Strutting its newfound strength on a trail in the Hammers, this old Dana 60 may just outli
I recall my first axle upgrade for the "Killer Bee," my Jeep/rock buggy I've been recreating for more than 31 years now. About 15 years ago, I got tired of rebuilding the Willys Dana 25 front axle every other week and replaced it with a cut-down Scout Dana 44. Man, that thing seemed huge under that little Flatfender. I thought I'd created a monster! Fast forward about 10 years, and I was rolling a (narrowed) Ford Dana 60 under the Jeep, replacing a Chevy 3/4-ton Dana 44 that had replaced the Scout.
Now here we are in 2006 and I'm breaking OE 1-ton Dana 60 parts. When will this carnage end? Perhaps soon, thanks to new products brought about by the demands of competitive rock racing. Racing improves the breed, the old saying goes, and in the last five years the aftermarket has just bloomed with high-tech, super-strong axle parts. These are the kind of parts us old guys used to dream about as we cut, ground, and welded old, 1-ton farm-truck junk together in hopes of creating an indestructible 4x4. After my last run to Moab, I found a large crack forming in the righthand steering knuckle on my kingpin-style Dana 60. This axle was sourced from a well worn '79 F-350. It has served me well over the last several years turning 38- to 40-inch-tall tires over trails the likes of Jackhammer, Upper Helldorado, and Die Trying. So now what? In the old days, it meant starting to think about Rockwells ... but not these days. With companies like Reid Racing (formerly Dedenbear), CTM, and Alloy USA making awesome upgrades for Dana axles, incredible strength--never dreamed of with OE pieces--is now possible.
I turned to Reid Racing to address my weak knuckle problem. For 25 years, Reid Racing (Dedenbear) has been well known in the drag racing world for its "Reaction Time Delay" boxes, along with other assorted black-box wizardry that makes no sense to us dirt guys. What does make sense are the company's bright orange, heavy-duty nodular-iron steering knuckles and inner Cs for Dana 60 front axles. I'm not sure why a drag racing company decided to make heavy-duty 60 steering parts--other than they saw the need, but I'm sure glad they did. I sure wish those weld-on Cs were around back when I narrowed my 60. They would have saved a lot of work grinding off the old OE C, only to weld it back on again to the shortened tube. Since I'm too late to benefit from the Cs, I only utilized the HD knuckles. Take a look at the photos and captions to see how these orange babies are far superior to the OE pieces.
Here is what started it all. This crack had been growing for some time in the upper trunni
Reid Racing (formerly Dedenbear) to the rescue: All bright in its signature orange paint,
Here is a side-by-side comparison of old Cracky and his Reid Racing replacement. Note the