(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|
Dana 28 And Dana 35 Visual Differences:
The below photos show the visual differences between the Dana 28 and Dana 35:
Dana 35 TTB Axle Beam Differences:
The 1983-1994 front brake is a single piston caliper with slide pins. In 1995 the caliper was upgraded to a dual piston (2-piston) caliper and the rotor was upgraded to 1.023 inches thick. The caliper bolts to the steering knuckle and does not use slide pins.
The 1983-1988 axle beams are different than the 1989-1997 beams. In 1989, Ford moved the ball joints from the beam to the steering knuckle. So you can not swap the 1995-1997 steering knuckles on to these beams. The dual piston calipers will only fit the 1995-1997 steering knuckles, and those knuckles can only be swapped on to the 1989-1994 beams. So if you have a 1983-1988, you’ll need to swap in a 1989-1994 beam, or swap in a 1995-1997 beam with the dual piston calipers.
For more information about the front brakes and brake upgrades, check out ‘Ford Ranger Brake Upgrades‘.
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:
Here’s a picture of a Dana 35 (Left) and Dana 28 (Right) spindle with dimensions shown:
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:
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.