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Old 04-15-2012, 11:05 AM
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Welding wheel hubs. Possible or death wish ?

Say you have a car w/ a cursed bolt pattern (4x108) but you decide you dont like any of the 4 or so aftermarket wheel options that gives you....

What would it take to cut the flange off and have new ones welded on?

not worried about the cutting / drilling / machining aspect, more the welding / heat treating / things breaking / me dieing side of things.

thoughts ? I have a few certified welders at my disposal

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Old 04-15-2012, 11:14 AM
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Sorry, can't imagine in a million years welding on a hub. As for "certified welders". LOL I have an American Welding society certification in welding aluminum. I did it ONE time when I got my cert, it means about as close to nothing as you can get.

Don't get me wrong, I respect certs, and the term "Certified" but I also know it still takes real life use and practice. I don't weld aluminum, EVER so that one class I took to get the cert was it, walked out with a cert and never welded aluminum again. As long as I know this, and I know my limitations, that's all well and good. But there are a lot of guys who don't know their limitations!

I once repaired a roof and hood that a VERY good "certified" welder had welded. He RUINED the roof and hood on this 39 Chevy, why, because he thought welding on sheetmetal was the same as welding on frames. This was a very good professional welder and fabricator. That sheetmetal was a whole different story!

You could get a "certified" hot shot (legend in his own mind) welder work on those hubs and end up killing you and your family.

What kind of hub is it?

Brian
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:02 PM
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What we do is to redrill the hub to the proper bolt pattern..hope you have enough meat in the hub you have to do this..in any case you are up for a trip to the machine shop..

Sam
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:35 PM
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^X2

Redrill the hubs with the pattern you want. You might need to plug a hole or two in the hub, but this is minor compared to welding where a race for a bearing rides. Seeing how you have 4x108 I think you will have plenty of room if you go with another 4xYYY. You are gonna have to drill the rotors or drums anyways. Install new lug studs and enjoy. Simple process really. Perhaps some photos would help us see why you can't redrill.
Good Luck.

Last edited by ethn_bert; 04-15-2012 at 02:38 PM. Reason: darn cell phones
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:49 PM
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welding wheel hubs.

Many years ago stock car racers use to move the center section to get the right backspacing, but that was for racing not driving down the road.

Bob
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:11 PM
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Let me say first that my preferred solution would be to simply redrill the hub for a different bolt pattern if possible. Having said that, geeze people, the hubs are just forged steel. It's not like they are titanium or something. Unless they are off a newer car, the odds are very, VERY small that these hubs are heat treated. Yes, you need to press the bearing races out first and yes, your biggest risk is that the machined areas for the races will be distorted by the heat. You WILL need to recheck and possibly remachine these critical areas after welding.
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:48 PM
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Made our own wheels for 12 years dirt racing and never lost one

we always made our own rims also for width.. we broke everything else but never any wheels. for the hubs we had adaptors, I still have the adaptor pattern in my garage a wide 5 to small five bolt pattern about 3/8ts steel thick
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:07 PM
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every steel wheel is welded.
as long as you do it right and know what your doing and how to weld properly, there shouldn't be a problem.
but you can't just grind out the welds and hammer in a new hub
you need a big lathe to do it right
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:48 PM
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Yes

our large lathe was a Ford pancake rear end and one working axel, We bolted the rim to be cut on the wheel hub and another guy turned the pinion. Then we flame cut the wheel exactly where we wanted once we clamped the torch to the right angle. We welded them the same way we tacked them 1st them made a few revolutions to see how it turned. This gimmick never failed. You can also use a carbide cuter and turn the pinion with a electric motor. we have done both in the ole dirt racing days. we could not afford 80 bucks each time to go to a machinist to do this.The axel was accurate enough
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:22 PM
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I THINK the OP wants to modify the hub that mounts to his spindle, not the wheel center. If that is the case, DO NOT weld. That hub mounted to the spindle is very probably cast iron. Redrilling the hub may be ok, or some kind of spacer/adapter may work, but NOT welding.
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Old 04-15-2012, 10:28 PM
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The car is a 1998 Ford FWD, which means the bearing / races are a totally seperate unit. The hub is also either cast or forged steel. NOT cast iron. I have never seen a stock hub shatter like a cast irom exhaust mani can.

Ive broken ALOT of cast iron stuff by throwing it at the ground, but ive never seen a hub break under any circumstances.

I could do a 5x100 I guess, but the factory hubs have an irregular backside like in the photo below, so i would think that would cause problems. Hence why i was asking about just getting rid of that flange and starting over.



Oh, and I know the phrase "certified welder" is misleading. The certified welder i used to work with was more of a "certified warper" which is why my uncertified butt was teh one that sometimes wound up doing his job.

I know all the welds i did for the nuke power plant passed x-ray just fine. And all my welds for my certification passed, the boss just never bothered to follow through for some reason.
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdupree
I THINK the OP wants to modify the hub that mounts to his spindle, not the wheel center. If that is the case, DO NOT weld. That hub mounted to the spindle is very probably cast iron. Redrilling the hub may be ok, or some kind of spacer/adapter may work, but NOT welding.
oh, my bad...
welding the hub would be a no no.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:24 AM
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How about welding on a "disk" on top of the flange that's there and then you will have more meat for the studs to grab on after redrilling to the new bolt pattern?
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Old 04-16-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowROLLERchevy
The car is a 1998 Ford FWD, which means the bearing / races are a totally seperate unit. The hub is also either cast or forged steel. NOT cast iron. I have never seen a stock hub shatter like a cast irom exhaust mani can.

Ive broken ALOT of cast iron stuff by throwing it at the ground, but ive never seen a hub break under any circumstances.

I could do a 5x100 I guess, but the factory hubs have an irregular backside like in the photo below, so i would think that would cause problems. Hence why i was asking about just getting rid of that flange and starting over.



Oh, and I know the phrase "certified welder" is misleading. The certified welder i used to work with was more of a "certified warper" which is why my uncertified butt was teh one that sometimes wound up doing his job.

I know all the welds i did for the nuke power plant passed x-ray just fine. And all my welds for my certification passed, the boss just never bothered to follow through for some reason.

A lot of hubs are whats called nodular iron its not like most irons that are cast and very brittle! Its called bullet proof like the nodular iron ford 9" rear ends but still welds like brittle cast iron its used on hubs because of the heat transfer from disc brakes ( and the hubs can even sometimes get so hot they glow red ! Im a certified journeyman welder in all aspects of welding and had to pass a rigorous battery of tests and also had to take metallurgy tests! Ive tested for welding glass for Chemical plants, copper in brewery's, plastic, magnesium, nickle, stainless, cast, even under water for the ship yards, etc, etc not all certifications are equal in this day and age like they were years ago,there are so many tests now that are factory oriented on the factory's particular type of welding sometimes it passes their certification with no fatigue tests at all but the employee never gets a certification certificate its only recorded in the co. files because its not submitted or recognized by any part of the industry or certification boards.

I would use wheel adapters!

But You dont have to weld the holes in the hubs you can thread and put in threaded inserts with an aviation thread lock (the insert looks like an allen screw) mill smooth or if your real good cut and hand file and then drill your hub to the bolt pattern your looking for. this has been in practice for many years in many trades. Much like lacing engine blocks to repair cracks We older guys that used and still use this method sometimes, are dieing out and I guess a lot of things they dont teach any more are going to pass with us!

Ask your employer for copies of your results and see if you can submit them.

Good luck on what ever you do: jester

Last edited by painted jester; 04-16-2012 at 01:47 PM.
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