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  • changing a Dana 44 center section

    The model 27 in my Commander is on borrowed time. I have a #44 out of a late model with finned drums, but still a tapered axle unit. I bought a twin track center "chunk" that was originally in a 3.31 unit. The 44 I have is an open 3.31. I bought a center section from a professional mechanic who has been turning wrenches for his livelihood for a long time. He told me to remove the open center section, keep track of the shims and where they go, change the ring gear from the open unit to the TT unit, and install the TT unit with the spacers in the same order and place as found. The differential should be already set up. He's done this many times, I never have.
    1) how hard is it to remove and install the center section with no specialized tools?
    2) has anyone done this that could give some pointers?
    3) is this something to take to a differential shop? My wife is limiting the budget so any money saved would be welcomed.
    Any observations would be appreciated.

    Kelly J. Marion

  • #2
    I have never done the TT swap, but I replaced a 4.27 in a truck with a 3.54 from a hawk. Both were 44's and I had no trouble. I had an old MOTOR'S repair manuel that gave step by step directions. Still works good. NT


    Neil Thornton
    Hazlehurst, GA
    '57 Silver Hawk
    '56 Sky Hawk
    '51 2R16 dump truck
    Many others.

    Neil Thornton

    Comment


    • #3
      You could get lucky but the whole idea of "setting up a rear" is that no two cases, ring gears, pinions etc are EXACTLY the same. They are close that's why adjustments are in thousanths of an inch and a little off makes for noise, early wear or outright breakage.

      You could take a shot, check the backlash, run a pattern and you never know. Doesn't cost anything but time.

      Removing the center section doesn't require anything special just some muscle and a pry bar.

      ErnieR


      R2 R5388 @ Macungie 2006________________ 1988 "Beater" Avanti

      Comment


      • #4
        quote:Originally posted by rockinhawk

        I have never done the TT swap, but I replaced a 4.27 in a truck with a 3.54 from a hawk. Both were 44's and I had no trouble. I had an old MOTOR'S repair manuel that gave step by step directions. Still works good. NT
        Yep. Truck was a '59 halfton, Hawk was a '60 model. Seems like I remember you using two long screwdrivers to pry the "chunk" out.

        I put 10K miles on it just myself, not including how many miles my granddad put on it before that. He had never done rear end work before and was giving it a shot, as it couldn't have made it any worse than what it was. There's never been any trouble out of it.

        Matthew Burnette
        Your Friendly Stude Trim Bender


        Comment


        • #5
          All the books I have indicate that the ring and pinion are matched sets and need to stay together. If it was me, I would set the carrier and pinion pre-load and pinion depth according to the manual. I used the old trick of stuffing a rag between the pinion and ring and the carrier came right out - so no spreader required.
          78 Avanti RQB 2792
          64 Avanti R1 R5408
          63 Avanti R1 R4551
          63 Avanti R1 R2281
          62 GT Hawk V15949
          56 GH 6032504
          56 GH 6032588
          55 Speedster 7160047
          55 Speedster 7165279

          Comment


          • #6
            If it whines when you give it gas, the ring is too close to the pinion; if it whines when you let off the gas (with engine braking) it's too far away. I always adjust them so that I feel just the slightest amount of clearance between the two.

            Comment


            • #7
              CASO diff methods will cost you in the long run.

              Just set it up and read the gear pattern.
              That will tell you what you need to know to set it up right.
              There's more to it than just tight and loose.
              There's in and out as well.
              And two different housings will give you different numbers...every time.
              If you look at the end of the pinion, it has the pinion depth numbers that will tell you where to set the pinion...
              If you have the right tools and know how to use them.

              Fortunatley, there are a ton of 4x4 shops that do Dana 44's all day long.
              Why screw up a good R&P just to save a few bucks?
              Just do it right.

              HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

              Jeff


              Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



              Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

              Comment


              • #8
                You can see why bige is saying in so many words: "not so fast"! [:0]

                Your friend's help is sounding like he is saying: save the shims from the keeper housing and install them on the "new" Pinion gear, so now, only one half of the "fit" equation is correct! It MAY work, but it's a toss-up!

                Also sometimes you can easily REMOVE the complete Carrier Unit from the housing, BUT putting it back is another thing entirely! It MAY require the book required "Spreader Tool"!

                You could try it, and if you don't get lucky, end up taking it all to a 4 Wheel Drive Shop to set it up properly.

