How much does it cost to lengthen a frame or move an axle?? - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
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Old 06-25-2011, 12:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How much does it cost to lengthen a frame or move an axle??

Kind of a general question I know. I have two trucks - one is a '90 Dodge 1-ton that already has the frame lengthened but it needs to be fixed due to rust-jacking on the double framed part and I'd like it longer anyway, and an '85 International that may or may not need the frame lengthened (might just need the axle moved, but I'm curious anyway).

The Dodge has its own special frame of course, and the stuff that was used in lengthening it had a slightly too-wide flange and was sectioned horizontally to make it fit... can you actually buy frame channel for these?

I probably can't do any of the lengthening or axle-moving myself so I'm hoping for a ballpark figure on what lengthening something 5 feet or so might actually cost.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Anybody have any idea?
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Far too many variables without seeing it. Take it to a shop and ask them.

This is kind of like asking the question "how much should it cost to put a new suspension on my truck" The question is so loaded it can vary by 1,000%
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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$100/ inch.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I had an f700 shortened by about 40" and it ran me $800. Most of the cost was in the driveshaft and assorted pillowblocks.

MDT's are easy to move the axles on, especially if you can find a donor with a usable driveshaft.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I had an f700 shortened by about 40" and it ran me $800. Most of the cost was in the driveshaft and assorted pillowblocks.

MDT's are easy to move the axles on, especially if you can find a donor with a usable driveshaft.
40" x 2 frame rails = $100/ " or $800
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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might want to redo that math..
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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might want to redo that math..
I am surprised. That didn't go long without getting noticed.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hydraulic brakes, the cab-to-axle is 12' if I remember right.

This is the truck I actually own but I've looked at lots of trucks and thought "I wish I knew what it'd cost to lengthen the frame". With this truck I have a Pete Low Air Leaf I'd like to install on it and I'm thinking it might be long enough for what I want (60" sleeper plus at least a 16' car hauler bed) with the air bags right at the end of the frame.

Don't have pics of the Dodge but it's pretty simple, it already had 4' of frame spliced into the straight section right behind the cab and it needs more. I think it'd just need the appropriate driveshaft lengthened or another one added, I'm not even sure if there's angle in the lengthened stretch.

Last edited by Machinos; 06-28-2011 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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IMHO
i personally like a "virgin" one piece frame from all front suspension/steering mounting points to all rear suspension mounting points... after that its not near as critical.

what i try to say is; i would do it exactly as you already posted:
mount the low air leaf so that the bags are all the way on the end of the stock frame. it is easy to build the bed to overhang/extend the stock frame.

i actually did it exactly like that on my Pete:



the stock frame ends just about where the beer can is sitting...



the hitch, pintle, goose and 5th wheel are all part of the heavy duty bed
the goose hitch is actually sitting in a well right on the last stock frame cross-brace... on top of the airbags
the bed is bolted to the stock frame by reusing all of the stock 5th wheel slider holes as well as other existing frame holes
...drilling into hardened frame rails is no fun ....IIRC i used a total of ~30 5/8" bolts (grade 8)
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:52 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Good info, thanks! I was wondering if drilling such big holes into a frame with a regular hand held drill was even feasible... I don't THINK I have a hardened frame (no stickers on it saying so anyway) but I'm sure it wouldn't be fun.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:35 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Here's a crude Solidworks drawing of what I'm doing:



This is the truck, the 60" Pete sleeper I have, and the bed that's currently on my dodge. The bed isn't heavy duty enough to carry the kind of weight it could on the International (I'm thinking I could use it as a "deck" for a heavier bed), but it's what I'm working with for now. The dovetail drops about a foot over 6 feet, and the distance to the ground is DEFINITELY an estimate. The overhang is 10' past the back edge of the back tires. Is that too much to haul cars and pull a trailer with?
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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probably around 3 to 4000 dollars. we have had 7 of our bobtails frames stretched and that is about the going rate. just call your local truck shops and ask them how much it would be.

