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 Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle?

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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle?   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeSat Apr 20, 2019 2:02 am

Hay People,
It's late, trouble sleeping, so I'm doing this. Decided what kind of 4X4 I will be building, will be using the gearbox I am building too. So this topic goes with the "Make your own transmission" topic. So, I will be making a 4X4 riding mower for plowing my driveways and using this same rig for trail riding also. Only way to justify the expense is to use it for plowing in the winter time. Duel purpose. I can't just build a toy, well not yet anyways, that will be later, parts are stored and gathering, LOL. I'm doing these topics on the separate parts first, then will do the riding mower build when I get these parts done. Figure the separate topics would be easier to see then have them lost in a build thread. Anywho.........

More about the main build I will be doing. I want a 4 wheel drive riding mower. Probably no suspension. I said probably because that just adds complexity to the main build. If I do put suspension on this project, it will be on the rear only. The front having suspension is pretty much useless for me on this since it will be carrying a heavy plow in the winter time, but rear suspension will keep my back from hurting which will be something like a triangulated 4 link for mad flex in the rear. Seems pretty simple enough for that.

OK, back on topic. What I want. I want this front axle strong, real strong. I'm talking around 1 1/2 inch thick hard steel axle strong, with around 45 degrees or more of turning on this axle, The more, the better, the more fun it will be, especially when drifting in the snow. Open diff and locked diff (both) possibly. Seen a thread on that one here somewhere about the subject and theory. Just need to find a big enough diff but not too big that it takes 20 hp just to turn it. We shall see on that. Might be just a spool for this front axle. I'll see what I can find at the junk yard (Pull a Part). More on the turning part, that is 45 degrees or more of turning from going straight. Yes, total turning, well should be, 90 degrees or more of turning from lock to lock. Only way you can do that is from a CV axle joint. I got 2 CV axles from a car just sitting in the basement doing nothing for about 10 years now. I will get the exact angles from the turning motion but I am pretty sure that it is 90 degrees of full movement before they bind up from one way to the other. If they ever wear out, LOL, new reman one's are around $100 each or $45 at the junk yard. Bearings can be the OEM one's from the car or whatever I decide to use that is automotive which is pretty cheap and easy to get also. The axles are from an 1988 Delta 88 with a 3800 engine. That's a 150 hp engine in a 1.5 ton car, I think the axles will handle anything from the riding mower I throw at it, LOL.

I think I'll be covering the rear axle in this topic also. I'll pretty much go to the junk yard and yank out an axle from a 3/4 or 1 ton truck. Yup, live rear axle or spooled axle or how ever you want to say it. I probably will call it a spooled axle since it will be coming out of a truck, LOL.

That's pretty much the outline of this topic. I'll be using automotive parts pretty much because of the huge gain in strength and the ease of getting the stuff. The parts I will need for building this front axle, if I get from an ATV or other riding mowers would be just too weak for what I expect from the parts. Plus are not cheap unless I buy used and would probably be junk anyways, and too hard to get anything along these lines.

I'll be making all of the frame work, spindles, steering stuff, suspension links (rear) too. Some of this stuff I'll be making might not be in this topic. Keep an eye out for them, LOL. Pics on the parts that I have already will be in a day or so.

OK, I'm tired now. Later, it's past my bedtime, LOL.
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TheBeal
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PostSubject: Re: Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle?   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeSat Apr 20, 2019 8:24 am

1 11/2 for the axle eh? I think that may be a bit overkill.
Id given some momentary thought to a 4x4 using a set of Jeep axles narrowed down. It would be a rather heavy thing, not something you could just toss in the bed of a truck.
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PostSubject: Re: Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle?   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeSat Apr 20, 2019 4:15 pm

@TheBeal wrote:
1 11/2 for the axle eh? I think that may be a bit overkill.
Id given some momentary thought to a 4x4 using a set of Jeep axles narrowed down. It would be a rather heavy thing, not something you could just toss in the bed of a truck.

