Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50: Which Axle Is More Ideal?

You probably came to this page to find out what sort of front axle your vehicle has. Perhaps you are looking to replace the front axle on your vehicle. Both the Dana 44HD and the Dana 50 front axles look similar, but people have developed methods for telling them apart.

In most cases, climbers end up switching their axles for regular tube-style axles. When it comes to Dana 44-HD or Dana 50 solid axles, these are the axles of choice for off-roaders who need plenty of travel. However, this requires suspension modifications, along with bracing & support for the stock axles.

Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50: which one is more capable? In both cases, the suspension systems perform better than the bolt-on suspension components offered by popular aftermarket suspension suppliers. Well, let’s see both in-depth below.

Dana 44HD vs Dana 50: Quick Comparison

In order to see the differences deeper, the following table compares the Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50. This quick table summarizes all the differences between the two products.

SpecificationsDana 44HD Dana 50
Ring gear dimensions:8.5 inches9 inches
Bolts for ring gear:3/8″ x 24-RH10 inches
Carrier breaks:3.73 Higher & 3.92 LowerNone
Preload on pinions:14 to19 in-lbs (original), 6 to 9 in-lbs (used)17 to 30 in-lbs (original), 8 to 10 in-lbs (used)
Torque for ring gear:55 lbs-ft110 ft-lbs
Torque at carrier bearing caps:60 lbs-ft80 ft-lbs
Backlash:.006” to .010 inches.006″ to .010 inches
Axle lugs:5×5.58×6.5
Max tire diameter:35 inches37 inches
U-joints:1-3/16″1-3/8″ 
GAWR:3,500 lbs.4600 lbs. 

In-Depth Difference Between Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50

Both Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50 common components of a long travel kit include braced and modified axle beams, extended radius arms, extra shock towers, and coil-overs. It’s time to dive into the in-depth discussion below after reading the specifications table.

Features

From 1980 to 1986, Ford F-250s with medium-duty Dana 44HD TTBs were available. Leaf springs are used both to support the vehicle and to locate the axle (they do not have radius arms). Both the Dana 44HD and Dana 44 differential housings are used for Dana 44HD TTB.

The Dana 44HD axle housings are constructed of steel of .250 wall thickness, which gives them a shorter & heavier profile compared to standard Dana 44 TTBs. Since the Dana 44HD TTB and Dana 44 TTB are different in length, their pivot brackets are built differently. They are mounted to the upper cross member at a different location.

Dana 50 TTB versions were also available, including the heavy-duty version available for Ford F-250HD cars & 1980-1985 F-350s. There is no difference between the axle housings of Dana 44HD & Dana 50. However, the Dana 50 has a 9-inches ring gear, whereas the Dana 44HD has an 8.5-inches ring gear. 

Among the Dana 50’s features are wider axle shafts, locking hubs, and u-joints compared to the Dana 44HD. 

Dana 50 wins the game in the features section. It is possible to bolt up a Dana 50 TTB third member (housing) to a Dana 44hd beam, but any other Dana 44 parts cannot be swapped. On the passenger side, the slip yoke and axle shaft are an exception.

Applications

Dana 44s were first produced after World War II. Generally, it can be found underneath the front & rear of Jeeps, International Harvester, Studebaker, and Dodge. Dana 44HD also fit Ford trucks, including the Isuzu Rodeo and the Honda Passport, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.

The Dana 44HD has larger bearings, spindles, and steering knuckles. The heavy-duty wheels have different hubs and axles (8-lug) compared to light-duty tires. Three components are interchangeable with the Dana 44 & 44HD: the third member, drive-shaft, and the hub locking mechanism. 

From 1999 to 2003, Ford F-250s and F-350s used the solid axle Dana 50. In addition to this axle, the Ford Excursions were the only vehicles with 4-wheel drive to use this axle. While we love the super duty V-10 and the powerful 7.3-L V-8s, the Dana 50 front axle of the first Super Duty models is less desirable. 

Although it was bolted to Super Duty models through 2002, it was available on nearly all Ford Excursions 4×4. Front axles Dana 50 were carry-overs until Ford officially phased them out in 2003.

Undoubtedly, the Dana 50 is also a winner here, as it’s the first super-duty vehicle. However, the Dana 50 TTB was installed in 1987, replacing the Dana 44HD TTB.

Details of Axles

Since the 1940s, Dana 44HD axles have been used, and they remain popular in today’s market. It features an 8.5 inches ring gear, as well as 19-, 30-, and 32-spline axle shafts semi-floating. Both front and rear applications (standard & reverse rotation) are available with solid axles and IRS/IFS configurations. 

The Dana 44 axle is recognizable by its 10 cover bolts, hexagon-shaped diffuser with rounded edges, & fill plug in the center of the axle. On the top right and left of the differential housing, near the diff cover, you may find a “44” cast into the back.

Ford exclusively uses the Dana-50 axle, which has been in existence for almost 25 years. High pinion forward axles are the only ones that utilize this solution, which is also available in both solid axle & TTB configurations (two traction beams). In most cases, you can identify the right axle by the “229” cast into the webbing of the axle, though take care. The Dana 50 solid axle is functionally identical to the more powerful.

Dana 44HD is the clear winner in this category. Its front and rear applications are available with solid axles and IRS/IFS configurations. The differential cover bolts can also be utilized to attach an axle ID badge.

Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50: Which One Should You Choose?

You probably also wonder which one provides the best value between Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50? Basically, Dana 44HD and Dana 50 are both equipped with TTB housings. Fortunately, the centers for both are interchangeable. 

Hubs on Dana 50 TTBs are huge, about the size of Dana 44 hubs. There is a 4-inch gap between the cap and the center of the “hub.” There is a common mounting pattern and spline axles. 

With D50, the ring gear is larger, as opposed to D44HD’s 1.5″ spindles.

Finally, I would like to say that; you have to select your preferred one considering your personal preference, vehicle type, as well as axle performance.

FAQs.

Who makes Dana axles?

A durable Dana axle is manufactured by Toledo Driveline with the help of high-tech automation & the expertise of skilled workers. There is much anticipation surrounding the 2019 launch of Jeep’s top-of-the-line pickup truck. As part of its worldwide growth strategy, Dana incorporated opened its latest manufacturing plant today in Toledo, Ohio.

Which vehicles had a Dana 50 front axle?

From 1999 to 2003, Ford F-250s and F-350s used the solid axle Dana 50. The single OEM axle for Ford Excursions with the 4-wheel drive was also this axle. Formed early in 2002, and fitted to the Super Duty front end, including Ford Excursions 4×4. By the end of 2003, Ford had formally phased out the Dana 50 front axle.

What is the difference between Dana 44 and Dana 44hd?

HD axles feature larger pinion & ring gears, which are generally weak points of Dana 44 axles. Jeep does not mention the fact that a Rubicon’s rear axle also has a Dana 44HD. Compared to the Sahara and Sport, which have standard Dana 44 axle housings. HD axles have 32 spline shafts.

Conclusion

You may choose between Dana 44HD Vs Dana 50; which one is better for you? I repeat, Dana 44HD and Dana 50 axle housings share the same shaft. Dana 50 contains the number 50 in the housing, which is considered more robust than the Dana 44HD. 

However, the Dana 50 axle uses a 9 inches ring gear, while the Dana 44HD axle uses 8.5 inches.

In both Dana 44 TTBs and Dana 44HD TTBs, Spicer 760 x u-joints are used (originally 297x), with 2.188-inch wide joints. However, the Dana 50 TTB has a Spicer 799 x u-joint, measuring 3.622 inches in width.

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