When it comes to heavy-duty trucks there are a few different kinds of axles that you’ll commonly find. The Dana 44 and Dana 60 are some of the most widely used axles ever and can be found it most full size trucks.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to be talking about full-size Dana 44. As you might have figured, the Dana 60 is stronger than the Dana 44. We already knew that, but we want to take a deeper look and see why that is.
How To Know Which One You Have
If you’re planning on buying a truck you should probably know what axles are under it. It’s fairly easy to tell Jeep axles apart because the differential covers are different shapes. Unfortunately, with the Dana 44 and Dana 60, it isn’t that easy.
The easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at the size of the center section. Because of the way larger ring gear on the Dana 60 the center section is noticeably larger.
The Dana 60 axle will typically have larger brakes as well. If all else fails there should be a model number somewhere on the center section. Generally speaking, it’s on the bottom right of the center section. This will tell you if it’s a Dana 44 or a Dana 60. The model number might be hard to read so bring a small brush to clean it off.
Why Is The Dana 60 Stronger?
Like we said above, the Dana 60 is the stronger axle. If you want to run big tires or big power you need a Dana 60 axle. At the same time, the Dana 44 is a great axle if you don’t need giant tires or big power. Most people don’t realize how heavy a Dana 60 is and how much unsprung weight affects handling. The Dana 44 is also a heavy axle, but it’s significantly lighter than a Dana 60.
The ring gear on the Dana 44 measures anywhere from 8.5 to 8.8 inches depending on the truck. The Dana 60, however, has a massive 9.75-inch ring gear no matter what truck it came out of.
That’s well over an inch larger which is crucial for holding up to lots of drivetrain stress. The Dana 44 gear ratio ranges from 2.72:1 to 5.89:1. The Dana 60 ranges from 3.31:1 all the way up to 7.17:1.
The Dana 44 came with axle tubes anywhere from 2.5 to 3-inch in diameter. The Dana 60 only came with one axle diameter of 3.125 inches, which is pretty big. Those larger axle tubes help strengthen the housing, but also make room for larger axle shafts.
The Dana 44 axle came with a variety of different axle sizes. The majority of D44s are 29, 39, 32, 33, and 35-spline. The Dana 60 axle also came in a variety of different size. The most popular D60 axles are 30, 32, 33, and 35-spline. The ears on the axle shafts are also different sizes. The Dana 44 axles use u-joints that measure 2.18 inches from snap ring to snap ring. The Dana 60 axle uses u-joints that measure three inches from snap ring to snap ring.
The Dana 60 has a larger ring gear, larger axle tubes, larger axle shafts, and overall is much stronger. All that extra strength, however, add a lot of weight. Adding more unsprung weight to your rig will make it handle worse on and off the road. If that’s something you don’t care about then the Dana 60 is a clear choice.
For those of us who care about on-road handling, the Dana 44 could be a better option. Especially if you don’t need all that extra strength. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!