Yup, overkill. I like the term bullet proof though. Jeep axles, the whole thing, are too big. Even the small jeep axles would take alot of hp to turn, and are shaft drive. I got Jeep axles just sitting in my basement Dana 30, Dana 44. Just too big, even if they are narrowed. I'm thinking just using the CV joints, axles, and bearings. Should be about 30 lbs heavier then a AWS with transaxle, for comparison. Those AWS units are not light to begin with. I think that's a good point you made. I have that F/N/R rear steer setup from my riding mower still stored, that thing is built with cast knuckles, tubes, big bearings, and such. I could do a weight comparison. You get tired of breaking axles at some point. I want something built to last a very long time. Should fit in my truck when done, hopefully. Chevy Avalanche. Under 4 feet wide.
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PostSubject: A little mock up on the front axle   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeMon Apr 22, 2019 11:36 pm

Hay People,
I managed to grab some pics. Did a little mocking up and measuring of the parts. Not as stout as I thought but still will be bullet proof. The measurements of the parts are just a little bigger then the average parts for a riding mower, which means there is enough meat on the parts to carve down to something if needed. Even if the automotive parts are the same size, you would think that the steel they are made from would be a better or stronger steel. I hope anyways, LOL. If not, atleast it will have the CV joints, which are way better then U joints. U joints got there limits of 15 degrees before you start breaking them. And the whole speeding up and slowing down thing (phasing) adds to not a good idea thing, or something along that line.

Lets start out with the measurements. The axle shaft itself is just over 1 inch diameter. If I need to, I can mill the axle shaft middle down to 1 inch to put a split hub on there, and a key way too. That is if I want to use just the one axle shaft to connect both CV joints. This would be a live axle then, or another name would be a spooled axle. What ever you want to call it, looks like it will be hard to actually turn, if I go this route. Would be the easiest way to build this though.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190417

This is the end where the hub/wheel goes on. Just over 1 1/8 inches. I could buy some bearings with the 1 1/8 inch inside diameter. Then mill the CV joint end down to that and use a go cart hub on the end to hold it all together, maybe. Or get a couple of those bearing/hub assemblies from the car to use and fit a rim on somehow. Either way would be easy to do.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190416

On the car, one CV axle is usually longer then the other. This one in the pic seems to be the longer one, so I measure it with a guess on how far it goes into the CV joint. Around 17 inches long.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190419

Then I measure the CV joint and guess where the pivot spot is. Around 6 1/2 inches. OK, the interesting thing about these axle shafts is the splines on both ends are the same. One possibility and would be the easiest way of doing this would be to use this longer axle and I can put a CV joint on both ends. The only difference of the ends of the splines are the slots for the retainer clips are in different spots, for the CV joint and the funny looking 3 prong U joint. I would have to leave the retaining clip out of one of the CV joints so the axle can float in and out of the spline on one end when turning. The CV joints themselves would be locked into the spindle housing like on the car, using the center nut to hold them, the bearings, and hub together. I figure with the 17 inch axle and two 6 1/2 inch CV joints put together as a unit, the axle assembly would be around 30 inches wide. Not to bad.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190418

At this point, I am just playing around. I grab a set of front 6 inch rims and lay them down where I think the outcome of how wide the axle would be with a set of rims on it.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190420

Measure it up at around 34 inches wide with the 6 inch rims. Will be wider with the 8 inch rims I'll probably be running.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190421

Need a way to mount the rim to the hub. Might weld the rim to the hub, cut out the center to get access to the CV joint center nut and bolt the hub to the CV joint axle through the bearing. Using the big nut to hold the rim on too. Formula One style. Rim will be way out from the pivot point of the CV joint. Doing this makes it harder to steer. On front wheel drive cars, they put the pivot point in the center of the tire to make it easy to steer. This also could put strain on the wheel bearings, but how light the riding mower will be, I think it won't even be a factor.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190422

In this pic, I bent the CV joint all the way over. I then upload it to my computer and run it through my windows paint program to draw the red lines. Lay a protractor on the screen and come up with this degree angle in the pic. If you do the math it pretty much comes out to 48 degrees from being straight. So, from all the way from one side and bent all the way over to the other side, that is 96 degrees of travel. Probably won't be able to take advantage of this but OVER 90 degrees of turning ability no matter how I build this axle setup sounds pretty good to me.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190424


Last pic. What I was thinking about with the 2 CV joints on one shaft, on how it would kinda look like. These CV axles look pretty rough but the reason why I kept them was because they are remaned axles that was on the car about 6 months when I stripped the car. They still feel tight, like new still. Just need to replace the boots, clean out the old grease and repack them. Looks like some rust in there too but a little sandpaper would fix that. Be good as new. These axles and CV joints come completely apart so no problem cleaning them.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190423

I'm liken what I am seeing. Already coming up with a plan on doing this. Next I will be disassembling these, cleaning the grease out of them, sanding the rust off, to see what parts I need to get to get these back to new condition. Might leave the grease out of them for now and keep then disassembled till I get more parts. All depends on what I can find at the junk yard. Never know, I might find the perfect differential with a good limited slip in it. Yah right, I'm not that lucky, LOL. Later....
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prancstaman
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PostSubject: The game plan is decided!!   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeSun Apr 28, 2019 1:54 am

Hay People,
OK, made some executive decisions here. My plan for this will be to make this front 4 wheel drive axle with the automotive bearings that were made for the axles and a spooled axle shaft. It will be full time posi and the rig will be full time 4 wheel drive. Nothing fancy. That's as far as I am. Haven't decided on how to drive these axles yet. Either chain or belts. I don't know. Now I need to go get some wheel bearing/hubs from the junk yard off a car, which will be the next step.

