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Front Spider Gears - to weld or not to weld?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by rich, Apr 20, 2000.

  1. rich

    rich 1/2 ton status

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    Hey. I've been thinking about welding the spider gears in the front axle of my '76 K5 rather than buying a Lock Right. I'm planning to upgrade to 1-ton axles, and I don't want to spend a lot of money on my current axles if I don't have to. I have a MIG welder and I can use it well.

    I'm running 33" tires with 3.08 gears and an SM465/NP205.

    Is anyone out there running welded front spiders?

    I can use either a Dana 44 or a 10 bolt, I have one of each. Would I end up breaking stuff during off-road driving? I mean, would it stress the parts a lot more than a Lock Right would?

    Would the welded gears make it hard to steer off-road when the hubs are locked? Would this be harder to steer than if I used a Lock Right?

    Thanks!

    Richard
    '76 K-5 Blazer
    '90 K-5 Blazer
     
  2. BillR

    BillR 1/2 ton status

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    If your spiders are welded, and you get into any kind of a high-traction situation, something is likely to break. A LockRight will allow some slipping for cornering on rocks and such. A "Lincoln" locker would be for off- road ONLY. A lot of mud racers use them, because they are going in a straight line. If you try to turn with one, you better be in snow or mud. It's not a good choice for most people.

    Blazin' in Flagstaff
     
  3. AZK5

    AZK5 1/2 ton status

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    You would be better off doing this to the rear spider gears. Do you already have a rear traction device in the differential? If you weld the spider gears on the front or rear and do any kind of high traction offroading, your going to break something.
    CB
     
  4. rich

    rich 1/2 ton status

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    Well, I was thinking that since the Blazer will see street use on the way to the trail, it wouldn't be a good idea to weld the rear spiders. I was planning to get a Lock Right for the rear because of this, but I don't want to buy one for the front if I don't have to. Welded front spiders wouldn't see any on-pavement abuse since the hubs would be unlocked until I get to the trail. But I do see high-traction off-roading causing potential breakage problems, so it's probably a bad idea.

    But I do have a whole spare front axle, so I guess I could try it and see what breaks!

    I thought maybe someone else out there might have tried it.

    Richard
    '76 K-5 Blazer
    '90 K-5 Blazer
     
  5. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Well, it's not the way I would go......but I don't think there would be that much more breakage than a normal locker. Think about it for awhile, usually the only time something breaks is when the vehicle is under power, which means a Lock-Rite or other locker would be engaged and not allowing any slippage anyway. I very much doubt you would break something just turning on dirt with the gears welded.
     
  6. AZK5

    AZK5 1/2 ton status

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    Welded spider gears will not uncouple when turning like a Lockright or a Detroit locker. The Lincoln locker will stay locked all the time like a spool and if the axle is in a bind something will break under enough pressure.
    CB
     
  7. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    If you do it, try running w/ one hub unlocked. This will cut down on the bindind in turns. Then if you need more traction, lock the other hub. Jim.

    BigJBear '80 GMC
     
  8. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Yes, I realize that a spool or welded spider gears never uncouple, but most lockers (Detroit, Lock-Rite) will only uncouple if no power (or a small amount of power) is being applied to them (i.e. coasting) which is why they will chirp the tires if you give it gas while turning. My point is that the only time you should break something is in a situation where you are trying to climb an obstacle and applying throttle, in which case a locker would be fully engaged just like a spool.
    Please don't get me wrong, I would never recommend that someone weld the spiders gears (especially in the front) but I don't think this would cause any more failures than a locker in off-road conditions.
     
  9. Kodiak

    Kodiak 1/2 ton status

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    I think if you want to weld it then weld it. If you only use it off road and you have another axle, what do you have to loose. Start slow and learn how to steer it. If nothing else you will learn something.
     
  10. ziagong

    ziagong Registered Member

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    One more thing to consider is if you heat-up the spider gears, I have herd it will make them weaker. I think thats pretty much true with any metal.

    1972 K5 CST Blazer - 350V8 17x40x15
    Made for Mud!
     
  11. Jason73K5

    Jason73K5 1/2 ton status

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    Thats true, welding up the spiders may very well make them the weak link in your drivetrain. And when they go, they may just take your ring & pinion and diff housing too. If you do want to go that way, consider a spool or mini-spool instead, they're still cheap compared to a locker.
     

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