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Flipping axle tubes?


95XL

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No no, it's not what you think, read before answering.

After much thought and deliberation, I've decided to go with a full width Dana 60 on the front of my truck. I've been searching around craigslist and ebay for a few weeks now, and the guys on there want outragious prices for a Ford or Dodge Dana Front. (I need one with a drivers side drop, obviously). Now, after talking with a guy at work today, I told him that I could get chevy dana's all day long for dirt cheap, but the pumpkin was on the passenger side. and he suggested that I look into switching the axle tubes around, flip-flop them so to speak. I would have to swap the tubes, and then swap the knuckles on the ends of the tubes back to their original sides, so the brakes aren't backwards, and then swap the axle shafts themselves (kind of self explanitory, but I figured I'd add that). Thus effectively moving the pumpkin to the drivers side. I know it's kind of a lot of work, but hey, it beats spending $800 on an axle when I can pick one up at the junkyard for $90, and just add a little elbow grease. Besides, I need something to work on over the winter anyways, so I figure if this will work, it should keep me busy 'till spring rolls around (I'm a very slow worker, couple hours a night after I get home from work, max).

What do you guys think? Would it work or not?
 


racinranger

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Im relativly shure that patov did that i think its Patov he won ORTOTM. and the pig blew apart on one side while in use. im pretty sure they said it was because of the extreme heat and pressure used to flop the tubes. Now im not saying you cant do it. Race cars retube centers all the time. Just get someone to do it that is competent. dont go blasting it with a torch and hammer the tubes apart
 

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Drill out the plug welds and swap the tubes, pretty simple.

You know how to weld?
 

95XL

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Yes, I know how to weld, am I competent? No. But, I have plenty of buddy's who are, so it's not a problem.

Ok then, glad to here it's not impossible to do, looks like I'll be seen at my local junkyard this weekend!:yahoo:
 

AKBroncoII

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You don't have to drill out the plug welds. Cut the long side down to short side length, take what you have left of the long side and put it on the old short side. done You only have to cut one inner C off too.
 

95XL

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Ummm...... Thank you for the advice AKBronco, but I would be much more comfortable knowing my truck was sitting on a one piece axle tube than one that has been patched together.
 

BlackBII

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Yeah, you don't want to be cutting butt welding the tubes...breakage.

Drill out the plug welds, much easier and safer. You may want to add some reinforcement to the welds.
 

swamprat

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You can cut the long side to match the legth of the short side and weld your inner C to that end. Drill the welds out of the short side and other welds that may be there and press that side out. Cut a piece of DOM tubing the right length and press into the center section and weld your inner C to that end. It will take one hell of a press to get those tubes pressed out and back in. It is about a .005 press fit. My buddy just did the same thing to a D60 but he put DOM on both sides and is using it for rear stear on his Toyota. We have access to a machine shop with mills and lathes and anything else that you need and it is still one hell of a job. BUT IT CAN BE DONE.
 

AKBroncoII

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Wow, you guys really have no experience doing this. How is this any different than bearing ends welded on a rearend? Do you think a fullfloat rearend has a single piece tube? It doesn't, the spindle is welded on the axle tube. Butt welded I may add. If you can weld the tubes in after cutting the plugs, then you can weld the tube back to another tube. If you can't, I wouldn't recommend either.
 

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True, a good welder could do it either way, doesn't really matter...but drilling is just the better option of the two.
 

AKBroncoII

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I would choose the option that you can physically do. Most people don't have the tools to press or pull the old tube out. Thus creating a problem. I could flip a tube in a couple hours. I bet most can't drill the spot welds and pull the tubes out in that amount of time.
 

Tony Raine

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You don't have to drill out the plug welds. Cut the long side down to short side length, take what you have left of the long side and put it on the old short side. done You only have to cut one inner C off too.

i'm with AK on this one. nothing says you have to JUST butt-weld the tubes back together. find some tube that fits over the axle tube. cut it into 2 long semi-circles. drill a few 1.5" holes along it. weld one of the halves onto the backside of the axle tube (for aesthetics), with the butt-weld in the middle. weld all around the edges and inside the circles (for extra weld area). of course, this would have to be done carefully to avoid warping anything.

i've seen this process done with flat steel to extend/shorten a truck frame. if it works for a frame, why not an axle?
 

Toreadorranger

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Theres alot of room inside the tube, just plug weld a peice of DOM tube inside the used to be short side and slip the left over long side over it, plug weld and butt weld and done.
 

Mutant Pony

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Ah but, The Ford is a high pinion. The others are not. Keep looking for a Ford. Look for a heavy equipment salvage yard. You can get a 60 out of an old power company truck that has been overlooked by 4x4 builders.
Good luck!
 

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One thing nobody has mentioned, is if you go cutting and welding on your axle, you need to keep everything alligned. Something like this. http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=306356

Other than that, I would cut the long tube down and use the rest on the short side. V notch the buttweld, and sleeve it with .250 wall DOM. Add a couple plugwelds through the axle tube to the sleeve, and you're golden.
 

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