Ford Ranger 4×4 Front Axles: 1983-1997

(Dana 35 Above / Dana 28 Below)

Ford Rangers appeared with a reverse cut Dana 28 TTB (Twin Traction Beam) 4WD front axle in 1983.  In 1990, Ford Introduced a 4.0L V6 to its engine lineup, and along came the larger Dana 35 axle to handle the increase in power.

The Dana 28 didn’t completely go away though.  A version of it found its way in to the 1990-1997 Ford Aerostar AWD mini-vans.  It also found it’s way back in to the 4-cylinder (and some 3.0L V6) Ford Rangers from 1993-1997. 

The 1993-1997  Rangers can be deceiving.  Some owners believe they automatically have a Dana 35 because they have a 1990 or newer Ford Ranger.  Although their 1993-1997 4-cylinder Ranger may look like it has a Dana 35, it may really be a Dana 35 axle beam using a special housing, and Dana 28 components. These Dana 35’s are commonly referred to as ‘Hybrids’.

In 1998, the Ford Ranger went to a Dana 35 SLA front axle.  The Dana 35 SLA switched from a reverse rotation gear to standard rotation gear.  The gears in a 1997 and older Ranger/Explorer will not work in the 1998 and newer Rangers.

Specification Dana 28 Dana 35
Width (Wheel Mount Surface – Surface) 58 Inches 59.5 Inches
Ring Gear Diameter 6.625 Inches 7.56 Inches
Ring Gear Bolts (8) 3/8″ x 24 RH
Pinion Stem 1.312 Inch  1.406 Inch
Carrier Breaks 3.73 & up, 3.45 & down None (All D35 TTB gears use the “Hi-Ratio” (3.55 & up) carrier, regardless of ratio)
Axle Shaft Diameter / Spline 1.00 / 23 1.16″ / 27
Bolt Pattern 12 Bolt Pattern On Front Of Axle 10 Bolt Pattern On Front Of Axle
Factory Ratios 3.08, 3.45, 3.73, 4.10 3.27, 3.55, 3.73, 4.10
Aftermarket Ratios 4.56, 5.13 (Discontinued) 4.56, 4.88 5.13
U-Joints 5-456x (1210 Series) 5-297x (stock), 5-760x
Max Tire Diameter Rating 31 Inches 35 Inches (TTB), 33 Inches (SLA IFS)
Pinion Bearing Preload 10 – 13 In Lbs (new)  6 – 8 In Lbs (used) 15 – 25 In Lbs (new bearings)  6 – 8 In Lbs (used)
Backlash 0.005-0.008 Inches 0.005-0.008 Inches
Ring Gear Bolt Torque 55 Lbs Foot 70-90 Lbs Ft
Carrier Bearing Cap Torque 30-45 Lbs Foot 47-67 Lbs Ft
Pinion Nut Torque 140 – 500 lbs-ft Foot (crush sleeve) 170 – 500 lbs-ft (crush sleeve)
Fluid 2 Quarts Hypoid Gear Lubicant SAE 80W or 90W 3 Quarts Hypoid Gear Lubicant SAE 80W or 90W
Exploded Views  & Part Numbers Click HERE Click HERE
Resource – Randy’s Ring & Pinion

The below photos show the visual differences between the Dana 28 and Dana 35.

Dana Axle Labels:

Your front axle may have a code stamped on the left carrier arm between the fill plug and axle end.  It will look like ‘F17A’ or similar.  What this code represents is;

E = 1980’s

F = 1990’s

1 = Last digit of year

7 = Ranger

A = Light Truck Engineering

(For more information on breaking down codes, click HERE.

Since the Dana 28’s were built in the 1980’s, their code will start with an ‘E’ where as the Dana 35’s were built in the 1990’s and will start with an ‘F’.  The above mentioned code would indicate that the axle was a Ranger axle built in 1991.

There is a manufacturers label on the back side of the right axle beam that lists the year manufactured and gear ratio.

If you look at the top left of this sticker, you can see 610366 which identifies this as a:

610366 FORD 35 FRONT 1990 1/2-92 1/2 EXPLORER

The second box from top right identifies it as having 3.73 gears.

These stickers are on the back side of the passenger side axle beam.

Axle Shaft Comparison:

 

Here is a picture of a Dana 28 & Dana 35 driver side axle shaft with the dimensions shown.

 

Spindle Comparisons:

Here’s a picture of a Dana 35 (Left) and Dana 28 (Right) spindle with dimensions shown.

 Connect to the Internet if you can't see this image.

 

Dana 35 Hybrid / Dana 35 Identification & Comparison:

The easiest way to check to see if your Dana 35, has Dana 28 “Guts”, is to pull the fill plug out from the front. If you can see the main cap (above), you have the Dana 28 guts (Sorry!).  If you can see the end of the carrier (below), you have “The Real Thing”.  If you look at the photos above of the carriers internals, you’ll see a red dot. This marks the location of what you will see through the “Plug”.

Note that the Dana 35 Hybrid has a smooth bottom

In the above (2) photos on the left it shows a Dana 35 hybrid that houses the Dana 28 carrier/gears.  Note that the housing has a smooth surface.  In the (2) photo’s on the right you’ll see a true Dana 35 differential. Note how the case in the far right photo is ribbed for strength.

Ranger 4WD Front Axle ‘Build of Material’ Numbers:

610171 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1983-1984 RANGER
610223 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1984 1/2-1985 RANGER/BRONCO II
610249 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1986-87 RANGER/BRONCO II
610298 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1987 1/2 RANGER/BRONCO II
610300 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1990 RANGER/BRONCO II
610307 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1988-1989 RANGER/BRONCO II
610365 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1990 1/2-92 1/2 RANGER/BRONCO II
610366 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1990 1/2-92 1/2 EXPLORER
610410 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1993-1994 1/2 EXPLORER ABS
610418 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1993-1994 1/2 RANGER (Hybrid axle)
610419 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1993-1994 1/2 RANGER
610436 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1992 1/2 RANGER
610437 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1992 1/2 EXPLORER
610476 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1995 EXPLORER – DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610483 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1995-1997 1/2 RANGER ABS
610484 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1995-1997 1/2 RANGER ABS (Hybrid axle)
610556 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1998 EXPLORER – NON DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610581 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1995-1996 EXPLORER – DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610582 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1995-1996 EXPLORER – DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610585 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1996 EXPLORER – NON DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610586 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1996 EXPLORER – NON DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610642 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1998-1998 1/2 EXPLORER – NON-DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610643 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1998-1998 1/2 EXPLORER – NON-DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610644 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1997 1/2 EXPLORER – NON-DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610645 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1998-1998 1/2 EXPLORER – NON-DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)
610652 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1997-1997 1/2 RANGER
610653 FORD DANA 28 FRONT 1997 RANGER NON ABS (Hybrid Axle)
610774 FORD DANA 35 FRONT 1999 EXPLORER – NON-DISCONNECT (SLA IFS)

From the above, we can see BOM #s:

  • 610418

  • 610484

  • 610653

Are the Dana 35 “hybrid” axles with the Dana 28 guts.

This number can be found at the top-left of the label located on the backside of the passenger side axle beam. For SLA axles, it will be on the passenger side axle tube