So here’s what I’ve found. I got a deal on a GM 10.5″ 14-bolt axle and a Dana 44 full-size 8-lug axle. Both axles had 4.10 gears when I got them. I cleaned up both axles, cleaned up all of the brackets as well. As the 14-bolt carrier break is between 4.56 and 5.13 and I wanted 5.13 gears, I thought I would have to get another carrier. However, I found that several companies are making 5.13 “thick-cut” gears, meaning they fit the 4.56 and down carrier. Awesome, so before taking the carrier out, I welded up the spider gears and everything in-between. After cooling, I removed the carrier, replaced the gears, set up the pinion (a REALLY easy job on the 14-bolt), and put the new bearings on and re-installed everything. I also found a set of caliper brackets that bolt onto a 14-bolt axle and use 3/4 ton Chevy front rotors, calipers, and pads. I put that all back together and found two rotors with new lug studs to install them on the hubs of the axle. I also took the time to create new leaf-spring pads on the axle tube and moved the centering pin hole forward so the axle moved backward about one and a half inches. I mounted the new calipers (thanksÂ Autozone lifetime warranty parts) and pads and ran new brake lines.
On to the front axle, I stripped it completely. I replaced all of the ball-joints (really that is a horrible job if the axle is stripped and on jack-stands). I also found I had the coveted flat-top passenger knuckle, so I asked a friend to mill it flat, as well as drill and tap for high-steer arms. I also welded the front spider gears, then after cooling, removed the carrier and replaced the gears with a set of 5.13s as well. Now, this axle took hours of setup to get the pinion depth and countless times of pressing an old set of main bearings back on the carrier to set the backlash. Finally, that was finished and I set to work mounting the axle under the front of the jeep. I made a new front cross-member and attached the leaf-spring hangers to that cross-member. I then drilled a hole in the frame behind the front axle for the hanger for the shackle. I pushed a large piece of DOM tube into the hole in the frame, welded it up and installed bushings. I hung the shackles, and attached the front axle. Below are a few pictures of what it looked like along the way.