Project Hellraiser

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After what seems like an eternity I am finally making some progress to getting the rig back on the trails.  I really wish I had ordered some spare axles sooner.

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Here's a few pictures of the ring gear I broke a while back showing the setup.  As you can see by the tracks left in the marking compound the gear setup was really bad with the pinion barely engaging the outer edges of the ring gear. I was told a reputable shop did the setup.

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I have been holding off on power upgrades but after discovering a small crack in my drivers side exhaust manifold I looked into ordering a ported stock exhaust manifold. While researching my options it became clear the stock manifold was a major bottleneck with all 3 cylinders dumping into space only 1.6" in diameter.  The rest of the exhaust system is 2" diameter or larger. the solution is a ZZ Performance "power log" which replaces the cast iron exhaust manifold on the drivers side (front) with a tubular version.  The benefits to this exhaust manifold are a  5lbs weight savings and the elimination a huge flow bottleneck by increasing the ID of the collector tube by 30% over the stock manifold. We'll see shortly if I can tell a difference but if anything it should reduce heat buildup in the cylinders on the drivers side.

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While cleaning out the front differential I noticed the bottom plate where the differential had been shaved was pushed up into the ring gear.  The ring gear self clearanced itself so I decided to just beef up the lower plate with another .25" thick plate to better resist bending. 

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Besides weakening the axle housing, shaving the differential also makes it nearly impossible to seal the housing.  Without the lower bolt you have to rely on the stiffness of the cover to hold it shape after rock hits in order to retain a good seal.  I found that no matter what I used to seal the diff covers (Right Stuff seemed to work the best), after a one or two runs the cover would be leaking on the garage floor again. 

I decided to try a little experiment, after adding the reinforcing plate to the bottom of the front differential, I applied a thing layer of RTV and attached the cover like normal.  Once the cover was torqued down I then welded a .125" thick plate to the bottom of the differential and then wrapped it up the front of the cover  where a couple of tack welds hold it in place.  My thoughts were this plate would keep more pressure on the cover to make up for the lack of a lower bolt, the plate would protect the two lowest bolts from loosening due to rock hits and it would keep rocks from prying at the lower lip of the cover. So far I have about 9 runs on the axles and no leaks on the garage floor.

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I added the same reinforcing plate to the bottom of the rear differential, followed by the thinner plate which attached to the bottom and extends a short ways up the cover.  

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The new axles finally arrived.  I also ordered an extra stub shaft for a spare.

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I will be running a set of Longfield 300m u-joints with the new axles.  There is a little controversy with the joints in that they do not have bearings or bushings in the caps.  Instead the cap and trunions are polished and the joints use a thin layer of grease to prevent galling. We have used metal to metal "bearings" from time to time at work in some of our machines so this method doesn't seem flawed to me ad I like the fact that the trunions can be larger in diameter since there is no bushing to accommodate.  I guess if you are not the type to maintain your rig regularly then a u-joint with a replaceable bushing like a CTM would be a better choice.     

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The u-joint caps were a tight fit in the axle ears but I finally got them all installed.  I then installed the axles into the housing, installed the spindle, disc brake bracket and finally the wheel hub assembly.  It was at this point I realized I could not turn the axle.  Upon closer inspection I noticed the inner axle ear was binding against the axle housing 'C". This meant the stub shaft was getting pushed too far towards the differential. 

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I compared the stub shaft with my stock one and found a .100" difference between sealing surface.

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I tired removing the .150" thick spacers which are part of the stub shaft/spindle seal.  This change allowed me to rotate the short side but the long side still bound up in one spot.

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After some grinding I managed to get the long side axle to spin freely.  Still not sure what the long term solution to this problem is.  I have an e-mail in to Alloy USA to see what they say.  I don't like how close the inner ear is to the housing and with the seal spacers removed I could possibly get metal to metal contact between the stub shaft and back side of the spindle.

Update 2-16-07 Here's what I heard back from alloy USA:


Some of the older 60's have this problem. Our yoke is so much larger than the stock Yoke that it makes contact. The only way to fix it is to take material off of either the shaft or the inner C. If you decide to take it off of the shaft it will not affect your warranty in any way.

Best regards"

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