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Old 11-24-2004, 02:07 PM
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12 Bolt shortening, narrowing

First of all, I am new to this board and this is my first post. I have taken a few days and read through many posts but didn't find exactly what I wanted.

I want to narrow my 1975 chevy Truck 12 bolt to put in my 94 S-10 4x4. Why a 12 Bolt? I need something stronger then my 7 5/8 rear because I am running 35x14.5 Tires. I already got a 12 bolt for free. I already bought a detroit locker with 4.56 gears and a master install kit. I have the new tires and wheels so I cannot get some special wheels with different backspacing. I do not need any advice to find a different rearend or go with a ford 9" or anything like that. I am already set on shortening this one.

Now on to my questions.
I need to shorten my axle to around 61". I am guessing but I think right now it is around 66". I can get custom length axles made by moser engineering for $225. What is the easiest way to shorten the housing?

1. Would it be easier to remove the axle tubes and cut them to length and reinstall them?
2. Or would it be easier to cut the end of the tubes off and get new ends?

I have tools to cut the tube and reweld it, so that isnt a problem. I guess I am wondering how much trouble I am going to have trying to align everything when putting it back together. If I remove the tubes from th housing ,cut them, then reinstall, should everything line right back up?

If I cut the ends off and get new ones, is there a place where I could buy some of those bearing "pucks" instead of having them machined. Also, what are the different options as far as ends that I could go with? Do I want something so I can go with non-c-clip style axles?

Does anyone have plans so I can make my own jig I I feel I need to?

I do not want to have a shop do this for me. I want to do it myself simply because I like working on my truck and like to learn new things. If anyone has any links to articles pertaining to this, feel free to post.

Thanks

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Old 11-24-2004, 02:46 PM
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What are you going to do about your front end?
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Old 11-24-2004, 02:56 PM
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First off, I would go with the Moser axles, unless you are real good friends with a machinist. It will cost you at least that much to have the axles shortened and resplined.

It is entirely possible to shorten a rear axle housing at home. But, you need a fixture to securly support the housing as you weld it back together or it will warp. You use the existing axle bearing housings that you removed from the housing, just reposition them closer in.

Vince
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Old 11-24-2004, 03:07 PM
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Front end is a whole different story. I am eliminating the 5" IFS Lift that I have and I am putting in Leaf Springs and a solid front axle. Front axle is going to be a 1978 Ford Dana 44, this was an ideal axle for me because its leaf spring over axle and has the stronger reverse cut gears. I am going to narrow that also and use the outers from the 75 Blazer to keep the 6 x 5.5 bolt pattern. Inner axles will be easy because there are many different stock lengths D44 inner axles. I have found plenty of info on a Dana 44. I am hoping to get some advise one the 12 bolt.

I am not just thinking of doing all of this. I AM going to do it. So some advice would be appreciated.

Why do all this to an S-10? To be different I guess and because I can. I already put in a 94 corvette LT1 which should turn the 35's pretty easy.
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Old 11-24-2004, 10:26 PM
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You can get a narrowing kit from Mark Williams Enterprises. It will assure the alignment of the tubes/bearings.

I'd also weld the inside ends of the tubes to the center section. Run an inch or two and the change sides and weld some more. Run some beads on a clean junk/practice housing to get the hang of it.

12 bolt will work great for this truck. I'd consider changing the carrier bearing cap bolts to studs, and maybe switch the factory carrier bearing caps for some billet caps. If you use that T&A center cover, you can eliminate flex with those pads against the bearing caps and you can stiffen the tubes with the arms out to the tube ends. With the Mosers, this would make that rearend bullet proof for four wheeling. If you do this, you shouldn't ever have to mess with it again except to drain the water out of it after river crossings.

Oh yeah, go for the 1350 series U-Joint also.

Last edited by 56Maynard; 11-24-2004 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 11-27-2004, 07:51 AM
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All that you need is a set of bushings made to replace the bearings and a solid 1.5" steel bar the width of the rearend. What you do is have bushing made of solid steel to replace the bearings. You want the carrier bearings the exact same size as the original bearings so you can torque them in place and hey will stay put. You want the axle tube bearings to have about .002 clearance under the bearing race diameter so they slide in and out of the tubes. You want the inside of all of these busings with .002-.003 over what the diameter of the bar is. You will need to get a quality steel bar that is pretty close on tolerance so it will slide in and out nice and smooth and not have any loose spots.

Now that you have all the pieces, just cut the tubes to length and use the bushings and bar to hold it all straight while you weld it back up. If you do any extra bracing do all of that before welding in the tube ends since it WILL warp the housing. I did a 9 inch this way and it worked perfect. After I did the bracing the axle tubes were pulled back about 1/16 inch or better so I know that it can warp the crap out of the rearend if you do any extra welding.

Chris
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Old 11-28-2004, 06:07 PM
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Hi Chris,
That was a good explanation... but I'm not sure where you cut the old axel tubes at. Can you also elaborate on this a little more?
-Thanks, NXS
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Old 11-28-2004, 06:20 PM
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You cut the axle tubes at or near the original weld to the bearing retainers. Once that cut has been made the additional to be removed can be cut from the axle tubes. Dress both ends well then weld the bearing retainers back onto the axle tubes. Other than preventing the housing from warping, and making good welds, it's a no brainer.

Vince
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Old 11-28-2004, 06:35 PM
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Wow, and people demand such high prices for items like these!

Thanks guys!
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:09 PM
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Yep, 302 is right. I would cut it on the outside of the old weld and then remove material that includes the old weld. That way, you get a clean look when you put it back together. You want to make sure and bevel the tube where you are making the weld. A 1/8 inch deep bevel all the way around will insure a good weld.

Chris
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