17 December 2012

How to - section a FORD axle! (viii)

Last friday I had some time to tackle my "wide-track" dilemma.
Everything was going really well,
until I came in for a quick lunch,
and read the news of the "Sandy Hook Massacre".
The wife and I both had the day off,
and to read the unbelievable made for a dark sad day.
You guys all know our kids mean so much to us.
The sudden pain, suffering and loss to the families out east is gut wrenching.
RIP to all the little ones and the adults caught in that horror.


so back to my comparably meaningless project of the day.
I had admitted a bit of a jam when the front wheel track width
was too wide for the 40.

perich brothers (and sister): how to - build a 70's street rod!

By sheer coincidence,
this tech article had popped up on the HAMB,
and shed an out of the box solution to my problem.

Tech: Shortening an I beam axle - THE H.A.M.B.

I'd much rather experimentally cut and weld the 1946+- axle,
than buy a new-old 1940 axle that might not solve the problem.
That would only get me a 1/2" gap split for each side.
So here's the how to - sectioning a ford axle!
cut ford axle

I had actually cut this axle in half before the mooneyes show,
and for a week it had been haunting my thoughts,
while blocking the only walkway in the garage.
This means there was an intricate step by step plan in my head.
slip joint

When it came down to it all that subconscious planning was tossed.
I didn't want to disassemble the axle and wishbones,
as the perch pins would be ruined and unuseable.
The idea was to slice the ends of the wishbones,
and relieve them enough to squeeze the 2 1/8" out of the width.
clamp party

All that was really needed was a tie-down strap and some clamps.
The wishbone barely resisted.
Instead of a jig I trusted that horizontal cut to keep the king pin angles the same.
Also my thoughts of using this really thick steel flatbar had changed
and some really stiff aluminum tubing and plate was used instead.

The curve of the I-beam
wouldn't allow the top and bottom to align exactly.
I could have hammered it flush,
but I really didn't want to risk twisting the center section.

With everything as straight as I could,
the first welds were burned.
You may have guessed I stick welded it with 7018.
I love that little maxstar 150.
stick weld

This was about the time I headed in for lunch and read the bad news.
This song was playing on my ipod only moments before!

Ida Maria - going to hell - oslo june-2007

In another eerie coincidence it started to rain.
My wife said her grandfather would have said that god was crying for the deaths!
side one

It was really only sprinkling so I continued on.
The hardest part was the edges of the I beam,
basically filling with weld so it looked smooth.
rainy day schedule

Before the cuts were made,
I had peaked the top and bottom of the axle,
cleaning up the forge marks.
This made it easier to blend in the two pieces.
stool time

From the top and bottom it is difficult to see the modification.
I liked the look of the raw weld bead in the webbed area,
so no grinding there only some wire brushing.
This is a hot rod!
scarred axle

There was just enough space between the raindrops to rattlecan a quick black coat.
There's gonna be some torch-work to clean up the spring shackle holes,
so there's plenty of time for touch-up paint.
modified 1940 ford front suspension

I was satisfied with the outcome.
It seems really strong.
There isn't much twist or flex in the center of the axle,
as long as the wishbones aren't cut and that pivot ball is used,
otherwise I would consider a fish plate to reinforce the axle.
It is only 1/4" thick so the double weld should do.

The front suspension was stashed before the heavier rains showed up.
40 vs 46 ford front springs

Here's why this should work.
The greasy spring is from the 41-48 front end that was used originally.
The other spring is a 37-40 spring that I want to use.
(It could be a '36 spring I'm not exactly sure of the year.)
You can see the 2"+ difference that I needed.

The spring perch to king pin length is much shorter on the 46+- axle,
and it also has a bit of a drop to it compared to the 40 axle.
That's why this modification should work.
If not,
my plan B is to get a stock 40 axle,
send it to an axle dropper,
and have them drop the axle and pinch the kingpins in the process.
Hopefully not this is a low budget build!
pivot ball

The potential headache is the location of the pivot ball.
That 2" squeeze moved it about 3/16-1/4" back.
I'll mount it under the chassis and then figure out what to do about that.

Now I've got to get that spring installed and see how it sits.
At this rate of 5 work hours per week,
hopefully I'll have it done by christmas!

I made sure to give the kids some extra tight hugs when they got home!


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