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Hypothetically Speaking....


RowdyRebel
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Suppose money was tight.

And suppose during your post trip inspection, you notice oil on the u-bolts holding a drive axle to the suspension.

It would be a logical possibility that the axle housing might have a hairline crack in it, which would allow the gear oil to seep out.

So assuming you found the time to dig into the problem....probably would have to drain the oil, jack up the suspension, remove the wheels, support the end of the axle separate from the suspension, remove the u-bolts and clean off the oil/dirt that has accumulated in order to inspect the axle housing for any cracks.

Suppose, hypothetically speaking of course, that there was, indeed, a crack found on the housing.

Could it be safely welded? Perhaps drill the 2 ends of the crack until the drill bit tip is just shy of breaking through to stop the crack from spreading farther, then run a cut-off wheel/grinder to cut a wedge into the axle housing along the crack to get a good surface that can be cleaned of any oil residue....then run a bead to fill it back in....maybe grind the bead smooth and repaint so it wouldn't be too obvious to a casual observer....

What about just using a pressure washer to force degreaser and water through the crack to clean it up before brazing it to fill in the crack and get the leak to quit leaking?

Which way would be the better way to go about fixing this hypothetical leak?

Could either of these fixes be considered safe enough, so that the expense of replacing the axle housing could be avoided altogether?

What are some potential problems that may arise should a crack be found and repaired in either manner? Would welding or brazing possibly create a weak spot on the axle housing which would be prone to breaking? What steps, if taken, could reduce/prevent the formation of a weak spot where the repair was made?

Would either fix be better than just leaving the crack alone until money was available to replace the axle housing? Or would attempting to fix it just make the hypothetical problem worse?

If the hypothetical axle housing crack is welded or brazed, and a DOT occifer happens to spot the repair during a roadside inspection, would it be an OOS? Would the wet u-bolts, if you do nothing, be enough for the occifer to place the truck OOS since it would be logical for him to assume there may be a crack on the axle housing?

This is all hypothetical, of course....so what would y'all do if it wasn't? popcrn.gif

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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That's almost like when I was listening to 'Love Line' on the radio a few days ago... 'My uh...friend...has these bumps on his dinges and was wondering if it's a problem or not and if he scrubs really hard with soap and water they'll go away..??'

Hypothetically speaking, of course... I'd hate to see the beating said truck is taking to crack the axle housing...

Ever wonder how a blind person knows when to stop wiping?

gallery_1977_876_21691.jpg

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Suppose money was tight.

And suppose during your post trip inspection, you notice oil on the u-bolts holding a drive axle to the suspension.

It would be a logical possibility that the axle housing might have a hairline crack in it, which would allow the gear oil to seep out.

So assuming you found the time to dig into the problem....probably would have to drain the oil, jack up the suspension, remove the wheels, support the end of the axle separate from the suspension, remove the u-bolts and clean off the oil/dirt that has accumulated in order to inspect the axle housing for any cracks.

Suppose, hypothetically speaking of course, that there was, indeed, a crack found on the housing.

Could it be safely welded? Perhaps drill the 2 ends of the crack until the drill bit tip is just shy of breaking through to stop the crack from spreading farther, then run a cut-off wheel/grinder to cut a wedge into the axle housing along the crack to get a good surface that can be cleaned of any oil residue....then run a bead to fill it back in....maybe grind the bead smooth and repaint so it wouldn't be too obvious to a casual observer....

What about just using a pressure washer to force degreaser and water through the crack to clean it up before brazing it to fill in the crack and get the leak to quit leaking?

Which way would be the better way to go about fixing this hypothetical leak?

Could either of these fixes be considered safe enough, so that the expense of replacing the axle housing could be avoided altogether?

What are some potential problems that may arise should a crack be found and repaired in either manner? Would welding or brazing possibly create a weak spot on the axle housing which would be prone to breaking? What steps, if taken, could reduce/prevent the formation of a weak spot where the repair was made?

Would either fix be better than just leaving the crack alone until money was available to replace the axle housing? Or would attempting to fix it just make the hypothetical problem worse?

If the hypothetical axle housing crack is welded or brazed, and a DOT occifer happens to spot the repair during a roadside inspection, would it be an OOS? Would the wet u-bolts, if you do nothing, be enough for the occifer to place the truck OOS since it would be logical for him to assume there may be a crack on the axle housing?

