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I am getting read to narrow the old ford 9 inch i picked up.I have cut off the old perchs and smothed it out. i cut of the old bearing housing but not to the width i needed. i just wanted to mock stuff up. so my plan is to buy the bearing ends , axles etc i need. then turn down a straight steel bar to the size of my axles. cut and true the ends to the correct leangth and weld the the new bering housings on over the steel bar. then i'll weld some reinforcing material to the housing. sound about right?
 

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When I did mine, I ended up using some 3/4" allthread for a bar. I cut some plugs with a holesaw to fit the 3rd member bearing caps and the housing ends, outside diameter first. Then use your 3/4" holesaw on the inner holes for the allthread. I made these plugs out of some 3/4" thick oak ply, then glued 2 pieces together each, to make them thicker. Then I cut 4 strips of the oak ply to 2 1/2" wide x 18" long, and used the holesaw in the center of each one, so they'd slide over the allthread. Note that with oak ply, you've got a very solid, straight board which won't vary but a few thousandths end to end. I put it all together, third member in the housing, allthread through, then housing ends, then 2 long pieces of ply in an "X" on the outside, either side, then washers and nuts on the allthread. Then it was measure across the X side to side, adjust, measure again, adjust again, etc., until it was perfect. The longer your "X" boards are, the closer your tolerance will be. When it's perfect, tack weld each side. Note: Don't forget to rotate the housing ends to the appropriate spot for your bolt holes to set the brakes in the proper spot. If you didn't measure the angle to the pinion before you cut the old housings off, just measure what they are on your stock rear in the car. I tack welded across from each previous weld, and let each pair of welds cool down so it wouldn't pull or warp. Double check your alignment after each set. When I had about 8 tacks on either side, I started connecting them, and letting it cool in between. And double check your alignment again, and again. ;)

Mine turned out great. FWIW, don't order your axles until after you've got the rear narrowed, as they'll need some accurate measurements to make the axles. My rear ended up at 58 3/4" flange to flange, as I wanted to bring in my wheel/tire under the lip. It was even with the lip, and I had a couple inches each side in the back. I did have to relocate the lower shock mount to do this, but gained some room back there. ;)

Hope this helps. Good luck with it. :thumbsup:
 

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You need the proper fixture/jig to do it right. I have seen a lot of crooked housing ends as a result of backyard jigs or warping from heat. Find someone with the proper jig and borrow it. (It aligns the axles with the center section, not just each other.)
 

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66 283 said:
You need the proper fixture/jig to do it right. I have seen a lot of crooked housing ends as a result of backyard jigs or warping from heat. Find someone with the proper jig and borrow it. (It aligns the axles with the center section, not just each other.)
Very true, but FWIW, most housings are bent/crooked to start with. All the major builders jig their housings, then press them straight after the welding. A small laser shot through some small holed plugs in the right spots (housing ends and carrier) will tell you if it's straight to begin with, and if it's straight when it's done. Trust me, one of those $500+ jigs is on my wish list, but I don't do them enough to justify the cost. I may take 4x longer to get it done, but it'll work fine for me. If it doesn't, I know who to point the finger at. ;)
 

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Darren,
I can't picture everything you described but that's some nice ingenuity there. Did you take any pics of that while in process? I'm not sure what you mean by the "X." I actually have a "pro" fixture set-up for this but I'm intrigued by your "home spun" approach.

Rod
 

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Rod, unfortunately, I don't have any pics. Once I get into something, I get in deep, and don't think to stop and take pics of it. I just stack the pieces of ply on top of one another, on top of the housing end, in an X shape. So measuring across from one side to the other, you'd measure the horizontal pieces first, come up with say 54 1/4". Go to the other end of the same piece, and measure across there. Should be the same. Next, you'd measure the vertical pieces. But since they would be outside of the horizontal pieces, they'd generally measure about 1.3" longer, noting that plywood is never a true 1/2" or 3/4". Again, measure both top and bottom. When you think it's all square, double check the square of the housing end to the tube all the way around, using a carpenter's square and a spacer block, to compensate for not being able to measure to the end, because of the housing end being a larger diameter of the tube, and being in the way. I spent at least 2 hours adjusting everything before I was satisfied, and put the first tack welds on it.

Like I said, it may be a long, drawn out process, but it'll get the job done at the end of the day. Good for guys like me who are on a tight budget. :)
 
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