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You will probably need to go 1 ton front if you go 6 cylinder, I would look into the weight ratings. At the least I would truss that front end with the 6.

Maybe just need to turn things up on the 4bt first?

keeping the 4bt would probably save you like 500lbs i'm guessing...
 

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The Ford HP 44 housings are pretty stout. Their weakness under a heavy rig is balljoints. If you're not running big tires or beating it offroad you'd probably be fine with the 6BT and a 44 front. Even under normal use, balljoints wear faster with more weight. You may end up replacing balljoints every 50K miles.

I had a '92 balljoint 60 front under my '70 for awhile and DS balljoints would need replaced every 30K or so with 35" tires. I had a real heavy front winch bumper. The kingpin 60 fronts last forever if you grease them and keep out of water.
HP44's are pretty strong but there are also different models. There's a 1/2ton and a 3/4 ton. The 3/4ton is a much stronger housing, with either 3/8 or 1/2" wall tubes. the 1/2ton is lighter duty with i think 1/4" wall tubes. Something to keep an eye out for... the 3/4ton is also a good bit wider. Wms to wms I think they are 67" for 3/4 ton and 63.5" for 1/2 ton. Also, a bunch of the 1/2ton housings had cast in radius arm wedges, if you have these you are stuck with them. if they are welded on, you can cut them off, the cast ones are part of the tube itself.
 

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Ford 3/4 ton disc axles are all 69" WMS-WMS. Ford drum brake axles are 67.5" wms-wms . I don't recall there being a difference between the 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton disc axle widths.

The disc axles are wider because the open knuckles left 3/4" less room for the shock mounts on each side. The shocks wouldn't fit so Ford made the whole axle wider.

The 78-79 1/2 ton 44 front is the cheezball housing to stay away from with the integral wedges you mention. The earlier ones are all 3" 1/2" wall tubes.

The 78-79 3/4 ton HP 44 looks beefier than the previous 76-77.5 low pinion 44 front, but it's not. The tubes and housing are thinner.
my 78-79 1/2 ton hp44 is 63.5" wide, i could take a picture of the tape measure if you want bounce

The wedges aren't all that bad if you don't mind running that style radius arm suspension, you are stuck with that style though.
 

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Hey nice conversion,

I am new here,and have owned a 1992 D250 with the 6BT under the hood for years,but sold it a while back due to not having the room to haul my family of 4 around when camping. I now own a 2001 Dodge Ram Wagon van 2500 8 passenger,and I have been kicking around the idea of swapping a 4BT into it,but I have never neard of it being done,and I don't have the resources,and knowledge you guys all seem to have in this forum.I can spin a wrench,but I have never welded,and know little to nothing about getting more power out of a diesel engine(my 92 dynoed 205 RWHP,but that was tuned by previous owner).Do you guys think a swap of a 4BT would work in a more modern(read tighter) Dodge van as opposed to the larger Ford in this thread? I think I would like an NV4500 in it as well,but I am not sure it would fit,and I have no idea where to mount the clutch pedal as the Dodge vans have small foot wells as it is anyway.I guess I could live with an auto if I had to.Do you think a 4BT with a little work in a van could tow my 5000lb loaded camper trailer?Any help on this,or even just a slap in the head,and laughing at me even ask such a question is appreciated,and welcome.Thanks in advance.

Chris
2001 Ram Wagon 2500 5.2 litre
1979 Mazda RX-7 GS
1974 Mazda Rotary-engine pickup(REPU)
2001 Jayco Kiwi 23B hybrid travel trailer
if you do go through with the van swap, i might be able to help with some of the setup. My durango is an 01 and had a 360/46re to begin with.

You might be able to get a 44re to work with the 4bt if you get a lower stall converter and can find someone to change the shift points.

I am running a 700r4 and the stock shifter works but i can't get to 1st gear, but park to 2nd work just fine.

no clue on getting the engine and a manual to fit in there, i haven't seen one up close.
 

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the 700r4 would probably work for you too, though the reliability of it in the long run so far is somewhat skeptical.

not sure on your other questions about fitment, i would guess that it would, but i really don't know.

the unibody would probably hold up, though you would want to do some extra bracing and maybe an engine cradle to help support the extra weight. Your front springs might hurt with the 4bt on them too, it is heavier.
 
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