This is all hypothetical, of course....so what would y'all do if it wasn't? popcrn.gif

A few years back we had a bunch of trucks with Chalmers rear suspensions. The torque rod bracket on top of the axle housing would break off of the top of the housing and cause all sorts of catastrophic shit to happen. I'm talking about one housing pointed straight up in the air and the other pointed backwards, drivelines entangled in air hoses and frame members type of stuff. I think Spicer finally admitted that the weld on the housing was of insufficient size and quality, and they supplied us with specifications for the proper welding procedure (for that bracket/joint). We had a certified welder come in to replace the brackets as needed. We were able to get new brackets for the housings which then had to be welded on, so, hypothetically, it is possible to weld to the housings. I would say a certified welder would be the best judge of what to do in this hypothetical situation.

"Mebbe I'm too ugly and stupid to give up!"

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Well I'm no certified welder of any type but have welded many cast sections of transmissions, axle housings, backing plates, spring perches, exhaust manifolds, etc back together through the years. It all has to do with the preparation of the base material and proper pre, and post heating of the weld zone(s). for a strong, dependable weldment. I've seen numerous weldment failures due to the end user trying to "pretty up" the area and removing some of the bead buildup. This should be left alone.

While I can't answer for the DOT interaction it would seem to me that a weldment to repair a crack correctly would be frowned upon a lot less than an obvious leaker.

Rob

  • Like 1

Dog.jpg.487f03da076af0150d2376dbd16843ed.jpgPlodding along with no job nor practical application for my existence, but still trying to fix what's broke.

 

 

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My answer pretty much mirrors Rob's reply,i too have had some degree of success welding various things,its been my expierience that the key is in good prep-work,i think a lot to do with it this is where the (hypothetical) crack is as well,and how its positioned,all can be determining factors in just how well a weld will hold-up,and i have to agree,that even a welded repair,is a lot less apt to draw attention than a leaking rear,but then again,the DOT have their moments! i was written a ticket (in california) the year i bought my CX,it was BRAND NEW,first trip i made with it.I got a ticket for "excessive grease" (fresh grease,pushed off the top of the fifth wheel)i was told it was an "environmental hazzard" so,ya' never know!............Mark

Mack Truck literate. Computer illiterate.

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LMAO Ernie ! Yup Lucas has a liquid cure for everything WHAT A FREAKIN SHAM !!!

Yup. Purely hypothetical to me.

Rob

Dog.jpg.487f03da076af0150d2376dbd16843ed.jpgPlodding along with no job nor practical application for my existence, but still trying to fix what's broke.

 

 

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Yup. Purely hypothetical to me.

Rob

Ahem,,,The easiest and most durable way to make a hypothetical repair of the nature you have mentioned is to make the repair with a hypothetical welder using hypothetical 7018 rods at a hypothetical heat range. Yes, the welder is a little more expensive, hypothetically speaking, but, if you cant locate one, I happen to be a hypothetical dealer of aforementioned product, and if you will send money, (cash only of course), sum of $3500.00, i will ship you one of my hypothetical welders, throw in hypothetical rods, no charge for the rods, and in just a few hypthetical days you will be the owner of a new hypothetical welder, hypothetically speaking again, of course. Thank you for your hypothetical patronage,,,randy

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Ahem,,,The easiest and most durable way to make a hypothetical repair of the nature you have mentioned is to make the repair with a hypothetical welder using hypothetical 7018 rods at a hypothetical heat range. Yes, the welder is a little more expensive, hypothetically speaking, but, if you cant locate one, I happen to be a hypothetical dealer of aforementioned product, and if you will send money, (cash only of course), sum of $3500.00, i will ship you one of my hypothetical welders, throw in hypothetical rods, no charge for the rods, and in just a few hypthetical days you will be the owner of a new hypothetical welder, hypothetically speaking again, of course. Thank you for your hypothetical patronage,,,randy

I guess you missed the first line of the hypothetical scenario.....

"Suppose money was tight"

:tease:

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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Got a stick and MIG here and a shop just big enough to get the tractor in...plus high torque 3/4" gun and other assorted tools to make the hypothetical repair...but it's not a hypothetical 5 hour drive up here...

Unfortunately, I know not how to weld...bout the only thing I can't do I guess...

Ever wonder how a blind person knows when to stop wiping?

gallery_1977_876_21691.jpg

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Got a stick and MIG here and a shop just big enough to get the tractor in...plus high torque 3/4" gun and other assorted tools to make the hypothetical repair...but it's not a hypothetical 5 hour drive up here...

