Axle welding
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Thread: Axle welding

  1. #1
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    May 2004
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    bessemer city N.C.
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    Axle welding

    Looking for advice on welding a axle on a independent rear drive car. The axle needs to be shortened. I think I have two options. 1 Cut the shaft cut a large chamfer and mig weld it back together. 2 Cut the shaft and put a pipe over it (cromoly or DOM) and plug weld it through 6 bored holes in the pipe.
    I have been told that if it is welded it will break beside the weld. Is it possible to retemper the steel to get the strength back.
    chupp100

  2. #2
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    Re: Axle welding

    i wouldnt touch that project with a twenty foot electrode

  3. #3
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    Re: Axle welding

    Don't know what alloy steel would be used for your particular axle, or if it would tend to produce a hard brittle heat affected zone (HAZ) or not.
    In plain steels with over about 0.3 % carbon, 1030, this becomes a problem that requires preheat and post heat to reduce the cooling rate and prevent hardening. An alloy steel is more complex in the effect of varius elements on hardenability, although if you know what the steel is, you can find out if this is a problem for welding.

    Tempering is the process of reheating steel, generallly somewhere between 400 and 1000 F, after it has been hardened, in order to soften it slightly, reduce the brittleness, and increase toughness. Depending on the carbon and alloy content, steel is hardened by heating around 1500 to 1600 F, followed by quenching. This also happens in the HAZ of a weld that is quenched by the surrounding base metal. So, depending on your alloy, tempering may be neccessary.

    The plug welded sleeve method sounds interesting, I assume you got this idea from someone who has successfully done it?
    Last edited by pulser; 01-30-2007 at 03:38 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Axle welding

    I'm thinking about turning some cold roll down to make a sleeve around .200 wall and with a slight press fit bore 6 holes in it while on the axle to get good penetration. I only have a hobart 135 and a old Marquet 185 stick. I have access to a good 185 mig which would probably be the best bet.
    I have no way of checking the temp. of the metal. Would preheating, welding and keeping it redhot afterwards keep it from being brittle. The attached link is where the idea came from.
    www.v8miata.homestead.com/buildup.html

  5. #5
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    Re: Axle welding

    Axles are usually made of heat treated steel and welding on them is not a good idea. If you will notice it is not done in manufacturing and that should tell you something. If they could do it and produce a product at lower cost and retain the necessary strength they would do it. Now having said that you will probably see ten examples of this being done..... I think it is a bad idea. Welding on an axle housing I have no problem with.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Axle welding

    Dont bother..
    Its a waste of time and you will just end up taking it apart to replace it after failure #2..

    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

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  7. #7
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    Re: Axle welding

    You will be lucky if you can take it apart to replace after failure #1. When an axle fails on a c-clip/semi-floating type rear-end, they generally leave the vehicle with the wheel attached. It will destroy the car. Even worse, if the axle fails under hard acceleration, it can cause the car to veer suddenly to the side of the failed axle.

  8. #8
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    Re: Axle welding

    In the 4x4 industry I know folks shorten the HOUSINGS and every now and then add length, then they have a manufactured axle SHAFT to install. I have cut and turned my front knuckles on my land cruiser and it was succesfull because of a sleeve type knuckle, and again thats the axle housing, but man I just would not do it on the shafts.
    weld it like you own it

  9. #9
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    Re: Axle welding

    Along with the fact that it will likely fail you're very likely to end up with a bent axle. Even with weldable shafts welded in a lathe you can still end up having to straighten the shaft after welding. I don't think you would have much success straightening an axle shaft.

  10. #10
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    Re: Axle welding

    What everybody else said.

    It just won't work and if it does work, it won't last. It could be dangerous if the shaft breaks at high speed.

    I wouldn't even attempt to weld an axle shaft.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Axle welding

    nada senior
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  12. #12
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    Apr 2006
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    Re: Axle welding

    Quote Originally Posted by lewray
    In the 4x4 industry I know folks shorten the HOUSINGS and every now and then add length, then they have a manufactured axle SHAFT to install. I have cut and turned my front knuckles on my land cruiser and it was succesfull because of a sleeve type knuckle, and again thats the axle housing, but man I just would not do it on the shafts.
    Especially considering custom axles for just about anything are reasonable in price.

  13. #13
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    Jan 2007
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    457

    Re: Axle welding

    Don't be so cheap to weld an axle shaft. There are plenty of companies that will make you a custom axle to your specs. Its not worth your cars rear or yours.

    Play it safe and do it right.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Axle welding

    This “axle” really could be considered a driveshaft. It carries only torsional loads, and is essentially mounted on bearings. I’ll bet it’s not made of the high carbon difficult to work steel of a conventional axle shaft.

    I think it can be safely modified.

