This month we are back at the famous green building that you can see off the Golden State Freeway Cooks Machine Works of Los Angeles. CA. Our friends Jim McCaslin and Paul Thompson took some time from their schedule to show us how they shorten the axle when trying to tuck wire wheels. This is the cost when running skirts you need to shorten the rear end to be able to fit the 14×7 wire wheels on it.
The shortening process is almost the but depending on the vehicle you own will determine the amount of shortening that will need to be done to the housing. The look that your trying to achieve will also dictate the amount that will need to be trimmed off the housing. If you want to run skirts on a 70-72 Monte Carlo you will need to knock off 2-inches of each side. Most of the Impala’s need 1-inch off each side to be able to run skirts and in this months tech we shortened a ’69 Impala by trimming it down 1 1/4-inch off from each side as we wanted to make sure that our 14×7 reverse wire wheels didn’t get caught up on the skirts.
As we mentioned earlier Cooks Machine Works has been in the same location for decades as the business was started in the city of Los Angeles back 1946. The famous green colored building can be seen off the service road that runs parallel to the 5 fwy. The family run business was established in the heart of Lowriding as they have been shortening axles and housing for decades letting lowriders lay low as the rear ends tuck them 5.20’s after a Cooks rear end treatment. Now follow along as of Cooks Machine Works shorten the axle and housing on this classic Impala.
1. It was time to shorten at Cooks.
2. This axle housing was mounted onto the machining lathe.
3. Jim made sure that the housing was secure and wasn’t going to come loose while spinning on the lathe.
4. The axle was checked to see how straight the housing was before any work was started on it. The white from the chalk is where the axle was bend from the miles of service.
5. The housings tubes where welded in the center using a traditional stick welding method which is stronger weld then the now common wire feed weld.
6. These welds where done continuously and where as clean as a wire feed welder.
7. Using a lathe allowed the first cut so the amount of material could be determined.
8. Once the axle was straightened out and reinforced the ends where measured to figure out how much was going to be removed. A 1 1/4-inch cut was marked on the housing as the starting point of the material that was going to be removed.
9. Since the majority of the of the cut was done on the lathe the only thing that needed to be done was to clean off any meal burrs left on the axle housing from the hack saw cut.
10. The housing end where back on and from the welds you know that it will not come loose.
11. The housing was allowed to cool off while the next step was done.
12. Since the axle needed the spline to be bigger it was done by welding material onto the original axle.
13. Jim got busy as he added welds to the axle this step needs to be done in steps as the materials need to cool off as you proceed.
14. Once the axle was cool down it could start getting machined.
15. With the welds machined down the axle was given a face cut to assure that the axle was straight when all the precision cuts where done to it.
16. These sections will be filled and turned down so we start with a smooth surface.
17. With the axle thickness where it needed to be the axle was shortened to the right size.
18. The axle was back on the lathe so it could be cut down to size.
19. The final cuts for the c-clip where done to the axle before moving to the next step.
20. This is a look at what Paul will be duplicating.
21. The axle was semi straightened out.
22. Cooks spline cutting machine was used to create the new splines on the axle.
23. Using the stock axles will save you money when shortening the rear end and as you can see they are pergect.
24. This Impala rear end was ready to go.