31s for a while, but the stock carrier isnt all that strong, and when most people buy 8.8"s (or D44s for that matter) they usually upgrade the gears as well, so its not all that big of an advantage



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