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Welding axles other than the 14FF

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by 84_Chevy_K10, Mar 22, 2002.

  1. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I am thinking of welding my truck in both ends. My friend has a 225 amp stick welder and, if I turn this truck into my trail machine, I want it locked in both ends.

    I have a 10 bolt front/14 SF rear. I know my 10 bolt front might finally break if I weld it, but I don't care. Spare axles for 10 bolts are cheap and I'm NOT spending what a D60 costs. One day, I might though, so I can't see myself spending money to lock a 3/4 ton frontend.

    My rear is a Gov-loc. It's great on the street and before the holes get deep, but when my tires get buried in the goo, it becomes very difficult to get it to transfer power over to the other side. I don't think this axle will break from welding it...it's pretty tough.

    So, has anyone welded their frontend, or does anyone have pictures of exactly how they did it? I would consider buying a mini-spool for the frontend so if I didn't like it, I could always remove it easily and ditch it. But, what I really want to know is, if you welded up your axle other than your 14 FF, how did you do it? Weld the spiders together? Weld up between the gears of the spiders? Weld the side gears to the carrier?

    I'm open to suggestions. I run some really sloppy trails and I want to be the first one with both front tires spinning out there. Everyone else has bigger tires than me (I run 35s, they run 38-44s). They keep rutting it out deeper and deeper, so it's getting harder and harder for me every time I go out. Surprisingly, I don't end up stuck very often.
     
  2. Pure Insanity

    Pure Insanity 1/2 ton status

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    The procedure is about the same for all spider gears. Just look to see where the teeth are that youll want to weld. Welding to the carrier ruins the carrier, where welding the teeth shut only takes out the spiders, which are much easier to replace if you dont like it. Sorta like a Mini Spool. But welding them together might make it so you cant take them out if you dont like them. I think welding the teeth is the safest way to go. If you want to be able to remove it w/ out killing the carrier. I got an Email tonite from a guy that installed a spool in his front. Ill have to go look to see what his user name is here. I rememeber his real name but drawing a blank on his screen name. DOH!
     
  3. Pure Insanity

    Pure Insanity 1/2 ton status

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    His name is steve85fla. Try shooting him a PM. I dont think he was all to happy w/ how it handled. I think it was harder to turn than he expected it to be.
     
  4. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I don't really care if I ruin the carrier or not. I don't want it to break, that's the only thing. I figure turning and scuffing my tires on pavement is going to put a lot of stress on those welds. Anything that may strengthen them will help. Will it be stronger, in your opinion, if I weld the side gear to the carrier in addition to welding the side gear to the spider gear?

    As for turning, oh well...I'll unlock a hub. In the winter I'll just drive with one front hub locked in in case I need to get out of a ditch or something...either that or I'll go to the junkyard and pick up another 10 bolt front with 4.10 gears. They're a dime a dozen and easy to get parts for (and I've got plenty of spares).
     
  5. mudddog91

    mudddog91 1/2 ton status

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    Ok I welded my front dana 44 about exactly 1 year ago................well i dont even own the axle anymore!!!!!!!
    First it started with a stub shaft then a u-joint and finally it was the carrier,split in two and tore up the ring and pinion.DO NOT WELD THE FRONT IN A 1/2 TON AXLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Unless youre running 31's its gonna break.......Mine broke everytime i went out...........dana 60 now..........
     
  6. steve85fla

    steve85fla Registered Member

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    Way harder than I expected to turn, unless I'm in slop I have to unlock one wheel. This is a 10 bolt front. Your rear should be fine for you. The spool cost about $90. and goes in the carrier replacing the spiders. One axle goes in each end of the spool, joining the axles as one. There is no unlocking at all. The good thing is they are locked completely in the mud. Good luck!
     
  7. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    The side gears in the 14BSF are seperated from the carrier by the little clutch packs. You would have to weld the gears themselves or weld the top and bottom gears to the carrier.

    Maybe you could use the fact that it's a Gov-lock to your advantage. Like engage the cam manually and then weld it to the carrier so that it is always locked. I don't know if parts for these are hard to come by, but you could rotate the governor shaft by hand to engage the cam and then weld all of the shaft parts together so that it can't rotate back and unlock. If that part blows up, you would just have to get a couple of little parts to put it back to normal, assuming the parts didn't frag out anything else.
     
