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XJ D30 hybrid with D44 Chevy outers

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XJ D30 hybrid with D44 Chevy outers

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Old 12-22-2017, 06:54 AM
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Question XJ D30 hybrid with D44 Chevy outers

Ok ladies and gents, I'm ready. I've got my flame suit on.



This is a break-out thread related to my Right-Hand Drive XJ here: https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f46/ri...lander-240363/

Anyways, I've scoured the interwebs for the last few weeks looking for information on how to upgrade the XJ Dana 30 in 3 ways:
  • High steer with a drag link separate from the tie rod
  • More powerful brakes
  • Manual locking/unlocking hubs

WJ knuckles and hubs offer high steer and a decent brake upgrade, but don't allow for manual locking hubs. In my particular case, my RHD XJ from the United Kingdom would also need RHD WJ knuckles which are much more difficult to find. I've sent a few emails out to UK junk yards with no replies yet or successful finds.

So, after reading Billavista's D30/44 hybrid article on Pirate and a few other D30/44 builds all over the net (many with missing pictures now thanks to Photobucket ) I've started looking at building a D30 housing off to the side and swap it under my overland-turbo-UK-XJ once everything is ready. Before anyone starts saying "same money spent could have bought you a Dana 44" or "you're polishing a turd" or "it's not worth it"...hear me out.
  • I have donor Chevy 10 bolt and D44 axles I can pull the parts from.
  • I have a spare D30 XJ housing.
  • Welding, cutting C's and modifying something to work is no problem for me.
  • Left-side-drop high pinion Dana 44's are nearly impossible to find over here in Germany.
  • I already have 4.56 gears and overhaul kit for the Dana 30 (not installed yet).
  • This XJ will not be rock-crawled, will not be a dedicated wheeler, and will see 99% road compared to my other 2 XJ's.
  • I've already built a hpD44 under my wife's XJ, and want to try something new with this Jeep build.
  • This overland XJ doesn't need the strength of an 8.5" or 9.75" ring gear, and stock shafts are nearly the same strength as D44 shafts.
  • I do plan on E-locking the front, but only with 31.66" all terrain tires.
  • Dana 30 housing offers more diff clearance than any other reasonable OEM housing out there, which will come in handy during the few times I'm off-road overlanding vs a D44/D60 front housing
  • Chevy knuckles are already flat-top and drilled/tapped for high steer arm on the left side knuckle, which is perfect for my UK RHD Jeep XJ's steering.

With all that said, I've also been looking at the Reid racing knuckles for the D30 to convert to manual hubs. At $259/side they're an option, but I need to find out what axle shaft they use and what balljoints they use. Any feedback?

Anyways, is there anyone on this forum who actually still runs or has documentation/photos about their D30/44 hybrid build? I'm very interested in your experiences and parts required.

Last edited by Stroked98Xj; 01-26-2018 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 12-22-2017, 09:16 AM
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If you are only running 32 inch tires then there is really no need do do all of that. Just throw the 4.56 gears and locker in and go.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:59 AM
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You can take your flame suit off for a little while at least. D30/44 is a viable option. The tube size is the same, so just changing the Cs and bolting on the D44 outers and if you have the large U joints in your D30 axles, you would be able to attach the D44 stub shaft. If you can weld, easy upgrade. I never liked unit bearings either
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:19 PM
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4.3L XJ, leave it to the guy who went through all the pain and hassle of swapping in a 4.3L V6 instead of a V8 like most would, for someone to understand the mindset of a polished up Dana 30 idea.

Collecting my notes:

Dana 30 XJ specs:
-Tube diameter = 2.500" x 0.250" wall
-WMS to WMS is 60.625"
-Left axle shaft is 16.625"
-Right axle shaft is 32.25"

Dana 44 outers:
-Chevy Dana 44/GM 10 bolt = 2.750" x 0.250" wall (not all are 2.75" tube, some are 3", but mine is 2.75")
-Chevy and Wagoneer disc brake outer shaft length = 9.94"

I wonder, instead of bolting on wheel spacers or choosing wheels with less backspacing to gain tire clearance, if I could just use this opportunity to widen the Dana 30.
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:43 AM
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I think you'll need custom outer knuckles to get the Chevy selectable hubs onto the jeep D30 axle, the chevy knuckles won't work for some reason but I can't remember why. I looked into this when I got my Jeep too.

I think these are what you would need: http://www.artecindustries.com/RR_HD...ersion_knuckle

"The new Dana 30 / Rubicon 44 knuckle will transform late model Jeep axles into true contenders. The Reid knuckle adapts these axles to use early style Chevy & Jeep 44 outers. ... Uses stock pre-1987 44 Chevy or Jeep spindles, hubs, rotors, calipers, stub shafts, and lockouts. Fits YJ, TJ, XJ, WJ, ZJ, and MJ Dana 30 axles and TJ Rubicon 44 axles."



I wonder if you could cut the yoke/inner-knuckles off the Chevy D44 or GM10-bolt axle, and weld them onto the Jeep D30 axle. Would save you $600! Looks like that's what this guy did: http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billav...HybridAxle.htm

Too bad the whole GM 10 bolt axle can't be swapped right in, because the diff pumkin is on the wrong side. Oh, and obviously you'll need wheels to fit the new hubs. Good luck! Might be a great way to both strenthen the axle a lot and get better MPG since you'll have selectable hubs now! Maybe I should look into doing this again...

Last edited by mannydantyla; 01-25-2018 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 01-25-2018, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mannydantyla View Post
I wonder if you could cut the yoke/inner-knuckles off the Chevy D44 or GM10-bolt axle, and weld them onto the Jeep D30 axle. Would save you $600! Looks like that's what this guy did: http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billav...HybridAxle.htm
I just realized that the Chevy steering drag link connects to the Driver Side knuckle and on the Jeeps they connect to the Passenger Side. How big of a problem is that??

[edit]

I'm reading that link a little more thoroughly and it says "[you need] knuckle yokes from a Scout or CJ D30 - Alternatively you could use the knuckle yokes from the donor D44, and either source or have machined a piece of tubing with the correct inside and outside diameters to slip over the D30 axle tube, and into the D44 knuckle yoke. I don't know if the correct sizes are available in common stock, or if it would have to be machined." He went with the CJ yokes, which have the drag link connection on the Passanger Side (rather than the Driver Side like on Chevy K10s).

However, he also says that by using the CJ knuckle yokes, they're 1/2" shorter than the stock XJ D30 ones. This became an expensive problem for him as now he needed new custom D44 axle shafts machined to fit the D30 - $300 to $400 I wager.. So, another question that needs answered is if the Chevy knuckles yokes will be the correct size or not, taking care of that problem. If not then the $550 Reid Racing Heavy Duty 30/44 Conversion Knuckles are looking like the better option.

[edit 2]

Ok I actually read your entire OP and it looks like I just told you everything you already know

Last edited by mannydantyla; 01-25-2018 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:34 PM
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interesting
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:47 PM
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A much much more expensive option you're probably already aware of: http://www.rustysoffroad.com/jeep-dr...-yj-tj-zj.html

Plus it sounds like you want to fab some stuff yourself.

I'm not trying to hijack your thread but I also have a K10 front axle (well, it's in my truck but it needs all new bearings in the diff and all the lug studs should be replaced they keep breaking, so I could just swap the whole thing out with another one, but the selectable hubs and breaks work great) and I just bought a good stick welder...

Let's just say I'm very interested in what you end up doing, so I'm subscribing to this thread for sure and please keep us updated!

Edit: this is a little different then what we're talking about here, but here's a pretty good write-up on the pros and cons of getting selectable hubs: http://www.stu-offroad.com/axle/hubconv/hub-7.htm Really there's no cons, only pros, except that he reports that his fuel economy did not increase at all.

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Old 01-26-2018, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mannydantyla View Post
I just realized that the Chevy steering drag link connects to the Driver Side knuckle and on the Jeeps they connect to the Passenger Side. How big of a problem is that??

[edit]

I'm reading that link a little more thoroughly and it says "[you need] knuckle yokes from a Scout or CJ D30 - Alternatively you could use the knuckle yokes from the donor D44, and either source or have machined a piece of tubing with the correct inside and outside diameters to slip over the D30 axle tube, and into the D44 knuckle yoke. I don't know if the correct sizes are available in common stock, or if it would have to be machined." He went with the CJ yokes, which have the drag link connection on the Passanger Side (rather than the Driver Side like on Chevy K10s).

However, he also says that by using the CJ knuckle yokes, they're 1/2" shorter than the stock XJ D30 ones. This became an expensive problem for him as now he needed new custom D44 axle shafts machined to fit the D30 - $300 to $400 I wager.. So, another question that needs answered is if the Chevy knuckles yokes will be the correct size or not, taking care of that problem. If not then the $550 Reid Racing Heavy Duty 30/44 Conversion Knuckles are looking like the better option.

[edit 2]

Ok I actually read your entire OP and it looks like I just told you everything you already know
No worries.

