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Long term update on welded 14 bolt.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by tRustyK5, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    A little background...

    In November 2000 I welded the spider gears in my 14 bolt as outlined in the tech article by Muddin4fun (home page) 14 bolt welding
    At the time nobody that I knew had done a 14 bolt like this so I knew i was taking a chance. My thoughts were if I didn't like the mod I could swap it back to open or break down and buy myself a Detroit later.

    I have wheeled the truck like this quite often and had put over 25,000 road miles on it. Today I pulled the carrier to remove the spiders for another member that wanted them along with my spare 14 bolt open carrier. I have a new 14 bolt with 4.56's and Detroit going in so it was no big deal to me.

    I was a little dismayed at what I found. Everything was still intact but I think it was close to it's limit for longevity. The side gear to spider backlash was enough that after a lot of miles and tight turns the teeth on the large side gears were getting damaged. I have two cracked teeth on one side gear...the other has a chipped tooth and a cracked tooth. The constant hammering between spiders and side gears caused the damage.

    I feel this can still be a good short term alternative to a Detroit...with the emphasis on short term. The only way i would consider running welded for any longer than i have is to weld the spiders to the cross shaft and remove the 'play' between the spiders and the side gears.

    Rene
     
  2. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

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    very interesting glad it didnt go out on you when you were out wheeling or anything /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  3. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    This isn't an issue of spontaneous fragging of the carrier...but over the long term it will wear certain parts. I posted this as an FYI for all those that followed the article.

    Mine went for almost 2 years and a ton of road miles...but it won't go forever welded the way it was.

    Rene
     
  4. Mudzer

    Mudzer 1/2 ton status Author

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    I wondered if this would be the case. I would say the thing that gets hammered the most in a fully welded setup would be the axle splines. Your setup transferred the damage to the spiders where a fully welded setup wears splines quicker. If I had my choice between worn splines or broken parts sloshing around in the differential (possibly into the ring gear) - I would take the worn splines. Either way, good update - glad it held up for you.
     
  5. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    My concern previous to taking it apart was the axle shaft showing some wear or maybe a slight twist...which proved to be a non-issue. I think spline wear would take considerably longer to occur...possibly 3 or 4 times as long.

    At any rate I felt this was hard info that should be shared so others can take some form of preventitive action. I'm pretty sure my spiders had the most time and miles on them welded like this...so mine should be the worst case right now. Get a Detroit or weld it solid.

    Rene
     
  6. Nonesuch

    Nonesuch 1/2 ton status

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    I agree that welding up the spider gears solid is the best way. I recently did this backyard mod and time will tell how it holds up. I also agree that a aftermarket locker is the only true way to get a good reliable locked axle that will last.
    Justin
     
  7. leadfoot067

    leadfoot067 1/2 ton status

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    last year when i installed the 14 i fully welded the spiders.........it was in there for about a year of many wheeling trips...towing my car trailer..hunting..and regularly daily driving it...i took the welded out a couple months ago and put a detriot in it...saw no wear on the axles and none of the welds were broken....so in my opinion weld it all if ur gonna weld it
     
  8. Resurrection_Joe

    Resurrection_Joe 1 ton status

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    Ahem, how would one go about completely welding the gears/carrier then? Thanks... /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  9. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Split the case and with the spiders and cross fully seated tack all 4 spiders to the cross shaft. Remove the spider/cross-shaft assembly and tack the opposite side and check for fit. If it still fits weld the spiders to the cross shaft and re-install once it's cooled.

    Rene
     
  10. 72THING

    72THING 1/2 ton status

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    I took out the carrier, tack welded the spiders and side gears to the carrier, and then proceded to weld the absolute crap out of everything. Spiders to side gears, spiders to carrier, side gears to carrier, and crosspin to carrier. I welded everything solid. No problems at all in the diff-- its dang near bulletproof, except I've broken 2 axleshafts (rear D60, 1 5/16" 30 spline). You guys with 14FF shouldn't have any probs with broken shafts.

    Will
     
  11. four_by_ken

    four_by_ken 1/2 ton status

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    This is what I was trying to explain a while back when this conversation come up. But I got yelled at, not by you, that it was not necessary to weld as much as I was trying to explain. A little play with hard use, will not stay a little play.

    Glad you didnt have any unfortunate things happen while driving it.

    A good locker is the best way to go.

    Just adding some more to the story.

    Ken H.
     
  12. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Yep, I agree with you and also remember the original posts floating around. At least now we have a good long-term update.

    You cannot simply fill in the voids on one set of gears with a amount of play in them and expect the contacting gears to not exhibit wear. I've also been running a welded 14FF for about 2 years but mine was welded solid, as in the side gears were welded solid to the spider gears and basically making a mini-spool. No problems yet.
     
  13. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    I dont think that is the definitive answer.
    every moving part in the driveline has 'a little play' the detroit has a lot of play, in the 10deg of ring gear rotation range.
    multiply that by gear ratio to get how much slop the driveshaft sees.
    they seem to last a looong time.
    I havent seen Rene's welded spiders but I have been curious since Muddin's article why there was that much free space left in the gears.
    I envisioned getting it as tight as possible with grinder or filing to fit and I believe the Fozzy pics I have show signs of this(maybe not?) but he definitly fills the voids which would support the teeth.

    Fozzy1

    Fozzy2

    thanks to Jo Jo at www.Island4x4.com for the pics.
    wonder if he will lend us Fozzy for his thoughts
     
  14. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    do you have or want pics of the parts?
     
  15. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    You know, I was thinking the same thing. I'm on the other side from several of these posts. I really thought it would hold up fine the way Rene did it... I wonder if it's due to the softer weld material?
     
  16. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    Muddin will get PO at this but, as it was she that wrote the article I have stayed as far away from discussing it as possible til now.
     
  17. Resurrection_Joe

    Resurrection_Joe 1 ton status

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    Thanks to tRusty and 72thing, both comments were helpful!
     
  18. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I wonder if it's due to the softer weld material?

    [/ QUOTE ]
    That appears to be the case Russ. Another thing is that even though the spiders are welded in 4 places only two places per spider take the 'abuse' . When i originally welded mine I check fit to see about clearances and found there was very little 'slop'. Over time the hardened tooth on the side gear has slowly but surely cut into the non hardened weld material creating more and more 'play'. The cut marks in the welds are very obvious...

    In hindsight (ain't hindsight wonderful??) a hard facing rod would be a better choice or even a stainless rod...anything but a mild steel filler such as MIG E70S wire.

    I will try and snap a few good pic's of the spiders. You will see out of 4 welds per spider only two of those welds on each one gouged into, the other two welds are untouched. I do not have a digi-cam so you'll have to wait til i can get the pic's developed and scanned.

    Obviously these are not the results i had hoped for...but I felt it was my responsibilty to report bad results truthfully.

    Rene
     
  19. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    the wear seems an expected occurance to me, the broken gear teeth are the shocker
     
  20. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Well when I welded it up I expected the side gear to have contact with 8 welded areas per side gear. The fact is that only 4 welded areas and 4 side gear teeth per side were taking all the abuse. I snapped a few pics last night which shows clearly that only half the welded area wore and the other half had contact with nothing...
    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    the broken gear teeth are the shocker

    [/ QUOTE ]
    It surprised me too...just shows anything can break eventually if it's regularly being overstressed.

    Rene
     

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