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  Dana 60 build or did I just get screwed?
Article by Bryan Fullerton. Checked and edited by David Mills.

  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, 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.


 This Picture shows the preload surface that the back of the carrier bearing rests against.  Passenger side bearing preload surface.
 These are the two cap bolts that held on the cap pictured below. As you can see they are bent. This picture does not do justice to that fact compared with threading them in. When you thread them in they wobble back and forth pretty bad. These were not the ones removed in my presence before I bought the axle.  Cap bolts that were bent on the passenger side
 This carrier bearing cap was on the passenger side, which took most of the damage. When the bearing race broke into many pieces the pressure against the cap left an imprint on the cap as it stretched it. Those horizontal lines represent the exact amount the cap was stretched. Because the lines are off center we can see how the cap would also have a side warp in it.  This picture shows the lines from the broken race.
 The broken piece of bearing race fits the imprint perfectly.  Broken race fits lines in cap

 Using a "good" bearing race we can see just how bad the bend is in the cap. there should be no line showing on the bottom portion of the cap.


 Picture showing the cap bent against a straight bearing race.

 This picture shows the gap between the bearing and the cap should it be installed.

This cap would never tighten the bearing down. Thus the whole axle would not last long and the bearing would spin wearing out the housing and the housing preload surface.

 Picture showing the gap between bearing race and cap.

This axle is worth around $50.00 and considered not worth rebuilding by most shops. 

Currently giving Ryan a chance to adjust this honestly. 

I will be adding a comments section to each of my builds pages. I wish my readers to keep a couple things in mind BEFORE you email me. I know many of you will be indignant but please do not bother Ryan. Give him a chance first. Second thing is I already have legal advice and know my options. If you really want to help, keep an eye open for good deals on full width dana 60's. I have no problem learning and repairing at the same time just keep in mind I only have about $500.00 left to work with till I recover my money from the above axle. Thanks -Bryan





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