Above: Early Bronco Dana 44 with drum brakes
The 1966-1977 Ford Bronco is often referred to as the ‘early Bronco’ or EB. Not all of the Bronco’s came with Dana 44’s. The 1966-1970 Ford Bronco came with a Dana 30. You want to avoid the small and weaker Dana 30. You can tell the difference between a Dana 30 and Dana 44 by their steering knuckles.
The Dana 30 knuckle (above) will have a king pin held in with (4) bolts on top. The Dana 44 (below) will have a ball joint with a castle nut on top.
The 1971-1977 Ford Bronco came with a Dana 44. If you see “EB Dana 44”, then their talking about the Dana 44 front axle found in the 1971-1977 Ford Bronco. These Dana 44 axles are standard cut low pinion designs with small 260x u-joints.
Early Bronco Dana 44 History
71-1/2 to 1975 Models: Drum brakes, 297X/760X-sized U-joints. Six-bolt spindles easily converted to disc brakes.
- 1971-1/2 to 1972-1/2 spindles utilize outer axle seal that presses into back of spindle. 19
- 1972-1/2 to 1975 Models: Utilize outer seal that presses onto stub shaft.
1976-1977 Models: Disc brakes, 297X/760X-sized U-joints. Five-bolt spindles are unique to 1976-1979 Ford 1/2-ton Dana 44 axles so crossover of brands (Chevy/Dodge/Jeep) not possible.
- 8.5-Inch Ring Gear Diameter
- 1.31-Inch / 30-Spline Axle Shafts
- 1.25-Inch / 19-Spline Stub Shaft (Short shaft going in to the locking hub)
- 27.94-Inch Right Axle Shaft
- 18.31-Inch Left Axle Shaft
- 9.72-Inch & 9.94-Inch Stub Shaft
- 1.38-Inch / 26-Spline Pinion
- 3.73 & Down / 3.92 & Up Carrier Break
- Coil Spring / Radius Arm Setup
- 5×5.5 Wheel Bolt Pattern
- 58-Inch Axle Width
Drum Brakes & Disc Brakes
There are (2) versions of Dana 44’s that came in the 1971-1977 Ford Bronco’s. The 1976-1977 Dana 44’s came with front disc brakes, and the 1971-1975 Dana 44’s came with drum brakes. If you’re hunting for an EB Dana 44, try to find a 1976-1977 model with disc brakes.
If you end up with a drum brake Dana 44, you can convert it to disc brakes. Find a 1978-1979 Ford Bronco or a 1973-1979 Ford F-150 and get the following parts:
- Steering knuckle
- Brake backing plate
- Caliper holder (Haynes calls this the Anchor plate)
- Wheel bearing locking nut, lock ring washer and wheel bearing adjusting nut
- Caliper support key and spring
- Rotor (use as a core for a new one)
- Locking Hubs
Basically, you’ll be needing everything from the knuckles out. You’ll be replacing your existing parts with these new ones.
Early Bronco Dana 44 with drum brakes
Early Bronco Dana 44 with disc brakes
One of the major drawbacks of an early Bronco Dana 44 is it’s small 260x u-joints. You’ll need to replace the axle shafts in order to swap to a larger (stronger) u-joint. You can upgrade the early Bronco Dana 44 with new axle shafts that take the larger 297x u-joints(replaces 270 u-joints), as well as convert it to disc brakes (recommended).
Above: 260x u-joint (left) versus a 760x (297x) u-joint (right)
Below: 760x (297x) u-joint cap (left) versus 260x u-joint cap (right)
For more information on how to upgrade to larger u-joints, check out Early Bronco Dana 44 Axle Shaft Upgrade.