73-87 Chevy _ GMC Trucks => 4 Wheel Drives => Topic started by: ehjorten on February 18, 2020, 03:08:38 PM

Title: Dana 44 Front Drive Axle Came Apart!
Post by: ehjorten on February 18, 2020, 03:08:38 PM
Well...I took the kids up for another day at Steven's Pass on Sunday in my '77 K20.  I usually turn the hubs in before we leave, so when I get in the snow, I can just pull the lever into 4WD.  Got up in the snow and tried putting it in 4WD and it wanted to grind like everything wasn't spinning at speed together.  Did I actually forget to turn the hubs in?  We got to a place where I could pull to the side, about 5 miles from the Summit.  I put it in 4WD and then we started spinning!  WTH???  On the side of the road I could confirm that 1) My hubs were locking and unlocking properly, and 2) my front driveshaft was spinning!  UH OH!!!  That means something isn't working in the 3rd member.  We eventually got unstuck and back out onto the section of road that was worn down from all the traffic that we were in front of before.  I then flipped a u-turn and we idled back down the hill.

Once I got home, I popped off the diff cover and I could immediately see metallic particles in the oil!  Then a bolt dropped out!  And then another piece of a bolt dropped out!  What I found were some chipped ring-gear teeth and a chunk of the carrier gone!  Further inspection of spinning wheels and ring-gear to evaluate the issue, I found that the ring gear was spinning, but the carrier was remaining stationary!!!

I hadn't inspected or changed oil in the front D44 in a long, long time!  It must have been coming apart for a while, and finally let go!  Last weekend my son and I went shooting and it was wet and muddy.  I put it in 4WD and it didn't seem quite right.  I now know that it didn't seem right because it wasn't working then!  Never heard any big noise or bang, it just quietly quite working!  This morning I dropped it off at Randy's Ring and Pinion for repair.  It must have been coming apart for some time and eating bolts!