Later....
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PostSubject: Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle, parts gathering   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeSun May 26, 2019 9:18 pm

Hay People,
Went to the junkyard and got a part, then to the part store for another part.

Looked through the whole yard and could not find any wheel bearings off a car to fit the CV axles, looks like I'll have to buy new on these parts or just change CV axles to get what the junkyard has alot of. Either way, the prices would be about the same, so buying new bearings for the CV axles I already have seems better then buying all used parts. As long as the axle shaft spline doesn't strip I can change from a "88" Delta 88 CV joint over to like a "00" Grand Prix CV joint and bearing. The axle shaft splines and bearing mounting flanges are in the same locations, the thing that is different from car to car is the spline on the CV joint that fits in the wheel bearing/hub. The outside mounting dimensions are the same pretty much. I tested this theory with other parts I have from my kids car which was the Grand Prix. Good to know this, in the future when I need parts to fix my junk.

OK, what I did find was an axle out of a Chevy 3500 van. This axle shaft will be milled down to something useful.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190514

Will be the rear axle for the riding mower. Cost was $19.26, not too bad for a good hunk of solid steel shaft.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190516

Almost 3 ft. long. Should be able to widdle something useful out of it.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190515

I measure up the hub side of the axle. I can mill this side down to 1 1/4 inch diameter if needed.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190518

The spline side is bigger. Good to know.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190517

I compare the van axle to a 3/4 inch go cart axle. Talk about apples and oranges. Should be stout enough, LOL. I'm thinking the final diameter of the riding mower rear axle shaft will be determined by what bearings I can get a hold of. I certainly am not going to pay $100 for 2 bearings of an oddball size. I'll look on McMaster Carr site or something like that for the rear bearings, but I'm thinking like 1 1/4 diameter will probably be the most likely outcome of this for the diameter of the rear axle shaft for mounting the rims on. The center of the axle can be whatever since I plan on making a split hub to mount either belts or chain too.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190519

I lay all the parts out here. I went to the local Auto Zone for the CV boot. I already had one sitting on my frig for like 7 years for when I was working on another car, same part too. They are the boot kits, which come with the boot, grease, and clamps. Got it for $5 with my discount of $20 off. Then all the axles too.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190520

I got as far as disassembling the CV axles for cleaning. All the parts are layed out in the pan. The axle shaft on the edges of the pan is the longest at 18 inches and I fit the inners of the CV joints on both spline ends to show it can be done. Looking good so far.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? 20190521
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TheBeal
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PostSubject: Re: Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle?   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeMon May 27, 2019 9:11 am

@prancstaman wrote:
@TheBeal wrote:
1 11/2 for the axle eh? I think that may be a bit overkill.
Id given some momentary thought to a 4x4 using a set of Jeep axles narrowed down. It would be a rather heavy thing, not something you could just toss in the bed of a truck.

Yup, overkill. I like the term bullet proof though. Jeep axles, the whole thing, are too big. Even the small jeep axles would take alot of hp to turn, and are shaft drive. I got Jeep axles just sitting in my basement Dana 30, Dana 44. Just too big, even if they are narrowed. I'm thinking just using the CV joints, axles, and bearings. Should be about 30 lbs heavier then a AWS with transaxle, for comparison. Those AWS units are not light to begin with. I think that's a good point you made. I have that F/N/R rear steer setup from my riding mower still stored, that thing is built with cast knuckles, tubes, big bearings, and such. I could do a weight comparison. You get tired of breaking axles at some point. I want something built to last a very long time. Should fit in my truck when done, hopefully. Chevy Avalanche. Under 4 feet wide.  

Have you seen those videos on you tube of some 4x4s powered by a 212 predator?
There doesnt seem to be any that show how well they would perform offroad, but they do move. The one was in a Dodge d50, it looked like it would move pretty well. The other one, there is a video of it pulling a semi truck.

