Narrowing a HP Dana 44 with cast radius arm mounts
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DANA 44 FRONT AXLE TECH
Of all the Ford High Pinion Dana 44 axles that are out there, the 1978 and 1979 models with the cast in radius arm mounts are usually the least desirable for swapping into other vehicles. I have showed another method to narrow one using a tube sleeve - this method use a grinder and lots of hammer and more grinding.
If you look at the axle shaft lengths for the High Pinion axles and the low pinion Early Bronco axles you will notice that the drivers side axle shafts are almost exactly the same 18.91 vs. 18.31 and the passenger side axle shafts have all the difference in them 33.91 vs. 27.94. When you put the two axles side by side you will see that the radius arm mounts are 43 apart on the High Pinion vs. 37 on the low pinion. Doing some math you will see that by narrowing the passenger side axle on the High Pinion axle by 5.97 you will have an axle that will bolt right into an early Bronco and be able to run standard Bronco axle shafts (just buy aftermarket shafts with the larger 760x u-joints, or have your high pinion axle shaft shortened by 5.97).
Since we are only narrowing the long side of the housing we do not need to mess with the cast in radius arm mounts or deal with the fact that the axle tube does not run the full length of the axle (it disappears in the cast portion of the axle, so you can't just cut the cast portion off the tube, there isnt any tube in it!).You can just grind out the welding holding the whole cast piece to the main axle tube, just like you would grind out the weld on a cut and turn or other narrowing job, then cut 5.97 of tube from the middle, press it back together and weld the axle back together at the correct width. The key is carefully measuring for your cuts and keeping everything tight and square when you weld it back together.
The final product - Early Bronco width High Pinion Dana 44
Start grinding out the weld on the long side just like any narrowing job
You can leave the short side alone
Grind, hammer, grind, hammer, repeat until you see the small crack form, then grind where there is no crack and hammer some more! Eventually you will win and the whole cast section will come off.
Measure out 5.97" to remove.
Cut with your favorite metal cutting tool - I use a porta-band.
Clean up the end of the tube, remove any high spots on the tube and prepare to reinstall the cast section/knuckle.
Pound the cast section back on the tube to the exact same depth as it was before. Set the caster to match the other side - in the picture the actual caster is NOT 11.35 degrees, but as it sits on the jack stands the other knuckle is sitting at 11.35 degrees.
Weld it back together, clean it up once last time, paint it and you are done! Early Bronco High Pinion Dana 44.
I glossed over many of the fine points of this narrowing job, but all the details can be seen in my two videos or by readying any one of the other narrowing write-ups on this site.
Inner 'C' removal and reinstalling video
Axle tube narrowing video
Full narrowing write-up with most of the details