Dana 60 build or did I just get
Article by Bryan Fullerton. Checked and edited by
I decided to do a solid axle swap for the front of my van that would give me
some 4x4 capability to make it so it could reach those few family destinations that are somewhat
tough in the winter time.
To that end I started searching Craigslist for either a HD Dana 44 or a Dana 60
with preference for the 60. These two axles have more aftermarket parts available then many others,
or so I have been told. My rationale had somewhat to do with very limited funds. Most complete
D60's are somewhat spendy so I was looking for something I could put a little labor into and learn
something at the same time. Being unemployed, time is something I have. After 3 weeks of searching
I finally find a Dana 60 I can afford. Courtesy of Ryan Garofano of Jefferson, OR. His Graigslist
ad ran that he had a complete d60 minus the carrier for $300.00. I figured I could probably find a
carrier and ring and pinion gears and still keep it under the 1000.00 that everyone else seems to
want for a complete d60.
When I drove the 77 miles to meet Ryan I was pleased to find that he had experience
with axles and axle swapping and in fact had a capable off-road machine he had been snow
wheeling with the night before. Since I had near zero front axle experience I was glad to
listen and learn from him while he talked about axles. The only difference between a d44 and a d60
that I knew was that the d60 was supposed to be similar but bigger.
I was assured by Ryan that despite the carrier having gone bad(exploding) that the
case and the bearing caps were ok. In the dim light of the storage style unit and under the grease
and dirt I couldn't see anything obviously wrong.
Cleanup revealed many things. Starting with the caps being reversed. The damaged
cap was on the undamaged side of the housing. These are matched and cannot be swapped.
Things I have learned since putting out some hard earned money for this axle:
1. 1998 and up have a unit bearing hub that costs up to $330.00 dollars to replace.
(the ones on the axle were frozen due to water damage.)
2. Ford decided to go metric with their lug threads and spacing for their 8 lug axles. which means
they won't fit standard 8 on 6.5 wheels that everyone else uses.
3. Thanks to the experts on pirate4x4.com, this axle is actually a dana 50 and NOT a 60. This means
a much weaker axle and very limited aftermarket parts.
4. The passenger side bearing cap is stretched and twisted with both bolts bent. The drivers side
cap is slightly stretched.
5. The passenger side bearing thrust surface on the case got really chewed up by the bearing race
that shattered on that side.
6. It will cost roughly $250 give or take 50 to have a machine shop repair the one cap. cost for
two caps and the case thrust surface is unknown.
At the moment I am not sure what to do with this axle. 4x4 guys tell me to junk it
but then I might as well as burned $300
These pictures can be downloaded allowing larger detail.