SpynTec Hub Conversion for Dana 60
By Maurice Cox
The Dana 60 axle has been in use and continuous production as a rear axle since the mid 1950 and as a front axle since the mid 60s. The front axle variants have several variants: ball joint or king pin, standard or reverse cut gears as well as driver or passenger drop. One of the more recent changes has been away from tapered roller bearings in the knuckles to unit bearings - saving much time in the assembly process.
SpynTec has developed an all steel bolt in kit that allows owners of both Ford and Dodge trucks to convert back to the tapered roller bearings. This kit allows owners to actually maintain - remove, replace if necessary and re-grease, the bearings, foregoing the approximate $350 price tag, per side, for replacement unit bearings. This kit includes parts from respected manufacturers, such as Spicer and Timken, for their parts.
Installing this kit requires very few special tools. The only thing I had to buy was the proper sized spindle socket. Everything else should already be in the toolbox of anyone who thinks they can tackle this task. Follow along with me as I install a SpynTec hub conversion kit in my 4x4 converted Ford E350 van.
Here are the packages as they were delivered by the man in brown. You'll notice the damage to the box. I was concerned at first, but it was totally unwarranted. I used to work as a loader at UPS and it would have taken more effort than your average UPS loader would be willing to expend to actually damage the hub that was behind that damaged box wall.
Then it's like Christmas. Here are the major components for one side. Yes, that's a 1.5" diameter outer stub axle.
One of the first things I noticed about the SpynTec pieces is the difference in length between the stock and new stub shafts. The difference in length is also visible in the hubs themselves. The new hub is about 2.25" longer than the stock one, from the mounting surface to where the lockout mounts.
And now to put it in.
Put the truck up on jackstands and chock the rear wheels. Remove the tires and then it's time to get a bit dirty.
Take off the brake caliper and then the disk itself. Make sure you secure the caliper so it doesn't fall and damage the brake line - or you.
Remove the snapring and take off the stock lockout.
Using snapring pliers, remove the snapring on the stub shaft and then the 3 washers behind it.
Next, you'll be removing the unit bearing itself. In order to do this without damaging expensive parts, you'll have to carefully disconnect the ABS sensor wire from the knuckle and then disconnect the ABS wire from the body wiring harness.
Next you'll remove the unit bearing. Four nuts on the back of the knuckle, and a bit of prying with your precision prydriver, and it pops right off. This is followed by the hardest part of the job (at least on my 2003 Ford axle): removing the vacuum seal that allows the shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system to work. I was able to use a drift and hammer to spin the seal in the knuckle and then cut it out. I read on one of a handful of websites people have used a bar to pry on the u-joint to have the mud slinger push the seal out, but I had no luck with that.
Once you're done with that, you can throw all this stuff away.
Now, it's time to start putting the new pieces in your truck. Here is the new stub shaft on the inner. Please note that new u-joints are NOT provided with the kit. Also note that if you get greasable joints, make sure you put the zerk pointing towards the center of the vehicle, unless you don't want to be able to actually grease them.
The next step is to move the ABS sensor from the factory hub to the SpynTec spindle. Take care not to damage the Hall effect sensor, or you'll be off to the parts store for a new one.
Ford trucks use a stud/nut setup to hold the unit bearing onto the knuckle. Dodge uses a bolt. Either way, you'll need to reuse the factory fastener. So if you've got a Ford, you get to remove those studs. Trial fit the stud or bolt into the new spindle and check the fit in the knuckle. The Dodge instructions indicate you may need to cut a few threads off the bolt in order to be able to secure it tightly. This was not necessary on my truck. However, I would have probably purchased new studs just to avoid the hassle of removing/reinstallation, but NAPA was closed and I didn't want to make the 30 mile round trip to the next nearest parts store.
The next few pictures will show you how the small parts are assembled onto the larger pieces. I left the grease off for these pictures, but you will want to grease things up when assembling them.
There is a rubber seal that goes up against the slinger on the stub shaft. This is followed by the hard plastic thrust washer. Make sure the thrust washer fits flush up against the slinger - if it doesn't, you've got it on backwards.
This is how the spindle nuts fit up. First, the nut with the single pin goes on. Make sure the pin is facing towards you. This will be torqued to about 50 ft-lbs. Next, the tabbed washer goes on. The pin on the first nut will fit into one of the holes on the washer. Next the second spindle nut goes on, torqued to 125-150 ft-lbs. The first 200 miles of driving on this kit, I was nervous about the spindle nuts coming off. I pulled the lockouts and checked them a couple times, with no loosening discovered.
There is also a small black grease seal. For some reason, I missed this the first time I installed the spindle. Nothing like doing something twice because you didn't take the time to do it right the first time.
Now, let's put it together for real.
Clean the inside of the knuckle and coat it with anti-seize for next time.
Grease up the seals, install them on the axle slinger, and put the axle shaft assembly in the housing.
Grease up the small roller bearings and the face of the spindle. Put some anti-seize on the studs' threads, and install the spindle. Don't forget the dust shield. Tighten up the nuts on the back of the knuckle.
Grease up the inner wheel bearing and the grease seal. Put these in the backside of the hub, then slide the hub onto the spindle.
Next you'll install the outer wheel bearing, packed with grease. Then the spindle nut/washer/nut set, all torqued to spec.
The last part of the kit to be installed is are the Mile Marker lockouts. These are stout units that are easy to install. Insert the lockout body, followed by the snap ring, then the cover.
Once this is done, put the rotor and caliper back on. Make sure you've connected the ABS sensor, and you're good to go. Assuming you did both sides.
Spyntec Industries also offers free wheeling hub kits for 1994-2010 Dodge trucks, 1999-2010 Ford trucks, and 1987-2010 Jeeps.