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can a front axle be narrowed?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by praisethelowered, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. praisethelowered
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    praisethelowered Member

    This should be an easy one for you guys. I haven't done much work on I-beam solid axles other than swapping them out for IFS on customs. can you cut a section out of the center and weld it back together to narrow it? Is this safe?

  2. Unkl Ian
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    Unkl Ian Member

    Yes,IF it's welded properly.Not a problem.
  3. praisethelowered
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    praisethelowered Member

  4. **DONOTDELETE**
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    **DONOTDELETE** Member

    I narrowed one about 6" a few years ago. Cut that amount from the center, V-ed it for weld prep, welded with 7018 stick, and made an attractive gusset front and back just to be sure. Of course that changed the camber so the axle ends had to be re-shaped slightly to get it correct again.
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  5. 36-3window
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    36-3window Member

    i know a guy that narrowed one on a `32 ford sedan he built. it's held up fine for over 10 years. he is a retired pipe fitter,so his welding knowledge and skills are excellent. if you can't do it yourself,take it to an expert,it must be done properly to be safe
  6. 286merc
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    286merc Member

    You can do it on a forged original or repop. Dont try it on iron which is what several aftermarket types are made from.
  7. kustombuilder
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    kustombuilder Member

    email Hotroddrummer. his dad has had experience with thsi sort of thing and is a retired welder from GM. the man is AMAZING with a TIG welder. i suspect he would cut it down verticaly about half way, then cut hoizontaly then verticaly the rest of the way at the other end of the horizontal cut then take the desired materila out of there so that there is not just one single vertical cut straight through then "V" the hell out of it, weld it back up and have it reheat treated. do you follow??? if i could draw you a picture it would make sense. i think!!
  8. roadstar
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    roadstar Member

    Sorry fellas, but I wouldn't ever consider cuiitng and narrowing a beam axel. But I also won't weld any stearing componets. Just some things aren't worth the risk or liabilty.

  9. Junkyard Dog 32
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    Junkyard Dog 32 Member

    I'd do it.
    First I'd build a jig similar to the ones used to stretch limos, but smaller. Something that could move in a straight line... Two parallel rails,and two moving ends to slide the ends together and apart while remaining in line. Mount the axle, cut it, slide the ends together, weld and plate it. Done...

    Some thoughts on the welding and plating.
    Early Ford axles are made of the finest steel you can hope to work with. So, with that in mind, I'd feel very safe welding it.
    As far as plating it...
    I-beam axles get their strength from their ability to flex. Take that away, and you'd be more likely to have a failure.
    I'd only plate the main webb... both sides. The plates would only need to be a few inches long, and I'd run 'em almost to the flanges (top and bottom) and weld right into the corners. DON'T WELD THE ENDS OF THE PLATE!!! Weld the length of the axle only, never across . Start and end your welds about a quarter inch from the ends of the plate.
    When you weld the flanges, leave a nice crown on your weld, and make sure you dont have any undercut.
    Make sure you tack it solid before you weld, think about warpage, too (a weld shrinks more at the end, than at the begining).

    Holy crap! I gotta go!!!


    JOE[​IMG]
  10. japchris
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    japchris Member

    Back in the '50's in UK, there was a company "Bellamy" that used to cut the axles in half and then put pivot points in the ends of the two axle halves. This gave a sort of semi independent front, sort of - it still used the spring mounted in the same way as original. This conversion was quite "popular" (excuse the pun) with Popular/Anglia based specials and hill climbers. Don't see it done much on hot rods, but s'pose you could shorten your axle in the process.
  11. TV
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    TV Member

    YES, If you know the correct welding procedure.We have done it in my machine shop on my axel for my 29 RPU--TV [​IMG]
  12. kustombuilder
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    kustombuilder Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    Back in the '50's in UK, there was a company "Bellamy" that used to cut the axles in half and then put pivot points in the ends of the two axle halves. This gave a sort of semi independent front, sort of - it still used the spring mounted in the same way as original. This conversion was quite "popular" (excuse the pun) with Popular/Anglia based specials and hill climbers. Don't see it done much on hot rods, but s'pose you could shorten your axle in the process.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    one of the bigger rod parts companies has a kit out for doing that on hot rods. ithink it is Fatman Fabrications. neat idea but i still have'nt seen it on a rod yet.
  13. Flat Ernie
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    Flat Ernie Tech Editor

    [ QUOTE ]
    one of the bigger rod parts companies has a kit out for doing that on hot rods. ithink it is Fatman Fabrications. neat idea but i still have'nt seen it on a rod yet.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I think it is Fatman. Pretty sure it's only for tube axles though. I think it's a neat idea too, but like you, haven't seen one on a car anywhere...

    [​IMG]

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