Need help on how to "Drill out" plug welds in Dana 60 axle housing.... "hole saw"?
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    Default Need help on how to "Drill out" plug welds in Dana 60 axle housing.... "hole saw"?

    I need help in the best procedure to "drill" out the plug welds of an cast iron axle housing to tube connections so the tubes can be ROTATED in the housing to change pinion angle.
    I can plasma torch them out, but if there is a cleaner way to do so I'd love to hear about it.
    (The plugs are really hard stuff and wont respond to carbide pilot hole bit.)

    The rear end is a Quadrasteer (see picture) (Yea, I know I'm screwed)

    The tubes must be rotated because they have steering knuckles on their ends that must maintain the caster angle.

    My least favored approach to change pinion angle is to cut the tubes, rotate and take my chances in realignment, although since knuckle has its own CV joint it may not be that critical, need to investigate the bearing type in the hub, ect.

    Thanks for any input!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails qs-picture-expl.-view.jpg  

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    An annular cutter, just outside the weld zone? Leaves a big hole, but in potentially-softer material. No guide drill involved, though, so getting the whole thing on a mill or at least a jig will be necessary.

    Are you lifting it? Watch your horsepower, too -- there's a reason that wasn't an option with the 8.1L engine.

    Watching with interest, as a Quadrasteer owner. Any extra bits you have lying around, or service info, let me know...

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    yup, annular cutter - or if you're brave enough an OA cutting torch.

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    If your going to use an annular cutter make sure it is big enough to be outside the weld area. Rigidity is the key. They really don't like
    the interrupted cut between welds and housing. I wasted two 1 1/4" cutters before I got it figured out.

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    Not familiar with the issue, but if the fittings attach to tube, can't you insert a hydraulic swivel in the line? Or is the hole where the fitting goes all welded up?

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    How many degrees of rotation do you need? I would work it up and figure the rotation at the tube end in “ or mm. at the knuckles. If the dimension could be comped by slotting the ball joint mounts to re-establish the caster angle, the tubes would’t get moved. Just shim the spring perches and relocate the balljoints.
    Joe
    Edit to add that if the caster goes more positive in the modification, I’d live with it.

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    Be aware that in addition to the plug welds those tubes are a good press fit into the housing--they might even be a shrink fit. In
    any case, even if you cut the welds out you're going to have a major fight to remove the tubes. Between the interference fit and
    the burrs created by cutting out the welds there's a lot of resistance.

    Many, many years ago we used to do a lot of 4 x 4 work and we modified a few Dana style axle housings. In the end the easiest
    way to do it was to replace the tubes--time consuming, I know, but after wasting a lot of time trying to get the tubes out of the
    housing we realized that re-tubing was the less painful way to go. In some cases we were changing the overall axle width and
    pinion offset so at least one of the tubes had to be replaced anyway.

    Before you start you need a simple fixture to mount the housing in so you can re-install all the brackets in the correct location.
    Make sure you have measurements and angles for everything! After that it's (relatively ) simple to cut all the brackets off and
    remove the tubes from the housing and the steering yokes. To get the tubes out of the housing we would cut out the plug welds,
    cut the tube off close to the housing and use the torch to wash the stub of the tube out. To get the tube out of the steering yoke
    cut it off short and use the torch to wash out the remainder.

    To put everything back together again machine two new tubes to the correct length, press it back together again, weld it up and
    weld on the brackets. Easy peasy...

