Building a drivers drop Dana 44 from a Chevy axle
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DANA 44 FRONT AXLE TECH
Yes - this is a 100% Chevy drivers drop Dana 44.
Complete with all the parts you need to install it with leaf springs set to the stock 31.5" spacing. You can build it to the same dimensions as a standard passenger drop front axle and use all stock parts right down to the axle shafts, u bollts and lug nuts.
The first step is to tear down the axle and grind off the passenger side steering yoke as you would for a cut and turn or any narrowing job.
Go HERE for more details on grinding and hammering off the yoke.
Next is measuring the long side and determining where to make your cut to turn it into the NEW SHORT side. With the yoke removed from the other side already, all you need to do is measure how long that side is and make this side the same length - that is why you removed the yoke 1st - it makes measuring very easy!
With the long side marked for cutting - I place a large hose clamp around the tube to act as a straight edge/guide for cutting. I am using a porta-band here - but a metal chop saw, grinder, sawzall, hacksaw or just about anything that cuts metal will work. Just make your cut square and on the mark.
With the tube cut - this is what you have, a mini axle with two short side axle tubes. They should be exactly the same length at this point.
Now we move onto to making the NEW LONG SIDE. We start with a DOM tube sleeve that has been turned down to be press fit into the old short side. I use a 10" piece of tube for my sleeves.
With the tube sleeve in place you can slide the piece of tube you cut off on and see what it is going to look like. The next steep is prepping the joint for welding, I grind a good sized bevel into both tubes to allow for good penetration. When you weld you want to make sure the weld hits the tube sleeve and both tubes making them all one piece of metal at the joint. I have also put the new short side yoke back on. At this point you need to set you caster angle. I set it based on the pinion angle as you have no leaf spring pads at this point. With the pinion pointed where you want it - set the caster to between 4 and 6 degrees positive (the top of the knuckle tipping back towards the driver).
With the yokes welded on and the caster set - we move on to the leaf spring perches. For the new drivers side I used a standard perch and cut it to fit the housing. I also cut away some of the webbing on the housing and ground down a flat spot for the perch to sit. It is a grind and fit and grind some more process to make it fit and get it right. I set the perches to 0 degrees with the caster set where I wanted it. I located the perch on the axle based on a measurement I had from the steering yoke to the perch on the old setup - I located the center pin hole the same distance from the yoke as before. I used the same measurement for the long side spring perch - the result should give me a center pin to center pin distance of 31.5", which should match the factory specs.
You also need to grind out and create a ubolt notch, I used the stock ubolt and cut a notch on the webbing and ground the housing down until it fit - mimicing the old passenger side method of clearancing for the ubolt.
The new long side perch is the same style of perch as used on the short side - check your measurements and angles and weld it on.
A fresh coat of paint and bolting on some parts and you have yourself a good looking axle for a SAS project.
And that is how it is done. Yes - it might take 8 to 10 hours of time to do the conversions/flip but it costs under $80 for the tube sleeve counting both the materials and the machining charge.