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Subject: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?

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JP    Posted 04-12-2019 at 11:52:53 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Right rear axle housing cracked where the backhoe U bolt attaches, wondering if it's cast iron or cast steel?

    K.LaRue-VA    Posted 04-15-2019 at 16:49:26 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • The N-tractor housings might as well be mild steel as far as any welded repairs have worked for me. The welding rods I have specifically for cast iron are type ESt. That is an all-position rod and the finished welds do rust, so the repair is not as noticeable as other methods. I've also used regular E6011 rods on some N-Tractor cast parts with good results. Even though I buy all-position rods, I don't weld anything upside down if there is any way to avoid it.

    Anything broken is no loss to try and fix. Worst case you waste some time and make it look ugly before tossing it in the scrap pile. The main issue I see with welding or replacing the axle housing would be why it broke in the first place. Is repair or replacement going to prevent the same breakage? The original structural problem needs to be addressed either by making the repair much stronger, altering the mounting method, or removing forever the accessory that caused the problem. Maybe it broke because something shifted when that housing was cast making that area thinner than usual. Not all casting defects were caught or considered bad enough to toss the part.

    A cast iron transmission I repaired in 1981 is still around. Not sure why, but I still have a 1965 Chevy cast iron 3-speed manual transmission. One mounting ear was snapped completely off, so I got it free from the junk yard, welded the ear back on, and used it in several vehicles.

    JP    Posted 04-16-2019 at 08:11:47 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • It does seem like a better quality cast iron. There was a thin spot near the crack, not sure if it was a casting flaw or something that was worn down or damaged over the years. If I do get it to weld up I'll make a fixture to spread the load more than the original U bolt did. No way to avoid welding this upside down since the crack goes all the way around the axle tube.

    K.LaRue-VA    Posted 04-16-2019 at 11:28:03 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Even with the fluid drained, that seems guaranteed to create a lot of smoke. Some rods will burn thru paint / dirt / oil, but results are always better with clean metal (Less fumes too). If I tried to avoid the hassle of removing the housing, that would most likely guarantee needing a replacement.

    JP    Posted 04-16-2019 at 17:21:40 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Yeah it's not looking good, I took off the U bolt covering part of the crack, there are chunks missing, which I managed to fish out of the housing with a magnet. I'm not sure I can get it lined up well without unbolting the backhoe and loader anyway, at least on that side. I've got to decide if I want to replace the housing or take a loss and try to sell it as a project to someone with more ambition.

    Kirk-NJ    Posted 04-13-2019 at 02:07:56 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • If you want to change it out and you're in my area I'm sure I got one laying around, If you want it I will give it to you. NJ 07838

    JP    Posted 04-13-2019 at 08:21:03 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Thanks, but I'm in NY, about 3 hours away.

    Kirk-NJ    Posted 04-14-2019 at 04:12:15 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • About 3 weeks ago went up to pick up steel wheels up around Albany could have even dropped it off If you where around that area or on the way. Don't know when I'll get back that way. I do head up the finger lakes once in a while. Timing is everything

    JP    Posted 04-15-2019 at 11:54:40 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • I'm in the Cayuga Lake area north of Ithaca if you find yourself headed this way before I do something with this.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 04-12-2019 at 15:59:51 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • All the big tractor parts except sheet metal are cast iron. There is a photo in the Ford books of the Rouge Plant where they are casting axle trumpets.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    JP    Posted 04-12-2019 at 17:42:58 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Wouldn't the casting process look the same for cast steel as cast iron? I did a spark test and compared it to the spark from the engine manifold casting and a piece of steel plate and it looked like something in between. The manifold barely sparked, the axle sparked more, and the steel sparked more than that.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 04-13-2019 at 07:08:13 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Steel is cast into ingots and then goes to the rolling mill where bars, slabs, blooms, billets, squares, rounds, and sheets are forged into parts like plow frames, tools, and pipe. Some simple parts can be cast too like motor casings. Cast iron is easier to cast into complicated shapes -engine blocks, axle trumpets, rear ends and center housings, and various other parts for example, into mold boxes called cope & drags that contain the part shape, cooled and cured for 30 days, then machined. Spark test should show white for steel, red for iron. You can also identify by the type of chip each forms when machined. Cast iron will be flakes, steel will be more solid, curly-Q type, in little 6's and 9's. FWIW: Steel is a material composed primarily of iron. Most steel contains more than 90% iron. Many types of carbon steel contain more than 99% iron. All type s of steel contain a second element -carbon. The different grades of the steels contain various other alloying elements such as chromium, nickel, and molybdenum, but the only elements found in all steel is carbon and iron. The percentage of carbon in steel ranges from just above 0% to about 2%. Most steel has between .15% and 1.0% carbon. When steel is made, the iron dissolves the carbon. The numbering system for steel is usually four digits. The first two define the alloy content. The last two (or three) digits define the percentage of carbon in the steel. For example, in 5147 steel, the '51' identifies chromium as a key alloying element. In 2517 steel, the '25' indicates that there is an unusual amount of nickel in that grade. In 1040 steel, the '10' indicates that this steel has very little alloy content except carbon. For the last two digits, the '40' defines that there is 0.40% carbon in the steel. Cast iron is a material that uses iron as its primary ingredient. It contains between 2% and 6% carbon and small amounts of silicon. Wrought iron contains essentially no carbon. At about 6% carbon content, the material is virtually useless as it becomes too brittle. The terms "cast iron" and "iron" are two very different animals. It is only a coincidence that both use the word 'iron' in each. Basic differences are that steel is produced when the carbon is that is added to the iron dissolves and disappears. It's like adding a small amount of sugar to a glass of water. The sugar dissolves and becomes invisible. If you keep adding a lot more sugar, eventually the water will not dissolve all the sugar and will precipitate out and it becomes visible. Steel is iron with the carbon in solution, which occurs below 1.6 to 2%. Cast iron is iron in which some of the carbon has precipitated out and appears as flakes like in gray cast iron, the most common. The industry has a special chart with all the steel grades listed in detail. The foundry steel and cast iron process is very interesting and if you ever get the chance take a tour. When I was in the 7th grade we toured the Ford Rouge Plant and saw steel being made on the one end and at the other end brand newly built 1968 Ford Mustangs came rolling off the line. I'm not sure if the Rouge still operates blast furnaces/foundries but the TIMKEN Company does.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    JP    Posted 04-13-2019 at 14:44:36 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • I drilled it a little, drill shavings were powdery, so definitely cast iron as you said.

    JP    Posted 04-13-2019 at 09:31:09 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Thanks for the data. I guess the axle housing must be a lower carbon cast iron than the manifold considering the results of the spark test.

    Farmer Dan    Posted 04-12-2019 at 12:15:50 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • should be cast steel. use a rod with nickle in it and should be ok. Be careful cast ain't easy to weld.

    JP    Posted 04-12-2019 at 13:12:43 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • I just put down a test blob with flux core MIG wire, seemed to stick to it well. Hammered on it and ground it down, seemed like good penetration.

    JP    Posted 04-12-2019 at 13:14:29 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • I've heard Ni rods can't be welded upside down or even vertical.

    Farmer Dan    Posted 04-12-2019 at 19:20:40 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • Never heard that before?

    JP    Posted 04-12-2019 at 20:48:16 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Cracked 9N Axle Housing, cast iron or cast steel?
  • That's what a welder said when asked about fixing it.

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