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.
- 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.
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.
2. The ring gear is then bolted onto the differential with 120 ft-lb of torque, along with a dab of red Loctite.
3. Next, the front pinion-bearing journal is polished. From here, the pinion bearing is pressed onto the pinion; no shims are needed here.
4. After first lubing the surfaces with a light coating of oil, we pressed on the carrier bearings.
5. Next, we pressed on the ring gear.
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.
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.
8. Pinion races are then installed without the use of any shims.
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.
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.
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.
12. To eliminate any confusion, the corresponding caps are marked to help ensure proper installation.
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.
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.
15. Up next, install pinion seal and yoke for the final time.
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.
17. Permatex Blue sealer is applied to the case and the differential cover is set into place and tightened. No gaskets are necessary.
18. Wheel Studs were then bolted into the flange with a small amount of red Loctite and torqued to 90 ft-lb.
19. Axle bearings can be pressed on at this time using no more than 100 psi of pressure.
20. Once the axle is set, it’s then locked into place with the retainer plate to complete the build. CHP