From time to time, we find Ford Ranger owners wanting to swap out the stock Dana 35 TTB front axle, and replace it with an early Ford Bronco (1971-1977) Dana 44.
Should You Use The Early Bronco Dana 44?
I don’t want anyone to read this, and believe TRS is telling them to replace their Dana 35 with the early Bronco Dana 44. Many have found this axle appealing because its close in width to the Dana 35 TTB. This particular Dana 44 has a small 260x u-joint compared to the Dana 35’s larger 297x u-joints. In addition, the 1971-1975 Dana 44’s have drum brakes on the front. Ford didn’t upgrade to disc brakes until 1976. You can upgrade the early Bronco Dana 44 with new axle shafts that take the larger 297x u-joints, as well as convert it to disc brakes if needed. But this obviously comes as an initial cost, just to match the stock strength of the newer Dana 35 TTB.
Ford Bronco 71-77 G2 Tork Axleshafts Kit 98-2033-001
The above G2 Tork axleshafts (98-2033-001) are stronger replacements for the stock EB Dana 44 axle shafts, and come with larger 5-760x u-joints. The 5-760x is the Spicer (Dana) replacement for the older 297x u-joints used in the Dana 35 TTB and newer full size Dana 44’s. These shafts are available separately or in assembled kit. The forged induction heat treated Tork shafts are built to exceed the strength of the stock shafts, without the high cost of chromoly shafts.
Also check out ‘The Early Bronco Dana 44‘.
Are There Still EB Dana 44 Axles Out There?
Believe it or not, there are still old 1971-1977 Ford Bronco’s out there. Some are so far gone, that they don’t bring a ridiculous price tag. There are even people out there that collect and save the axles out of them.
Doing The EB Dana 44 Swap With The Help of James Duff:
James Duff has long been known for his work with the early Ford Bronco’s. His company has even offered products for the Ford Bronco II and Ford Ranger. Those products include components to perform a solid axle swap. The parts don’t come in a ‘complete kit’, but the parts necessary are there.
- Replacement shock / coil tower
- 3-1/2 Inch lift coil springs
- Track bar bracket
- Long travel radius arms
- Replacement C-bushings
The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the Dana 35, along with it’s mounting brackets, radius arms, and the upper coil spring bucket / shock mounts. If your Ranger hasn’t already been lifted, and still has the original stock brackets, you’ll have to remove the rivets that hold them in place.
If you have a torch, you can burn them off. If you don’t, you can remove them by grinding off the heads of the rivets, and then driving them out with a sledge hammer and punch.
Once the old brackets are removed and the frame is cleaned up, New holes are drilled so the James Duff brackets can be bolted on.
The James Duff brackets are very stout and made from 1/4 inch steel plate.
Once the factory buckets are removed, only one rivet hole per side needed to be enlarged for installation. otherwise, the James Duff coil buckets are a direct bolt on.
The new longer radius arms will allow the Dana 44 far greater wheel travel than the stock Ford Ranger radius arms.
You don’t need a mechanics lift to do this swap, but it can make it easier. If you have any mechanical abilities and can install a suspension lift, you can do this swap in your driveway or garage.