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Welders and Welding Which welder is best and the best way's to use them.


Welders and Welding Which welder is best and the best way's to use them.

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  #1  
Old 08-23-2017, 01:31 PM
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Question Tips for narrowing axle housing

I plan to narrow my 12 bolt axle housing soon. I am going to take off 1-1/16" from each side and use alloy c-clip axles intended for a stock application that is narrower than mine. Does anyone have any tips/advice before I get started?

I plan to cut the tubes with an angle grinder & cutoff wheel. I will be sectioning the tube and reusing the existing housing ends, so I need to locate two cuts accurately. Any tips for doing that?

I also plan to use machined "pucks" and an alignment bar to keep the housing ends in line with the carrier while welding. I found a shop in Missouri that sells sets of pucks for about $100 (link here) and I can get a ground alignment bar locally.

I assume I should bevel the joint and tack it in a few places before welding. How many tacks and in what order should I weld? I was thinking four tacks, weld 1/4 way around on one side, flip to the other side, do another 1/4 way around, then again for the remaining two sides. Is there a better pattern to prevent warping the housing?

Anything else I should look out for? Thanks for any help and advice!
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:36 PM
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Oh boy, that's a pretty optimistic goal in my mind.

Tig tack welds seem to "pull" much less than might welds.

I would hate to do that with an abrasive blade in a angle grinder. A band saw or even dry cut chop saw might be better to get straight cuts.

Why not switch to c clip eliminators? Doesn't nhra prohibit c clips and slicks?
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Old 08-23-2017, 01:42 PM
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I don't add much to the conversations on here,but I just thought I'd jump in here.I was under the impression that they drilled the spot weld where the tube meets the axle and separate the tube from the housing then cut and rewelded.And on the front axle they removed the knuckle.Much stronger than cutting between the ends so to speak.Maybe this is what your thinking but not what I interpreted.Good luck with the project,I'd be afraid to even start,lol.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarterKraft View Post
Oh boy, that's a pretty optimistic goal in my mind.
Why? What are the risks and how can I mitigate them? Are you concerned about warping? Alignment? Weak welds?

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Originally Posted by CarterKraft View Post
I would hate to do that with an abrasive blade in a angle grinder. A band saw or even dry cut chop saw might be better to get straight cuts.
I have a portaband that I could use instead. I guess I just have a thing for cutoff wheels. I would make a series carefully-aligned shallow cuts all the way around and then go deeper until I break though. With the bandsaw, I would be worried about the blade getting off-track as I cut.

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Why not switch to c clip eliminators? Doesn't nhra prohibit c clips and slicks?
NHRA requires c-clip eliminators for 10.99 and quicker. My car would probably run 12s. I've been considering using Ford bearing ends which would eliminate the c-clips, however I have not found a good combination of bearings and seal for a cornering application. Based on my research, there are two types of Big Ford bearings: taper and ball bearing. The taper bearings are preferred for corning, but the seals for them are notorious for leaking. I've heard the ball bearings wear out quickly, although they have a reliable seal. If I stay with c-clips axles, both the bearings and the seals are reliable (there are no concerns about wearing the over-sized carrier bearings with cornering loads), but they are more difficult to replace and more likely to come out of the housing if they fail. I am not 100% on this decision: I could still run a Ford bearing to eliminate the c-clips, I would just need to get housing ends (Moser 7900FM) and custom axles.

Here is a video of a guy cutting and adding new ends to a housing using a very similar method to what I was thinking:
https://youtu.be/oNJI4MKVyOU?list=PL...a8Dte-OM85zJ_j
He put his housing on a pair of angle iron rails so he could roll it while he welded. He did one continuous weld all the way around the housing; I wouldn't trust myself to do that successfully, especially with the way the 12bolt has the cast center; I'm sure it would try to roll on me.

Here's another video of a guy doing ford ends on a 12bolt housing. He explains how he cuts and aligns the ends, but he doesn't show how he welds it. https://youtu.be/Y8cVp99STbQ
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Last edited by TheBandit; 08-23-2017 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:10 PM
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Came across this "method". Cracks me up how this guy just held the housing end up and tacked it in place. I suspect the alignment can be a little off and still work fine, but I would use an alignment bar on mine.

https://www.powernationtv.com/two-mi...n-axle-housing

I do like how he used a hose clamp to keep a straight edge on the tube.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:02 PM
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I made alignment sleeves to fit inside the tubes when I did one. I would think the porta band and rotate the axle to stay true.
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:56 PM
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Ive done them, but it was many moons ago working for someone that knew what they were doing.

We had a big aluminum rod that went all the way through the housing, bolted in the carrier bearing holes. It had adjustable ends for doing different widths. It wasn't ground or anything, just alu bar. This guy built VERY fast cars and it worked fine.

