Our modified Dana 44 had served us well, but the time had come to upgrade to a front axle that would provide even more strength for turning big tires and moving a fullsize rig through the rocks. We made the obvious choice to stuff a Dana 60 in its place.
The goal for this build was to complete a front axle while adding some upgrades along the way to make it sturdier than a stock Dana 60, without breaking the bank. Except for the gear and locker setup, we also wanted to try to build the entire axle with common tools you might have in your home shop, thus saving on some labor costs.
We sourced a crusty, used axle from an '83 Chevy 1-ton truck. Since the rig this axle was headed for is a Blazer-based rockcrawler, we could use the full-width axlehousing as-is, and the differential was also in the correct position. As such, no housing modifications were necessary.
We simply tore down the salvage axle and cleaned and painted it in preparation of the build. Rebuild parts such as seals, bearings, and so on are commonly available from a variety of sources and, as usual, would be inspected and replaced as needed during such a build. Follow along as we show you the steps to assembling and fortifying our front drive axle.