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Thread: Cost of an Isuzu D44 Axle Swap

  1. #1

    Cost of an Isuzu D44 Axle Swap

    Hey everyone. I've been looking into putting a Dana 44 on the rear end of my 2005 TJ, and I'm not nearly rich enough to drop $3500 on a brand new, bolt in axle. I've read that Isuzu Rodeos have pretty sturdy Dana 44's with 4.10 gearing and disc brakes; plus they're within a 1/2 inch of stock width of my TJ. This sounds like a perfect axle, considering I'm only planning to go with 33" tires and was planning to run 4.10's. My problem is I don't have the tools to perform this myself. Which leads me to my question, what can I expect this to cost? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Trail Leader
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    You should be able to find TJ rear 44s for under $1500. Direct bolt in

  3. #3
    I have found TJ 44s for around that price, but the problem is they aren't geared to 4.10, so on top of the $1200, I'll have to spend more money to get it re-geared. I'm trying to compare the difference in cost between that option and the cost of swapping brackets and re-plumbing brake lines from an Isuzu.

    Edit - None of the above even deals with the cost of adding a locker either. Isuzu Rear D44s can be found at junkyards for around $275. As long as the fabrication of new mounts doesn't cost an arm and a leg, I'm thinking it leaves room in my budget for a locker. Some models even come with LSD, so that might even allow me time to save money for a selectable locker.
    Last edited by AngusGT; 06-21-2017 at 11:03 AM. Reason: Added additional Info

  4. #4
    Right Wing Extremist! DMG's Avatar
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    Explorer 8.8s come with 4.10s.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DMG View Post
    Explorer 8.8s come with 4.10s.
    Thanks for the suggestion DMG. My train of thought didn't look at anything other than a D44. Am I right in assuming the 8.8 axles need wheel spacers to fit a TJ? and do those affect the overall strength, or is that negligible?

  6. #6
    So I spent the afternoon researching what's required for a ford 8.8 swap. If I'm missing anything, please let me know:

    Ford 8.8 rear axle - Code D2 = 31 spline 4.10s with LSD
    1310 flange adaptor
    brackets for the swap (plus getting them welded on)
    SYE with new driveshaft
    Parking brake cables from a ZJ
    Wheel spacers (although that's debatable from what I've read, I've got aftermarket rims now)

    Since I'll only be wheeling with 33s, I don't think I'll need to worry about the c-clip on the axle shafts. The only part I don't fully understand is what all I'll need to go from drum to disc brakes in the rear. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks.

  7. #7
    Right Wing Extremist! DMG's Avatar
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    IIRC, you would eliminate the residual pressure valve going to the rear and install a manual pressure regulator in the line going to the rear. But there may be a master cylinder you can swap in.

  8. #8
    PghOffRoad Regular
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    Or buy my scout dana 44 with new 4.10s, grizzly locker and alloy shafts. Buy a bracket kit and bring it over and we will weld it up. The bad is that it is a couple inches narrower and 5.5 bolt pattern. Adapters get the width and bolt pattern back.

  9. #9
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    I know someone who would want that scout axle. I'll have him call ya tomorrow. It's John with the jtmoffroad YJ.

  10. #10
    Official PghOffRoad Post Whore!
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    If the scout 44 deal falls through pm me a price. My brother is redoing Ragnorox's old YJ and will be looking to scrap the Dana 35.
    97 XJ Clayton Longarms 35s locked etc.
    94 YJ MTO
    98 5.9 ZJ Limited alllll original
    02 Cummins 6spd HO Studs, Sticks, Box, Pump...

  11. #11
    PghOffRoad Forum Addict!
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    I believe the bolt pattern on the Isuzu is a 6 lug. Another cost there. Keep an eye out for Rubi 44s. They had 4.10s and the factory locker.

    I assume you have a 4 banger if you aren't talking about regearing the front also? If so, you probably want to go to a 4.88 with 33s. IF that's the case, you might as well find a HP30 to regear.
    Something catchy goes here.

  12. #12
    Hey, sorry for the drop off in my responses. Came back from vacation with a nasty cold.

    I have the 4.0L engine, and yes I am planning on regearing the front. I pretty much have the front worked out: regear to 4.10, swap out stock shafts for RCV shafts, install an auto locker. My problem is fitting that, plus a new axle for the rear on my budget. I know I can get a Rubicon Axle at the junkyard for about $2k, I'm trying to figure out if there's a more cost effective way. Going with the Ford 8.8 is a good option, Except i can't do the fabrication work (limited garage capability). Just trying to weigh my options.

    A friend offered me the axle out of the back of an '02 Ford F150 FX4, I just have to get the rest of the truck out of his yard after. Not sure if it's worth it, from what I've read its a 31 Spline 8.8 with LSD, but its 65.125" wms to wms and it's 3.73:1. Plus I have no idea how to get that rust bucket out of his yard afterwards.

  13. #13
    PghOffRoad Forum Addict!
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    Why regear the front? 2.5L TJs has 4.10s. Just drop in a lunchbox locker.
    Something catchy goes here.

  14. #14
    PghOffRoad Forum Addict!
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    If you can get a bolt in Rubicon axle for $2k, already geared right, needs nothing but bolted in and the driveshaft joint, I'd go that route. By the time you build an 8.8 right, you will have more than that in it if you have to pay for labor.

    That said, the Explorer 8.8 is an easy swap, just pick the right year. They are also about 1/2" narrower than stock TJ so not much to worry about there. Most of the time you don't need spacers, depends on the wheels. They have disk brakes and 31 spline too. Can even make the e-brakes work with a couple 50 cent cable clamps. No need to mess with the master cylinder or proportioning valve, it will work fine and you will never know the difference.

    I've probably got around 50K miles on my 8.8 swap, plus many hard wheeling miles on 36" tires. About 12 years ago it cost around $2k, including everything but labor. Gears, locker, new brakes, purchase price, etc. I did all the work myself. I've abused it and only broke it twice, once was a bent axle shaft (not broke just looked like a banana) and trashed an eaton e-locker - I now have an ARB and haven't had a problem since.

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