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-   -   Split Tube Axle How To (http://volksrods.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19272)

walt December 19th, 2007 10:49 AM

Split Tube Axle How To
 
I thought I'd try to do a little How to article on the split tube axle that I built for the FLAT 4RD project. Wish me luck here goes.




Independent Tube Axle

When the first person removed the stock four cylinder or flathead V8, engine and transmission, from his early Ford to replace it with something a little more powerful, he found that it became necessary to split the wishbones on the front end to clear the more modern transmission. The early ford front end was a marvelous design due to its triangular geometry. The single pivot point of the wishbone, enabled the front axle to move unimpeded. The first hot rodders found that it was necessary to split the wishbone and remount the ends at the frame rails so that the often much larger transmissions could be mounted between the frame rails. When they did this they had inadvertently created a problem that would continue to haunt hot rodders for years to come. When the wishbones are remounted in this way, they become part of an anti-roll bar or stabilizer bar with the axle itself becoming the torsion bar. The early I beam axles would perform fairly well as a torsion bar because they would flex with few problems but this design would put a lot of additional stress on mounting points and the frame rails themselves. When these guys started to use the much stronger 36 Ford tube axle they found that the problems became even greater. Then when the reproduction tube axles started to appear on the scene it became apparent that something had to be done to eliminate these problems. Eventually someone came up with the four bar design which allowed the front axle complete mobility with a rigid tube front axle.
Recently, there has been a renewed interest in old style hot rods that are built as closely to the originals as possible and the builders are finding that some of the old time problems have also returned. Whether we use an original split wishbone or manufactured hairpins there is a definite compromise when it comes to trouble free use and, the ride quality, is diminished significantly, over a four bar front-end.
There have been many attempts to deal with this problem such as a twin “I” beam axle like Ford uses on their pickup trucks but that design adds additional weight and creates a few undesirable geometry traits in itself. I will attempt to show you the way I’ve addressed this problem while working on my latest creation. It is not an old school project but I refer to it as a new old school rod. I’ve tried to keep as much of the classic hot rod touches and overall appearance as possible but have brought the whole thing into today’s world incorporating 4 wheel disc brakes, muti-link independent rear suspension, and all of the other safety features that are in the rest of the cars that I build.
I used a tube axle that I purchased from Speedway Motors because of the design of the axle. The center section of the axle is perfectly straight apposed to the gentle curve of the super bell and other after market axles. This allows me to cut the axle in half and machine an axle and bushing setup that will let the tube axle twist with out creating a bind at the frame rails.
First I machined shoulder bushings from bronze that will be pressed into the axle halves 3 ˝” on each side. I have also machined an axle made from 1” solid stainless steel shaft material. The ends of the stainless shaft have been turned down and threaded to 5/8” fine threads. I have also machined Stainless washers to act as a thrust washer between the bronze bushings and at the ends of the stepped axle between the bushings and the nylock nuts that hold the complete assembly together. When the nuts are tightened, there is only .0005” clearance in the whole bushing pack to insure a very tight fit. The bushings were then pressed into the tube axle ends and held in place with four 3/8” flathead screws in each bushing. It was also necessary to install a grease Zerk in each bushing so that lubrication can be maintained.
After reassembly of the front axle it was installed on the chassis and as you can see it has the unimpeded movement of a rock crawler with only the tell-tale signs of the bronze shoulder bushing at the center.
With this design, the front-end still has the un-sprung weight of a tube axle to deal with, which doesn’t ride as smoothly as an independent suspension, at least it does not allow the transfer of an uneven road surface transmitted to frame rails and ultimately to the seat of your pants.

Here is the axle cut in half in preparation for the bearing
http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...2502361344.jpg


The bushings are made from Bearing bronze on the lathe.
http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...1DE428C9BC.jpg

The bearing halves are secured to the axle with 5/16" N.F. flat head machine screws.
http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...2C86A3AAE6.jpg

All of the parts are machined and ready to assemble. The inner axle is made from 1" diameter stainless steel. the ends are turned down and threaded to 5/8" N.F. threads. Heavy thrust washers are also made from stainless steel.
http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...3E464B1B30.jpg


Here is the inner bearing assembly assembled.
http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...ED7D9FC5BF.jpg

And another picture with the bearing assembly installed in the axle.

http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...C90B124CF8.jpg


Another view ready to bolt up to the hair pins.

http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...D9A8AE5A71.jpg


This shows just how much flexibility the front end has now that the axle can twist.

http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...90F0543F76.jpg


Try that with your beam axle.

onelowzuki December 19th, 2007 10:55 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Excellent info, Thanks Walt

Ray-Dean December 19th, 2007 11:28 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by walt (Post 283863)
Try that with your beam axle.




I can almost do that same thing with my twinI beam!

:funny: :funny:

Rattakus December 19th, 2007 11:43 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
WOW. You almost made that look easy. Very well done though and it looks great.

UncleSlacker December 19th, 2007 11:57 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Walt, do you mind if I copy this over to the NTBA (National T Bucket Alliance) BBS?

Betcha there's a bunch of bucketheads that would LOVE to see this... and love to have an axle like this also (myself included).

walt December 19th, 2007 03:06 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by UncleSlacker (Post 283880)
Walt, do you mind if I copy this over to the NTBA (National T Bucket Alliance) BBS?

Betcha there's a bunch of bucketheads that would LOVE to see this... and love to have an axle like this also (myself included).


Be my guest.:thumbsup:

UncleSlacker December 19th, 2007 04:08 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Alright Walt, I posted it. If you want to watch the discussion I'll post a link for ya.

