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Old 01-31-2018, 04:36 PM
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TheBandit TheBandit is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ventura County CA
Posts: 4,654
This has been quite a refresher on welding (and grinding lol) for me. After getting the rotisserie figured out, I got everything setup on my welding table and proceeded on a second pass at welding this. Here is a video:

Unfortunately that attempt was ill-fated. The resulting weld was a narrow, piled-up glob-ring around the housing that I dared not photograph (the grinder came out faster than John Force). I walked away from the project for a few days while I pondered what went wrong. I talked to my brother who is more of a doer/fabricator than an over-thinker/engineer like me, and together we came up with a few conclusions:

First, the overall height of my welding table and the rotisserie stands put the housing too high - roughly armpit level - and instead of positioning the gun over the housing for a flat position weld, I had the gun on the side of the housing doing a vertical position weld. Second, the hand crank was large so I ended up positioning my head behind the nozzle where my view of the weld was obstructed (this also contributed to doing a vertical position weld). Third, I was pushing the weld and given I was looking at the front side of the weld and had obstructed view of the back, I didn't even notice the weld pilling up behind the gun. Fourth, I wasn't weaving nearly enough.

Those factors all contributed to a bad result so I set out on a plan to right my wrongs. First I put the rear end all the way down on the floor instead of up too high on the welding table. As a result I had to kneel on the floor to make the weld, but I was able to more easily do a flat position weld which would help the weld lay flat and wide instead of narrow and built-up. Second, I shortened my hand crank to essentially just stick out from where the bolt of the housing end would normally go. This made it harder to crank, but freed space so I could put my body in front of the housing end and get my head closer to see what I was doing. Third, I switched from a "pushing" technique to a "pulling" technique by rotating the housing in the opposite direction, angling the gun slightly from vertical toward the direction of welding, and viewing the weld from the back of the puddle. I placed a jack stand as close to the housing as I could to use as a hand rest and did a dry run. Here is a video (ignore my muttering):

The dry run went well. I had to adjust my position a little to get angle on the gun and visibility while the spring perch swung around, but for the most part this worked. Time to weld. This time I made a wider weave and I paused momentarily at each end of the weave.

That worked out quite well. The first side went smoothly and I got a flatter, continuous bead all the way around the housing. While welding the second side I had to stop and restart twice, first because my hand crank got caught in my welding apron (Murphy's law) and second because I accidentally dipped the tip into the weld. But I corrected those issues pretty quickly and the start-stops are not too noticeable. Here are a couple photos showing the finished welds:

I am happy with those results. They are a little built-up and could probably have wetted out more at the housing tube side, but I think they'll be just fine.

I think next I'll mock up the brake lines and add any necessary mounting tabs before getting the housing blasted.

I also managed to assemble the new Strange axles. First step was installing the new 1/2" screw-in wheel studs with red Loctite and the appropriate torque. Along with the vise, I used a piece of square tubing across two studs to help resist the tightening torque. The vise alone just wasn't enough.

The photo below compares the stock 12bolt axle end to the Strange setup. The 1/2" studs are a little more substantial than the stock press in 7/16" studs. Also you can see the flanges are thicker than OEM and with the way the axle necks down slightly, it's likely if the axle ever does break, it will break inside of the bearing and the wheel will stay on.

With the studs in I could move on to assembling the bearings and retaining/wedding rings. I am using the F-body brake bracket to retain the axles, so I had to put the backing plates on first, then the tapered bearing with seal, and finally the wedding ring.

I brought the assembly to my 12ton shop press fitted with a 20ton bottle jack. I supported the wedding ring with the press plates and pressed both the bearing and the wedding ring on at the same time. Some prefer to do the bearing first then ring since it takes less press force, but this worked out fine for me - even though it took some doing I could tell when they bottomed. I took a "hyperlapse" video of the process with my cellphone

My only problem here was pressing against and destroying the fancy gel-like logo sticker Strange puts inside the end. I didn't have a suitable size puck to place over the end of the axle otherwise I could have avoided this! Maybe they will send me a replacement.


Ongoing 70 Nova build:
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