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    Do this all the time using a carbide burr in a 1/4" air drinder. The one shaped like a ball. 3/8" in diameter. 5 minutes or less per hole. You don't have to go through the tube when grinding the weld. Make sure you cover everything so the grindings don't get in the bearings. We used to use an annular cutter which worked great 15/16" in diameter. Fixtured the axle to a bench and used a bench top drill press to drill out the plug. Problem was that when we drilled out the plug there was a hole right through the tube. The amount of rotation we needed was not enough to have a hole with a completely sealed bottom. Depending on how much you want to rotate the pumpkin keep the holes as small as possible. You have to have the axle fixtured to a robust bench. With all the welds removed it takes heat and a large hammer to spin pumpkin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bridgedog View Post
    If your going to use an annular cutter make sure it is big enough to be outside the weld area. Rigidity is the key. They really don't like
    the interrupted cut between welds and housing. I wasted two 1 1/4" cutters before I got it figured out.
    Haven't seen it done "much". May have been a grandfather to this axle. But there was good reason to NOT weaken the tube to housing joint area by digging those welds out and having to work with what was left afterwards at re-attach time.

    Tube - which is not always as "round" as you might wish - was lathe-turned mid-span for a cleanup, saw-cut. Put back together with a long sleeve over, that area welded.

    Doesn't take much as to jig and fixture to hold the caster vs driveshaft departure angle, so long as one knows what is WANTED. Wood and clamps will do fine.

    Imperfections?

    Seldom drive across even a Grade B surface plate for even a mile, so there's a lot more going on under a motor vehicle that suspension and tires have to JF deal with that require far greater excursions than perfect angles or even bi-lateral symmetry can address by themselves. Everything MOVES, IOW.

    2CW

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    I once installed a Mercury Spicer rear axle in my 1941 Ford Convertible using standard fore and aft leaf springs. The spring pads were off a few degrees from what would have been the ideal pinion angle . I went to a spring shop and bought some shims and installed them and all was well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post
    I once installed a Mercury Spicer rear axle in my 1941 Ford Convertible using standard fore and aft leaf springs. The spring pads were off a few degrees from what would have been the ideal pinion angle . I went to a spring shop and bought some shims and installed them and all was well.
    I've seen spring perches turned clear-OFF - slowly - on a large old lathe that could handle a fully-intact third member. New ones positioned more for a different width-spacing than shaft-angle, were then welded on.

    Much of this "modify" stuff has gone to small percentages because either parts-bin swaps solve it, or the differences between the badges on the hood have gone greater than the differences in the running gear under the chassis. Time was, it wasn't easy to find a light/medium FWD pickup, any major US make, that did NOT have MOPAR//New Process Gear -> Aisen/Toyota/New Process components, mated to one of the VERY few major axle makers left standing.

    Pick more closely-matched components, there wasn't much need of anything all that radical - as with those shims and several other tricks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tommy1010 View Post
    ...With all the welds removed it takes heat and a large hammer to spin pumpkin...
    I wonder if the new housings are a little sloppier fit than what they used to be? Even with quite a bit of heat we'd fight them pretty good.
    One issue was getting both sides the same. Heat it up, torque on it, whack it a bit and the tube would suddenly jump several degrees
    of rotation--often more than we needed it to. Repeat with reverse torque and you could end up right where you started. It
    would likely have worked OK if we'd made a holding fixture with a hydraulic cylinder applying pressure to the torque arm but we just
    didn't do enough of them to warrant that kind of setup. Just proved to more cost-effective to replace the tubes. Probably more expensive
    but the customers appreciated the work and paid their bills so we figured everything was good...

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    I do agree with replacing the tubes even though a little more money. The one I did with my son not only killed a few cutters but
    even after the tubes were drilled clean they never would have rotated they were so tight. The last one we did we sacrificed the knuckles
    and just put unmolested knuckles back on.

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    Need an additional 12 Deg up or positive. Stock is 0 Deg as eyeballed. Don't know how that would affect tire wear/handling etc. with that much additional Deg.
    Typical front end casters are 2-6 Deg range I believe.

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    I started reading your post 'cause it said Easy Peasy
    Yes interference fit is my unknown here as to how much heat to put to it to allow controlled rotation of tubes.
    Got to hit 12 Deg precisely.
    Seals are good and reusable, torching housing would require finding expensive hard to find replacements.
    I'm considering another method that I will post right away.