                StudeRich
                StudeRich
                Second Generation Stude Driver,
                Proud '54 Starliner Owner

                Comment


                • #9
                  I hardly ever have good luck taking anything to a shop and relying on them to "Do it right". Unless you DIY, you will never KNOW if it was done right or not. When I had a tranny shop, I had cars come in with loose rearends all the time. So often that I started measuring the amount the yoke would turn. I remember a light blue ford LTD station wagon with a 351M and a C4 trans that had 1/4 turn play. I think most used pinions will be close enough to the correct depth, but variations in the ring side to side is a given. I've changed a lot of ring and pinions (used ones) and never reset the depth on the pinion, but always reset the ring. Now might be the time to learn how to read gear markings. It could probably be done in less time than it takes to run it all over to a shop and wait. And then you really never know how "perfect" of a job they're going to do..cuz..it's "just an old car".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I did this with a 3:07 TT rear end and a 3:31 Open rear. They were both flanged axles differentials. I had a good 3:07 Twin Track I wanted to save,and I bought what was supposed to be a good 3:31 flanged open rear from a gent on the old Alt.Autos newsgroup to replace a tapered 3:73 tapered axle that was buzzing my little 194 six too hard @ 60 MPH. When I opened that "good" used rear end I saw the pinion gear shaft keeper bolt on the 3:31 differential had sheared off the bolt head at some point,and the pin had wallowed out the carrier so the pin was real loose,and the keeper bolt had been drilled out and a roll pin hammered into the hole to retain said pinion gear shaft!! So I took the TT carrier from the 3:07 Rear and kept track of the shim amounts on both sides of the carrier and unbolted the ring gear. I then removed the wasted open carrier from the 331 rear,keeping track of the shim amounts on both sides of the carrier for this rear as well.I bolted the :331 ring gear onto the 3:07 TT carrier and put it back into the 331 differential. The shims on the 3:07 TT rear had the ring gear/carrier .023 deeper into the pinion than the 3:31 open differential,so I went ahead and reused the shims that were original to the 3:31 rear end,and reassembled it.
                    I was able to determine the shim depths and adding the numbers on the shims.I figured a bit looser was better than a bit too tight as far as ring gear/pinion depth.It worked extremely well and had no bad noises or whine. The rear was installed into the 64 Commander 2 door I used to have.The motor was a 194 with a 3 on the tree,and that rear end suffered thru many full throttle power shifts and some heavy wheel hop on a few occasions and NEVER made a peep. I do add GM posi traction supplement to all my TT rear ends.If the shim totals are not too dramatic in difference I can not see why it would not work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Setting up the R&P and carrier on a Dana 44 is not terribly hard.
                      But like any setup, there are trick and tips, and do's and don'ts.
                      Here's a link to let you see the basics...
                      http://tinyurl.com/Dana44SetupSites
                      HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)

                      Jeff


                      Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain



                      Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Oh man, I read the first one and when the guy got to the part about using white grease to set up the gears, he mentioned that he had never really done that himself. Datz wah am talkinbout. Sometimes you think you're dealing with pros and you just ain't.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would try original advise but first I would put ring gear from open on TT unit(if it has bearings on it) and check pattern. You might get lucky. If it's off too much would then try original shims from open unit. When installing carrier back in to housing (if you don't have spreader) if preload is near correct you will have to cock bearing cups and drive it in with a soft mallet. If it falls in easily it is too loose. With a used r&p I try to get pattern to match original wear pattern. It helps to check backlash before you remove the open unit. When the new pattern matches old you should have original back lash. It's not difficult(though harder with used r&p) to get it together and not make noise but improper bearing preload and gear mesh effects longevity of unit. A properly set up unit lasts much longer but if your car doesn't get driven much it shouldn't be as critical.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm a little suspect of your mechanic. He should know that a DANA 44's "spacers" are under the carrier bearings and will travel with it and not be loose to "keep rack of".

                            Before you re-assemble things make sure the axles work in the new carrier.

                            ErnieR

                            quote:Originally posted by kelmbaker

                            The model 27 in my Commander is on borrowed time. I have a #44 out of a late model with finned drums, but still a tapered axle unit. I bought a twin track center "chunk" that was originally in a 3.31 unit. The 44 I have is an open 3.31. I bought a center section from a professional mechanic who has been turning wrenches for his livelihood for a long time. He told me to remove the open center section, keep track of the shims and where they go, change the ring gear from the open unit to the TT unit, and install the TT unit with the spacers in the same order and place as found. The differential should be already set up. He's done this many times, I never have.
                            1) how hard is it to remove and install the center section with no specialized tools?
                            2) has anyone done this that could give some pointers?
                            3) is this something to take to a differential shop? My wife is limiting the budget so any money saved would be welcomed.
                            Any observations would be appreciated.

                            Kelly J. Marion

                            R2 R5388 @ Macungie 2006________________ 1988 "Beater" Avanti

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It usually takes a day to set one up, or at least several evenings. An inch pound torque wrench, a case spreader, magnetic dial indicator, calipers, prussion blue, "set-up" bearings, and a hydraulic press are typically required.

                              Dana has a good technical discussion on setting up a Dana 44 on their website. Pay particular attention on what to move for correcting the tooth pattern.

                              It requires patience. There is no luck to it, nor is there "luckingout" with a setup in another housing or with a different carrier. Too many variables.





                              1963 Studebaker Avanti: LS1 motor and T-56 transmission have been moved rearward, set up as a two seat coupe with independent rear suspension.
                              sigpic 1963 Studebaker Avanti: LS1 motor and T-56 transmission have been moved rearward, set up as a two seat coupe with independent rear suspension. Complex solutions for nonexistant problems.

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