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  #1  
Old May 12th, 2011, 11:57
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dgrigorenko dgrigorenko is offline
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Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

So here it is. my reasoning for doing this instead of just a building a full dana 44 is simple: funding. I am sure there are going to be many naysayers who tell me i wasted my time, and i should have put it all in a 44 but... i acquired a 79 HP HD D44 with all new uninstalled bearings/seals for free, and plan on narrowing and building that up at some point, but at the present juncture i dont have the money to throw into regearing and bracketing the 44. the only cost i have in the project is the hubs i found on ebay, brakes, and my time.
My original inspiration for this was the d35 bearings/hub thread, so kudos to alaskan. and after a little (or a lot) research i found that this sort of swap had been started by one person, who's threads up and died with no sort of conclusion whatsoever. there was also the hybrid billavista did on pirate, but i did not want chop off and reweld CJ knuckles on. so here is what I did:

first thing i had to do was turn down the spindle to fit inside the D30 knuckle, but maintain tight fit to the backing plate:



Then after cutting off the d30 brake bracketry, i milled down the knuckle .382 which was the thickness of the backing plate.



doing a little mock up to see that everything was a pretty tight fit.... which it was. i would say that i turned the spindle to a tighter tolerance than the unit bearings are. i also threw the stub shaft in there to check where the u-joint would end up in relation to the ball joints, and as far as i could measure, it was right in line.



after i felt that there was a reasonable chance that this project would succeed i went ahead and drilled and tapped (m12-1.75) the three hub bolt holes in the spindle and drilled the clearance holes in the backing plates.



again i mocked up with some bolts and slapped the hub and stub in it





The next task was to weld the backing plates to the knuckles since i did not like the idea of all the braking force being held in shear by the hub bolts. this of course required heating up the cast steel knuckles... so i fired up the grill:


also some post weld slow cool cooking.

the result:
then it was on to the installation:

obviously remove the existing knuckles:


install new knuckle:


swap the stub shaft from the 44 on to the D30 shaft



Continued....

Last edited by dgrigorenko; May 12th, 2011 at 12:10.
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  #2  
Old May 12th, 2011, 12:04
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dgrigorenko dgrigorenko is offline
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

bolt up the spindle after liberal use of grease on any and every surface



i also decided to add some nuts onto the hub bolts to take some load off of the spindle threads.




then once again with the liberal use of your favorite grease put the rotor and hub on



bolt on and bleed the brakes:



bolt up the tire and you are good to go:


i then went out and did some tests to make sure all was kosher. this meant doing some brake stands (which locked up the wheels on pavement) as well as some pretty harsh circle track laps taking some pretty harsh hits. so far all is well, and i love the 1-2 mpg gain, and the lack of any vibes from the front end. a note on the brakes: while the braking is significantly better, it does seem to come later in the pedal throw. this is probably because the caliper piston is much larger than the jeep caliper... so at some point i will probably end up upgrading the master cylinder at some point as well.

Last edited by dgrigorenko; May 12th, 2011 at 12:18.
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  #3  
Old May 12th, 2011, 12:51
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

Nicely done Dale.

Same thing on my brakes when I went to the D44. Significantly better, significantly farther down on the pedal.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 12:53
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dgrigorenko dgrigorenko is offline
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

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Originally Posted by John D View Post
Nicely done Dale.

Same thing on my brakes when I went to the D44. Significantly better, significantly farther down on the pedal.
good to know, let me know if the master cylinder swap improves that at all. what was that off of again?
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  #5  
Old May 12th, 2011, 12:56
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

It was a 2002 Dodge 25/3500 that came with disc/dics. I will be swapping to the Chevy 1/2 ton calipers and ditching the Ford drums for the 9" rear at the same time though.
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  #6  
Old May 12th, 2011, 13:28
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

Damn, nice work. Kinda can't believe this hasn't been done before. It seems to be a much cheaper option than any of the conversion kits out there.
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  #7  
Old May 12th, 2011, 13:33
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

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Originally Posted by sunburned View Post
Damn, nice work. Kinda can't believe this hasn't been done before. It seems to be a much cheaper option than any of the conversion kits out there.
thanks man, i actually thought the exact same thing... i kept expecting to come across some major problem barring progress.
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  #8  
Old May 12th, 2011, 15:28
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

Cool stuff. I have the Warn kit but I got it for a song.