For my particular case, a Chevy flat top knuckle on the left side (I'm not saying driver or passenger anymore since my passenger is on the left side and I'm on the right side of my RHD XJ) so all my steering is mirrored. Thus, the steering gear box is on the right side, and the drag link goes to the left side knuckle - which is where my flat top knuckle is already milled drilled and tapped for a Chevy high steer arm. If I wanted full high steer, I could find a right side knuckle to mill/drill/tap and go that route but I don't mind just keeping it simple with crossover steering. Drill and ream the knuckle tie rod mount point out to accept the Chevy 1 ton TRE's, with a straight 1.5 DOM tube. Space/clearance will decide over the knuckle or under the knuckle.

What I was thinking for tube is to have my Chevy D44 C's machined out to 3" (or keep my 2.75" set in tact and buy 3" tube knuckles on eBay) and then re-tube over the existing Dana 30 with 3" OD x .250 wall, which will be 2.5" ID. Just brainstorming right now...not sure if this is reasonable, but it would strengthen the weak points of the D30, help make the D44 C's press on easier, and I can make the overall axle width whatever I need it to by that point. Again, just brainstorming...not set in stone yet.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mannydantyla View Post
Edit: this is a little different then what we're talking about here, but here's a pretty good write-up on the pros and cons of getting selectable hubs: http://www.stu-offroad.com/axle/hubconv/hub-7.htm Really there's no cons, only pros, except that he reports that his fuel economy did not increase at all.
This link is exactly how my experiences have been. Of the times I've broken while out on the trail, I've been able to drive out without damaging by unlocking the hubs. Never saw a gas mileage gain, but having the ability to unlock the hubs has saved other drivetrain components each time I break a U-joint.

I have, however, felt a difference in vibes by being able to keep the vehicle in 2HI and unlock the hubs. No unbalanced drivetrain spinning at highway speeds helps the long drives.
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:39 PM
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I've had a lot of road miles lately driving 6-8hrs down to Austria 3 weekends out of 5 since Christmas, and have read up on some more options, taken a few more measurements, and drew up some fancy auto-cad quality MSPaint drawings.

Original XJ Dana 30 high pinion measurements.


I spoke to Mitchell Differentials today about my proposed project, asking them whether it would be easier to make custom D30 shafts or cut and re-spline D44 shafts to fit into the D30 carrier. Mitchell Differentials is able to cut down and re-spline my factory Chevy D44 shafts (inners only) for $155. That's the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how wide I want the axle to be, and therefore how short to cut the shafts, neck them down and re-spline them. The second hardest choice (for me) is what carrier to use, given that I have a clean slate inside the D30 housing to choose either 27 spline or 30 spline. More on that later.

Dana 30/Chevy D44 hybrid.


One of the top reasons for this hybrid D30/D44 polished turd is to widen the WMS/front axle width, without using spacers, to keep my scrub radius to "zero" or maybe even slightly "negative". I've done my homework on proper steering geometry, and see the benefit in paying attention to those details given that this XJ will see 5000 road miles for every 1 off road mile. I also drive on the German Autobahn while stationed over here, so high speed manners and secure-feeling cornering and stopping are top priorities.



Explanation of the above example: Often times it is recommended that when lifting an XJ a few inches and bolting on taller tires, to also change the backspacing of your wheels to push the tires out further, away from suspension components. I believe the main purpose of this recommendation is to clear the lower control arms, and give the wheel wells a little more room with the stuffed tire. Plus, it looks "cool". However, I think this has a hidden benefit of keeping the factory scrub radius in check (or close to zero) with the King Pin Inclination Angle/Steering Axis Inclination angle. However, when you bolt on wheels that have shallow backspacing (2-3.75"), the hidden benefit is thrown out the window and now you're pushing the tire too far away from where the KPI/SAI intersects with the ground. A highly positive scrub radius (in relation to the KPI/SAI angle) makes your tires squish and scrape around corners when you turn, and increases your turning radius.

For my build, I'd like to remain as close to zero (green line) as possible. However, since I want to widen the front axle to gain clearance for turning the tires, I can mix and match wheel widths and backspacing options until I get as close to the zero scrub line (green line) as possible. I'd settle for a 1/2" in either direction, positive or negative, but I'm going to shoot for zero.

This is all just me brainstorming at this point. What I need to do is tear down the spare D30 I have below, find some D44 Inner-C's with a 3" bore or cut my Chevy 2.75" bore inner-C's out to 3", and start mocking up.

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Old 02-13-2018, 03:42 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention above...one of the other reasons for "widening" the front Dana 30 is to also match the rear axle. That 8.8 in the picture is out of a '94 Explorer, drums unfortunately for now. The pinion is offset about 2" to the right side of the vehicle, and I intend to widen the 8.8 by using 2 OEM length long shafts, which should make the 8.8 an estimated 63.5-64" at the WMS measurement. The XJ D30 is only 60" and some change, so I'd like to widen the front XJ D30 to match the rear 8.8.

I can't leave anything alone....says my wife.
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