After a few weeks of patiently waiting, the East Coast Gear Supply Dana 60 finally showed up at the shop.
It came in a wooden crate, strapped down with some steel strapping material. A bit of the paint had worn off from it, but not enough to be an issue. There was also a spring isolator missing from the box, which ECGS overnighted me.
First thought – this axle is a beast! It’s a massive unit, giant differential housing, and monster DOM tubes. It took every bit of 2 people to lift it onto two wheeled dollies to move it underneath the truck. Installation was relatively straight forward, other than due to its sheer weight it being difficult to maneuver around. As I don’t have a lift, I used a bunch of strap ratchets and jack stands to hoist the axle into position and get it bolted in.
Everything lined up, and with the exception of the top link brackets being a bit too tight, everything bolted right up.
The brackets were easily spread with a little contraption of two bolts and some washers ECGS sent me.
The included sway bar fit perfectly, and the mount on the axle side has a taller bracket than the stock one, putting the sway bar nice and horizontal.
One thing I ran into then assembling everything, is that without completely re-routing the parking brake cables, they wouldn’t reach the back plates. Oh well – No parking brake for now. Saved me a bunch of time assembling the parking brake assemblies on the hubs too!
A big plus is that my stock driveshaft bolted right up, an using a Powertrain Industries 1351-31 conversion U Joint (From Toyota to 1310) supplied with the axle, installation was a snap.
I ordered 2 spare U Joints from Northern Drivetrain to have on hand, as it is now no longer a stock Toyota part.
After getting everything installed and double-checked, the break in procedure started. Just like most other axles, varying speeds, short <50 mile trips for 500 miles, and then a fluid change. Everything looked good coming out, nothing unexpected from a break in.
After break in was done, I took the truck to the Appalachian Toyota Roundup, and had no issues whatsoever with the axle. It did great, and the slightly decreased ground clearance due to the larger housing wasn’t noticeable. What was noticeable now, was my lack of bump stops.
Many many moons ago, I removed the in-the-coil bump stops as I installed Firestone airbags. When the bags came out, I never ran inner bump stops, only the outer ones on a 2″ drop bracket, as part of the Metaltech 4×4 long travel kit. I had never hit anything hard enough to fully compress the coil, but it happened now, possibly from the new axle somehow.
Turns out, spring rates are calculated with using -in part- unsprung and sprung weight. Due to my massive unsprung weight increase, I felt my spring ratio might not be optimal. Paired with running the rear Icon shock adjusters to max soft, I was seeing some full compression hits.
I decided to install a pair of Icon hydraulic bump stops with spring perch mounts. They basically replace the stock witch hat bump stops. Once installed, I was way off with my engagement area. At full tuck of the axle, and spring compression, I was still quite a way off from engaging the bump. I decided to make some striker pads from UHMW material, like used in body lifts.
I machined a 2″ puck and drilled for some countersunk 1/2″x13 bolts, which as it turns out, installed right into the spring perches as the axle comes from ECGS! Bonus!
With the striker area lifted 2″, I now had a proper engagement and compression before gettin even close to compressing my spring or hitting the outer bumps.