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Old 07-07-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
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Broken Axle

So the axle broke on our 2006 Ford while driving down the highway this morning. We didn't crash, bit it was tense there for a second. The shop says it broke due to wear and stress from the weight. We weigh about 10,500 - 11000 and certainly have driven off road a lot in the 4 years we've had the van. I was wondering if anyone has upgraded their rear axle to handle the extra weight and wear? Having broken an axle once, I don't ever want that to happen again...

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Old 07-07-2010, 07:00 PM   #2
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Re: Broken Axle

I've never heard of one breaking. Did you break the axle tube or an axle shaft?

SMB does offer a DynaTrac (I believe) rear axle assembly. Or you could get a larger axle assembly out of an F-series truck (maybe U-Joint or Carringb could offer specific advice).


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Old 07-07-2010, 07:14 PM   #3
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Re: Broken Axle

I'm no expert on axles, but I believe it was the shaft? It broke right where it hits the bearings, and the other side was worn as well. Pretty scary stuff maintaining control when it snapped, but luckily the wheel didn't come off. Here's a picture so you can see what broke:



Now we're waiting for parts in the middle of nowhere - same game as waiting for a vacuum pump in the boonies last summer...ain't van life fun?
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:55 PM   #4
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Re: Broken Axle

Wow! I've never heard or seen a Ford 1 ton axle failing like that. Very odd.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:00 PM   #5
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Re: Broken Axle

From these pages It looks like it's the "Shaft - Axle Flanged Drive". I wonder if your van is Full or Semi Float.
Someone who understands this better will hopefully correct me but I believe the difference between a Full and Semi Float design is that in the Semi Float the axle both supports the weight of the van and drives the rear wheels. In the Full Float the axle only drives the wheels.
If your van has a Semi Float then with this axle failure it looks like a upgrade to Full Float may be in order.



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Old 07-07-2010, 08:12 PM   #6
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Re: Broken Axle

Clearly a semi-floating axle. If it were a full floater the broken axle would not be in the flange.

It looks like only the brake kept the wheel in place!

Bad news. Glad you came out of it ok, it could have been much, much worse.

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Old 07-07-2010, 08:30 PM   #7
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Re: Broken Axle

Glad you got stopped safely! If you have a semi-floating axle, and it broke just inboard of the wheel and the wheel didn't come off the van while you were moving, I'd say you are very lucky!

Hard for me to tell for sure from the photo (I'm not an axle expert) but I'm guessing it's a semi-floating design. The (broken) axle on the back and the wheel lug bolts on the front (face down) appear to be a semi-floating design. A full-floater has separate axles, which can be pulled without removing the hub. As the diagram shows, a full-floater also has wheel support bearings both inside and outside the hub.

Did you buy the van new? If so, you'd likely remember if you upgraded to the DynaTrac full-floating axle. It's currently a $4,220 upgrade.

Again, glad you are safe.

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Old 07-07-2010, 09:28 PM   #8
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Re: Broken Axle

There are separate axles left and right, but I'm not sure what that means for whether it's semi or full float.

If it is semi and I want to go to full, will I have to replace the entire rear end of the truck? There's no way right here while we're in the middle of a trip (and we'll have to save up after this fiasco just after the injector replacement 2 weeks ago), but it's something to consider for the future. She got pretty squirrely for a second when it broke, and I'd rather not ever repeat that - much like the dead vacuum pump brake failure last year. Looks like these vans cost out the ass if you want them to be safe to drive a lot.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:54 PM   #9
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Re: Broken Axle

All heavy SMBs should have the full floating Dana70 IMO. It rated at 7800 pounds vs 6400ish for the D60 semi float.

The pickup axle is an option, but requires some work to adapt. I think its only worth it if you do 4x4 so then you can have matching bolt patterns.

The Dana 70 is a direct swap. You will need a disc brake version. The D70-disc was on all wagons in '99-'00. Then Ford started phasing in the semi float, so over time only some wagons got it (by 2003 it seams only the extended V10s and not even all of them). In 2005 Ford made it available standard again on the extended commercial van without the RV package, but RV package got the D60, according to Ford's specs. But I think even some of the non-rv vans got the semi-float. The '09 extended wagons with RSC all have it, but it has a different speed sensor setup. You need one from a van without RSC. Then for 2010 Ford went back to the semi-float but now its D70 (at least on wagons)

Luckily, mine came with the 70. It had a 60 carrier however, but at least I was able to upgrade to the larger carrier/ring/pinion.
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Old 07-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #10
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Re: Broken Axle

Yes, your axle is a semi-float. When you break a shaft in the full-float, you just lose the ability to transit power unless you have a locker.

Upgrading to full float requires swapping axle. It would be worth a visit to local wrecking yards to try to find one. You can ID one easily. The hub sticks out past the wheel about 5", where the semi-float has flat hubs. Don't forget to check for disc brakes too.


BTW - if you decide to go the F-series/Sterling route, you can buy the parts to adapt it from Chris at U-joint.
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