Next is the building of the front D44 axle. It is a High Pinion design from a 1976 Ford F150 Pickup.
Here I am cutting the inner "C" off so that I can narrow the axle tubes to 1980 + Jeep Wagoneer width. My reasons for doing this were so that if I did ever break an axle I could get a spare just about any where. Once you cut the inner "C" off you have to remove the axle tube from the inside of the "C".
Once this was done I took the housing over to a buddies house to narrow it and weld on the inner "C" and bracket kit.
I read every story on building a D44 for a Jeep that I could find on the internet. I found some real good info on the Pirate 4X4 Bulletin Board. Based on that info I narrowed the short side to 8" and the long side to 24 3/8". This is from the end of the tube to the center of the bung hole on the diff housing.
We then cleaned the ends of both tubes up and reinstalled the inner "C". We set the total caster & pinion angle at 11 degrees. This works out to 7 degrees caster and 4 degrees pinion angle.
After all the stories I had read I really thought this was going to be a lot harder. Most articles I have read said you had to heat the inner "C" up and then slide it onto the axle tube. Well both "C" went on without having to heat them up. We set the angle we wanted and then triple checked it and then once more before we ever welded anything.
Next was to weld on the Rubicon Express TJ bracket kit. It took us a total of 6 hours to get the axle to this point.
The next day we were going to install the ARB air locker & gears. Well Larry and I worked at it for over 6 hours and could never get a good pattern on the gears. So instead of pulling our hair out I just took the axle to a shop and let a professional do the job.
To to answer the question of, would you do it again? And was it worth it? Yes it was and yes I would do it again just for the experience.