Weld Diff Carrier Preload Adjusters

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Mar 23, 2018
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Is the diff and bearing / preload adjuster cap cast iron? Can it be welded to prevent the adjuster from skipping out of the threads. I have damaged diff adjuster threads and the adjuster has slide out twice which has caused two a ring and pinion failures. This was discovered by the gear shop after they almost completed the re-gear. Since the diff is already trash, I figured I could weld the adjuster in place and wheel it until the ring and pinion break again, then upgrade to a 9.5" after market front. The damaged diff is an 80 series HP 8" front diff. What are your thoughts about welding in the adjusters?
 
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Sounds like you need new third members, rather than cobble up what you have. Unless you're in a third world country and parts are unobtanium.
 
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The issue is finding one with the factor elocker. I will look again but even used (8" HP with elocker) diff housings were close to $1K. Do you know if the diff and adjuster cap is cast iron. I assume it is?
The bearing adjuster is pressed mild steel. The bearing caps are cast iron, cut from the base material of the third member and match mated.

Can I ask how you got the threads on the adjuster nut misaligned with the cap threads? I ask so that you don't strip another one in your efforts.
 
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The bearing adjuster is pressed mild steel. The bearing caps are cast iron, cut from the base material of the third member and match mated.

Can I ask how you got the threads on the adjuster nut misaligned with the cap threads? I ask so that you don't strip another one in your efforts.
The threads on the housing and cap are not misaligned but threads on the housing side are slightly stripped. They are only damaged on the elocker (short side). The shop thinks the threads were damaged due to wheeling with 40s. I didn’t have a trussed and gusseted front axle but I do now. I believe my issue was that my axle would flex then cause the adjuster to jump a thread. The reason I agree with the shop is because I had way too much play in the adjusters after the ring and pinion failures (both times). I know I did not cause additional damage because once I heard the pop and confirmed it was the front axle, I pulled the drive shaft and hub fanges. Then the broken ring and pinion noise stopped. Another data point is that I bought new adjusters and the shop mentioned they had trouble getting the preload because it kept jumping a thread during the install.

In a nutshell, I am hoping for a cheap fix until I can upgrade to a 9.5” custome front end with an elocker and 3 link. I just don’t have the funds to make that happen right now. I believe I will eventually break the 8” ring and pinion and be forced to upgrade. I have the wheeling bug hard right now, and I just spend about $1K on gears and install. I am hoping the welding idea will save me from spending another $1K on a used elocked front housing.

I did some research and it looks like brazing might help keep the adjuster in place and might be less risky then welding the cast iron housing.

Do you have any experience with brazing? I am nervous about welding cast iron. What are your thoughts about brazing.

(Sorry for the long post)
 
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One more data point… the first shop that re-gear my front from 4.11 to 5.29 was Slee and those gears lasted 5 years of hard wheeling before the first ring and pinion failure. I do not believe Slee stripped the threads or the problem would have happened much sooner. The second re-gear only lasted 4 wheeling trips.
 
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I don’t think welding the adjusters in place is a very good idea.

But if you did do it I wouldn’t worry to much about getting technical with it and just tack around it with any old welder. You don’t need the world’s best weld to keep a nut from turning.
 
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Try contacting Zuk (Ken Francisco) @toyotagearinstalls.com. I got an aftermarket high pinion that was machined wrong and I couldn't set it up properly. I sent it back. Ken often has extra parts and he sold me a used OEM high pinion housing for a fair price. Worth a shot. He is in Chandler AZ I think.
 
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My experience with welding cast iron is limited and unsuccessful.
One more data point… the first shop that re-gear my front from 4.11 to 5.29 was Slee and those gears lasted 5 years of hard wheeling before the first ring and pinion failure. I do not believe Slee stripped the threads or the problem would have happened much sooner. The second re-gear only lasted 4 wheeling trips.
So you haven't done the re-gear job yourself... Just so you are aware, it's very tempting to drop the bearings and the adjuster nut into the open bearing seat, then drop the top cap on to capture the bearing and the nut at the same time. Then tighten the top cap down to capture the bearings and the nuts. Doing this has a HIGH probability of cross threading the cap and adjuster nut. Not saying that's what happened, but I can see it happening that way, because its so easy and temping to do. The nut is the softer part and should be the destroyed part, would buying a new nut get you rolling, or is it truly the cast iron threads that are boogered?

Brazing in the nut won't get you the desired results, braze doesn't "tack" like a welder. It flows like solder. The heat to get braze to flowing is high enough that it would anneal your carrier bearings.

You might be able to tack it in with a welder, but the cast iron side of the tack is going to be brittle as glass, if it doesn't crack out when cools.
All the proper repairs I can think of would require pulling the axel tubes off and either filling the buggered threads with braze, picking up the thread and re-cutting the repaired area or boring out the buggered threads, brazing in a sleeve and cutting new threads in virgin material. Then you'd have to get the axel tubes radially aligned and rewelded into the housing. My guess is, it would be cheaper to get a new axel housing rather than pay for the labor to fix it right, but I could be wrong. Might want to talk to a machine shop/race shop, they should have the equipment, but maybe not the experience or imagination to see the solution.
 
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Do you have a stick welder, welding cast iron with the SMAW process and the proper stick isn't that hard. I used to weld cracked axle housings on dump trucks with a stick welder with no issues.

Just follow these instructions pretty much, I think a lot of people are intimated by the thought of welding cast but it can be done, especially with a stick welder and a few extra steps.


When I used to weld cast iron we used a special stick that would start to melt if the cast iron was getting to hot. I know they exist but I can't find them on the internet for a link.


All that being said, I still agree with the comments above, just find a used housing. If you ever upgrade your front axle than you could sale the current front axle to re-coup some $$$$$. But if you weld it no one is going to buy that front axle.
 

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