Dana 60 vs Ford 9" | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Dana 60 vs Ford 9"


Explorer Addict
July 31, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
Golden, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 XLT
ok, so after a little bit of searching around and looking at different rigs... it doesn't seem like there are too many advantages/disadvantages to either rear axle, just mostly preference or cost/availability.
What I'm wanting to know is if there are any subtle differences in the axles strength/offroading wise that I may have overlooked. It doesn't seem like there are more parts available for either one, since there is so much for both of them.
So, anyone who wheels with either, or has wheeled with both in some way or another, which one seemed like the more solid choice in offroad conditions?
Right now, both axles are very close to being the same price, so that's really not that big of an issue.
thanks for your input

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9" is nice because it has a removable third member which makes gear swaps and other work a breeze. There are a ton of upgrades available. They aren't much stronger than a 8.8" unless you spend the money to build them up.

Dana 60s are stronger than the 9" and much heavier. You can get a full floating Dana 60, or semi-floating 60. The 9" is semi-floating. There are a ton of upgrades available for the 60 also.

stock for stock dana 60 is stronger. Built up then it is a tossup. You will get better clearance with a 9" but the pinion is lower. Also some of the 9" has 28 spline shafts which would be weaker then the 31 spline ones in your explorer axle. Also a lot of dana 60 stock use a 30 spline shaft but because of the full float design it will in a sence be stronger then a 31 explorer shaft. eather way getting rid of c clips will be nice.

9" has a ton more ground clearance under the diff and weighs a ton less. If you arent going over a 37 or 28 inch tire i would stick with the 9". If your really concerned about strength get a 31 spline Detroit and Chomoly Shafts.

well, it's more than likely going to be running 36-37" tires with a spool. yeah, I'm definately going to get the bigger shafts, that's for sure. My dad has rebuilt a 9" before and he said it was pretty easy, but I was just wondering if the 60 was just as easy, and by the sounds of it, it isn't. I have access to a full floating dana 60 now, but I've seen them around quite a bit, and 9"s are a dime a dozen out here. From thesounds of it, the strength of the 60 is outweighed by its heaviness. Also, it does seem like the 9" has more ground clearance.
Well, it's kind of a toss up. I guess whichever axle I find that is the most built up for the cheapest is going under my explorer.

Before you make a decision I would browse the 4x4 rags and compare prices for gears, axles, and lockers for both axles.

Hey Ryan, "IF" you wanna spend the $$$, you can get 35 spline axles & a locker or 40 spline axles & a spool from Currie for the 9". It all boils down to how much do ya wanna spend? :D

well, I was just looking at currie's site and yeah...I don't have that kind of money :p
the currie rock jock 60 looks pretty sweet though

at this point, it's looking like the 9" is getting the edge, but if I come across a killer deal on a 60, I'll probably jump on it.
both axles would be roughly the same amount of money to build up. gears and bearings are a tiny bit cheaper for the 9" but not really enough to make a huge difference
I am going to try and get the biggest spline axles that were avaliable stock for whichever axle I end up getting. I think both had 31 spline stock?

For offroading I would take the full floater over the non any day. If you break an axleshaft you can still keep driving because of the full float design. The weight issue is not too big of a deal. You can take off the heavy drums and convert to disc brakes fairly easy and get rid of some weight there. Shave off the lip on the bottom to give it a little more clearence. Because it is a dana axle the gears are a little harder to setup vs others but its not that hard if you know what you are doing. I personally like the GM 14 bolt over the 60 because of the pure beef of the axle. It is simple to convert to discs and gear swaps are very easy. The 9" is a great axle because of the removable 3rd and pinon as well as the large aftermarket following. They can be converted to full floating but it is expensive.

How the chasis is set up means Alot too !! In my 4 link truck it has a stock dana 60 and 700hp, never broke drivetrain parts. The same motor in my other f-350 with a modded dana 70 rear with leafs, it would tear it up.


rookies got front and rear currie 9's (5.13's with arb's) and hes done pretty good on them. hes also considering parting it out hix x for a zuke, so he may be willing to part with them.

Although the ring gear of the D60(and D70) is larger in diameter, the Ford 9" has a thicker and wider ring gear which is where the strength is. The pinion gear on the 9" is larger than that of a D60(and D70). The 9" also has a third bearing for added support. You can get up to 40 spline carriers/shafts for the 9" as well as a fullfloat setup for the rear. If you decide to go hi-pinion truehi9.com has hi-pinion carriers that use machined 9" gears as opposed to Currie's hi-pinion carriers that use Ford 8.8 gears.
www.truehi9.com has great comparison pics of the 9" vs. D60.
In any case, i'd go with whatever you can get cheapest unless you find a 28 spline small bearing 9" then i'd steer clear of that one, you want at least a 31 spline big bearing model.