Technical Articles Relating To Off-Road Vehicle Development

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Dana 60 Reverse Rotation Front Axle

Published by Trails Less Traveled on April 9th, 2004


A reverse rotation Dana 60 front axle from a 2000 Ford F450 was prepared for us by Currie Enterprises. This model of the Dana 60 uses ball-joint knuckles and a unit-bearing hub and spindle assembly. Currie cut the axle housing down from 69” to 63” wide, WMS to WMS. 63” wide axles were chosen in order to achieve an 80” track width when using 39.5×15” Super Swamper tires. The driver’s side of the housing had to be lengthened, while the passenger’s side was shortened in order to achieve all of the dimensional requirements.

The axle uses 35 spline inner axle shafts and 30 spline outer shafts, with Warn premium locking hubs. One new inner axle shaft had to used on the driver’s side,and the passenger side shaft was cut down and re-splined. Currie modified the stock knuckles for hi-steering capabilities and turned the 8 lug hubs down to a 5 on 5.5” lug pattern. An ARB air locker, along with a 5.13:1 ring and pinion set were also installed by Currie. A 1350 series yoke with u-bolts instead of straps was used for reliability.

We encountered several issues while installing the reverse rotation Dana 60 up front.

  • The shear mass of the differential does not replica watches uk allow it to be mounted far enough to the outside of the motor and transmission when using leaf springs and stock width spring hangers (27.5” center to center).
  • Even when the differential is positioned on the drivers´┐Ż side there is not much room left for drive shaft clearance, especially on full compression.
  • It was not possible to install the differential on the passenger’s side because we were using the stock width spring hangers and the pinion location would be forced even further inboard.
  • Potential solutions to these issues were to fabricate leaf spring hangers that would place the springs outside of the frame rails, or to use a driver’s side drop transfer case.
  • We chose the second option and adapted the Dana 300 to the task with the help of Down East Off Road. The Down East Off Road Flip Kit allows a cast-iron, gear driven, twin stick shifted Dana 300 transfer case to be used in driver’s side drop applications.
  • If spring perches are positioned outside of the frame-rails, axle width must be reconsidered to account for tire to leaf spring interference. At 63” WMS to WMS and using 39.5” tires on 8” wide rims with 3.5” of backspacing, there is just enough clearance between the leaf spring and tire at full lock steering.
  • All things considered, a low pinion, kingping Dana 60 would probably have been a better investment. The kingpin variety of Dana 60’s have been proven to be stronger and easier to adapt to hi-steer configurations. The combination of kingpin knuckles and a low pinion differential would have allowed the tie rod to have been positioned behind the axle, and above the leaf springs.

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