You can also use a Durango M/C as an upgrade to the newer style booster.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 15:45
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

Dan Turner @ Loose Nuts Enterprises did this some years ago to convert his dana 30 to 6 lug. It seemed to work out pretty well.

It looks like you did a quality job. Too bad you couldnt get dana 44 balljoints out of the deal. People have done that using a CJ Dana 30 inner C pressed onto the tube, but it requires a custom length inner axle shaft.
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  #10  
Old May 12th, 2011, 15:48
foxwar71 foxwar71 is online now
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle




I love the ingenuity and machine work done, looks to be very well executed. Deffiently something I will take note of and gave me some ideas. Like how about with WJ knuckles? Yes you would loss the WJ brakes, but you could gain the steering. And since WJ stuff requires a .250" spacer, by elimating that you would only have to take off .132" of material. I like the call of welding the backing plate on too.
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  #11  
Old May 12th, 2011, 15:59
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

Impressive work.

It seems like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist though but good to see you get it to work.
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  #12  
Old May 12th, 2011, 16:10
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

I think you did an awesome job.

My only concern would be stock the spindle uses 5 bolts to mount. Granted those are a smaller OD than the 3 fasteners you are using which mimic the stock xj unit bearing, but the difference is the flange thickness between the unit bearing and the spindle flange. To get all the strength you can, a socket head cap screw is stronger (by about 1.13 times) than a grade 8 bolt, you might want to throw those on there for a little added factor of safety.

Please dont take this as bashing, just thinking out loud, again nice job.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 16:27
foxwar71 foxwar71 is online now
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

Quote:
Originally Posted by stockerwithalocker View Post
My only concern would be stock the spindle uses 5 bolts to mount. Granted those are a smaller OD than the 3 fasteners you are using which mimic the stock xj unit bearing, but the difference is the flange thickness between the unit bearing and the spindle flange. To get all the strength you can, a socket head cap screw is stronger (by about 1.13 times) than a grade 8 bolt, you might want to throw those on there for a little added factor of safety.
Two things I think negate that. Since he turned the spindle down to such a good fit, the knuckle/backing plate help support it much better. Also, the stock hub bolts are Class 12.9 which are slightly stronger then Gr8 too.


Im just thinking out load too.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 17:06
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dgrigorenko dgrigorenko is offline
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

thanks for the compliments guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxwar71 View Post

I love the ingenuity and machine work done, looks to be very well executed. Deffiently something I will take note of and gave me some ideas. Like how about with WJ knuckles? Yes you would loss the WJ brakes, but you could gain the steering. And since WJ stuff requires a .250" spacer, by elimating that you would only have to take off .132" of material. I like the call of welding the backing plate on too.
a WJ knuckle would have been brilliant! i didnt even think of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cracker View Post
Impressive work.

It seems like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist though but good to see you get it to work.
i semi disagree with your statement. is it technically a problem? no, but it will be nice to not wear out parts when i am not even using them (carrier/pinion bearings, gears, driveshaft ujoints, transfercase parts), and to be able to rebuild my wheel bearings for less than the cost of a single unit bearing. also when i break something, i can disengage driveline at the point of breakage and get to an easier location without destroying other components in the process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stockerwithalocker View Post
I think you did an awesome job.

My only concern would be stock the spindle uses 5 bolts to mount. Granted those are a smaller OD than the 3 fasteners you are using which mimic the stock xj unit bearing, but the difference is the flange thickness between the unit bearing and the spindle flange. To get all the strength you can, a socket head cap screw is stronger (by about 1.13 times) than a grade 8 bolt, you might want to throw those on there for a little added factor of safety.

Please dont take this as bashing, just thinking out loud, again nice job.
thanks for the idea, i will check out the strength numbers on cap screws and see how they compare to the 12.9 metrics... i am all about making this as strong as possible.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 17:18
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Re: Dana 34: D44 hubs & brakes on D30 Knuckle

The WJ knuckle would be a much better knuckle, as was said you wouldn't have to machine much off.

There's plenty of meat in those for the three bolts I would think. The Warn ones are custom pieces that use the same 3 hub bolts as factory.

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