Dana 44 rear upgrades or swap - 1962 GMC 1/2 ton
Well, it seems as if replacement axles for the 60-62 GMC Dana 44 are nonexistent (coarse spline 6 lug), but the 63+ GMC Dana 44 axles with the fine spline (30?) are available in both 6 lug and 5 lug conversion shafts...
I'm either looking at swapping to a 30 spline axle if the widths are the same, and adding a 30 spline carrier, or else finding a donor rear of the same 60" width roughly. Have to weld on trailing arm and panhard brackets to most other rears for the coil rear on these trucks, $130 swap kit available for this.
Although Dana 44's are so great that they are used to this day in new vehicles, I have been told that these old units use a different carrier bearing diameter than most newer units. I was hoping that I could still find a 30 spline posi carrier that would drop into mine, or else take my carrier and possibly swap out the spider gears for a unit that uses the 30 spline shafts. Is this possible?
I really like the Dana axle removal, no c-clips, just undo 4 bolts after taking off the drum, and the axle slides out! It'd be nice to keep this.
Bad thing is, the drum backing plates are welded to the axles. If I ever damaged one, I'd be sunk for a while, especially if on the road. It'd be nice (but not necessary) to have a disc brake rear. I suppose I could weld on disc brake mounts, or rather the standard GM brake backing plate mounting flange, onto these axles. I was also wondering if there were any newer Dana 44 axles that would be the right width for this truck, not too much wider due to the smokin' deal I got on some torque thrust wheels. Also, needs to be able to accept the 5 lug on 5" GM bolt patern axles. And if it were a disc rear, I'd need to be able to find a master cylinder that'd work with the 1989 Suburban front calipers that I have to swap on. I suppose I could find a different caliper that'd bolt right to the spindles up front, if I needed a different bore to match whatever 4 wheel disc MC that I got to match up with the rear calipers.
Yeah, I need lots of retrofit guidance here...
1962 GMC 1000 Panel Truck 305D three on the tree
1971 RS/SS Camaro project on hold
Life is short, and we seem to get bogged down with "wants" or "wishes".
Why beat yourself up looking for rare stuff that you may never find?
What is the truck? 2wd or 4x4? What wheel offsets? What I would do for the 5 on 5" is just get a late 70s to late 80s chev/gmc 1/2 ton 2wd rear. Yes, it is of "throw away" quality compared to a 44, but so easy to find a good donor with a good ratio. Those rears are about 1.5" wider than the 69-and-older rears, but that width really helps fill in the rear tire wells.
a 4wd rear will work from 70 up, but you need to swap in the 2wd 5 lug axles from a 71-up.
If I could find a 63+ Dana 4 posi from a GM application, I think I could easily do this, but I need to make sure the axles are the same other than the splines. I think they are, as the widths I believe stayed the same narrow width for most of the 60's. I was referred to a place called Precision Gear in Michigan that apparently makes all sorts of custom stuff for Dana 44's and other axles. Waiting for a call back from their retrofit guy. I like the Dana 44 a lot, but the lack of the 10-12 coarse spline axle replacements just totally sucks! The backing plates being welded on sucks, but if I swapped to another rear, I'd go through a lot of hassle trying to figure out what Dana 44 late model had a similar width, would take GM disc brakes, and then have to weld on the trailing arm and panhard bar mounts... Either way, it's a lot of work!
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