The Lone Ranger – Front SAS – D44, leafs, and D35 Tear out
Why buck the trend of just doing Radius arms and coils? There are a few reasons, I’m cheap (Links got expensive), and leafs should work just fine for the wheeling we do out here. The additional bonus of leafs is that it will make it retarded easy to put a D60 in if the D44 Gives me too much trouble.
Why run Full Width axles? This goes back to the reliability portion of this build. While I can narrow the axles, it would then mean running custom shafts (at least for the rear). By running as many stock components that I can, it’ll make it easier to find replacement parts if one should fail when I’m away from home. The other added bonus is the wider track width should make for a more stable vehicle off road. Time will tell if the full width wind up being a hindrance out here. Watching my friend tool around in his ’78 bronco, I’m not real worried about being able to “fit” out here.
I started out by picking up a 44/60 combo out of a 1978 F250 (more on the rear 60 later). After getting it home, I stripped it down and cleaned it up:
During the tear down of this axle, I had a guy in my Jeep club offer me his 44 and Nittos for a price I couldn’t pass up.
The D44 was setup for a TJ, so I passed that housing onto a friend for his eventual build. Prior to sending it on its way, I pulled the Detroit, Yukon shafts, knuckles (high steer), and 5.38’s out of it. I then setup the Leaf Sprung axle with the 4:10’s and other goodies. I may throw the 5.38’s in there one day after I see how horrid the 4:10’s are.
After the axle was buttoned up, I turned my attention to the Wagonner leafs. These packs are stock (at this point). But they’re setup for spring under in the stock configuration, so I had to swap the pin around. Easy as pie, just remember to clamp the packs down so they don’t pop on ya.
I had ordered up some u-bolts and plates from ruff Stuff and slapped the Wagoneer leafs on the axle, now we’re ready to slap this dude under the truck as soon as the truck is ready for it.
D44 With Leafs (Ignore the ugly diff cover, new one is on its way):
The Tear Out:
Now that the new front axle is ready to go under the truck, it was time to start making a place for it to live. So the truck gets pulled in looking like this:
Hose everything down with a mix of ATF and Acetone (best rest penetrate I’ve ever used), and the front end just falls out:
A little time with a cut off wheel and a 4.5” angle grinder and there suddenly is quite a bit more room under here: