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Full width axle +/-'s


NAXJA Forum User
Hey I have given up my search for an xj 44 and will probably end up with waggy 44's front and rear. But while I'm swaping axles I might as well consider all of my options. What are the advantages and disadvantages to going with full width axles? This is a DD but I live in Idaho so I could get away with wider axles on the street. I just want to know what you guys think.
here is just one of many options, since its the direction I am going and can't talk about it...

granted I cannot say much on actually RUNNING these certain axles, how they function on jackstands is the limit of my experience but.....

I can comment on axle width!

I have an hp 44 front and ff60 rear from a 79 f250.....

I was concerned about width too, and here's what I did...

I ran a 17" rim that allowed me to swallow the big drums and dual piston calipers, and ran an offset of 5" which brings my outside trackwidth to 77"......not bad......almost makes chopping axle long sides seem unecessary.....
Beez has it right, wide axles + deep backspacing = a liveable combination.

1. Full width axles are easier to find parts for if/when you break.
2. Someone on the trail is more likely to have a part that will work.
3. You get more articulation at the end of the axle with a wider axle.
4. Wider axles get your more chicks, plain & simple.
Fullsize axles kick major butt! My personal favorite reason is that the pivot point of the front tires moves out away from the body. Big tires can now go from lock to lock with less chance (or none at all, depending on how big you go) of rubbing on the body. Problem is that the tires will probably not stuff in the stock fenders anymore. Everything has tradeoffs. Eventually I'll be adding some big aftermarket flares to compensate and compromise. Here's some shots of my truck with 78 Ford 1/2 ton axles:

With the 33x12.5 tires and cheap 15x8" rims with 4" of backspacing the overall width is just shy of 80 inches


Jeep on!
OK, I think I'm going to go with this. I have TJ flares and they are wider than xj flares so I should be ok. What axles would you guys recomend? Are the late 70's F-series the way to go? I thought I remember reading that the WT full size cherokee has the same spring perches in the rear. Also does anyone have pics of there full width xj flexed up?
What you need depends on what you're going to do with it (and also what you can find in the 'yards). What are you doing for the front suspension? How much lift do you want? What size tires?
Jeep on!
I am sitting at 5.5" of lift right now and plan to run 35's. the front will stay coils and long arms. Is it possible to still use my longarm setup with the radius arm mounts on a ford front end?
It all depends on what trails you normally run. On tight technical trails the width can hurt you big time. Instead of picking a line, lots of times you're force to place the tires where they'll fit. Like the others said, offset wheels will help, but your already vulnerable lock out hubs will stick even further out there ready to kiss rocks. The added width does add stability on off camber stuff. It's all a compromise.

forgot to add that, but farmer has a point.....my hubs come within an inch of the plane of the outside bead......its a rock catcher to be sure......I don't mind beating hubs up, but I'm thinkin if i was able to beat my hubs up when they were recessed more, i'll frikin nail them now!

doesn't goat run some kinda protector plate to help that?
The stuff I wheel is pretty narrow but most of the time you don't get to choose a line, you just try to stay out of the ruts and off the trees. I've only smashed one wheel against a rock so far and I guess it would have hit a hub. A protector for the hub would probably be a good idea.
I guess I'm just lucky that there aren't a whole lotta rocks here in Michigan (TONS of logs and other forest-type obstacles though), cause I've never really given any thought to smashing my hubs. Personally, that's pretty low on my priorities list for choosing axles. There are sooo many other factors involved.
If you want to use your current longarm system, then I don't advise getting Ford axles with the cast-on radius arm mounts. They'd be a real pain to grind off. Supposedly the pre-78 Ford truck axles have welded-on mounts that would be far easier to remove. Waggy axles are also pretty clean with their leaf pads, but are low-pinion (if that matters to you). Most of the F-250 axles should have 4.10 gears if that's what you wanted to run. Do you have a budget in mind for this? I also recommend pricing some of the custom-built axles too (it doesn't hurt to ask). You can get them already all set-up for your truck with brackets and everything. Bolt-on can be especially tempting, depending on your fabbing skills and pocketbook.
Jeep on!
I did some searching and from what I could tell the Wide track full sized cherokees and the j series trucks have front and rear d44's, and the rear is a direct bolt on. The low pinion front d44 should still be much stronger than the d30, plus I can get deeper gears for it. My fab skills aren't as good as I wish they were but they will get better because my pocket book is small. (A custom made axle is way too much.) What is the best source for front axle bracketry? Should I remove the stock hardware from the d30 or is it worth it to go with RE.
The term "full width" is relative. I ran a full-width 1/2 ton D44 which was 64" wms to wms (flex pic), my new 3/4 ton D44 front is 67" wms to wms and the full floating 14 bolt is 69" wms to wms. I would've stuffed into the flares if I had flares with the 64" D44 and 4.25" b/s on the wheels. The new wheels are 5.38 b/s in the second pic.


CW. said:
The stuff I wheel is pretty narrow but most of the time you don't get to choose a line, you just try to stay out of the ruts and off the trees. I've only smashed one wheel against a rock so far and I guess it would have hit a hub. A protector for the hub would probably be a good idea.

They laugh at me when I used the high strength alloy wheel covers to stop rock rash on my lockouts... Anybody got the pic?
here's mine with a full width dana 44 from a 78 F 150, I used the ford radius arms (longer than stock), these are 10" wide wheels with 3.75" BS, I now am using the same BS but went with a 8" wheel so it is narrower than this pic, but not by much, tires in this pic are 36x12.5 and I now have 38x12.5.

Two things to note with this pic, one the axle in now centered and the coils really aren't on that much of an angle, they are angled but not nearly as much as what it looks like.

I don't think I'm too wide, I like the stability of the wider axles for sure. I was thinking last night about my hubs being close to the outside of the wheel face, I might have to come up with something. Would a hub cap from a Vista Cruser work??

hey, I went to the Pull and Save to see what they had in the yard as far as axle donors. They had a few 77-80 f250's and quite a few waggies, cherokees, and J trucks of both the NT and WT variety. I am leaning toward the jeep family just because there is less fabrication needed, because the rearend is a bolt on. How does the model 20 rear compare to the d44 rear as far a strength, available gearing, parts availability, and parts cost? If I run into problems with my hubs seeing abuse Ill beef up some old hubcaps with 3/4 plate just for fun.
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The 20 ot of an old CJ is the weak tubed, 2 peice axle (junk) but the 20 out of an old waggy is a 1 peice axle with stronger tubes. From what I understand, the waggy 20 is as close to the 44 as you can get. Stay away from the CJ 20. I believe that the 20 was used in some "J" trucks, but not sure.