Yup, I run one in my 95 yj with a 4 banger (all 4 bangers got 4.10 gears). This is the only thing I have ever broke on it:
But a waggy 44 uses the same u joint. I am a fan of the 30, it is way more stout than people give it credit for. Aftermarket parts are plentiful and housings are cheap. This one: (not the Dana 60 in the background haha)
I picked up for $50, complete with shafts and brakes. We built the truss on top, and it will get gussets from the truss to the upper C's that will double as shock mounts. A common issue is bending the upper C, which is part of the reason I am building it because the one in my jeep has the upper c on the drivers side bent from a previous owner smearing a fence post. I have, as far as I know, everything for it, 4.88s, spartan locker, new carrier, spicer ball joints, tie rod flip kit, ect. I'm just waiting on my mechanic to put the gears in then its time to start on the rear axle.
Speaking of rear axles, I won't clutter this up with too many more pictures, but... The last time I was out with the yj, I was pounding on it and snapped a rear axle shaft (Dana 35, totally different realm than the Dana 30). I could have spent 75 clams on another shaft, slapped it in, and been back in the dirt by morning, but I saw that as wasted effort. So I hauled it home and started working on the 4.10 geared 8.8 (I have another 3.73 geared 8.8 that will get regeared to 4.88). I already had an artec truss, so it was getting used. I wanted to keep as much ground clearance as possible while staying spring under, so I spend at least 1 night googling for pictures of 8.8 swaps and finally found a setup I liked. I went to the junkyard to get some spring plates from an 88+ Chevy 1/2 ton, as they fit the axle tubes almost perfectly. I took a grinder and as carefully as I could cut the spring pads off the 8.8 and slid them out to where they needed to be and bolted it all together with square u bolts going up from the bottom. With it all bolted together, I loaded it on the trailer and took it to my buddy to set pinion angle (which he claimed I had spot on, but I just eye balled it haha) and burn it all together.
It is in and driveable but I also swapped rear springs to wagoneer front springs which push it back about an inch, which has caused my gas tank skid plate to finally break and now (I saw this yesterday) the gas tank is about to fall out, so I guess it is time to pony up for a fuel cell. I did have to get a driveshaft made, but I got one from another yj and took the stock rear waggy driveshaft, which uses the same u joints, to the only place around here that messes with driveshafts. They cut the yoke from one end of the yj shaft and put it on the cut down waggy shaft, making it exactly 1 inch longer than the stock yj shaft, which put the slip yoke back in the stock position on the t case. I still need to make some shackles, since a straight shackle hits the rear crossmember, I am thinking some curved ones like this > )
So anywho, if you get a Dana 30 for the front, I suggest an 8.8 out back and do the spring perches like I did for ground clearance. I'm on the fence about the truss, since it killed the keeping it cheap budget, complicated the install, and takes away valuable up travel, although up travel isn't an issue on my setup currently. As for the front, the more and more I see abused Dana 30s, the more I am impressed. I saw one a few weeks back with the long side tube bent, which made the shaft rub the inside of the housing, which made a weird noise, but the thing still worked just fine.
Now as for suspension for the front, I haven't done enough reading on different setups, or for that matter ever done an s10 solid axle swap, to make a suggestion. I am a fan of leaves, but really don't see a way to keep an s10 low with leaves. If low is the goal, which lower is better for center of gravity, a linked setup would be the way to go. Check out artec.com for trusses, they have a good looking one for the xj/tj axles with the link mounts on it. I'm pretty sure that the off road direct s10 link kit was a copy of a jeep long arm kit.
Another thing to think about is the transfer case. Find a Dakota np231 for the fixed front output, and some even have the bigger chain. Np241 have a 6 planetary gear in them that will swap to the np 231, but I know that there are at least 2 different ones, you'll have to do a little reading on that. For the rear output, just about any of the slip yoke eliminators would do, but I would call jb conversions. They make some nice products.
Whoa this was long, but ~96+ xj Dana 30 and ~96-98 explorer 8.8 is what the jeep guys look for. Got any more questions, I'll answer the best I can.
Edit: was just thinking, I'm almost certain my buddy said the other day that xjs went to a low pinion 30, like the tjs have. I'm pretty sure he said 99 or 00 is the first year of low pinion axles. If you have the choice, high pinion vs low pinion, get the high pinion. The older than ~96 Dana 30s can and probably do have both smaller u joints and the CAD (central axle disconnect). Nothing nessacarily wrong with that if it all works, and both can be eliminated with a different set of axle shafts. All yjs, and some (maybe all?) mjs (Comanche) have the CAD setup. Basically the same axle came in practically all jeeps of that era, yj, tj, xj, mj. Even the grand cherokee (zj?) has one, but it has cv shafts instead of u joints.