DANA 60 CONVERSION
The Binder Bunch has learned through years of four wheeling that if you are going to run 35" or taller tires you will eventually break the 44 axles, ring & pinion, and differential. Our solution was to install a dana 60 in the rear of our Scouts. Our goal was to maintain build a bullet proof rear end and keep the stock 5-lug configuration.
Any dana 60 out of a full-size pickup will work. If you are on a low budget you might be able to find an axle with 35 spline axles (rare) and the same gear ratio that your front axle is running. Other wise plan on spending around $1300-$1400 including new locker, ring & pinion, 35 spline axles and new bearing ends. You should be able to locate a used dana 60 rear end for $100 to $200.
Once you have located your dana 60 you will need to tear down the housing for cleaning. Remove all the axles, brakes, differential cover, carrier assembly and pinion (Important: keep track of all the shims and remember where they came from!). Load the housing in the back of your truck, take the housing to the car wash, and clean the heck out of it.
Now you need to order the conversion parts for the axle. The drawing below shows the dimensions for the 35 spline 1 1/2" axles. The Binder Bunch has bought most of these Pro Street High torque axles from Mark Williams Enterprises (800-525-1963) but, Strange axles and other venders will work. The part number called out by Mark Williams for the High Torque axles is #50400 (approx. $460/pr serial #??). The housing ends that shall need to be welded on the narrowed axle are from Mark Williams Enterprises as well. The part number for the Large Ford housing end kits is #57750 (approx. $170 ea.).
You shall need to order a ring and pinion to match your front differential, bearings and installation kit. Some sort of locking differential (Note: make sure you call out 1 1/2" 35 spline axles) shall need to be ordered (The Binder Bunch prefers the Detroit Locker). The U-bolts for the Stock Scout dana 44 will NOT work on the dana 60 housing. Measure the housing diameter and length of the new U-bolts. The Binder Bunch upgrades the diameter of these new U-bolts to 5/8". The stock U-bolt plate shall need to be drilled out for the larger diameter U-bolts.
The first step in the conversion is to cut the axle tubes off. The dimensions are shown on the drawing below. If you are nervous about cutting the tubes Mark Williams or most drive train shops can perform this service for you. The bearing housing ends should be aligned with the centerline of the differential's carrier bearings with the flat portion pointing up. The Binder Bunch uses an alignment fixture that utilizes a 1" tool steel rod that is located with machined adapters pressed into the housing ends and two addition adapters (the ones that come with your pinion depth gage usually work) held in place by the differential bearing caps.
Mark Williams offers a kit for this as well. All welding should be performed by a certified welder. While you are welding the axle ends on go ahead and weld around the pumpkin where the tubes are pressed into the housing (see picture).
Setup and install your ring and pinion and differential. The IH Scout service manual has a good write up on how to do this. If you are not converting to disc brakes on the rear housing you will need to locate large Ford drum brake backing plates and drums (The Binder Bunch strongly encourages converting to disc brakes on the rear end. See disc brake conversion tech. article). Install the brakes and slide in the axles. Install the differential cover.
You will need to grind off the spring perches before installing the new rear end. Place the rear end assembly under the Scout. Set the spring perches between the axle housing and the leaf spring. Snug the new U-bolts up to hold the axle housing in place. Now twist the axle housing until the yoke is pointing at the transfer case yoke with the weight of the Scout on the axle housing (you can use jack stands if you don't have the wheels bolted on yet). Now measure to make sure the perches are equal distances from the axle housing ends. Weld the perches on the axle housing. Again, the welding should be done by a certified welder.
Adjust and bleed the rear brake cylinders. Install the Wheels and you are done. You now have a rear axle housing capable of handling large tires and lots of Horsepower.