It all starts with my friend who just picked up a killer cj-7 with front and rear detroit lockers. (it was $1500 with 35's, dana44/30, and a sweet roll cage welded to the frame) I'm pretty jealous of his lockers, since I used to have the nicer jeep, but more then that I don't want to be left in the dust winching out everywhere. To combat this, I am rethinking my m38a1 build. I was looking for any insight since I know very little about axles other then their names. Mainly, I want a jeep I can wheel like crazy but will also be my daily driver. I'm not scared to sacrafice driving attributes for a nice trail rig. I do however, still want to be able to drive down the highway at 50mph with everyone passing while they honk. My 74 CJ5 is satisfying this need pretty well right now. Actually got it up to 60 last night. And man do I wheel it. The m38a1 has stock d44/d27 with stock springs. This is definitly a budget build, and my budget has been holding it up for 2 years. One problem is, the rear axle is really hard to turn, probably a carrier bearing or something, but I really don't want to get into setting up a rear end (bearing preload, backlash, etc.). I also have a working set of 75 cj5's d44/d30 laying around for a project, that I think I could easily swap in, which would also give me a 11 inch brake upgrade. Would it be worth it, whats a better Dana44 rear end? Alright, cut to the chase. With all the axles I have, I was tinkering with the idea of welding up a 44. I would love the traction this would give, and probably wouldn't even need a front locker. I know, I know, everyone hates spools, and even more, welded rear ends. A shop around here will drop in a chunck of metal between the spiders and arc weld it solid for 40 bucks. It would never break, I've seen my friends, and hopefully they could do it in the diff, once again, so I don't have to mess with backlash, etc. I hear that spools are better on axle shafts then automatic lockers because there is no jerking, plus they are predictable. I wouldn't mind squeaking around corners, it just be another luxury I sacrafice using a jeep as a DD. My real question, would I occasionlly be able to take this on the highway or def not? Ok, guys, lay it on me. Other ideas are appreciated, but I'm mainly concerned with price.