Re: Axle housing cutting?
Pigpen is right for D44's and 60's, and I haven't messed with 9" stuff that much. After you have cut the tubes, it is best if the axles are pressed back into the housing. I am not exactly sure what the correct interference is, but I know that it is a fairly tight fit. You will probably need to get the ends turned on a lathe to get the right fit. I would recommend warming the center section in an oven to get the holes a little bigger, and if you can, freeze the axle tubes. The extra expansion and contraction make all the difference in the world. I am not so sure about the welds around the tubes. Everything I have seen warns against welding around the tubes. With a good press fit, and the plug welds in the housing you shouldn't need to weld around the tube. If you do weld around the tubes, it will create a heat affected zone around the axle tube creating what is called a stress concentration. Stress concentrations can lead to premature failure of the housing. If you don't press fit, and you do weld the tubes, I would not run the axle without a truss of some sort. I would not let any of the complications stop you from shortening your housings, just be sure to follow good practices when you are doing it. Unless you always wheel close to home and don't mind getting stranded.