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    That's what I was hoping to hear. Plugs can be removed by hand on the ground . Thank you.
    I got to rotate 12 Degrees. Quick protractor layout rolls it maybe 3/8" along circumference.
    OK I need a "robust" bench to fixture this, got it.
    You indicate "it takes heat and a large hammer to spin pumpkin".

    I got some questions:

    What type of heat application do you do and what temperature do you figure it gets up to before it starts to give enough to turn controlably? (Seals surely must get fried, or removed before heat application)

    So you bang on it with hammer to tweak it to the laid out marks?
    Applying torque on a say 4 foot Pipe wrench not smooth and accurate enough?

    Is an option of squarely cutting tubes and interference fit("light" .0005") an internal sleeve to align an option you have seen used? ( A sleeve say 6" long with a small shoulder (1/16" tall) midway the sleeve length having a width of the cutoff wheel kerf. Bringing in both cut tube ends into housing sides by installing a long threaded rod the entire end to end axle housing assembly and turning on end nuts to bring it all in. (The shoulder on sleeve would check over travel from either end) (?)

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    Default Possible alternative to removing plug welds?

    Doing plug weld removal (by any method) and turning tubes in the housing seems to to involve a lot of stress and heat and aggravation/unknowns at least for me.

    Does anyone have some thoughts on the following alternative?

    Tubes are smooth bore DOM. unknown ID yet.
    Cut both axle tubes square with a chop saw (7/64" kerf). Dress all cut ends with bevel for future weld.
    Turn a say 6" long tube insert with a light interference fit (.0005" .001" max ,just for snug alignment) to fit axle tube bore.
    Midway down the length of the said insert leave a shoulder the width of the kerf and say 1/16" taller than interference OD.
    Start two of these inserts on both ends of housing center piece and follow up with the Knuckle ends all properly aligned.
    Insert long threaded beefy/Acme threaded rod thru entire mess from one end to the other and hanging out both ends.
    Put thrust plate, bearing and nut on both ends of threaded rod and go to town turning them in.
    Watch alignment.
    Everything will start compressing in until all shoulders on inserts bottom out on cut tube ends.
    Weld up.

    Thank you for any of your thoughts on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe28704 View Post
    Doing plug weld removal (by any method) and turning tubes in the housing seems to to involve a lot of stress and heat and aggravation/unknowns at least for me.

    Does anyone have some thoughts on the following alternative?
    Old stuff. Inside sleeves, outside sleeves, spliced in the middle, toward one end, brand-new tube, tube in - or over - punkin' stub, tube in - or over - wheel-end stub, both ends..

    Just name it HAS been done.

    Off-road, rough road, or most truck'ish things, modest extra mass not ordinarily a concern. "Reinforced" result may add genuine value.

    But it is "unsprung" mass, so a race car or even a passenger car, the mass is at east "looked at", and the "best approach" chosen, accordingly.

    Not rocket science. Even rednecks do it well.



    It fails, you try again. More carefully.

    Pick the route on which you are most comfortable you can actually deliver useful results with the skills and equipment you have, not what you WISH you had.

    Else hire it done.

    How many did you actually need before lunchtime tomorrow, anyway? How many for the first quarter of next year?

    It you are not "in the business", better to take that sort of work to a shop that IS in the business. Not a lot of point learning something that only gets applied once or twice in over a year that they did several of in a single day.

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    Been there done that only we made bearing replacement slugs with a precision hole through them. Run a piece of polished and ground shaft through the whole mess to keep the bearing alignment. Makes it easy to align everything. Quick and cheep axle narrowing.

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    If welding is done after alignment of the pads to the 12 degree change, go slowly and stitch weld at points to prevent warpage. I once had someone cut and weld pads for me to change the angle on another project car. When the rear axle unit returned, the axles would not go back in. The axle tubes were warped 1/4" on each side from the welding. This required a visit to a truck repair shop that straightened the unit on a large lathe with torches on each side.

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