Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Using good ‘ol boy techniques


I was on an interweb search on how to fix an axle housing.  Since there was one sitting out back that was slightly bent and not really usable at the moment.  Many techniques I came across were found on the on dirt track and stock car boards.  Makes a lot of sense, since the thing that the oval racers and dirt trackers in the east share with the AE86, is the use of the rear solid axle.


The axle partially assembled, notice the axle shafts not lined up.  Though eyeballing is not the precise instrument, it’s very obvious that this is not good.  Yes there are better ways to check, but you’ll most likely be looking at maybe $400 to just get a fixture tooled up.  That may only be used once.  No thanks

The first attempt:


Used not so heavy duty chain, bottle jack and some jack stands. This was placed upon a really beefy steel I beam (not shown).  This didn’t work so good for me.  Using lots of pressure got me nervous about the chain breaking and wacking me in the nuts.  The noise of the chain creaking also added to my decision to scrap that idea.

Then I came across a technique still used by NASCAR teams.  Besides doing quick fixes when needed, teams use this to change the camber and toe settings. By using a torch to heat the metal and quickly quenching the area, it’s possible to bend the axle housing. 


I long sold off my torch kit, since I had rarely used it.  Days like this I kick myself for getting rid of it.  But hope is not lost.  A substitute to the oxy torch is the use of a welder.  Make a couple of passes and cool it down quickly with a wet rag. 


Using the heat method is a slower process.  The change is slow and will require more than one application.  This is good if you’re looking into minute changes in alignment settings without overdoing it.  The welding method is a bit more archaic since the amount of heat can’t be controlled.  If you require more than one application, grinding off the newly applied welds so needs to be done, so that new welds can be reapplied.  We just need the heat, not the welds.  After a couple of tries, it’s as close as I can get without over doing it.


After each heat application, the housing should be checked to be sure it’s headed in the right direction.  Besides looking visually ok, looks like an extra –0.5 deg of camber was gained.  Not too bad.  Much safer than using the a bottle jack and chain.

Other techniques:

I tried using trusty harbor freight press, but the housing was way too large to fit and get it properly secured.  More thoughts of getting wacked from an improperly secured axle housing.

One technique that I never considered was using a cut and reweld that’s used by the boys at CBY.  I wonder if they know of this heat technique.  Maybe not since they have no NASCAR.

1 comment:

Dennis USDM AE86 said...

Would a bent housing produce a lot of vibration?