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Old 11-03-2014, 05:13 PM   #801
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Update --- the chap on the Stovebolt site who did the front axle chop said the pads on my new axle are almost certainly NOT cast iron, but rather cast or forged steel and should be conventionally weldable. They "spark tested" like steel, but I could detect some crystalline bubbles where I broke off a tiny piece that did not get fully cut through. More research, but I would still like to figure a way to cool it slowly.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:14 PM   #802
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

From personal experience, I think you might be worrying a bit too much. I've built a few rear ends for race cars. The current one in my car is a Toyota-shortened on one side + longer on the other. And I welded all the brackets and shock mounts on there too. I'm hitting Vt. potholes at up to 100 mph. I have no signs of any cracks after 10 years of this. And I've rigged up a fixture to measure if the rear is still straight-it is to .020-1 ft off centerline. I've heated the rear up with a torch + cooled it to get it that straight.
Picture if you just clamped your upper + lower perches around the housing-now tighten down the U bolts-how much force you think is on that? 8 X 5/8" bolts-torqued to 120 ft lbs? Betcha its pretty high.
Its modern metal-as long as you get good weld penetration, it will be just fine.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:35 PM   #803
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

If I understood Tango correctly, the issue is welding castings not the axle tube material--I'd agree that the tubes can be easily welded and will hold a lifetime. The reason castings differ is because steel castings are granular in nature while the molecules in rolled steel form linear bonds. The only example I can think of off hand is what happens when you try to weld bed frame material (granular in nature). It seems to weld just fine but after a short period of stress it breaks at the weld leaving behind a sandy looking fracture. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with steel castings or bed frame material for that matter. Both materials are very strong and should be used for a variety of things as long as they are properly fastened. Jack
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:21 PM   #804
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Thanks Guys --- you both have very good points. The local welding guru I spoke with today said that cast steel is indeed similar to cast iron in that the bubbles are there. But, he felt conventional mig welding would work just fine if...(once again)...it is properly pre-heated and annealed. Still trying to sort the last part out. Need to figure out how to keep that big sucker from cooling too quickly.

Will let you know what I find in that regard. Still researching.
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Old 11-04-2014, 05:49 AM   #805
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Would halogen lights or a salamander, aimed at the area, and slowly moved away not be warm enough?
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:37 AM   #806
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Good question Somewhere --- I was looking at small, radiant propane heaters last night wondering the same thing. Still have to hear back from another old-pro welder for his thoughts. Getting quite a range of opinions so far.
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:52 PM   #807
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Howdy All --- Pleasant weather here in Houston and I have gotten a little more done on several fronts.


My stainless fuel door is ready to go in. Added a rubber weather seal to the inner flange



Here it is in place on the outer panel. It goes on as soon as we have the rear axle installed.


New 19.5" rims sandblasted, painted and new, tubeless tires installed.


New rear leaf springs from Eaton Detroit. Had them cut the load in half and drop the height about 3" (it was that much higher in back)


Of course, mounting those springs onto the new Dana axle required a few mods. This is my Pad Fix Kit.


The four, small fillets were tricky.


Here are two of them in place and ready to weld.


Once they were welded, the top plate was attached. The positioning was critical.


After a couple of passes with the mig and a little grinding & paint...they almost look like they belong there.

Next?...bring along some help and get that big a$$ Dana axle in!

Onward!
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Old 11-09-2014, 02:15 PM   #808
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Hey Tango. Looks beautiful as usual. It looks like you did a "mix and match" on the spring perches--could you give a short explanation of what you did? Thanks, Jack
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:58 PM   #809
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Howdy Jack --- I'll keep it as short as I can, given the "issues" involved.

Had to move the perches outboard by 7/8". But then, the springs that fit the '46 are only 2-1/2" wide while the Dana axle uses 3" wide springs, so I had to cut the perches back to accommodate the 2-1/2" replacement springs. That meant removing some metal from the inner edge of the Dana perches to accommodate the 2-1/2" U-bolts while building out the extra on the outside. Surprisingly, the original '46 springs mount wider than the new gen "wide axle" option that Chevy has these days.

After cutting away at the original pads, I put together 3/8" plate mounts parts to sit atop the Dana pads. They consist of the top plate (the easy part) as well as an outrigger fitting around the axle tube to support the plate that hangs over by 7/8", plus four small fillets to tie it all together. Does that make any sense at all?

The biggest question was regarding welding. The Dana pads are cast steel which can be tricky to weld to plate or common steel, but after a lot of discussion, I wound up just mig welding all the parts together using lots of oxy/acetylene pre-heating, peening and modest annealing (2 hours?).
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Old 11-10-2014, 02:52 PM   #810
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Re: '46 Chevy Shorty

Baby Steps Continued --- Got new shock towers fabbed and mounted up front. Will finish installing the shocks after the paint dries a bit.


The new shocks. They took about a month to find in the right size & configurtion.


The old, lower mounts were fine but the uppers were gawd awful hacks held on with a couple of bubble gum welds. These are fabbed from 3/16 & 3/8 in. steel and are at least equal on each side. The cobbled affairs I cut off and replaced weren't even close to matching.

Tomorrow...the new rear springs and axle go in. Then...back to that other little detail...the engine/tranny combo.

Onward!
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