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How do I weld an axle?

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  • How do I weld an axle?

    I have a guy who is building a homemade tractor. He is using a 3/4 ton pickup truck rear axle. He wants to narrow it, which includes shorting the axles.

    Anybody have any ideas how the best way to do this is? I am thinking of cutting to length and then machining a hole it the end flange of the axle so the shaft fits tight and weld it.

    I am also thinking of pre-heating it, before welding it. I would use 7018 and then slowly cool it.

    Anybody have any experience doing a project like this?

  • #2
    axle

    Welding the axle will not last . It will break at the weld joint . Moser Engineering will respline the axles for $150.00. Hope this helps.
    Kenny Compton
    Cuttin,Grindin, Weldin, nutten better
    [email protected]sigpic

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    • #3
      If you are talking about the shaft itself, you don't
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      • #4
        Mark Williams sells tools to properly narrow a drive axle. It is MUCH more involved than simply cutting off the ends and welding them back on. The hubs must be lined up together to work right. Use an axle "blank" to align the hub bearings prior to welding.
        Who do you call when the lawmakers ignore the law?

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        • #5
          If it's not precisely aligned, it will ruin everything inside in a fast hurry.

          80% of failures are from 20% of causes
          Never compromise your principles today in the name of furthering them in the future.
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          • #6
            If you are talking about welding the actual axle shafts, I've tried this a couple of times in the past with terrible results.

            Much simpler to purchase a new axle from Northern Tool or one of the other trailer supply houses.

            Another inexpensive option is to purchase a rear axle from a Chrysler mini van or a GM front drive car. These are easily widened or narrowed and can be mounted under-slung as a drop axle or over-mounted for lots of ground clearance.

            I've been paying $75-$100 for an axle with two wheels and tires.
            RoyB
            Dartmouth, MA

            http://www.rvbprecision.com

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            • #7
              Hey Roy, He's talking about an axle in a differential not a trailer axle.

              Todd

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              • #8
                It may be far easier to just buy a used rear end from a drag car. The type of car dictates the width with dragsters being the shortest. Some rears in body cars can be pretty skinny. Just match the width to your application. Mini rod pullers do the same thing.
                Who do you call when the lawmakers ignore the law?

                Miller AC/DC Thunderbolt 225
                Miller 180 w/Autoset
                Old cutting torch on LPG

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                • #9
                  Duh! I saw "Homemade Tractor" and read "Homemade Trailer"..........Time for an eye exam........Carry on!
                  RoyB
                  Dartmouth, MA

                  http://www.rvbprecision.com

                  Millermatic 185 MIG
                  Miller Diversion 165
                  Purox W200 O/A
                  Grizzly 9957 Mill
                  Grizzly 4030 Metal Band Saw
                  Grizzly 1050 Knife Belt Sander
                  Jet 1236 Metal Lathe
                  TP Blast Cabinet

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                  • #10
                    I've welded drive axles on Higher than normal outputs on old SAAB 96 V4 cars, actually swapping old style 2 finger inner drivers for new model 3 finger tripod joints.

                    If you machine the shafts down ever so slightly and fab up a piece of heavy/thick tube and press fit the 2 together with the thick tubing in the middle and then use 7018 rod with a little preheat the joints should hold just fine.

                    I've put over 50K mileage on the axles done this way with 90 more Horsepower going into them. Roughly 150HP vs stock 65. With drag racing starts and rally type driving.

                    The trick is to keep them straight and true.

                    The best way would be new axle shafts. But on a budget!!! The machining cost 130.00 for 2 axles and 2 tubes.

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                    • #11
                      Many years ago (30 + or -) I was building a small tractor using a rear end out of an old straight truck. I shortened the axles by cutting them to length. Then I turned the axle end down & turned a hole in the end of the flange. I made it a press fit. Then I drilled a series of holes in the end of the axle between the shaft & the flange on the drill press and drove pins in the holes. The idea was to make the joint like a splined shaft. then I welded the flange to the shaft over the pins. They spun dead on true in the lathe when I was done. I can't tell you if it worked because I made a move out of state before the project was done and had to leave it behind. I would have put those axles to the test though, because I had a 3 speed tranny & a 4 speed with a granny gear in series behind a 283. That would have been a rock crawler low gear with plenty of torque.

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