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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.
 

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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.
 
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