I know the Dana 44 out of a ’70s F-150 is a popular swap and easy, but how easy? Is it like pull out the TTB and it’ll fit right up with the steering, driveline, coil springs, and radius arms easy, or minor fabrication easy? I currently have a 6-inch lift, but it should be the same concept as stock height because it’s only raised, if that made any sense. Also, are the cross-members the same on both trucks so I could put the TTB under the F-150 with some measuring and hole drilling? Any advice would help.
This is one of those questions where the answer really boils down to how much fabrication experience and fab tools you have (or want to learn) and how easily can you find the parts needed. And at the end of the day, what is it that you want? The short answer is no, everything won’t simply unbolt from the ’70s truck and bolt onto your Bronco. But, as far as swaps go, this one isn’t too terribly difficult, assuming at least a 6-inch lift to keep the axle from crashing into the Bronco’s cross member and/or oil pan. Still there are real challenges.
A solid axle Dana 44 (like one from a ’78 or ’79 F-150 or Bronco) isn’t that much stronger than what you already have. Better yes, but not Dana 60 better. We talked to Randy Harral at Driven 4x4 Parts (drivenautoparts.com), our local Bronco and F-150 expert. The main problem, according to Harral, is going to be finding the parts you’ll need for the swap. Ideally, you would find a ’78 or ’79 F-150 4x4 to rob the front axle and bracketry from, but these trucks aren’t terribly common these days and are becoming more and more expensive. Because these trucks are few and far between or costly, we’ll cover two options.
First, let’s start with the assumption that you could find a parts truck for a reasonable price. Say you find a ’78 or ’79 F-150 4x4 parts truck for a few thousand bucks … probably won’t happen, but if the stars align that’s what you’d want. The earlier trucks may have drum brakes (which you won’t want) or could be a low-pinion Dana 44 (you want the later high-pinion axle). At the least, you’ll want the axlehousing, steering, track bar, and radius arms that go with the older axle, and you might want the brackets that would tie the frame end of the radius arm to the frame, but they may not be tall enough.
You will probably need radius arm drop brackets for the ’78/’79 truck to keep your caster and pinion angle in range at ride height with the 6-inch-lift springs. Several aftermarket companies will have these drop brackets for a 6-inchlifted solid axle truck.
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