Getting the most out of your Dana 60

While the Ford nine-inch rear end assembly is very popular with drag racers and is found in almost all NASCAR racecars, there is another equally iconic rear gear unit that many high performance car owners swear by and wouldn’t use anything but and that is Mopar’s Dana 60 unit.

A recent tech article appearing in Drag Racing Online dealt with setting up a Ford “pumpkin” but here at DRO we had more than a few writers who wanted us to address the Dana 60 so we returned to the Chicago manufacturing facility of Strange Engineering, who, in addition to the making their own version of the Ford center-section, also make their version of the Dana 60. So we asked them to give our readers a lesson on how to set up a Dana 60-type rear gear assembly.

Before you can worry about the gear assembly itself you must pay attention to the housing. If the piece you are working on is going into a Mopar body, you must drill and tap a 7/16”-20 hole located one inch over from the cast center section on the top of the driver’s side housing tube.  This is done to attach the factory style vent/brake line T-block. The Strange cast center section has a provision machined into it for a vent, which will be plugged later to allow use of the factory style Mopar unit.

Once that is done then the housing itself must be dismantled and every component cleaned. When you dismantle the housing you might want to take a photograph first and number the parts you remove. Pay special attention to “V” stamped in each main cap and in the cover flange just next to the main caps.

Each main cap must be reinstalled on the same side of the case and in the same orientation as they came out.  Removing and replacing the main caps of a Dana-60 require the same care you take when removing and replacing the main caps of your block. If the caps of a Dana 60 style rear aren’t returned to the same main saddles they came off of on the spool/differential assembly, it could cause premature bearing and gear failure.