The drive axle housing in a fork lift truck has a very complex cast shape and is a heavily loaded structural component. The development of the finite element model for analyzing an existing design and three new designs is described. The analytical results and the experimental strain measurements on the existing housing correlated extremely well. This provided confidence in using the technique in three other designs where the housings were modeled, analyzed, modified and re-analyzed prior to making the first prototype casting, saving considerable time and cost. Other uses of the model for evaluating manufacturing variations, such as, core shift and providing guidelines for future designs are also presented.