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Old 06-30-2011, 05:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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i assume that is with the rear axle as it sits right now?

IMHO too much overhang. but if you could move the axle back by 50-60 inches (you need to drill new holes for the air suspension anyway) it would be just about perfect.
just watch your front axle load closely... may move some things (batteries, fueltank,...) towards the back.

btw
if you move the axle back i would not extend the existing driveshaft; i would recommend to use another driveshaft section as well as another support bearing
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yeah, this is how it sits now. The end of the frame actually has about a 3.5" notch in the top (a step basically) from the body that was on it so I'm not sure if the air bags could mount RIGHT at the back, but pretty close.

Adding another driveshaft would be fine, but wouldn't I need to change the height and angle of the existing carrier bearings?
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:52 AM   #16 (permalink)
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May not have to move existing carrier bearing, but look at it when you get everything where y ou want it.
Roster is correct, in that would be better to put the pete suspension on the IH frame and extend back from there.
You should be able to find matching size truck frame sections in truck JY.
I know Vander-Haags in Iowa has new IH frame sections, about 20 feet long each.
For the Dodge, you can find some grade 50 steel and have it broke into frame section size to match perfectly, and the grade 50 is closer to OEM frame "stuff" than regular mild steel. Finding someone with a brake long enough and heavy duty enough is usually the limiting factor. If you can find someone with the capacity, grade 80 is even "gooder" frame material.
Look up "tapered reamers". A 5/8" tapered reamer can open up a 3/8" hole to 5/8" and not catch like a normal drill bit does in a pilot hole.
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:32 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinos View Post
Good info, thanks! I was wondering if drilling such big holes into a frame with a regular hand held drill was even feasible... I don't THINK I have a hardened frame (no stickers on it saying so anyway) but I'm sure it wouldn't be fun.
Hole hog (magnetic drill) is your friend, even if you have to rent one--even if your frame is mild steel.
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Old 07-01-2011, 11:33 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Hole hog (magnetic drill) is your friend, even if you have to rent one--even if your frame is mild steel.
x2
could also be a "redneck engineering" rig (small drill press C-clamped to frame beams)

and as Harold suggested Reamers are a lot better to get a pilot hole up to final size (and are less prone to "catch" then a regular drill bit)
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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or go cheap and use a big unibit to enlarge those holes
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I checked and the local rental places do have magnetic drills. Haven't checked on cost yet but I know I'll pay it. I still have nightmares about installing overload airbags on my Dodge...
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:52 AM   #21 (permalink)
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When I worked at Freightliner one of the senior mechanics frequently borrowed the Huck bolt tool on weekends. Nobody said anything because he'd been there over 20 years, but I know he worked on the Sat and Sun and I know exactly what he was doing. 5/8" Huckbolts are the way to go when you're doing frame mods.

Just sayin' - Find a large class 8 shop and ask around.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:14 AM   #22 (permalink)
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When I worked at Freightliner one of the senior mechanics frequently borrowed the Huck bolt tool on weekends. Nobody said anything because he'd been there over 20 years, but I know he worked on the Sat and Sun and I know exactly what he was doing. 5/8" Huckbolts are the way to go when you're doing frame mods.

Just sayin' - Find a large class 8 shop and ask around.
i agree completely.
if you can get your hands on a Huck gun (or have a shop nearby who would do it for you) i would definitely prefer Huck-bolts over regular lock-nut bolts.... at least on all suspension mounts.
Huck "nuts" are hydraulically wedged over the "bolt" ... 100% vibration proof but can be removed with impact socket if needed (at least the ones that Peterbilt is using).
on all the trucks i worked on i have never seen a loose Huckbolt (in the frame and the body)

i actually have a assortment of Huck guns ... but only for the 3/16" ones that are used on the body:

the gun (and the hydro force to set them) is already big... i can only imagine the size of the gun and the hydro pressure that is needed to set a 5/8" Huck
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