  8. jcg

    jcg 1/2 ton status

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    I've got a friend with a spool in his front end and he can't make tight turns at all without unlocking a hub or backing up a couple times. It is a major increase in traction on the trail though, he walks up rock gardens like they're paved roads. It's a trade off, handling for traction. He's pretty happy with it though so it's just a matter of personal preference.
     
  9. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I figured I'd weld the gears themselves and on the driver's side where the side gear meets the carrier I'd weld that too.

    As for the front end, I'm still not sure yet. I'm on 35s right now. I am not too lazy to get out and unlock a hub--and our 4wd compeition is a straight on mud bog, no turning. It's a timed event, so, the quicker you can get through, the better. Last year I went though without slowing down at all (with 3 wheel drive) and got 3rd place or so. I guess what I really need is more horsepower, but I don't want to spend the money. I would rather put more of what I have to the ground first....and I don't only care about the competition, that's just the time we get every year to show off. Out in the woods I run some really rough trails, and I'm thinking this will help a lot.

    My main idea for this is--none of my buddies are locked up front at all. All of their trucks are bigger than mine. If I could idle though a hole after my friends hit it at 60 MPH with 44s and get stuck, it'd be really cool!

    What I'm thinking is that I wouldn't have to beat my truck as bad to make it through the rough spots and in that case it might even be less prone to breakage.

    As for the rear, f*** it, I have no problems welding it. The Gov-Loc is GREAT on the road but it sucks the big one in the mud.

    The way I figure it, a 14 SF and a 10 bolt front are both not the hot setup anyway. If I had a set of 1 ton axles I'd think differently--I'd know that no further upgrades would be necessary, so I'd be willing to spend the money on lockers, but for these axles, is it really worth the money? Not in my opinion. So, I can deal with 3 wheel (or sometimes only 2 wheel in deep mud) drive, or I can weld the SOBs. I am thinking I'm going to weld them.

    What size rod did you guys use? I'm thinking some 1/8" 6011 should do just nicely. What did y'all set your welders at?

    I'm not an outstanding welder, but this isn't a life or death matter, so I can handle it myself, I think. I CAN weld, I would just never trust my life to my welding.

    I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all here and I haven't made a definite decision. I have never driven a vehicle with welded axles, but this thing might only be used for trails and to-and-from trips to the trail. I just want real world experience on this issue. If someone said it was their biggest nightmare and they'd never do it again and they broke axles constantly I might think different. Changing front u-joints and shafts is no big deal to me. I'd be happy to be the only person I have ever met with a small block powered truck to break NEW axle u joints....especially if my truck will be a lot better off road with welded axles.

    Keep sharing your opinions. Help me make my decisions....I'm open to all suggestions from anyone with a valid opinion. 1 ton axles are not an option right now--I don't have the money and I haven't managed to break the 3/4 tons yet. I'm 8 lug right now so it'd be somewhat easy to do that later on down the road.
     
  10. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    If you have a DC welder, run some 1/8' 7018. Its been awhile since I burned any 7018, but I would imagine somewhere around 90-110 amps. Low hygrogen rod. Great high tensile strength rod for high carbon steels or any mild steel for that matter. If your welder is AC only, run either the 6011, or maybe 6013. Or if ya have a MIG welder, use that. Alot easier and much less clean up.
     
  11. Pure Insanity

    Pure Insanity 1/2 ton status

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    The only reason I say to weld the gears and not the carrier is to change out the spiders is no big deal, to change out the carrier you have to know how to set up a differential. Its not an easy drop in deal, unless you know how to set up gears that is.
     
  12. bigmack

    bigmack 1/2 ton status

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    Tim, I have welded alot of diff's, dana 44's, 10, 12, & 14 bolts. The way I have allways done them is to weld the spider gears where they mesh together and then weld the spider gears to the carrier. I stop welding about every 8 or 10 minutes to give the carrier time to cool off. I have a small Lincoln mig welder & have never had one break. Just take your time and weld the snot out of it. You will be amazed, your truck will go places in 2wd where before it would have to be in 4wd.
     
  13. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    That's what I figured.

    I understand that if the carrier breaks I have to swap it--but think of this. If the welds break, it's going to send pieces of those spiders through my ring and pinion sets anyway, and that will destroy them.....so it's more important that the welds not break than I be able to remove it. I'll swap out the whole axle if I don't like the welded diff--at least it'd still be useful for something. If the gears are destroyed it goes to the scrap yard.

    I am pretty sure I am going to do it. I only have access to an AC welder, unless I take it to school...which I guess I could do if I want. I won't do it with a MIG. Ours is a 110 v model and it's just not powerful enough that I'd trust it to weld something like that.

