Dana 60 Front Differential/Axle Service

1999-2011 Ford Super Duty Front Differential Service Procedures

The venerable Dana 60 is one of the most desirable and sought after differentials in both OE and aftermarket applications. Introduced in 1955, the Dana 60 front axle has been employed by Ford, Dodge, GM, and Jeep vehicles at some point in their respective histories. Applications include the 1999 to 2011 model year Ford Super Duty, the platform in which the following procedures are derived from.

Applications: 1999 - 2011 Ford Super Duty (F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550) w/ Dana 60 front differential
Front differential service interval:
30,000 miles under severe conditions, 100,000 miles under normal conditions
Differential oil specification:
SAE 80W-90 gear oil (recommend full synthetic 80W-90 Severe Gear)
Differential oil capacity: ~ 3 quarts, always fill to bottom of fill plug
Dana 60 differential cover gasket: Dana 3468 (optional - cover can be sealed w/out gasket)

Dana 60 Front Differential Oil Selection & Service Intervals

Ford calls for an SAE 80W-90 gear oil in its Ford Super Duties equipped with the Dana 60 front differential. A SAE 90W hypoid gear oil is also referenced in select service material from Ford, although this specification is largely redundant and we recommend the more common 80W-90 spec. A full synthetic oil is not required, but is highly recommended due to its superior lubricating properties and resilience to chemical, thermal, and mechanical breakdown. We highly recommend Amsoil Severe gear 80W-90, a quality full synthetic option.

1999 to 2007 model year vehicles call for the front differential oil to be changed every 100,000 miles under normal service conditions and every 30,000 miles under severe service conditions. 2008 to 2011 model year vehicles call for the front differential oil to be changed every 150,000 miles under normal service conditions and every 50,000 miles under severe service conditions. Vehicles will fall under the severe service category if they are driven off-road and/or 4 wheel drive is engaged frequently. If using a conventional (non-synthetic) gear oil, we recommend adhering to the severe service interval regardless. Differential fluid should be changed as quickly as possible anytime a differential is submerged as water intrusion and contamination is likely.

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Dana 60 front differential

• Park the vehicle on level ground and set the parking brake. If vehicle is parked at an angle, the differential housing may not drain properly and/or may not be refilled with the correct amount of oil.

Dana 60 fill plug location

• Locate the fill plug and loosen it with a 3/8" square drive; leave it hand tight so it can easily be removed in the future.

Drain pan positioned beneath differential housing

• Place a suitable oil drain pan (minimum 3 quart capacity) below the differential housing.

Differential pan bolts removed

• Loosen (2) of the top differential cover/pan bolts with a 9/16" socket, then back them out about half way. Completely remove the remaining (8) bolts. The top bolts left in will hold the pan in place until it is ready to be removed.

Note - on some applications, a socket head screw is used in place of a hex bolt near the leaf spring hanger; use a 5/16" Allen/hex bit.

Differential oil draining

• Carefully pry the differential cover from the differential housing using a razor blade, putty knife, and/or small screw driver. Some pans are more stubborn than others, but be patient and careful not to mar the machined surface of the differential housing, which could compromise the cover seal in subsequent steps.

Differential pan removed

• Allow the differential oil to drain completely, then remove the remaining differential cover bolts followed by the cover itself.

Dana 60 differential pan

• Thoroughly clean the differential cover with a mild solvent (i.e. brake cleaner). All remnants of oil, silicon sealant, and/or gasket material should be removed completely.

Cleaning differential housing

• Cover the differential and gear assembly with a large garbage bag (or similar) to protect it. Thoroughly clean the cover mounting surface of the differential housing; all remnants of oil, silicon sealant, and/or gasket material should be removed completely.

• Remove the garbage bag from inside the differential housing and wipe the mounting surface clean with a mild solvent to remove any oil residue.

Silicon sealant applied to differential cover

• Apply a thin 1/8 to 1/4 inch bead of RTV silicon/gasket maker around the circumference of the differential cover and all bolt holes.

Note - if preferred, a gasket can be used in lieu of or in addition to a silicon sealant. Most modern differentials are factory sealed with silicon only. We highly recommend Permatex Ultra Black RTV silicon for its high oil resistance.

Differential cover installed

• Carefully line up and install the differential cover, then install the mounting bolts hand tight.

• Snug bolts in a criss-cross/alternating sequence, then torque to ~ 30 ft-lbs.

• Allow the silicon sealant to cure per the product's instructions (typically ~ 24 hours).

Adding gear oil through differential cover fill plug

• Remove the fill plug and add oil until it begins to run out of the bottom of the fill plug hole, then reinstall and snug the fill plug. A hand pump is recommended for adding differential fluid since access is limited.

• Recommend driving vehicle at low speed with 4 wheel drive engaged, then checking for leaks.