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Old 02-06-2019, 12:11 AM
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LKeithR LKeithR is offline
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Default Replacing A Dana Style Axle Tube?

Got a call from a customer this afternoon. They've got Ford F350 with a bent tube in the rear axle housing. This is a Dana style full floater style axle. The spindle is welded to the outer end of the tube and the inner end is pressed into the centre pumpkin and plug welded in a few spots.

They wanted to know what I thought about changing the tube. I know we did something similar to a couple of Dana axle housings years ago--actually I think we shortened up a Dana 60 to fit in a jeep. That was a long time ago (early 80s) and the memories are a little thin. I know we got the job done but I also seem to remember that it was a royal pain in the ass.

Just trying to decide if we want to take the job on. Anybody have any more recent experience doing something like this? The tricky part is determining how much of a press fit there is between the tube and the pumpkin. Too tight and you risk cracking the pumpkin; too loose and the tube is only supported by the welds and there's a risk that it will break loose.

We don't really need the work right now but I love challenging jobs and this would be a challenge for sure. Would make a neat build thread if we take it on. Thoughts and opinions appreciated...
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:49 AM
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Depending on the year/ratio f350 rear axles can be had $100-500 not worth the effort to re-tube. ('99+)

As far as determining the press fit of the new tube I would drill/cut the plug welds from the old tube, press out and measure the machined OD.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camaro Zach View Post
...Depending on the year/ratio f350 rear axles can be had $100-500 not worth the effort to re-tube...
That was my first thought too but he seemed to think that in this case it might be cheaper to re-tube.

Quote:
...As far as determining the press fit of the new tube I would drill/cut the plug welds from the old tube, press out and measure the machined OD...
That would be the basic plan. Seems to me that when we were working on the axle many years ago we cut the tube off short and used a torch to slit it; relieving the pressure and making it easy to drive or slide out. Gettin' the new tube in will be more problematic. Will require an improvised press of some sort...
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:45 AM
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Based on my limited work with shortening Dana axles, if it is common enough and cheap enough to just get a replacement from a salvage yard with the same brakes and gears, that's the route I'd go.

To re-tube, you have the additional labor of tearing it completely down, doing the tube work, and then putting it back together. And if that deep in it, It would be getting all new bearings and seals, and the clutches in the diff replaced, if applicable.
Getting the tube out is not impossible, but it is a serious PITA to get the plug welds out, and press out the tube.

Also, if one side is bent, the other is likely tweaked as well from normal use.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:45 AM
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Much cheaper to replace the housing or axle. Depending on the bend, it is also effective to flame straighten them.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:57 AM
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If they bent this one, wonder how long til they bend the replacement and ask about ‘warranty’?


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Old 02-06-2019, 11:57 AM
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Not that hard to do, but depends on if they bring you an OEM tub or aftermarket; The aftermarket might need a little cleaning up of the tube but very little... tube should come already sized for the press fit. then you need to set the degree of tube arch... somewhere I have the tool/gig for doing this... amongst all my mess in the tool storage room.

After the arch is set then just reweld the plugs while you keep checking the arch... Most people wouldn't think there is an arch to an axle tube but there is...

But as for press fit, it's not difficult... I do at least 2 a year for some gearheads here when they are tubing and narrowing their rat rods and pickups...

Then you need to set and weld any bracket back to the tube if it did not come with you will need to cut them off the old tube...

Is it cheaper to buy a new complete diff? Yes and No...
If you can do it your self well the answer is Yeah! if you have to pay someone to do it well No... far cheaper to grab a used one from a salvage...

Kieth if ya don't need the work don't take it in... send them to the salvage parts yard... if ya want to make a fist full of cash take the job...

I have one possibly coming in next month... but is in the form of a "kit" little more work with an aftermarket kit, and I'll have to do a full assembly including gears... although I'd rather cut and narrow the diff. my self and install aftermarket axles...
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Old 02-06-2019, 06:22 PM
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I've never messed with the DANA stuff much, but I've re tubed and narrowed a bunch of Ford 9 inch, 8.8's and so forth.

Up until a few (10 or so) years ago, it was cost effective to do the mods required of racing third members myself. (narrowing, centering, brackets, full floater ends etc.)

In recent times, you can buy what you want, the way you want it, (disc brake, full float, large flange, extra heavy wall tubes, Etc. for less than the parts and shop time to do it your self. Most of what is being purchased today is fully machined, jigged and pro welded with exacting QA inspection.

With the 4 X 4 truck jeep guys into the Dana style, my money would be on a fabbed /upgrade housing being most cost effective. If they bent the stock tube / housing, (other than by accident) they were likely overloading/ abusing it. You may or may not have the tools or experience to properly ascertain and correct the hidden damage. (tweaked casting/housing etc.) even if you do, is it worth the time and brain burn?)

I would send them to a wrecking yard for a F-450 or larger and retro fit. (they save money in the long run and I make money in the short run)

Just my quirky style of overkill and self preservation.

RED
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2019, 08:04 PM
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If it is a 4X4 any replacement rear dif must end up with exactly the same ratio as the original. to avoid the dog with a football syndrome.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:01 AM
threepiece threepiece is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKeithR View Post

Just trying to decide if we want to take the job on.
I'm surprised. Perhaps you have been reading too many of my posts. Even I would not consider such a job unless I wanted a configuration that doesn't exist.

My apologies to anyone I may have corrupted.
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