    I only used 7018 once in my whole life and I doubt I'd ever do it again. Does high tensile strength make it hard to strike the arc? Maybe there was something wrong with that welder (it was a total POS). It was damn near impossible to strike the arc up with that thing.
     
  14. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    That's what I figured.

    I understand that if the carrier breaks I have to swap it--but think of this. If the welds break, it's going to send pieces of those spiders through my ring and pinion sets anyway, and that will destroy them.....so it's more important that the welds not break than I be able to remove it. I'll swap out the whole axle if I don't like the welded diff--at least it'd still be useful for something. If the gears are destroyed it goes to the scrap yard.

    I am pretty sure I am going to do it. I only have access to an AC welder, unless I take it to school...which I guess I could do if I want. I won't do it with a MIG. Ours is a 110 v model and it's just not powerful enough that I'd trust it to weld something like that.

    I only used 7018 once in my whole life and I doubt I'd ever do it again. Does high tensile strength make it hard to strike the arc? Maybe there was something wrong with that welder (it was a total POS). It was damn near impossible to strike the arc up with that thing.

    Thanks everyone for your input. I won't have my truck together until summer at least, but I think this welding is a good idea so I am pretty sure I'm going to do it.
     
  15. reddog64

    reddog64 1/2 ton status

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    You know you WILL break something right?

    the axle shafts on the 10 and 12 bolt are WAY different than the 14 bolt...

    If the axle breaks you best have another on to shove in there...

    the 14sf will probably be ok... but it's still a "C" clip design remember that...

    the 10 bolt isnt strong enough if you ask me...
    you may PM trustyk5... me and him just welded up my rearend 14bolt FF and we talked about the othere axles front and rear and what he had to say about steel strengths and axle shafts and the way the dana 44 and the 10 and 12 bolt work makes sence... they cant take it... i guess if you wheel once in a while in a straight line and you dont blow your front shaft u-joints out the dana 44 might hold out... but it will happen...
    dont do it...
     
  16. 72THING

    72THING 1/2 ton status

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    You're right about the 7018s being hard to weld with. I can weld OK. Every time I've tried to use 7018s, I cuss them and go back to 6013. Sooooo easy to weld with, and I haven't broke the welds in either of the axles I've welded (D60s), even running 39.5 TSLs. I've had good luck with 6013s on an AC welder at about 125 amps. My friend has welded front and rear diffs in his F-150 and he has trouble steering, but dang --it has traction no matter what. He has D60 front and 14FF rear. I think your rear axle will probably be OK. But your front axle won't be able to take it. I say go for the rear welding, but I would be leary of welding the front, unless you LIKE to change out broken parts. That's up to you. Whatever you do, Good Luck!

    Will
     
  17. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I know eventually, I will break front axleshafts and u-joints. I don't care. There are plenty of people on this board with Detroits in front 10 bolts and various limited slips like truetracs, power-locks, etc. I simply can't see the difference between a Detroit up front and a welded diff, mini spool, or a spool. None will unlock when you've got your foot in them anyway, so all are about equal.

    Yes, it will break. No, I don't care. I can get a whole pair of axles like mine at the junkyard for $200. I might go get a full floater for the back and not weld the semi floater.

    Either way, what do I have to lose? It'll be a learning experience no matter what. 4.10 geared 3/4 ton axles are a dime a dozen. I got this pair for FREE! Plus, I've got a 10 bolt front, plenty of spare axleshafts for the frontend in the garage (I'm on my third set of axles under this truck, all three have been 10 bolt fronts). I think I'll have some fun with this.
     
  18. bigmack

    bigmack 1/2 ton status

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    Tim, the little mig welder I have is a 110v model, & like I mentioned before I have never had a weld break in a diff that I welded. I know it's not the best welder out there and if I had a bigger welder I would use it, but my little Lincoln will burn hot enough to melt the spider gears ! I also welded the 12 bolt in my 2wd truck, it makes around 450hp with a built 400 small block, I have never broke the weld or axles but did break the ring and pinion, twice.
     
  19. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Well you're probably a better welder than I am then. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif I don't want to take any chances though.
     
  20. reddog64

    reddog64 1/2 ton status

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    not to be an ass 84_Chevy_K10 but let me know how it holds up... I'm just curious... I'm not wanting gto say "told you so" or nothing... just curious how the welded 44 will do /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

    Good Luck!
     

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