I also remember doing it a couple different ways. I do remember torching out the plug welds on the cast 10/12 bolts like was mentioned above and just shortening the tubes and rewelding. But I also remember cutting the ends and rewelding. 9" ,we cut the tubes from the center section.

Good luck, its a good trick to know how to do for future builds.
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
Why? What are the risks and how can I mitigate them? Are you concerned about warping? Alignment? Weak welds?



I have a portaband that I could use instead. I guess I just have a thing for cutoff wheels. I would make a series carefully-aligned shallow cuts all the way around and then go deeper until I break though. With the bandsaw, I would be worried about the blade getting off-track as I cut.



NHRA requires c-clip eliminators for 10.99 and quicker. My car would probably run 12s. I've been considering using Ford bearing ends which would eliminate the c-clips, however I have not found a good combination of bearings and seal for a cornering application. Based on my research, there are two types of Big Ford bearings: taper and ball bearing. The taper bearings are preferred for corning, but the seals for them are notorious for leaking. I've heard the ball bearings wear out quickly, although they have a reliable seal. If I stay with c-clips axles, both the bearings and the seals are reliable (there are no concerns about wearing the over-sized carrier bearings with cornering loads), but they are more difficult to replace and more likely to come out of the housing if they fail. I am not 100% on this decision: I could still run a Ford bearing to eliminate the c-clips, I would just need to get housing ends (Moser 7900FM) and custom axles.

Here is a video of a guy cutting and adding new ends to a housing using a very similar method to what I was thinking:
https://youtu.be/oNJI4MKVyOU?list=PL...a8Dte-OM85zJ_j
He put his housing on a pair of angle iron rails so he could roll it while he welded. He did one continuous weld all the way around the housing; I wouldn't trust myself to do that successfully, especially with the way the 12bolt has the cast center; I'm sure it would try to roll on me.

Here's another video of a guy doing ford ends on a 12bolt housing. He explains how he cuts and aligns the ends, but he doesn't show how he welds it. https://youtu.be/Y8cVp99STbQ
Rereading this now makes it sound like am poo pooing you for thinking about it. Really I am just wanting you to think it through, cost involved in alignment tools etc. as well as straight labor to get it done.

Have asked around about having the bare housing shortened? How much would you be saving?

Edit: Dutchman advertises $145 to narrow a housing, that seems like a no brainer to me.
Keep in mind I am following the various moves you have made on your car and the stuff you have farmed out vs. the stuff you have tackled. For the cost and complexity of this job I would think the better value is to have a shop narrow it after you have removed, disassembled and cleaned. At $145 it doesn't take them long to do this job, maybe 2 hours?

Last edited by CarterKraft; 08-24-2017 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 08-24-2017, 12:31 PM
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I'm not the least bit discouraged. I'd just like to know what to look out for. The job doesn't seem that risky to me - what am I missing?

With respect to cost/value, I have thought about farming it out, but I have been itching for this kind of project. I have only farmed out a few things on the Nova: machine work on the engine, the gas tank, which was thin stuff and really demanded TIG (which I don't have), the MAF sensor mounting pad which again required TIG (didn't keep me from trying first!), and the tuning which demanded experience. I think I have done just about everything else I could do on my own. Narrowing this housing myself will cost about as much in tools as it would cost to have someone else do it, but I get to do it myself and that's why I have this car - I like working on it and learning new things in the process. Provided there isn't an extraordinary risk involved, I'd like to give it a shot.

I am back to looking at the big tapered Ford bearings again. Moser adamantly advised against them due to sealing complaints, but I'd like to talk to Strange and see what they have to say.
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:32 PM
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I'm not the least bit discouraged. I'd just like to know what to look out for. The job doesn't seem that risky to me - what am I missing?

With respect to cost/value, I have thought about farming it out, but I have been itching for this kind of project. I have only farmed out a few things on the Nova: machine work on the engine, the gas tank, which was thin stuff and really demanded TIG (which I don't have), the MAF sensor mounting pad which again required TIG (didn't keep me from trying first!), and the tuning which demanded experience. I think I have done just about everything else I could do on my own. Narrowing this housing myself will cost about as much in tools as it would cost to have someone else do it, but I get to do it myself and that's why I have this car - I like working on it and learning new things in the process. Provided there isn't an extraordinary risk involved, I'd like to give it a shot.

