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More bad new for me and my trans - cracked bell housing...

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by BadDog, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Looks I won't be getting my trans installed today. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    My replacement trans has a cracked bell housing. Very small for now, I couldn't even see it till I cleaned it up, but it's the typical crack that eventually releaves it of the upper mounting boss. Now I'm stuck. Not sure whether to drill it and hope for the best (not likely with my luck and the way I beat on it), look for another, or maybe try one of those bolt on steel repair housings (never an issue again or so I gather). What do you guys think? (See pics below)

    Anyone every successfully drilled a crack like this and had it hold up? I don't want to try to weld it due to the low probability of success and high probability of making it worse. Never caught one before it was trash before, so I have no experience in fixing them.

    Searched the web, Jegs, and Summit for those steel housing to get an idea on price. No luck. Anyone got a link handy?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    well i never had but i would think if you drilled it then filed/grinded an V grove over it and welded/have it weld it should hold
     
  3. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    The problem with welding cast aluminum (particularly oil soaked as this one was before I cleaned it) is, as Rene mentioned in another thread (mentioned to lend credibility since I'm not an expert) is that it often causes stress fractures adjacent to the weld area. Cast aluminum, particularly thin cast aluminum like in the bell housing is not an ideal welding subject. While weld (or braze) might hold, and I've heard reports where it did, I'm not thrilled about the odds, and I *HATE* breaking on the trail. Particularly when it's a major event/long week end far from home and something like the trans breaks, where your SOL and have to tag along behind some throttle happy guy in a big block hybrid on the end of a strap. /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif Even worse, it sucks ruining the trip for everyone else as they drag you out.

    I guess I answered my own question. If I'm not comfortable with it, I shouldn't run it, or I'm pretty much guaranteed to be left broken again. I just hated to waste the trans and the time to find another… Guess I'll be looking into the steel bell or another case, so much for this "K" case… /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  4. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    yeah if you do a lot of long wheeling trips i wouldent risk it eather, could you find a blown trans with a good case anywhere? what sbout your last trans? diferent?
     
  5. K10ANDYKHAMNIC

    K10ANDYKHAMNIC 1/2 ton status

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    SEARCH FOR ULTRA BELL.
     
  6. gravdigr

    gravdigr 1/2 ton status

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    Heh, I ran a powerglide behind a hot 350 in my chevelle that had a cracked case. One of the bolt holes was completly busted off. Ran it like that for 2 years /forums/images/graemlins/screwy.gif
     
  7. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    SEARCH FOR ULTRA BELL.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Thanks, I was searching stuff like "steel bellhousing" and the like with no luck. The "Ultra Bell" is cast, but it claims much stronger than stock. And I didn't find anything at Summit or Jegs. I would have sworn that one of those two had a stamped steel unit just like that...
     
  8. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    That bell is done. The only hope as far as welding it goes is to completely disassemble the tranny, then pre-heat the entire bell area to about 250 degrees (after the area to be welded is prepped and scrubbed)

    Then weld it and cross your fingers.

    The welding I did was on Cast aluminum oil pans for John Deere Gen Sets. They would holesaw a 4-6" hole in the bottom directly below the oil pump pick-up, then I'd weld a tube to the pan. The point was to submerge an extended pick-up tube into a 25-50 gallon oil tank below the engine. This allowed a much longer service interval for prime power sets. Each pan had to be crack checked with dye penetrant and developer.

    When we were doing this it hadn't been tried yet by this company anyways. The larger pans were reasonably easy and didn't crack...but some of the smaller pans got junked. I'd weld it, and then watch as the cracks radiated from the weld in front of my eyes.

    The shape of the area being welded determines the liklehood of it cracking. If the 'shape' cannot tolerate some expansion and contraction it cracks. Preheat helps spread the stress out over a larger area, but it's still tricky.

    IIRC BorregoK5 used an ultra bell and had nothing but good things to say about it. He also liked to beat on his truck pretty hard.

    Rene
     
  9. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Maybe that's the one I was thinking about. But wasn't it stamped steel?
     
  10. tunedportk5

    tunedportk5 1/2 ton status

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    well here's a place that sells them web page
     
  11. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Maybe that's the one I was thinking about. But wasn't it stamped steel?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I seem to recall it was just a thicker cast aluminum. In fact I seem to remember Mike having to clearance the inside of the bell so the convertor wouldn't hit.

    Rene
     
  12. tunedportk5

    tunedportk5 1/2 ton status

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    most likly cause there used in racecar mainly and they all used 8" torque converters and inside clearance ins't a issue.
     
  13. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    [ QUOTE ]
    well here's a place that sells them web page

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Thanks, I found that one and several others, all right around the $200 mark. I guess I'll try to find one locally tomorrow.

    Rene, thanks for the info. I guess that is just another case of my "lossy memory" acting up.
     
  14. thebigdaddyof2

    thebigdaddyof2 1/2 ton status

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  15. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Yeah, I ran across those too (isn't google wonderful! I wish out search engine worked as well). Still have not found a steel version that I would have sworn existed. Given my recent series of problems with cast aluminum, I'm not completely sold on the ultra-bell even if they do say it's 60 times stronger...

    Anyway, if anyone has a source significantly cheaper than $200, please let me know. I even searched ebay, but only found a Ford version and a few 'Glides along with a modified th350 trans ready to accept an ultra-bell.
     
  16. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Have you any experience with that aluminum welding rod I see being demonstrated at swap meets?.I bought some,it seems to work well on some stuff,not so well on others--I used it to fix broken or cracked briggs and stratton lawnmower blocks after connecting rod failure and it worked good,but I couldnt get it to stick to a carburator base that had a broken ear I wanted to fix.This stuff comes in short sticks,at the demostration the guy is using a propane torch,and he is sealing holes in aluminum beer cans,A/C condensors,radiators and an old canoe--he made it look easy,but I had a pretty hard time with it til I got the knack of it.I saw similar rod at the welding store called "Rub-On" and it was cheaper than the swap meet stuff!. Since it worked on the briggs motors cranckcase,and they are a similar magnesium and aluminum construction,maybe this stuff would work for you,its more like a brazing rod for aluminum,also works on brass,copper,and galvanized steel and zinc castings,it has a high tensile strength rating.But on a tranny it might be best to get a good non cracked case,or the steel bellhousing .I might try some of that rod on a junk tranny I have out in the parts pile for the hell of it,just to see if it works--I know it worked good on the mower engines--. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  17. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    Never used that stuff. All our stuff is done to AWS spec's and by the sounds of it that stuff is glorified solder.

    Rene
     
  18. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I wonder if brazing that up might keep it from cracking further?
     
  19. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys, but as much trouble as it is to r/r a trans in front of a doubler, and considering the less than 100% confidence that repairing the crack would give me, and the trouble dealing with a broken trans on the trail, plus the fact that I'm less than gentle with the truggy, then add in my normal SOL life... The only sane choice is the one that minimizes the chance of problems. That seems to fall into 2 options. An intact K-case transmission, or a "Ultra Bell" or the like. If Rene (or preferably someone nearby with skill and experience) felt that "doing (whatever???)" was a sure fire fix that would return the case to 100%, I would be all over it in order to salvage the loss on this. But that seems not to be the case. Thinking about it now, I can't understand why I ever questioned using that bell housing with the crack. I *know* where that would leave me, and that's not where I want to spend my free time…
     
  20. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Definitely agreed 100% there.

    As we build these rigs we start to take them less and less places where we'd want to break them and then have to figure out how to get back to the trailer.
     

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