After nearly a three-year hiatus, the Baja Bomber is back in action and ready for service as a desert racing support rig. But before we head south to chase Trophy Trucks through the silt of Mexico, we figured it would be a good idea to fortify our Dana 60 front axle. After all, nobody wants to deal with a broken front-end in a foreign country, especially where spare parts are scarce and vehicle abandonment usually results in a scavenger free-for-all. The last time the Baja Bomber graced these pages, we highlighted a custom-built aluminum flatbed designed to accommodate some very specific tasks associated with desert racing support scenarios.The last time the Baja Bomber graced these pages, we highlighted a custom-built aluminum f To complete this project, we turned to the very capable team of axle builders at Right Gear and Axle of Salinas, California. For over 15 years, Right Gear and Axle has been building high-end axle assemblies for everything from agricultural harvesting equipment to mud drag racers. Follow along as we address some of the weaker points of the Dana 60 front axle found in Dodge Ram 3/4- and 1-ton pickups built between 1994 and 2002. The first thing we wanted to address was the weakness of our factory Dana 60 housing. Unfortunately, Dodge used a central axle disconnect (CAD) setup on all second-generation 3/4- and 1-ton front Dana 60 axles. The arrangement consisted of a large cast-iron housing installed on the longer of the two axle tubes. This unit housed a vacuum-operated axle disconnect device designed to engage the front drive system whenever four-wheel drive was selected. While this setup is convenient for most drivers, it splits the long-side axleshaft and axle tube into two individual pieces-not a good thing for serious trail work. To fortify the weak area, we added a three-dimensional axle truss fabricated from laser-cut steel plate and tubing. This setup tied each portion of the axlehousing and CAD housing together for significant improvements in strength. This one-off axle truss was custom-built by a well-equipped fabrication shop and cost around $600 to complete. Once the truss was completed, the whole axle assembly was powdercoated to protect it from the corrosive saltwater common to Baja's low lying peninsula roadways. A set of 4.11:1 gears was added to the differential along with a master install kit from Precision Gear.A set of 4.11:1 gears was added to the differential along with a master install kit from P Here, you can see how the new ring gear was installed on the ARB Air Locker we already had in the front differential before we started this project. Notice how the wear pattern focused the tooth engagement in the middle of each tooth. This setup helps distribute the torque across the entire tooth rather than just the edges. This type of pattern is critical to long gear life.Here, you can see how the new ring gear was installed on the ARB Air Locker we already had With the new gear and used air locker installed properly, Right Gear and Axle's technician began assembling the new manual hub conversion from EMS Offroad.With the new gear and used air locker installed properly, Right Gear and Axle's technician EMS Offroad offers manual hub conversion kits for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickups. The parts eliminate the troublesome unit bearings and replace them with tried-and-true tapered roller bearings and Warn Premium lockout hubs. Additionally, the kit comes with stronger 4340 stub shafts for each side. The 4340 long axle shown here is also included to eliminate the CAD function of the axle. We like this setup because it offers significant improvements in strength over the factory two-piece axle design.EMS Offroad offers manual hub conversion kits for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickups. The part In addition to the EMS hub conversion kit, Right Gear and Axle added a pair of Mad 4WD inner axle seals to help keep contaminants out of the differential. These seals install inside the axle tube to provide an additional seal between the knuckle and differential. Each seal received a helping of high quality grease prior to installation.In addition to the EMS hub conversion kit, Right Gear and Axle added a pair of Mad 4WD inn To help preserve seal life, the new long-side axle was polished with a special high-grit sandpaper to create a smooth sealing surface for the Mad 4WD inner axle seal.To help preserve seal life, the new long-side axle was polished with a special high-grit s Here you can see the new stub axle mated to the factory short-side axleshaft. This inner axleshaft is the only axleshaft we reused for this project. This part is probably going to be the first part to break if we get into a bind on the trail. The nice part is that these shafts are inexpensive and easy to find at most wrecking yards. We like the idea of having a fuse in our drivetrain because it allows us to carry spare parts and all the necessary tools to fix a problem while traveling south of the border.Here you can see the new stub axle mated to the factory short-side axleshaft. This inner a Jose Valdez, the lead technician of Right Gear and Axle, showed us how to feed the axleshaft in the housing without damaging the new inner axle seals. We were told that this can be very tricky to do.Jose Valdez, the lead technician of Right Gear and Axle, showed us how to feed the axlesha Once each axleshaft was installed, the technician coated the inner diameter of the knuckle with antisieze to ensure easy removal later on down the road.Once each axleshaft was installed, the technician coated the inner diameter of the knuckle This is how the new axleshafts looked from the inside of the knuckle. Note that the inboard, full-circle style clips retain the U-joint to the axleshafts.This is how the new axleshafts looked from the inside of the knuckle. Note that the inboar Next, the EMS Offroad spindles were installed. Once the EMS spindles were in place, the hub and rotor assemblies were installed. The EMS Offroad Hub Conversion kit uses Premium Warn Dana 60 style hub internals-parts that most wheelers are very familiar with.Once the EMS spindles were in place, the hub and rotor assemblies were installed. The EMS While we were performing this conversion, we decided to also replace both front brake rotors. The EMS Offroad system requires the same off-the-shelf Dana 60 disc brake rotors that came from the factory on our truck.While we were performing this conversion, we decided to also replace both front brake roto With the conversion process complete, we added two bottles of Max Gear lube oil by Royal Purple to protect our investment.With the conversion process complete, we added two bottles of Max Gear lube oil by Royal P We wanted to make sure that factory-style Dodge Ram wheels would fit over the new Warn manual locking hubs, so we test fit one wheel with the new arrangement. As you can see, the stock wheel cleared the hub without issues.We wanted to make sure that factory-style Dodge Ram wheels would fit over the new Warn man SOURCES Royal Purple One Royal Purple Lane Porter TX 77365 888-382-6300 www.royalpurple.com EMS Offroad N/A PA 570-437-4200 www.emsoffroad.com Precision Gear 460 Horizon Dr. STE 400 Suwanee GA 30024 800-449-6649 www.precisiongear.com Mad 4WD 9965 South Avenue Poland OH 44514 330-549-9082 www.mad4wd.com Right Gear And Axle 491 El Camino Real South Salinas CA 93908 831-424-3715 http://www.rightgear.com/ By Robin Stover Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!