Dana 60 Knuckle Gusset Install – Pathmaker Speed Shop

Dana 60 Kingpin Knuckle Gusset Weld On Kit

After snapping my knuckle in half during my last wheeling trip. Getting a spare one brought out to me by my buddy Jon and limping my rig home. Back in the shop I pulled the front axle apart and noticed that of course the drivers side knuckle had some huge cracks in it. Looks like I was very close to breaking a second time on one trip! 

Back to bugging my buddy Jon and he told my of a guy that was the local Ford guru, the man with the mystical stacks of old Fords, piles of Dana 60’s and 205’s. I grown man’s wonderland. Unfortunately when you’re dealing with mythical places you have to work around a different sort of schedule. Months went by with only tales of wonder from Jon. Finally the stars aligned and it was everything he had promised….yet it was darker than hell by the time we met up with him that there was no way to do any filming. Plus I don’t want to share! 

A mythical Ford filled land

Out in the trees the Guru told us there was 9 Snowfighter F-350 complete running trucks in the back forty as well as a pile of Dana 60’s, stacks of 205’s and old Ford parts tucked away everywhere. I mentioned stacks of axles…there was a stack all right and the axle I needed was at the back! As I just needed the knuckles he didn’t see the point in pulling apart a good axle so he had this weird bastard child 1974 low pinon drivers drop d60 axle that has knuckles that will work for me! The only real differences is the spindle mount needs clearancing and the stock “low-steer” steering arm was an inch shorter than a “regular” 1992 d60 knuckle but since I run full PSC Hydraulic steering and NWF hydro arms the stock arm location means nothing to me.

Machinery Time!

Lifting things by hand doesn’t happen in a mythical place like this the Guru fired up his ole 1952 2cyl diesel dozer and Jon and I led the way with our phone lights. The one I need the knuckles off, and a nice complete snowfighter diff for Jon’s 12v Cummins front end. We backed out and pulled the truck around and loaded the axles up. The Guru let us take the 74 lowpin axle with us so we could pull the knuckles in the comfort of Jons shop instead of with headlamps in the forest! Maybe one day I will go back for a filming session, but nothing happens fast.

Dana60 Knuckle Gussets

 

Stripping off the knuckles and bringing them back to the shop it was time to pull out the gusset kit I got from my buddy Dustin at Back Door Fab. My plan with welding the mild steel 1/4″ plate on the cast steel knuckles was to put the knuckles in the bbq and do a pre and post heat so the welds cool down properly and don’t crack. One of the knuckle studs on the old push pull steering stripped out on me so first step was cutting into the knuckle to get the tapered nut off. Then it was time for the wire wheel and a scraper, taking off the previous 44yrs of grime on the inside of these knuckles. I ran some bolts in the threads so they didn’t get full of welding spatter as I’m just using my Mig gun Miller that leaves a bit of spatter. A bit of a puzzle to get everything together I brought it into the shop and did a few tack welds on most of the gusset pieces, so I wouldn’t have to be fumbling around trying to line them up while the knuckle is 400*. 

Fire it up!

While the first one cooked I got to cutting off the steering arm and cleaning up the second knuckle before tossing it on the bbq. Giving them an hour on high on the bbq I pulled them out one at a time and welded up the gusset kit, pouring a ton of heat into the thick cast knuckle to hope for good penetration. The gussets reinforce the top of the knuckle, which takes all the stress when running high steer arms off a kingpin Dana 60. After welding both of them out full I put them back on the bbq and slowly cooled them down over the next 4hrs. When they had fully cooled down I inspected them and found zero visible cracks. The welding job isn’t the best but hey, I never claimed to be a welder! 

Time for the coat of paint to dry and they’ll get bolted back up!


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