How to Identify a Dana Rear Endby Floyd Drake III
The Dana Corporation manufactures vehicle differentials in tandem with the Spicer Corporation, which, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, "is North America’s largest independent manufacturer of automotive driveshafts and related components." Dana/Spicer rear-end units are popular for heavy-duty applications and commonly found in trucks, but also found in cars, off-road and construction vehicles. Identification is accomplished both visually and by locating tags attached to the rear-end housing unit. Dana/Spicer Corporation tags contain the necessary information for complete identification.
Count the number of bolts on the inspection cover of the rear-end housing. The inspection cover faces the back of the vehicle and can be seen by looking forward from the rear of the car, under the license plate. Some Dana units share the same number of bolts, however, this aids in a process of elimination. Compare the bolt number to the Dana section of Nationwide Parts' Differential Identification Charts (see References).
Look at the shape of the inspection cover. Each Dana/Spicer unit has a unique inspection cover and gasket shape. Compare the gasket shape to Nationwide Parts' Axle Identification Chart to determine the Dana model number. Dana models 25, 27, 30, 60, 70 and 80 have identical gasket shapes and bolt counts and therefore must be identified by locating the identification tag.
Locate the identification tags on the rear-end housing unit. According to the Dana/Spicer Corporations' "Roadranger" Illustrated Parts List, there are two identification tags, one located on the driver's side differential carrier and one on the passenger side of the axle housing. Both tags contain similar information, however, the axle assembly tag contains the model number. The tag is on the passenger side of the housing, next to where the driveshaft connects to the unit. The tag faces forward, toward the engine. The Dana model number is located in the upper right-hand corner of the tag.
A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.