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Dana Introduces Bracketless Crate Axles


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Dana Incorporated has introduced the new Ultimate Dana 80 bracketless crate axles that are designed for easy installation on virtually any application. 

Featuring Dana-engineered Dana 80 housing and a full-float design, the axles contain ultra-strong 4-inch tubes with 5/8-inch wall thickness and Spicer 40 spline nickel chromoly steel axle shafts.

“Ultimate Dana 80 bracketless crate axles are designed for the toughest applications and provide unrivaled durability for custom builds,” said Bill Nunnery, senior director, sales and marketing, global aftermarket for Dana. “Enthusiasts can be assured that Ultimate Dana 80 bracketless axles provide a higher torque load, deliver peak protection from environmental contaminants, and perform well even in the most extreme off-road conditions.”

Manufactured in Lugoff, South Carolina, Ultimate Dana 80 bracketless crate axles include Spicer performance ring and pinion gears in ratio 3.73 through 5.38. These crate axles provide maximum strength and durability for vehicles with larger tires, according to the company.  

Featuring a Dana-engineered carrier with ribbed housing design, the Ultimate Dana 80 bracketless crate axles also include an ARB Air Locker, heavy-duty wheel bolt pattern (8 x 6.5 inches), Spicer 1410 strap-style/half-round end yokes and a 69-inch-width wheel-mount surface to wheel-mount surface.

To learn more about the new Ultimate Dana 80 bracketless crate axles and Dana products, contact a Dana sales representative or visit

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    • By Counterman
      A constant velocity (CV) axle includes the axle shaft itself, along with the inner and outer CV joints as an assembly. The shaft itself is a rather mundane part, although there is more to them than meets the eye, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.
      Perhaps the most interesting part about a CV axle is the joints, but it all seems more significant when we first look into their predecessor, the infamous u-joint. U-joints can handle a lot of torque, but they have a downside in the nature of their operating characteristics.
      The basics are this: u-joints are located on the ends of a driveshaft, the most typical configuration a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, in which the joints are connected to a front and rear yoke. The front yoke attaches to the transmission and the rear yoke attaches to rear differential. As the engine moves from the effects of torque and as the suspension of a vehicle travels up and down, the angle of the driveshaft changes.
      U-joints transfer the motion between the yoke(s) and driveshaft at different angles, allowing for driveline movement. When a yoke and the driveshaft are in perfect alignment, the velocity from one is transferred to the other at the same rate. However, when there is an angle between the two, the velocity of the driven member fluctuates continuously during rotation.
      It can be hard to visualize, but the reason this happens is that as the angle of the u-joint changes, the two halves of the u-joint cross are forced to rotate on a different axis. The drive axis remains at a constant velocity, and both ends of the u-joint cross rotate in the same consistent
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      The driven axis, however, rotates in a path which causes the distance of travel at the outer ends of the u-joint cross to increase or decrease in relation to the consistent points of the
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      This effect results in the continuous fluctuation of velocity between the input and output sides. While the input remains at a consistent speed, the output speeds up and slows down as the points of the driven axis continuously alter between a long and short path of travel.
      So, why don’t we feel that on a vehicle with a traditional driveshaft? Because there are two u-joints and the fluctuation on each end balances out, effectively allowing the driveshaft to provide a consistent output speed to the rear differential. The angle of the two joints must be the same, however, and it doesn’t take much wear in one for the angles to differ, and subsequently cause a vibration.
      U-joints are known for their propensity to cause vibration, and the other disadvantage they have is the greater the angle of the u-joint, the greater the fluctuation in velocity. Anything over 30 degrees and the fluctuation dramatically increases. Have you ever noticed how jittery an old four-wheel-drive truck feels in the front when the hubs are locked, and you turn a corner? Now you know why.  
      A Double-Cardan u-joint. It is basically two u-joints side-by side with a common link-yoke in between. This is one of the original concepts for a true constant velocity (CV) joint, and they are often referred to as this. The advantage they have is they offer smoother operation at greater angles, and they are common on four-wheel-drive trucks, and also a common upgrade for lifted trucks where the driveshaft angle is altered considerably.
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      link hidden, please login to viewTypical Rzeppa CV joint design. The CV shafts themselves can differ in length from side to side, and in early FWD development, torque steer, the vehicle pulling one direction or the other during acceleration, was sometimes a result of this difference. Different diameter shafts as well as hollow versus solid became part of the design aspects to combat this problem. Drivetrain mounting and torque control has also advanced considerably since the early days of FWD, and torque steer is rarely a problem.
      Due to their overall advantages, CV shafts are now utilized front and rear, and it’s not uncommon to see driveshafts that feature CV joints instead of u-joints. U-joints aren’t forgotten, however, due to their ability to handle high torque and work well in abusive environments that may not be so friendly to the boot on a CV joint (such as the exposed location of a driveshaft under a truck).  
      link hidden, please login to viewTypical U-joint. CV joints are packed with a specially formulated grease, and a rubber boot is sealed to both the CV shaft and the joint, to keep the grease in place. When a boot is torn or begins to leak, the grease goes away, and dirt gets inside. CV joints typically need no service until this happens.
      There was a time when the most common service for a bad boot was to remove the CV joint, take it apart, clean it, repack it and install a new boot. Generally, this was routine, however from time to time you could experience a nightmare. Much of the reason we replaced the boots and serviced the joints in this manner was due to the high cost of a replacement joint or a complete shaft. Even with the additional labor, it was far more cost effective to replace just the boot.
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