    I remember a truck driver asking to replace an axle shaft in a Ford truck. I questioned how the truck was moving if the axle shaft was bad. The driver explained that the axle had been snapped and welded! He described a crude third world blacksmith shop in Mexico where the snapped axle had been electric welded. It held for 2000 miles, to be replaced at home. I guess I showed too much interest in the repair, he wouldn’t let me keep the old axle.

  15. #15
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    Re: Axle welding

    An emergency repair to get home v.s. an optional fix, not a safe comparison.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Axle welding

    Quote Originally Posted by KRS
    An emergency repair to get home v.s. an optional fix, not a safe comparison.
    Right, I understand that.

    But, if you go to the link, it describes what is essentially a competition to see how cheaply these modifications can be done.

    IE:
    "With a budget of only $2003 for the whole project, some items had to be fabricated rather than replaced with proven race parts... The axles are one of those items... replacement axles that would work great in our car, problem was the cost. At $150 per side, we needed a way to make our own and save money in the budget..."



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    Last edited by denrep; 01-31-2007 at 03:11 PM.

  17. #17
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    May 2004
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    bessemer city N.C.
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    Re: Axle welding

    Thanks for all the great info. The gas tank is right above the axles which would be a very bad if one broke. I think I will do a little shopping for axles. Need to do it right the first time, was going to replace it later anyway. Just didn't want to spend the money right now. This thing is eating me up.
    Again thanks for all the replies.

  18. #18

    Re: Axle welding

    Don't even think about it. The axle is an alloy that is heat treated after machining to give it strengh but also flexibility. The must "wrap" a little to take up for the torque put on them. I've shortened several by cutting and remachining the spline. This doesn't affect the heat treatment of the material.
    You don't weld axles or springs for the same reason. The will crack at the "HAZ"
    Billet Bob

  19. #19
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    Re: Axle welding

    A punctured gas tank would be the least of your worries if you broke an axle.

  20. #20

    Re: Axle welding

    I looked at the link you provided, I would not hesitate to use the method shown. This is not a solid axle assembly like you would find in your rear wheel drive Chevy, Ford.
    Turning the stub axles, sliding a tight fit tube over and plug welding looks like a safe and appropriate way. Even if the weld failed nothing will come apart, plus you have hoops around the axles to contain them. If your welds failed the shaft would just slip inside the tube.
    Most rear wheel cars have a welded drive shaft.
    Regards
    Mo.

  21. #21
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    Re: Axle welding

    Hey I wanted to add also I failed to realize this was not a solid axle ....so it changes my first opinion somewhat. I would like to see pics. I'm seeing this leaning more to an off-road application like a dune buggy. Some good thoughts on this here.
    weld it like you own it

  22. #22
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    Re: Axle welding

    Hmm... I don't know what to say. If those aren't tubular axles, they were still heat treated. The universal joints will compensate for some warping. If you take a look at a drive shaft, they are plain old low carbon steel with no heat treatment. But, a drive shaft is also 3x the diameter of an axle and has 1/3 to 1/5 the torque load depending on the differential gear.

  23. #23
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    Dec 2006
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    Rhode Island, USA
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    Re: Axle welding

    Quote Originally Posted by chupp100
    Looking for advice on welding a axle on a independent rear drive car. The axle needs to be shortened. I think I have two options. 1 Cut the shaft cut a large chamfer and mig weld it back together. 2 Cut the shaft and put a pipe over it (cromoly or DOM) and plug weld it through 6 bored holes in the pipe.
    I have been told that if it is welded it will break beside the weld. Is it possible to retemper the steel to get the strength back.
    chupp100
    I agree with most of the above posts. In the 70's I made several shortened (narrowed) rear ends for VEGA race cars with small and big block Chevy engines(302-454cu.in.) I just did the housings and Sommers Brothers did the axles. I did weld a front axle for a Toyota two years ago. I painted lines( to see the twist) along the axle just like old the race cars days. NO twist as of last week. Check your application and do only what you KNOW that you are SURE of doing. KNOW & SURE are key words. I have been welding for over 2 decades and last year when the front spring mount of my daughter's Mercedes Benz broke off I sent it back to the MB dealer. I didn;t want to be responsible for anything that would get my daughter hurt. I did check it over and over when it came back from Mercedes Benz.

  24. #24
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    Oct 2005
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    long island ny
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    Re: Axle welding

    http://www.driveshaftshop.com
    They make FWD axles good for 1000 hp, they can set you up.
    Johnny

  25. #25
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    Re: Axle welding

    I have welded a couple for far machinery. We turn a taper and a piolet on one end and a taper and bore the other end. This keeps it straight. Welded it with 7018, threw it in the wood stove and after it was all dull cherry red, quenched it in oil. They never broke. One was a Hough loader and one was an AC tractor. My dad welded the main leaf on my 53 willys truck. It never broke. Replacement items were not available. You would be surprised what a farmer will bring.

    These are not high speed items, but shows it can be done.

    David

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