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Narrowing an i-beam???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blacktopicasso, May 19, 2012.

  1. blacktopicasso
    Joined: Oct 10, 2005
    Posts: 241

    blacktopicasso
    Member

    I just picked up at a swap meet a nice complete 56 Ford truck axle assembly including the steering box/column. Price was way right but I had no tape measure when I purchased it. My problem, it was going into my 31 Plymouth highboy coupe project and the axle is to wide for my 31 Plymouth, about 6 inches. Can the axle be cut and narrowed safely, if welded by a professional. Or would I be better off trying to finding a narrower bare axle and swap all the brake stuff.:confused:
     
  2. willymakeit
    Joined: Apr 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,326

    willymakeit
    Member

    I would be very careful with it and who is doing the work.
    I have a quasi friend,who is a retire railroad machinist who told me he has done this before.
    I would talk to Sid who works on a lot of axles.
    I don't think it would be cheap in the long run. Just my opinion.
     
  3. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    3wLarry
    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    don't...
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  4. Drive Em
    Joined: Aug 25, 2006
    Posts: 1,748

    Drive Em
    Member

    No problem if done properly. I have done lots of them.
     

  5. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590

    117harv
    Member

    Yes, no problem if done correctly, but i wouldn't do it. If you want to go paralell leafs run an early Dodge wavy tube axle out in front of that Plymouth.
     
  6. carcrazyjohn
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 4,844

    carcrazyjohn
    Member
    from trevose pa

    It can be done You cut down half waay and then go across a little then back down .Repeat the opposite way weld and then put a fish plate inside or behind and weld.............
     
  7. Bib Overalls
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,071

    Bib Overalls
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Sid told me he does not weld on axles.

    Forged axles can be narrowed. A lot of gasser axles were cut and narrowed and held up to the beating that came with repeated wheelies.

    The job needs to be done by someone who knows what they are doing.
     
  8. need louvers ?
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 12,906

    need louvers ?
    Member

    ElPolacko's dad Len1/2ast used to drive the hell out of a GMC302 powered '38 Chevy that had a narrowed I beam axle. Never had a problem with it. That said, yes I would be extra super carefull the welder was up to the task.
     
  9. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    I narrowed the econoline axle in my RPU. Pick a place closer to the center, less force there.
    Think about the abuse and modifications people have done to the earlier axles over the years and they aren't near as heavy. If you can make one of those old axles into swiss cheese, then I wouldn't worry too much about a properly laid out butt weld.
     
  10. TinShed
    Joined: Mar 3, 2011
    Posts: 547

    TinShed
    Member

    I have done it but I boxed the axle after welding. Did not look as cool but never thought of it again and the car is still on the road today.
     
  11. My '31 Plymouth has a '51 Chevy pu axle under it which was narrowed 6". It was stick welded by a guy who new what he was doing....
    Been under the car for 25 years and many thousand miles.

    Post up some pics of your Plymouth project!
     
  12. PinHead
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 243

    PinHead
    Member

    This question gets asked a lot around here and always seems to cause an argument.

    Assuming the axle is forged and not cast, there's no reason you can't weld on it, but the procedure and filler metal is critical. If you can find a guy who knows what he's doing, then you'll be fine, but it may cost you the same as buying the right axle that will fit.
     
  13. bobscogin
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,761

    bobscogin
    Member

    I narrowed an Econoline axle for my T roadster. Prepared the joint by cutting the flanges back on one end, and the web away on the other end, and slipping the extended web between the flanges. That eliminated having a weld go through the axle in one vertical plane. Preheated, welded with 7018, and used controlled slow weld cool down. No issues.

    Bob
     
  14. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,903

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    ^^^THIS^^^

    This will not be an inexpensive endeavor, nor is it even remotely a place you should be even thinking of entertaining a thought of saving money.

    It can be done, but why? Jut by a better fitting axle. An early Dodge wavy tube axle can be had for next-to-nothing (or nothing). I gave one to our scrapper, 'cause I could not get rid of it otherwise.
     
  15. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,859

    Retro Jim
    Member

    If you have a good qualified welder then there is no problem in doing that at all . Remember I said GOOD QUALIFIED WELDER !
    I have a straight axel from a 50's Ford truck and is very thick unlike an Econoline is . I am building a gasser with a Ford 429 under the hood ! The welder doing mine told me no problem . He will cut it in the middle . Then he will weld a nice looking plate on it for security . It will not break and I will trust it everytime the wheels come back down on the ground hard too !
    Like I said before you have to know what you are doing and be a good qualified welder to do this kind of welding ! If the welder you asks says NO or hesitates , then walk away and find one that will tell you he can do it no problem right away . A good welder knows what he or she is qualified for welding so you need to find the correct welder to do the job you need done .

    Retro Jim
     
  16. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907

    40FordGuy
    Member

    Add to the above....a good, currently certified welder !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just my 2c,... 4TTRUK
     
  17. Kiwi 4d
    Joined: Sep 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,954

    Kiwi 4d
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

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