I figure there would be some hope, using a bigger engine, and it being a lighter vehicle. 20mph might not be too far of a stretch. Thats plenty fast enough o have some fun.
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PostSubject: Re: Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle?   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeMon May 27, 2019 12:03 pm

Yes ,seen them  vids with the 212's running the 4x4's. Geared really high to be able to do it to. I'd  be happy with 15mph to plow out my driveway. Probably won't use it too much for offroading. My wife will be driving this rig. She only needs to keep up with me in the Scorpion, and that is geared for 15mph right now also. Just starting out, will build better and faster later.
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PostSubject: Cleaning the parts   Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Icon_minitimeSat Jun 15, 2019 12:51 am

Hay People,
Had a chance to clean most of the parts for the CV axles. I scotch brite the rust off of the inner parts of the CV joints. Then wire brush the outside of the CV joints. Still got some work to do on cleaning but that isn't what this post is about. Upon cleaning, I discovered something about the parts I think worth sharing. I bought both axles for the car as remanned axles. I figured out that one axle is rebuilt and the other axle is remanufactured, no big deal because they both felt new and they moved the car. There is a difference between the words and what is done though. Figured it was worth sharing about. So, rebuilt means that someone disassemble the part in question to inspect and replace only the bad parts. And remanufacturing a part means someone disassembles a part and regrinds the parts or replace all the parts with new parts except the main housing, to bring the part to like new tolerances. That is what the difference is. Remanufacturing is just a little better then rebuilt in some cases, but that's my opinion. Concerning these parts in question though, I thing they are the same quality, no big deal.

So when I reassemble the CV joints, I can't put parts from one CV joint into the other CV joint because they have different size parts from the remanufacturing process. One joint's parts was reground to bring the tolerances up to like new condition. The other seems to have one part changed to bring it up to like new condition. And I'll be showing off my cleaning job too, LOL. Onto the pics........

I'll start with the ball bearings. A bit rusty in spots because of no grease on the spots. I just stuck a small wrench in a vise for something to place a ball bearing on to hold it while I rub it with a scotch brite. The scotch brite rubs off the shine on the surface but doesn't take off any metal like sand paper does, which is why I used a scotch brite pad (brown). When I reassemble the joints and are used, the surfaces will repolish themselves back to a mirror finish.
Before and after pics of the ball bearings.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Balls_13Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Balls_12

I do a measurement of the ball bearings to see if there is a difference in all the parts and discover that 6 ball bearings are around .020" bigger then the other 6. So some grinding of the main housing and inner ball bearing holder was ground down on one CV joint, which explains the 6 larger balls. The caliper is set to the diameter of the lower ball bearings to show the difference.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Balls_14

Look people, I found my marbles, well some of them anyways, LOL. All 12 cleaned.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Balls_16

I wire brush the outside of the CV joints. Later I will take a flapper wheel to the rusty parts and paint them.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Cv_110

I scotch brite the insides to get the rust off. Takes some doing but get it done. I got the rust off the main surfaces which is what matters but getting the rust out of the centers was just impossible but all the loose rust is off. When I scotch brite these is where I noticed the difference in the parts. This is when I figured I should measure the parts up to see if there is a difference.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Cv_210

In this pic, the CV joint on the right is all original with no regrinding work. The CV joint on the left was ground down to accept bigger ball bearings, no clue on how many times they can regrind these but my guess is this one is 10 over. Which is .010" over original specs, I think is how you say it.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Cv_310

Here are the ball bearing holders, no clue what the actual name is but that is what I call them, LOL. One is ground down to match the other parts and one is original size. These are the parts that go on the splines of the axle shafts.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Cv_510

And finally, the ball bearing cages. They keep the ball bearings in a single orbit when the joint moves. I measure these up and they both are the same.
Make your own front 4 wheel drive axle? Cv_410

I'm pressing forward, no worries. Tonight I ordered new wheel bearings for this project. The bearings are wheel bearing/hub for an 1988 Delta 88 front wheel drive car. Should be strong enough and should last forever too. One of the main goals for this front axle setup is to last. I don't like building things that wear out after a couple uses. I want this to be able to out last the mower I put this on and be able to unbolt it and bolt it up to another mower (the mower will be expendable). Plus, be able to get parts when needed for servicing. Another reason, and I think is a very good reason is that the bearings being used off of a car is that these bearings can handle side to side thrust movements also. A regular roller bearing can't handle a side to side thrust, would damage the bearings and the races.

I'll finish up the cleaning (boring). When the bearings get here, I need to figure out what size rim to use and how to mount the rims onto the bearing/hub. I seem to have a surplus of 8 inch rims I probably will be using for front and rear. I might even consider using a 6 inch rim but I like the 8 inch rim idea better. Don't want to go bigger because I don't like the look of a bigger rim and I don't have 4 of anything bigger, LOL.

Later...........
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