Unfortunately, I know not how to weld...bout the only thing I can't do I guess...

If I were in this hypothetical predicament, I too have an air compressor in the garage...even ran a line through the wall so I have air out by where the truck parks...

l_cffdbddd40cf408ba018ffadbab9af9c.jpgl_15bc528873de4002a1f69f0d2706fd20.jpg

I've also got a 3/4" impact gun and other assorted tools, as well as a flux-core wire-feed welder (I could buy the gas...but it's cheaper/easier to just use the flux core) as well as oxy/acetylene to pre-heat the part to be welded....and that's right here where there is no drive at all. I'm a self-taught welder...no formal training. When the aluminum shift linkage for the transfer case on the F250 broke on a cold winters day, since Ford wanted WAY too much money for a new one, I built one with some steel parts that bolted right in...

l_14b118cde88ecee5be408b322b8764da.jpgl_90cd2a766edb33691576063e910b36ac.jpgl_10dcdec61dc80a4942a6d66da1dd53ea.jpg

...Built my brother a motorcycle hauler a couple years ago, too...

l_c7b2c587704bfbbbbbae9a761173279a.jpgl_a2bfc4a3ac09914cf99523253fa93c4e.jpgl_4009e77eecea2dec994febeefe586f40.jpg

...and fabbed up a grille for my '92 Ranger beater truck....

l_92f4ed464de736f3aca6bc618a293eae.jpgl_63724427e6b0843198452e2ad5b326e0.jpg

...not to mention the 2" receiver I welded into the rear crossmember on the Mack...

l_7b4a11155de24271a0a26611581b4e56.jpgl_54a4cdabf9e343c994036d0e5fb2d971.jpgl_a2dbb227cabd4999b1c1f45b9382bb80.jpg

IF I ever run into this hypothetical situation, I think I'll be aight... :thumb:

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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If I were in this hypothetical predicament, I too have an air compressor in the garage...even ran a line through the wall so I have air out by where the truck parks...

l_cffdbddd40cf408ba018ffadbab9af9c.jpgl_15bc528873de4002a1f69f0d2706fd20.jpg

I've also got a 3/4" impact gun and other assorted tools, as well as a flux-core wire-feed welder (I could buy the gas...but it's cheaper/easier to just use the flux core) as well as oxy/acetylene to pre-heat the part to be welded....and that's right here where there is no drive at all. I'm a self-taught welder...no formal training. When the aluminum shift linkage for the transfer case on the F250 broke on a cold winters day, since Ford wanted WAY too much money for a new one, I built one with some steel parts that bolted right in...

l_14b118cde88ecee5be408b322b8764da.jpgl_90cd2a766edb33691576063e910b36ac.jpgl_10dcdec61dc80a4942a6d66da1dd53ea.jpg

...Built my brother a motorcycle hauler a couple years ago, too...

l_c7b2c587704bfbbbbbae9a761173279a.jpgl_a2bfc4a3ac09914cf99523253fa93c4e.jpgl_4009e77eecea2dec994febeefe586f40.jpg

...and fabbed up a grille for my '92 Ranger beater truck....

l_92f4ed464de736f3aca6bc618a293eae.jpgl_63724427e6b0843198452e2ad5b326e0.jpg

...not to mention the 2" receiver I welded into the rear crossmember on the Mack...

l_7b4a11155de24271a0a26611581b4e56.jpgl_54a4cdabf9e343c994036d0e5fb2d971.jpgl_a2dbb227cabd4999b1c1f45b9382bb80.jpg

IF I ever run into this hypothetical situation, I think I'll be aight... :thumb:

I do believe you have this hypothetical situation well under control, very nice work! Im just gonna assume you dont need my hypothetical welder and kinda just back on outta here, randy

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That's almost like when I was listening to 'Love Line' on the radio a few days ago... 'My uh...friend...has these bumps on his dinges and was wondering if it's a problem or not and if he scrubs really hard with soap and water they'll go away..??'

Hypothetically speaking, of course... I'd hate to see the beating said truck is taking to crack the axle housing...

did you check warranty at your local dealer we fix alot of them were i work

DON'T FEAR THE REAPERMP

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That's almost like when I was listening to 'Love Line' on the radio a few days ago... 'My uh...friend...has these bumps on his dinges and was wondering if it's a problem or not and if he scrubs really hard with soap and water they'll go away..??'

