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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For this project I will be swapping out the stock AAM 800 (G80, 3.73 gears) in favor of a Dana 226 (Model Super 44) with disc brakes, 4.30 gears, and TRAC-LOC from 2001 Honda Passport. Before getting into the actual build, here’s a little background tech. Isuzu Danas can be found in three widths:

  • 1993-1995, Model 44/216, RODEO, 58-inches wms
  • 1996-1997, Model 44/216, RODEO, 61-inches wms
  • 1998-2002, Model Super 44/226, RODEO,PASSPORT (HONDA), 63-inches wms
All are a semi-floating design and use 30 spline axles. Contrary to what you may have heard, they do not use c-clips. Disc brakes, TRAC-LOC carriers, and either 4.10 or 4.30 gears will typically be found in assemblies that come out of V6/4WD models. Pre 98 will all have 8.5-inch (216mm) ring gears while ’98+ Isuzu Danas will have 8.9” (226mm) ring gears, 30 spline axles, and D60 size (29 spline) pinions shafts. Super 44s are significantly stronger than the older Model 44s. Dana does not provide maximum momentary output torque capacity for the Isuzu 226, but a conservative guess would be in the neighborhood of 4000 lb/ft; I’ve seen estimates upward of 5000 lb/ft. (For what it’s worth, a low pinion rear 8.9 inch Super 44 with 32 spline axles is rated for 5340 lb/ft).

So, back to my project. Why did I choose to go with a 98+ Isuzu Dana 226? Here’s the list:

  • Width. The 98+ Isuzu Dana is a centered diff that measures 63-inches wms compared to 63.5-inches wms for the Z71 AAM 800.
  • 6 on 5.5 lug pattern. As a bonus the hub measures 101mm just like the 355s and H3s.
  • Price. I wanted 4.30 gears, a clutch pack LSD, and disc brakes in that order. I got a clean, low mileage assembly for $250. We’ll have to see what the final bill comes to.
  • Strength. I wanted an axle assembly that was at least as strong as the AAM 800, which is rated at a momentary torque output of 3510 lb/ft. GAWR is similar between the two.
  • Options. More locker options are available for the Dana's compared to the AAM 800. More gear options for the 226 if I swap carriers or drill it out to accept 1/2" ring gear bolts.
  • Country of origin. I really like reading “MADE IN USA” on my parts.
Here's an updated list of parts (you must be logged in to see it). Except where noted the numbers are Dana/Spicer. If a part isn't listed then I haven't been able to verify the fit yet. Prices are what I paid less shipping or sales tax. Note - I don't always purchase from the cheapest vendor. If someone takes the time to put in some extra effort or answer questions they get the sale. If you see any typos or errors shoot me a PM and I will re-verify and correct. Links to diagrams and service manuals are in the thread. When I get a chance I'll move them up here. Project photos are in my Picture Album.

 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Best fix to the crappy flat flange. I guess yours would need a 60 yoke. I changed mine out pretty soon after buying it
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Uncanny355 said:
Nice I'm going to pick mine up in a few days although I opted for a 94 because I'm a z85
Cool. Post up the details. I've heard the earlier versions were the same as "regular" D44s but I've never opened one up myself.

GeorgiaBoy said:
Looking forward to your install. Been trying to find me one for a good price locally.
I looked for over a year to find one close for a decent price. A lot of the ones I looked at were high mileage rust buckets. I also wanted the VIN of the donor because it makes buying parts a lot easier. Something else to keep in mind is any unit with more than 80K on it will likely need to have the track-lok rebuilt. Its not expensive or hard to do but if you want the LSD to work right it'll need to be done. More on that later.

Undead Rado said:
Best fix to the crappy flat flange. I guess yours would need a 60 yoke. I changed mine out pretty soon after buying it
I hope you wrench better than you read. You may be excused but first, read the last paragraph of my original post again; slowly this time. Thanks!

-Sam
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

I read the last, figured if you had plans of changing it you would have mentioned it, not whine about changing the crush sleeve, etc. I was the first one willing to put out the $ to do this swap to hopefully give some guys some motivation and more options
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

And yes the 97 back are regular Dana 44's without the 60 size pinion, mine is a 97 with the same 4.30 gearing, it's only 60" wide though so I'm running some spacers to get it out to stock
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap - Axle shaft removal

Moving on… Had some time today to work on tearing down the axle assembly some more. This is probably “old hat” for a lot of guys on here but if you haven't done this kind of work before there are a couple of things you can do that will make putting everything back together a lot easier. Download the parts diagrams and lists, take lots of pics, label and bag everything, and save the old parts even if you plan on replacing them later. I’ve attached the parts lists and diagrams that I compiled in case someone can use them. The part numbers are Honda - typically easier to source than Isuzu. Special tools so far have been limited – a 10mm flare nut wrench for the brake lines, a slide hammer/axle puller (rented), and external snap ring pliers. Other than that its been basic hand tools, PB Blaster, and a couple of cans of brake cleaner.

I won’t go into a lot of detail on pulling the axles as it is covered in the service manual. Stu Olson has all the various Dana/Spicer service manuals and a lot of other good information complied by Bill Ansell on his website at BillaVista.com-Axles & Gears PDF Files by BillaVista. He also a good how to on overhauling the axles at D44 Axle Shaft Removal and Overhaul - 1 The only difference from his write up will be that the 98+ Isuzu D44s have a snap ring behind the retainer ring and of course the brake dust covers will be on there. Note that the axle shaft bearing holders can seize up to the axle flanges so a good soaking with PB Blaster and some persistence with the slide hammer may be needed. Be careful not to bend the holders as they are specific to the Isuzu D44. The outer races can be removed by hand as shown.