I am back to looking at the big tapered Ford bearings again. Moser adamantly advised against them due to sealing complaints, but I'd like to talk to Strange and see what they have to say.
Another thing to consider for housing ends are the Grand National style for full floating hubs. Speedway Motors has hubs that are pretty inexpensive with the 5 x 4.75" bolt pattern you need. The axles could be a challenge to get the correct spline for the 12 bolt on the inside with the floater drive flange spline on the outer...but the hubs themselves are pretty inexpensive and have an integral hat for disc brakes.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:12 PM
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I have looked at those but are there any OEM brakes with drum in hat parking brake that would work with those? I don't want aftermarket wear items on my car. I want to be able to get pads and rotors bearings and seals easily the road.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:25 PM
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I just got off the phone with Jake at Strange engineering. He said they do not have issues with getting the tapered set20 bearings to seal and in fact strongly recommended the tapered bearing for street applications, but they have a different approach to things than what Moser does. With the Strange housing ends, the bearing is not flush mount and sits proud of the axle flange by about 1/8". The LS1 backing plate is used to secure the bearing and seal against the housing, but there is an intentional gap between the axle housing flange and the backing plate. That goes against most of what I understand about bolted joints/flanges, but it does ensure that the seal is compressed and explains why they don't have issues with sealing. I'll have to think about that idea.
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBandit View Post
I just got off the phone with Jake at Strange engineering. He said they do not have issues with getting the tapered set20 bearings to seal and in fact strongly recommended the tapered bearing for street applications, but they have a different approach to things than what Moser does. With the Strange housing ends, the bearing is not flush mount and sits proud of the axle flange by about 1/8". The LS1 backing plate is used to secure the bearing and seal against the housing, but there is an intentional gap between the axle housing flange and the backing plate. That goes against most of what I understand about bolted joints/flanges, but it does ensure that the seal is compressed and explains why they don't have issues with sealing. I'll have to think about that idea.
Like this ?

https://www.strangeengineering.net/p...stud-kit.html/
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:33 PM
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I have looked at those but are there any OEM brakes with drum in hat parking brake that would work with those? I don't want aftermarket wear items on my car. I want to be able to get pads and rotors bearings and seals easily the road.
Not on the hub I was looking at. Good news is they're the 8 on 7 bolt pattern rotor which is both cheap and common, as are the bearings. I get what you're saying about parts availability...you wouldn't get these from Auto Zone, but anyone that deals in oval track parts would have several rotor options in stock.

Best bet for an emergency brake setup is likely the mechanical spot calipers from Wilwood...which would be an added expense.
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:11 PM
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No. Those are bolt-on c-clip eliminators. I would be using new housing ends like these which have a GM pattern for brake mounting, but accommodate the 3.150in diameter ford bearing. Then I would use this type of bearing with their custom axles. Here is an image of what the assembly looks like with the "LS1" brakes I'd be using ('98-'02 Camaro rears)



Below is an image of the Ford tapered bearing/seal in the Strange housing end, protruding about 1/8". From what I understand after talking with Strange, the brake backing plate would sit flat against the bearing/seal, leaving the 1/8" gap. I don't really like the idea of having that gap there - seems like if anything walked at all, the fasteners would come loose.

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Old 08-24-2017, 05:25 PM
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Not on the hub I was looking at. Good news is they're the 8 on 7 bolt pattern rotor which is both cheap and common, as are the bearings. I get what you're saying about parts availability...you wouldn't get these from Auto Zone, but anyone that deals in oval track parts would have several rotor options in stock.

Best bet for an emergency brake setup is likely the mechanical spot calipers from Wilwood...which would be an added expense.
Not sure if this is true, but I've heard rumor the parking brake calipers can lose grip as the rotor cools down after parking? That's one reason I read that drum in-hat are preferred over the caliper type e-brakes for a street car. I have priced the FF setup out and it adds quite a bit: added cost for hubs and snouts plus more expensive brakes. I dunno if I want to go down that path. Heck up until a day ago I was still thinking c-clips would suit my needs. It's not a race car :)
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:26 PM
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It sounds like you have a solid plan and the want to do it. That is the most important part of it to me. You have to want it.

If you have the bar/pucks etc. it doesn't sound too bad really. My concern with angle grinder is cause I usually end up with crecent cuts on different planes when trying to cut tube like that. It's all about your confidence and ability with the tool, a hacksaw would do a fine job.

The bevel, Gap and tack welds will be important to keep the ends from warping but you should be able to gauge that pretty easily as you are setting it up.
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:38 PM
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If you have access to one, a large tubing cutter does a great job of making a score line perpendicular to the axis of the tube to give you a good reference to work from while you're cutting with an angle grinder or whatever implement of destruction you choose...
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Old 08-25-2017, 02:00 PM
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if all else fails and you want a low tech straight cut guide around a tube, you can always screw a hose clip on and follow the edge of that with a cutting disc. Decent sized bevels on the faces before welding up, some good tacks after setting it all up, and Bob's your uncle. I would just go for it, if you are still anxious, do you have a spare axle case you could practice on?
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Old 08-26-2017, 10:49 AM
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Try to keep your pucks tite in the axle bores. I clamp a plate tp the flange to keep them tite. this is not a hard process. good luck.
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