Hypothetically speaking, of course... I'd hate to see the beating said truck is taking to crack the axle housing...

Hypothetically- driver was be a REAL jack wagon

Success is only a stones throw away.................................................................for a Palestinian

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I guess you missed the first line of the hypothetical scenario.....

"Suppose money was tight"

:tease:

rowdy sir, Just curiously wondering, looks like you did some fine fabricating there in those pics, do you have an opinion on a favorite brand or type of welder? Ia there a certain one you prefer? Am just curious,,,randy

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Just weld it!!!!!!

Do it properly, and don't grind off the beads unless required where the U bolts or saddle fit to the housing.

The stamped steel banjo housings used on the 34, 38, & 44k rears on camelback have a habit of cracking right at the carrier / banjo housing interface, on the left side just under the input shaft, and I've welded a few of those successfully.

Retorque your air ride U bolts periodically. The crack you're describing usually results from the U bolts being loose at some point.

"If You Can't Shift It Smoothly, You Shouldn't Be Driving It"

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Herb,

I've been following this thread - and I agree that the housing can be welded safely.

I'm curious, as a strictly amateur welder, is there any concern about heat distortion of the housing? And, if so, how can that be best prevented?

Thanks,

Paul Van Scott

Hi Paul.

It's a relatively small weld zone, so I don't think there would be much potential for heat distortion, especially if you allow some cooling time between passes.

When I welded those housings that were cracked at the carrier mating surface, I ground the weld down nearly flush on the mating surface, then draw filed it, checking with a straight edge til it was completely flat. After the grinding & filing, the housing was washed out with fuel oil, then rinsed again with brake clean to make sure all the metal chips & abrasives were removed. The carrier dropped in & fit OK, so it didn't seem like there was any distortion of the housing.

I never went to welding school either, everything I learned about welding was picked up from "on the job training" when I was a kid.

.

"If You Can't Shift It Smoothly, You Shouldn't Be Driving It"

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rowdy sir, Just curiously wondering, looks like you did some fine fabricating there in those pics, do you have an opinion on a favorite brand or type of welder? Ia there a certain one you prefer? Am just curious,,,randy

I bought a Hobart Handler 140. I had wanted the next bigger one, as it would weld a slightly wider range of thicknesses....but they weren't in stock, and this one fit the bill for what I needed to do. I remember I hauled it home on the back of my motorcycle, which leads me to believe I was PROBABLY working on my F250...but can't remember what exactly I was needing to do on it. So far, it's served my purposes well running flux-core wire. I could reverse the polarity and buy some shielding gas to run various types of solid wire for a wider variety of metals...but I just haven't had the need to do that.

I've also got oxy/acetylene that I use for cutting and brazing. I haven't welded with gas, yet...I usually just use the welder. Actually, since getting the power hacksaw from my grandpa's garage, I rarely use the gas to cut....only opting for the torch-cut if I can't use the power hacksaw.

I've looked at stick welders, too...but just can't justify buying another welder when the wire-feed has been capable of welding everything I've needed welded.

Almost forgot a few other things....

...bracket for the hydraulic pump

l_ce53cc38d6b4ffe2570f6e4fbdf1b6ff.jpg

...and welding an exhaust clamp around the muffler is cheaper than buying a new muffler...

l_3141207cbe9147e4b9da5c95b90dee6a.jpgl_78b37afc65fa4d118f448c7c742a2dae.jpg

That was a tough weld, though. I ran out of .30 wire, so I had to use .35...and it was dern near impossible to get it welded without blowing holes through the muffler. Ain't the prettiest looking weld, but it does it's job. B)

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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Herb,

I've been following this thread - and I agree that the housing can be welded safely.

I'm curious, as a strictly amateur welder, is there any concern about heat distortion of the housing? And, if so, how can that be best prevented?

Thanks,

Paul Van Scott

I'm just an amateur, self-taught welder myself....I weld what I have to weld, especially if it'll save me a few bucks. That wire-feed welder has more than paid for itself over the years.:thumb:

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I need a bigger impact gun :pat: These stupid barrel nuts are always a PITA to get off...bent up more than one 3/4" T-bar wrapping a chain around it and using my engine hoist to break 'em loose. I bought a 40" breaker bar the other night, figuring it might come in handy...