Spicer part numbers and prices paid so far:

  • Bearing assembly SPICER part # 565903 - $10.25 each
  • Bearing retainer SPICER part # 36979 - $15.00 each
  • Oil Seal SPICER part # 352939 - $10.00 each
I bought the bearing assembly and retainer ring separately but you can buy them together as a TIMKEN SET 10 (U360L and U399). Also, the oil seals that I pulled out were CR 18731. Whichever way you go with the oil seals stick with Spicer or CR as others have been reported to leak from the get go. I’ve got a Taiwan knock off coming so I can confirm the differences.

Hopefully I’ll have time this weekend to pull the carrier and get started on replacing the trac-lok clutches.
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Thanks for the details -- it's information like this that will inevitably help someone out down the road.
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Hmmm, I might have to do something like this if my axle ever gives up the ghost.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Time to pull the carrier.

Had a little time to work on this project today. Before I removed the carrier I cleaned everything with brake cleaner and checked/recorded the backlash to make sure it was in spec. Since I'm not changing the carrier or pinion bearings (they are in really good shape) I should be able to put everything back together the way it came apart. Getting the carrier out is a piece of cake if you use a spreader and a couple of 24 inch pry bars. Do not spread the case more than 0.020 inch (use a dial indicator). You can remove the carrier without a spreader but why turn an easy 15 minute job into an ordeal if you don't have to.

The yoke was easy to remove as well using an impact gun. I also soaked everything in PB blaster for a couple of days and cleaned up the threads first. I couldn't get a pic, but what I did was to slide a punch into one of the bolt holes from underneath and use the cooling fins on the diff housing to hold the yoke in place. Pinion nut is a 33mm. If you don't own one or want to buy one its a common axle nut size so you should be able to rent one. Still trying to find a part number on the pinion seal.

Be sure to make note of the markings on the bearing caps and add your own if there are none. Do not mix them up. Do the same for the bearing races. I wiped them down and marked them with a sharpie before pulling the carrier. After I got everything apart I bagged and tagged the caps, bolts, races, seals, etc.

Basically all I did was follow the Service Manual posted earlier, which made for an easy job. Here are the pics:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Any plans on rebuilding the Trac-lok while its out?
That's the plan. It's not expensive or all that difficult to do. Hopefully things will ease back up to a normal pace at work soon and I can find a few hours to do it. I'll post up pics, part numbers, and cost when I do.

-Sam
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Ya I agree. Just FYI if u reuse 2 of the best OLD clutchs (one for each side) u can add more hold to the disc pack. More like a locker. Its a little tougher to install but betta for traction purposes. Its that way on the mustang Trac-lok anyway.

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Discussion Starter #16
Bling Time

Between work and domestic bliss I haven't had a lot of time to work on the swap so I figured I might as well make some progress on the bling factor. Every mod needs a little bling; right? So in the mean time a buddy of mine dropped the diff cover off to the powder coater for me. Turned out pretty good!
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

Subscribed :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Trac-Lok Rebuild

Finally got a chance to work on the diff again today. Looked up the carrier part number on The Expert to get the "bill of materials list" list and ordered a replacement clutch pack. Spicer Part Number 708203 ($65). Also picked up a couple of 4 oz bottles of friction modifier ($14). Did everything as laid out in the Factory Service Manual with the exception of improvising a couple of tools. I used a couple of 5/8"x3.5" bolts, 4 washers, and a couple of jam nuts in lieu of the Miller Forcing Screw. I also used the cross pin to turn the carrier instead of the Miller Turning Bar.

The old clutch pack was in really good shape. One of the spider gear thrust washers showed excess wear and was warped - possibly from a previous R&R. The cross pin showed some dulling as well. I didn't bother to mic it since I had an extra cross pin. Unfortunately no thrust washers were to be had it won't be finished up until a new set arrive Monday.

Pics (some are in my album already) and a more detailed narrative to follow. All in all a pretty easy job with basic hand tools and a little improvisation. Here's a link to the FSM: Spicer Model 44 Trac-Lok Model

-Sam
 

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Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

I bought the Yukon clutches from AutoZone for $75. The more posi additive u use will just defeat the purpose of having the trac-lock. It may last longer but slip a lot more. I used just valvoline high performance 80w-90 and it already has limited slip additive in it.

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Re: Dana 44 Rear Axle Swap

I bought the Yukon clutches from AutoZone for $75. The more posi additive u use will just defeat the purpose of having the trac-lock. It may last longer but slip a lot more. I used just valoline high performance 80w-90 and it already has limited slip additive in it.

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Agreed - you definitely don't want to use more than you need to reduce chatter when you fill the diff. I used the 8 ounces of friction modifier I bought to soak the clutch pack overnight and to coat the wear/contact surfaces prior to assembly. Probably put about 6 ounces of the stuff back in the jars. Friction modifier is definitely slick and is highly recommended over straight gear oil, synthetic or otherwise, during assembly.

For future reference what was the part number on the Yukon clutch pack? Any reason to use it over the Spicer parts? I'm curious!

-Sam
 

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