Inside The Strongest Dana 60 Ever Built
The Dana 60 front axle may be the most coveted piece of off-road hardware in the industry. It earned its reputation because of its strength, the number of aftermarket parts available for it, and the fact that it has remained relatively unchanged over the last 30 years. Of course, even the mighty Dana 60 can benefit from an update every few decades-so in 2004 Ford and Dana released the new Dana Super 60 for use in F-450 and F-550 Super Duty trucks.
Referred to internally as the "Fat Boy", the Dana Super 60 evolved from the '78-'79 Dana 60 front axle first found under Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks. Keep in mind the original Dana 60 was designed for a 1-ton pickup with a 4,500-pound front gross axle weight rating (GAWR), 29 1/2-inch-tall tires, 4.10 axle gears, and engines that made less than 170 hp. The Dana Super 60 on the other hand was designed for Ford F-550 trucks with nearly twice the weight capacity, 33-inch tires, 5.38 axle gears, and more than 600 lb-ft of engine torque.
So why should you care? Well, the new Super 60 eliminates the weaknesses (if you can call them that) of the standard Dana 60 and gives axle swappers a beefier front axle option to handle the largest tires and most powerful engines. It also improves a vehicle's turning radius thanks to its larger U-joints and steering knuckles, which allow for a better steering angle.
When we first learned of the Super 60 we thought it would make a great upgrade for our '02 F-250 Super Duty, which had a habit of busting axleshafts and U-joints. Swapping in the Super 60 meant ditching the leaf springs and converting the 10-lug axle back to eight lugs with wheel bearings from an '05 F-350 and brake rotors from an '04 F-450. Follow along as we take you inside the strongest 60 Dana has ever built.
The Dana Super 60 high-pinion front axle is based on the traditional Ford Dana 60-everything's just a little bit bigger. The 84.74-inch-wide axle (an F-350 front axle is 69.8 inches wide) was designed for the '05-and newer F-450 and F-550 Super Dutys, where it's rated to support 7,000 pounds of gross axle weight (GAWR) and cope with more than 600 lb-ft of engine torque. The Super 60 is also available from Ford Racing as a complete assembly with 4.30 axle gears (PN M-3002-F4430) or 4.88 axle gears (PN M-3002-F4488) for around $4,000.
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10. Swapping over to unit bearings with a 8-on-170mm wheel bolt pattern requires 14.53-inch brake rotors from an '04 Ford F-450 (Brembo PN 27271). In order to install an '05 Super 60 in our '02 F-250 we used Fabtech Motorsports' four-link conversion kit, a set of '05 F-350 locking hubs, '05 Ford F-350 unit bearings, '05 F-550 brake calipers, and '04 F-450 brake rotors.