Pulling the wheels off to get the axle broke down enough to inspect it, and had 5 barrel nuts that my 3/4" gun just wouldn't budge. So, I used the 40" breaker bar I bought the other night (yeah, I've had this problem before...Sears is starting to wonder about my super-human strength returning 3/4" drive sliding T handle on multiple occasions after bending the dern thing all to hell...sticking a pipe on the end for extra leverage and using an engine hoist to do the lifting will tend to do that to a tool), and the 40" breaker bar got the first 4 broke loose easy enough that I was just starting to think that maybe I really don't NEED a bigger impact gun after all, but on the 5th one, as I'm leaning on the breaker bar, the barrel nut broke loose with a pop. As quickly as it started moving, it stopped......and when it stopped, the flex in the handle got to rebounding against my weight leaning down on the handle.....and I'm not sure if I broke my friggin' hand or if it's just bruised real bad internally. Hurts like a MFer, and the pain goes up into my wrist. :pat:

Anyway, it's only pain...never been one to let a little pain stop me from getting things done. :thumb:

Getting on with the project, I found a use for the old steel rims that I removed & replaced several months ago. I raised the rear end of the truck up enough that I set a rim under each side of the front drive axle. I have the axles chained so as not to over-extend the suspension, and the air is dumped from the bags. The brakes hold the truck in place, since the tires are still on the front axle...even if they ARE up on those other rims instead of on the ground. Then, I loosened the u-bolts on the left side, and using a 3 1/2 ton floor jack under the left side tires, loosened the chain a little to allow the axle to drop some, as well as to give it a little flexibility without tweaking something on the other side the wrong way when I lower the other side.

Right rear tires were removed, then I caged the brake chamber and pulled the drum as well just in case it required more disassembly as I get further into the project. I put another one of the old junk steel rims on facing out, and used a chain hooked onto the hole in the rim to attach to the engine hoist so I can raise and lower that side of the axle as needed. I got the u-bolts off, and removed all of the spacers and everything else that was in the way, then used a little purple power to get it cleaned up to see if I could spot the crack.

Yup. There it is. :pat: The wheel-end side of the crack is in a spot on the rear face of the axle housing where it could probably be welded (per that service bulletin I was sent....thanks again for that :thumb: ), and only a hair over 4" in length.....but the crack goes up around to the top as it makes its way toward the center of the truck. Although it hasn't exceeded the maximum length, the fact that it encompasses both the rear and top of the housing (which puts it within 3/4" of the corner), I'm afraid I might have to replace the axle housing at some point in the near future. I'm still going to go ahead and weld it up to get it to quit leaking, but at least now I know to start shopping for a rear axle.

Now the fun part. I removed the air bag, Z bar, torque rod, and shock from that side, too...gives me plenty of room to work. Drained the oil from the axle, and pulled the axle shaft.

I think that's enough for tonight.

Hopefully I get more work done (and take a few less breaks) tomorrow...gotta have it all back together to work Monday. :pat: I'll get started by drilling out the ends of the cracks, grind a groove along the crack, clean it all up, weld it, grind it smooth, and flush the axle tube.

Then I get to put everything back together. I hope I remember how it goes. :blink: It'll be OK if I have extra parts left over, as long as those extra pieces are u-bolts....I have 4 new ones to use when I put the axle back together. B)

I'll post some pics once I get the camera in here....gotta go get the tools put away for the night. :tease:

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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What I've been seeing:

l_cb949fbf22f647f1b02a7dcff3cc7a1a.jpg

So, when I got home last night, I dropped the trailer, dumped the airbags and chained the axles :whistling:

l_55771979b2094c3cb5637ce72b4a656a.jpg

and then put the truck up onto the lift. :tease:

l_c5c152957f2345a1a339f697c268eaeb.jpg

Today, I got to work pulling it apart...

l_770edd23b0284af68ac2d1dce0f29f86.jpg

...and this is what I found :pat:

l_39ceaaefb21d48d69d969845e47ae8ac.jpgl_1e0d1209bc5c488c9f00bc3c3aeae61f.jpgl_80cd6a2918cc4145971df40dc400466b.jpg

Well, I got it all cleaned up. Tomorrow, I get to drill out the ends of the crack, grind a groove along the crack, weld it up, grind it smooth, and hope I can remember how it all goes back together. :o

For now, though, it's up for the night.

l_2bef0999a0194f57a60a82db54aa8a97.jpg

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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