D35C to D44a Complete Axle Housing Swap (WJ)


How to replace a D35C axle housing and replace it with a D44a housing


So I was looking to add a rear locker and I wasn't plan on locking my D35 so I decided to build up a D44a. I had one shipped down from Washington, threw in an aussie locker & all new brake lines, and finally Kolak's brake upgrade.

I picked the D44a to maintain my ABS/Speedometer sensors & because it is 100% bolt up...

Start with one Jeep and one D35 axle

Getting Started...

Add a dash of D44a:

D44a

Time to remove the shocks:

Remove the shocks

Uh oh, I twisted off the bolt heads...out with the grinder for both axle side shock bolts:

A little trouble with the shock bolts

The nut WAS welded on...that is the part that needs to be grinded off:

Nut WAS welded on...

Next I disconnected the e-brake. This is done inside, under the seat and under the carpet. There is a cut out for it. Lift the carpet and for each brake cable coming into the cab, there are three tabs holding it in there. Push the three tabs in and it'll pop out:

Disconnect e-brake, ABS lines and brake line

In the above pic, I also disconnected the ABS lines (2 x 10mm bolts, 1 per side), and disconnected the brake line. It LEAKS everywhere, it drains from the reservoir so you'll need to stop it. I grabbed my oil absorbant material from my trail repair kit and it absorbed the brake fluid great:

Oops - some fluid to absorb...

Next I tried to vicegrip some tubing over it, but it still leaked since I didn't have big enough vicegrips.

Trying to save some fluid mess...

...So I added some RTV sealant to the end and it sealed up as soon as a little pressure built up in the line. Great, no more leak.

After this brutal Mag-Chloride filled winter, I had lots of rusted bolts so I cleaned them all up, then taped off the threads and painted them all:

Cleaned up some of the bolts

I removed the driveshaft, and finally I removed the A-arm and LCA's...Then I pulled out the axle:

Out came the axle...

The D35c is out!

This axle is just begging to go in now

D44a awaiting install

It belongs here:

Here's where it goes...

So Up it goes, LCA's and A-arm attached:

In place with LCA's and A-Arm attached

Time to install the springs, shocks and swaybar.

Wrapped up

Then the ABS, E-brakes, and brake line.

Tada, now who can figure out what I didn't reconnect at the very end?   I had this "thought" months ago. I wonder if my drive shaft will be the wrong size.  I kept putting it off, "ignoring" the "problem".  Well, it is 2" too long

So I could either:
1) Have a local shop modify my drive shaft to be shorter, easy to cut and reweld. This is the cheapest.
2) Have a local shop or Tom Woods build me a new drive shaft that is beefier.
3) Get Tom Woods SYE for the 242 with a new beefier shaft, most expensive @ $500 ($900 - $400 core deposit)...

I am leaning towards option 3 so I could drive off the trail w/o a rear shaft...

I need to get my Jeep to the dealership to bleed the ABS system. I "hear" that if you get air in the ABS system they need to cycle the abs valves to get air out of them. Right now the brakes "work" but are moderately soft.

Gallery: D35C to D44a Swap (WJ)

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