What trucks had Dana 60s under them?

The short answer:

1977.5-1979 F-350 and F-250 "SnoFighter"
1986-1993 F-350, king pins on the axle
1994-1997 F-350, ball joints on the axle


Ford first started using a disc-braked, open-knuckle D60 in 1976. The more-desirable high-pinion D60 didn't come around until mid-year 1977. It was used in the F-350 and the F-250 with the "SnoFighter" package. This axle was used until the end of the 1979 model year.

When Ford switched to the new body style in 1980, they also did away with the Reverse-Cut Dana 60. F-350s were instead equipped with a leaf-sprung Dana 50 TTB. The RC D60 returned in 1986. This diff was offset 5" more toward the driver's side in order to accommodate the large TTB engine crossmember.


The factory did it this way, why can't I?

Ford always used a leaf-spring suspension on their 1-ton trucks. They also used a coil-sprung 3-link radius arm suspension on the 66-79 solid-axle Broncos. Either of these arrangements will hang your axle. Depending on what model year the Bronco is, one option might be easier to install than another.


Which D60 am I looking for?

For a 78-79 Bronco, a 78-79 D60. Weld on c-bushing tabs, and build a track bar bracket. Reuse your radius arms, coil spring perches, and bolt it up.

For a 92-96 Bronco, you want a coil-sprung 78-79 D60 too. You can use a 86-97 D60 with coil springs and a custom radius arm or 5-link suspension. But if you're building a 5-link, you don't need this FAQ.

For a 80-91 Bronco, a leaf-sprung 86-97 axle can be hung in a weekend. A coil-sprung 78-79 axle can be done as easily as for the 92-96 trucks, but the crossmember mods make it significantly more difficult.


So what's the easiest way to hang my new D60?

For a 78-79 Bronco, leaf springs are not an easy swap. Due to the arrangement of the steering box, major frame modifications or +10" of lift are necessary. A 78-79 D60 will easily accept radius arms and coil springs using 66-79 Bronco parts.

The 80-91 Broncos will adapt to a D60 pretty easily. Aside from notches in the front frame horn to accomodate the leaf spring shackle, the frame of an 86-97 F-350 is identical to the frame of an 80-91 Bronco. A 86-97 axle with a leaf-spring suspension is nearly a bolt-in swap. A front spring mount needs to be built, and rear spring mounts and shock towers need to be purchased or salvaged. Factory steering can also be used.

For a coil sprung, radius arm suspension like the 66-79 Bronco, the 78-79 D60 is much more easily adapted. However, this axle had the diff housing closer to the center of the vehicle. While this gives much more room on the driver's side for mounting radius arms, it also means that the diff won't clear the engine crossmember. If the Bronco is going to be lifted 8" or more, this may not be as much of a consequence. For a rock crawler or trail truck with a shorter lift and low center of gravity, the crossmember will need to be hacked and reinforced.

Similarly, the 78-79 D60 can be mounted using leaf springs, but some crossmember hacking will be necessary. Because the spring pad spacing is narrower, the springs will also be closer together, making some additional fabrication necessary. However, due to the spring perches being farther from the tire, identical spring travel will give slightly more flex than a leaf-sprung 86-97 axle.

The 92-96 Bronco has a accordian impact zone built into the frame forward of the steering box. This section is designed to crumple in a frontal impact, and is certainly not strong enough to support a leaf spring suspension. Like the 80-91 Bronco, the engine crossmember will require some hacking to clear a 78-79 diff.


So how much has to be fabricated?

For a 78-79 axle with coil springs, c-bushing tabs must be salvaged or purchased and welded in place. These tabs will fit snugly against the D60 axle. However, the D44 tube is 1/2" smaller in diameter than the D60 tube. In order to mate with the radius arms and c-bushing caps, the tabs must be ground down on the curved side. Spacer plates can also be made 1/2" thick to go between the radius arm and the cap. A new hole, drilled 1/2" forward, will provide a solid mount for the coil spring perch.

A 80-91 truck with leaf springs and a 86-97 axle will need spring hangers at a minimum. Going with the factory arrangement, the frame could be notched and a shackle bracket and shackle could be bolted in at the frame horn. Aside from some sawz-all work on the frame, this is literally a bolt-in swap. However, the forward-mounted shackle isn't the best arrangement for a wheeler. The frame can be boxed and pre-80 front shackle brackets can be bolted in place. The spring shackle is then installed at the rear using a factory 80-96 rear shackle bracket.

A 78-79 axle under a 80-96 truck will likely take some crossmember hacking. Be wary of simply removing material from the crossmember without reinforcing the area. Aside from supporting the motor and motor mounts, it is the only crossmember forward of the transmission crossmember. It can and will tear. An excellent modification to make would be to remove the bulk of the crossmember and build a new one that clears both access to the oil pan and the differential.



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