Prediction? Safety concerns with the bearing halves being secured to the axle with 5/16" N.F. flat head machine screws. Other than that I hope they all dig it as much as I do.

http://www.nationaltbucketalliance.c....asp?Id=108743

hotrodheb December 20th, 2007 06:47 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by UncleSlacker (Post 283932)
Prediction? Safety concerns with the bearing halves being secured to the axle with 5/16" N.F. flat head machine screws.

Honestly, after hanging out a lot with Walt and watching him work on this stuff, if he says those screws will work, then they will work! Walt does not skrimp on any safety issues!

Steve December 20th, 2007 07:47 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
That is one great write-up Pops!

And like Rob said... he knows his stuff. Especially when it comes to suspensions.

UncleSlacker December 20th, 2007 08:02 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
hotrodheb "Honestly, after hanging out a lot with Walt and watching him work on this stuff, if he says those screws will work, then they will work! Walt does not skrimp on any safety issues!"

Steve "And like Rob said... he knows his stuff. Especially when it comes to suspensions."


I agree. But after a recent failure of a Chrome Pitman arm for a Corviar steering box there's been a lot of concern about safety.

As for my prediction, not one person has yet to say anything... so I FAIL at predictions huh?

The reason for my prediction? Shear pins on my bush hog have recently been failing quite regularly and I figured someone would say something about the forces exerted on those eight little screws and whatever.

Walt surely knows better than I do about how this stuff works.

hotrodheb December 20th, 2007 08:17 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by UncleSlacker (Post 284046)
I figured someone would say something about the forces exerted on those eight little screws and whatever.

EDIT - Never mind me, just talking out of my ass! LOL

UncleSlacker December 20th, 2007 09:13 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
hotrodheb For the record, there are a total of 16 screws holding the axle together, 4 on each side up front and 4 on each side on the back.

I've looked at those pics hundreds of times and always thought there were only screws on the backside.

http://dons.zenfolio.com/p861300798/...7E88#737394980

http://dons.zenfolio.com/p861300798/...7E88#990828496

hotrodheb December 20th, 2007 10:27 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by UncleSlacker (Post 284056)
hotrodheb For the record, there are a total of 16 screws holding the axle together, 4 on each side up front and 4 on each side on the back.

I've looked at those pics hundreds of times and always thought there were only screws on the backside.

http://dons.zenfolio.com/p861300798/...7E88#737394980

http://dons.zenfolio.com/p861300798/...7E88#990828496

ahhh shit, I think your right... I was looking at this pic, and the markings on the tube looked like screw heads...
http://exphose.com/albumtn.aspx/mid_...90F0543F76.jpg

My bad!

Unkl Ian December 20th, 2007 10:34 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
The load on the screws isn't huge,
and I bet they already have more miles on them than the Chrome Pitman arm that broke.


Very clever design Walt.

mkparker December 20th, 2007 10:47 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
I'm sure most of you know, but just in case.
Chrome = hydrogen embrittlement

Unkl Ian December 20th, 2007 10:51 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
The parts also need to be baked within a few hours of being plated.

Flipper_1938 December 20th, 2007 10:52 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unkl Ian (Post 284068)
The load on the screws isn't huge,
.

Don't they bear the brunt(sp?) of all of the cornering forces? ....in a turn, wouldn't the inside tire try to pull the bushing out of the axle tube? and the only thing holding the axle together is these screws that are screwed into bronze (not sure if screws or bushing is the weakest link)?

The same idea, but with the bushing made out of steel (w/thin walled bronze bushing)....and the bushing welded to the axle tube, would be bomb-proof.

Unkl Ian December 20th, 2007 11:23 AM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Is there a Panhard Bar,as part of this design ?

mkparker December 20th, 2007 12:04 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Yes.

http://www.mkparker.com/vw/truckchassis%20036.jpg

38Chevy454 December 20th, 2007 12:56 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Great write-up Walt. The argument about the shear strength of the 8 bolts does not hold up to engineering analysis. Your design is fine and even overkill, based on simple analysis.

The shear strength of a 5/16 bolt is:
Grade 5 = 5750 lbs minimum
Grade 8 = 6980 lbs minimum

Since your design has 4 bolts per side, and even using the lower grade 5 spec values, 4 x 5750 = 23000 lbs.

Now if anyone can think that there is 23000 lbs of force trying to pull apart that axle, they are crazy. Walt's design has a numerous times factor of safety.

hal December 20th, 2007 01:03 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Q. Walt , did it brake when you drove it ?

A. no





















must be a good design :Idunno:

UncleSlacker December 20th, 2007 01:18 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
Funny how my speculation that someone MIGHT suggest those little screws might not be enough has turned into a discussion such as this... and that's GREAT because we can discuss things like this right?

I friggin dig it, would love to have one mounted on the front of my little hotrod... and I can guarantee that it would be put through the paces as I drive like JEHU (see 2 Kings 9:20).

Again, the strength was never questioned... it was suggested that someone might question it.

So Walt, how much would it cost to make something like this for someone if, say, they sent you a tube axle???

walt December 20th, 2007 02:01 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
[quote=38Chevy454;284088]Your design is fine and even overkill, based on simple analysis.

quote]

:funny: That pretty funny. Kent Fuller has nick named me "The King of Over Engineering" :funny:

Steve White December 20th, 2007 02:24 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
thats a full fledged kick ass product right there. I'd have a website up offering copies of that bad boy for sale if'n I wuz U.

I've spent quite a bit of time on your site as well as your buds ...Leatherman I think?, neway, holely #$*&@#$ you guys are #@#*&% artists and your tutorial is a hell of a nice contribution to the hobby. good shit.

speedfreak December 20th, 2007 02:24 PM

Re: Split Tube Axle How To
 
You know, after meeting Walt and talking to him, I'm amazed that he even came up with that design!:Idunno: (damn farm boy)



:funny::funny::funny::funny:

:love: love ya Pops!


Larry


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