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Strange Engineering S60 Rearend Build

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We're engine fanatics who appreciate big horsepower with stump pulling torque. Even so, we also understand all of that grunt requires a well balanced drivetrain to make it last. And while modified 10- and 12-bolts, along with the stout 9-inch rears have its place, this month we're focusing on Strange Engineering's S60 rearend.

If you didn't already know, the S60 is a proprietary casting that's designed to use Dana 60 components. This means 35-spline axles become the norm, which adds to the strength factor, making the S60 comparable to a 9-inch and considerably stronger over the 12-bolt. Best of all, you get your choice of differentials, such as the Traction-Lok, Truetrac, or a Locker.

Depending on your needs, Strange offers the S60 in a number of configurations ranging from the bare housing to a complete bolt-in assembly; ours was ordered for an early A-body Chevelle for the street. If you're looking for more of a dragstrip application, then you'll be happy to know that Strange also offers axles from their Pro Race line, a choice of larger axle studs, along with their Pro Lightweight spool.

All said and done, the S60 is a great alternative to the 9-inch by costing significantly less and without sacrificing any strength whatsoever. Add in the variety of options to choose from and you have a setup that'll grow with you for years to come. So, follow along as we show you what you can expect to get for your hard earned bucks.

S60 Highlights

  • All Strange S60's are cast from premium Nodular Iron.
  • Nodular Iron caps help reduce deflection, which also helps to extend gear life.
  • Strange designed its castings to fit GM A-Body, G-Body, late-model F-Body, and leaf spring applications.
  • 35 spline axles are standard in S60 rearend assemblies.
  • Tubes come fully welded (360 degrees) around casting.
  • The giant 9 ¾-inch diameter ring gear offers increased strength over OEM gears for the most demanding applications.

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1. To begin, an 80-grit sanding stone is used to clean the back of the ring gear. This removes any high spots and burrs and ensures a flat mounting surface to the differential.

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2. The ring gear is then bolted onto the differential with 120 ft-lb of torque, along with a dab of red Loctite.

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3. Next, the front pinion-bearing journal is polished. From here, the pinion bearing is pressed onto the pinion; no shims are needed here.

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4. After first lubing the surfaces with a light coating of oil, we pressed on the carrier bearings.

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5. Next, we pressed on the ring gear.

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6. One of the unique features of the S60 rearend is the Adjuster Nut design. These allow for a quicker set up, eliminating the need for pounding shims in and out when trying to set backlash and bearing preload.

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7. We then applied a layer of copper anti seize to the adjuster nut prior. Note: using the copper will not create false shavings and will not stick to the magnetic plug.

Pro Touring Street Floater Kits
When it comes to hardcore corner carving, piston knock-back can be a big time issue with braking. To combat this, Strange Engineering offers an optional Pro Touring Street Floater kit, which was a joint effort with Wilwood Brakes. Imagine if you will, traversing through a series of turns, followed by a long straightway. As you setup for the next turn and get on the brakes, you have no pedal pressure and have to start pumping the pedal to get it back; not exactly the most secure feeling in the world. To combat this, Strange Engineering offers a complete Pro Touring Street Floater kit that comes with chrome-moly spindles, chrome-moly hubs, 35-spline drive plates, and will work with 3- and 3 ½-inch diameter tubes. This package will require a quality shop to machine and fit the floater assembly, but it's well worth it by keeping the brake feel consistent.

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8. Pinion races are then installed without the use of any shims.

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9. Using a depth mic, we measured for pinion depth, installed the pinion, and put preload on it; the recommended depth is 3.125-inch, measuring from the saddle bore to pinion.

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10. We then laid a strap across the carrier bearing saddles, which is subtracted from the final depth; our application required 0.018-inch shims. From there we installed the rear pinion brace.

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11. To set the front pinion bearing preload we used a 0.090-inch thick soldering wire on the pinion shaft, where the preload shims would be installed. Once the pinion is installed, we used an in-lb torque wrench to get a 20-25 in-lb reading. From there, we removed the pinion and measured the crushed wire to size up the correct shim pack. Ours showed that 0.050 was needed.

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12. To eliminate any confusion, the corresponding caps are marked to help ensure proper installation.

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13. To measure for proper backlash, we first torque the caps to 90 ft-lb; ours measured 0.009, which is well within the recommended 0.004-0.010 tolerances.

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14. In order to determine proper pinion depth, we applied grease paint on the ring gear teeth. Once on, we spun the gear with a drill to reveal the contact patch.

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15. Up next, install pinion seal and yoke for the final time.

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16. From here, the carrier can be set in for the final install and the lock tabs will keep the adjuster from working its way loose.

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17. Permatex Blue sealer is applied to the case and the differential cover is set into place and tightened. No gaskets are necessary.

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18. Wheel Studs were then bolted into the flange with a small amount of red Loctite and torqued to 90 ft-lb.

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19. Axle bearings can be pressed on at this time using no more than 100 psi of pressure.

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20. Once the axle is set, it’s then locked into place with the retainer plate to complete the build. CHP

Sources

Strange Engineering
Morton Grove, IL 60053
847-663-1701
www.strangeengineering.net

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