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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:23 PM   #1
whiterhino
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Default Dana 60 axle repair

While at the St Helen motor sport area at SnoFari I was playing on the rocks and hit really hard. It was noticeable but I really didn't think anything of it till I got home. A few days later I noticed that I was leaking diff fluid out of the long side tube. With a closer look, I found the 4 rosette welds holding the tube into the center section were broke. So, time for some investigation.

Since a 35 spline axle shaft is about 1.50" diameter, I got a 1.500" diameter hardened and ground shaft and then made up a set of dummy center section carrier bearings that matched the OD of the carrier bearings and had a 1.500" bore in them.



Mounted in the housing.



When mounted, I found that the short side was fine but the long side showed that the center section was pushed back. The alignment bar was tight on the back side



and loose on the front side



I was not able to put the spindle onto the knuckle studs by at least 1/4" but I didn't take a pic. The tube was straight so I determined that the welds had broken and the tube had moved in the bore of the center section. So, I figured if it was able to move, I would move it back.

My first attempt to fix it was to wrap a chain through both C's and attach a come along around the pinion yoke to try to spring it back. I was able to spring it but not enough to plastically bring it back.



So, the next plan was a little more aggressive. I used a piece of 6" I-beam and spaced it out to the front of the axle with 2 more pieces of I-beam 18" long. I then attached a series of pulleys, 5 total, between the I-beam and the joint of the tube/ housing.





I hooked up the come along to the frame and started pulling. I was able to move it but I couldn't quite get it. So, I attached a second come along to pull the handle of the main come along.



With this setup, I was able to spring the housing to the point where the alignment bar was at the complete opposite side of the tube. But it would spring back. So, with some heat applied to the center section while under pressure, it started to move. I could actually see and hear the housing shift. The trick here is to add heat locally to only one area of the housing bore area. This makes the housing tend to open like a clam shell rather than swell. With it moved, I could then get the spindle back on the knuckle studs.



Next was to keep it there. The trick to welding the steel tube to the cast iron center section is to heat it to 300-400 deg F, weld it with the proper rod and then cool it super slowly. So, I heated it slowly, welded it and then used a welding blanket to let it cool slowly. After it was welded, I reassembled it with the alignment bar and was pleased to see that it had held it's position.

So, all of you who think a Dana 60 is invincible, think again. In the future, I'll be much more careful on the rocks in the snow.

Last edited by whiterhino; February 27th, 2011 at 08:27 PM.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:30 PM   #2
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Wow,

Do you think a truss would have helped the axle not break there?

I'm in the process of putting my truss together.

Good writeup
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:35 PM   #3
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No, I don't think so. There's virtually no way to truss it as it was pushed straight back. So, it would be very difficult to get triangulation with the pinion right in the way.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #4
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Next time get a fabricated 9" center ;-)

So the tube was cocked inside the cast section? Did it crack or stretch the cast at all?
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:50 PM   #5
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No sign of cracks and I doubt it was stretched. I'm not convinced that I broke all the welds with this hit but it might have been the last straw. Moving a press fit isn't all that surprising and if you look at the amount of deflection, it's really not much of an angle.

I ground and plugged the 4 rosette welds and also ran a bead between the housing and tube on both front and back.

I went to school with the owner of Clyde's frame shop. I discussed the process with him and he said that's pretty much what they do. He told me it's surprising how bad factory axles actually are.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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This is one reason i always weld my tubes to my center section on every build i do. Very good right up and im glad to see you got it fixed up.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:58 PM   #7
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good fix jim !
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Old February 27th, 2011, 09:04 PM   #8
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The bar and pucks are nice to have. I've got a similar setup I made for doing toyota axles. It was really crazy watching how much heat and welding moved things around doing the fab process.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 09:14 AM   #9
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man that looks like a lot of work jim. glad you were able to fix it.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 09:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
So, all of you who think a Dana 60 is invincible, think again. In the future, I'll be much more careful on the rocks in the snow.
Really.





Nice fix though.
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